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Durham University

DCAD: English Language Support

One-to-One Writing Consultations

The free one-to-one consultation service offers all registered Durham University students the opportunity to discuss a piece of written work or specific difficulty relating to any aspect of your academic English language and literacy performance with a DCAD Advisor.

What can I expect from a consultation?

You can meet with an Advisor on an individual basis and receive specific help and advice on your academic English language and literacy needs. Advisors will aim to give you support and advice which you can take away and implement in future work.

You can request a consultation to discuss any of the following:

  • academic writing- planning an assignment, using sources effectively, critical approach, depth of analysis, text structure, argumentation
  • grammar and vocabulary
  • academic reading strategies
  • listening to lectures and other listening
  • speaking and pronunciation
  • presentation skills

Do I need to prepare anything for my consultation?

  • please use the 'Reason for Consultation' and 'Notes' section of the online booking form to identify the problematic areas of work you would like specific advice about
  • if you would like to discuss a piece of written work or a presentation, you must submit a copy of the work/presentation slides at least two days before your consultation (the work does not need to be the finished/completed version before the Advisor views it, you can submit the work at any stage and even then you can still bring along an updated version of the work to the consultation. To do this you can either upload a copy of the work when booking your consultation or email a copy to 121.consultations@durham.ac.uk
  • you should also include a copy of the full assignment task or title and any additional assignment details

Can Advisors proof read my work?

No, the consultation service is not a proof reading service. Proof reading must be sought privately.

How much does a consultation cost?

The consultation service is free to all registered Durham University students.

How long is a consultation?

Consultations are 45 minutes long and students may book up to 3 consultations per academic term, including during the Easter and summer vacation. If you wish to discuss the possibility of extra consultations, please contact us on 121.consultations@durham.ac.uk.

How can I book a consultation?

To book a consultation you will need to login to the online booking system. If you have any questions about the consultation service please email 121.consultations@durham.ac.uk.

If for any reason you need to cancel your consultation you must email 121.consultations@durham.ac.uk as far in advance as possible.

Where do consultations take place?

Consultations at Durham Campus will take place in Dunelm House, 49 New Elvet, DH1 3PF, which is located up the stepped ramp to the right of the Durham Student Union (DSU) through blue double doors.

Dunelm House has swipecard access so you should bring your valid campus card with you to enter. There is also a buzzer/intercom to request entry if necessary.

Specific room details will be given when you book your consultation.

Skype consultations

If you are one of the following you can request a Skype consultation:

  • distance learning student
  • registered with the University's Disabiliity Support
  • doctoral student working overseas

During a Skype consultation the Advisor will display your work on the computer screen so that you can read their comments and live annotate the piece of work together throughout the consultation. The advisor will email a copy of the work to you with their comments at the end of the consultation.

To request a Skype consultation you will need to select the Skype options on the online request form. All contact details will be confirmed when you book your place.

Student Testimonial

"I was really struggling after quite a bad experience last year and I felt totally lost in terms of how to write. [The one-to-one consultations] have allowed me to become more confident in myself and in my own writing."

"I learned to be more critical of other academic work and to develop my own voice in my research. I also learnt about paragraph structuring, which was something I had never thought of before!"

Sophie Doherty, PhD Law and part-time tutor, 2018-19


 "I felt confident before I met with my supervisor — at least I did not need to worry about the English [...]. Instead, we could focus on the real meat, such as the ideas. My PhD annual reviewers were impressed with the thesis summary, which had been revised according to the consultant's suggestions."

Chien-Yang Huang, PhD Philosophy, 2018-19