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English Language Centre

One-to-One 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 an English Language Centre tutor.

What can I expect from a consultation?

You can meet with a tutor on an individual basis and receive specific help and advice on your academic English language and literacy needs. Tutors 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 request form to identify the problematic areas of yoru work you like specific advice on.
  • If you would like to discuss a piece of written work or a presentation, you must submit a copy of this work or the presentation slides at least two days before your consultation. You can either email a copy of this work to or upload a copy when requesting your consultation.
  • You should also include a copy of the full assignment task or title and any additional assignment details.

Can tutors 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.

How can I book a consultation?

To book a consultation you will need to complete and submit the online 'Request a consultation' form. If you have any questions about the consultation service please email

Consultations can only be booked at least two weeks in advance of the date you are requesting.

If for any reason you need to cancel your consultation you must email as far in advance as possible.

Where do consultations take place?

Consultations at Durham Campus will take place in Dunelm House, located to the right of the Durham Student Union (DSU).

Consultations at Queen's Campus are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 15:00-15:45 and 16:00-16:45 in the Ebsworth Building.

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:

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

During a Skype consultation tutors 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. Tutors will email a copy of the work to you with their comments at the end of the consultation.

To request a Skype consultation 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

'After a couple of consultations I adapted quickly to the new writing style and I completed my essay successfully. The English Language Centre gave me such a great opportunity to correct my misunderstandings. I really believe new postgraduates should use the consultation service - they will receive more than they expected'

Hanxiong Zhang, postgraduate student 2013-14