Writing support at Lancaster University

by Amy Oloo

Taking a master’s is no easy feat, especially since a much higher level of academic skill is expected by professors at the postgraduate level. In my experience, a lot more independent research and critical analysis is needed, and professors tend to be keen on well structured essays, arguments and grammar. It’s quite easy to have blind spots on how you can improve on your essays. Fortunately, there are resources available to students that can help you perform well.

Setting expectations

Firstly, it is important to book some time to speak to each of your professors about their expectations for your essays and about any points that need further clarification. In my experience, professors have been more than willing and open to discuss these issues. In any case, most professors will provide sample essays on the course’s Moodle page so that students can get a sense of what a good paper entails.

What support is on offer?

Aside from this, it is a great idea to look into what academic support the University and your particular Faculty offers. For instance, the Faculty for Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) has a Learning Development programme that offers help for students in various circumstances. I have personally benefitted from the one-to-one writing support provided through this programme. A constructive session with a mentor opened my eyes to some aspects of my writing that needed improvement. I am looking forward to applying what I learned in my future work.

LAWS and CLAWS, a similar programme offered by the Law School, also provides writing workshops and one-on-one sessions.

Non-native English speakers may also benefit from the Learning and Development Programme’s Film Club, which helps International Students improve their English by watching TV shows and films in the language. Participating in the Film Club is immersive, yet non-threatening. Similarly, if preferred, students can take English one-on-one sessions with a learning developer, or attend workshops and discussion groups to help improve their English language skills.

Maintaining your wellbeing

Each college has a wellbeing officer, who can aid students struggling with various life issues, and counselling is readily available for students that need one-to one sessions. Indeed, acknowledging the mental health struggles that can come from the pressure to perform well is important and the university demonstrates incredible sensitivity and foresight in providing these services. One thing that I have really come to appreciate is the group counselling sessions that help students cope with issues such as anxiety during assessment periods.

Other great opportunities

Lastly, it is worth noting that the Law School is particularly great at providing consultation opportunities for future career prospects, while the library offers details on how to access materials, and graciously provides headphones, chargers and laptops for loan to facilitate easy revision.

All in all, while postgraduate study and the pressure to perform well can be difficult, Lancaster University offers many opportunities to improve your skills and develop coping methods that can make the process much easier and enjoyable. As someone who has benefitted from some of these services, I would highly recommend looking into them as an avenue for increased success.


Amy is studying LLM in Diplomacy and International Law by distance learning at Lancaster University.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.