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Writing Lab

Close-up view of a hand with a pen that is revising a text
Photo: David Maurer

Academic writing is the basic means of communication among the scientific community. Starting in 2010, MArburg University Research Academy in collaboration with the university's Modern Language Center developed offerings tailored to promoting and enhancing writing skills in the German and English languages. In the course of organizational reform in 2015, these offerings were fundamentally overhauled and expanded to accommodate doctoral candidates of the life and natural sciences, international doctoral candidates, and multilingual authors. Our writing lab is intended to provide the practical tools to help participants write academic texts more effectively. Along with the basic steps of the writing process, the lab teaches techniques designed to support and improve the writing process.

The MARA writing lab first and foremost addresses doctoral candidates of all university faculties, some selected courses also target postdocs. At the heart of the writing lab are workshops in academic writing and drafting academic publications in the German and English languages. Wherever appropriate, the workshops and seminars are tailored to the specific needs of the humanities and social sciences or the life and natural sciences. There is also the opportunity for individual consultation.


Module A - Writing

In this module, MARA offers a compact two-day, cross-disciplinary workshop in German academic writing and German as an academic language.

It is complemented by various short half-day workshops that address specific issues in academic writing. Whereas the courses dealing with the academic writing process are cross-disciplinary and are offered in both the German and English languages, product-oriented courses are offered separately for the humanities and social sciences (primarily in German) on the one hand and for the life and natural sciences (mostly in English) on the other.

Examples of courses with a process focus:

  • Text design.
  • Spelling.
  • Planning techniques.
  • Techniques for creating flow.
  • Text revision.
  • Summaries, abstracts, reviews.

Examples of courses with a product focus:

  • Style.
  • Techniques for reading and analysis.
  • Storyline.
  • Readability.

Once a year, we also offer separate writing labs in the English language for each of the two groups of disciplines. This format comprises a two-day course in academic writing in English along with several short follow-up sessions that allow participants to practice what they have learned by applying it to their own texts and to ask specific questions in this context.

In addition, doctoral candidates of the humanities and social sciences have the opportunity twice annually to attend courses devoted to the various formats of writing that are called for in this group of disciplines (e.g., how to write an exposé, a research proposal, or a report on research findings). These types of two-day courses are held alternately in German and English.

Finally, the one-day course Deutsche Wissenschaftssprache für Internationale (Academic German for International Scholars; once annually) is aimed at the target group of international doctoral candidates at Philipps-Universität who are writing their dissertation in the German language.

Module B - Publishing

The publishing module revolves around the process of publishing one's academic work in Germany or in English-speaking countries. MARA offers a one-day course on this topic once annually. It addresses issues concerning the publication process in Germany in the German language and in English-speaking countries in the English language.

Moreover, the MARA program also includes two-day courses devoted to Writing for Publications in English for the respective disciplines, which are held in English once or twice a year.

All workshops can be attended seperately or in combination with each other.

For the dates of the workshops, please consult our calendar of events. The courses are indicated there as "Writing Lab" or "Schreibwerkstatt".

Individual Writing Consultation

In addition to our workshops, doctoral candidates with MARA membership have the opportunity to discuss their individual writing-related questions and issues in a confidential meeting with a writing consultant. No matter whether they are at the beginning or an advanced stage of their dissertation, the individual writing consultation offers the possibility of addressing individual concerns and strengthening writing skills. The writing issues addressed here can, for instance, refer to:

  • Specific issues concerning the structure and organization of your dissertation.
  • The improvement of your personal writing style and academic style of expression.
  • Specific information on suitable writing techniques.
  • Assistance with writing problems, such as writer's block or over-commitment to writing.

You can send a text passage to the consultant beforehand (five pages max.), which will be analyzed according to a previously identified aspect. You will then receive feedback in the consultation.

The consultation is free of charge. Each consultation lasts 45–90 minutes. The consultation sessions take place by appointment at the Modern Language Center (Sprachenzentrum) at Biegenstraße 12. Please contact Dr. Fabienne Quennet at



Dr. Karin Awe
MArburg University Research Academy (MARA)
Program Coordination Promovierendenprogramm
Tel.: +49 (0)6421 28 21393