PhD Thesis Writing Skills

Learning Outcome

The module supports PhD students in improving their writing skills as young researchers. Unlike for example a master’s thesis, writing a dissertation is a very large project, which is usually a new experience for most PhD candidates. Besides developing their writing skills, the PhD students also need to develop further skills such as time-management, planning the writing process, how to integrate their sources, etc. The module combines lectures, group work, student presentations, and exercises. It is divided into three consecutive parts. By the end of the module, the PhD candidates shall be able to meet the challenges of writing with clarity a coherent dissertation.


This module ranges over two semesters and contains three consecutive parts.

Semester 1
Part 1 – Writing a dissertation: common concerns

  • Understanding similarities and differences between a dissertation and other types of academic writing
  • Understanding the requirements of the thesis-based and article-based PhD
  • Developing independence as a researcher and challenges in the writing process
  • Understanding the writing process of a dissertation (getting started, ideas, structure, drafts, edit, publish)
  • Publishing your PhD thesis

Part 2 – Clarity and effectiveness

  • Addressing the audience through clear and effective written expression
  • Establishing a productive writing routine
  • Improving cohesion at the sentence, paragraph, section and chapter level
  • Integrating sources by quoting, summarising and paraphrasing
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Avoiding plagiarism

Semester 2
Part 3 – Strategies for creating a logical structure

  • Exploring tools to improve the structure of the thesis
  • Essentials of writing the literature review
  • Organising the method, results and discussion chapter
  • Writing good introductions and conclusions

Recommended Prerequisites

For PhD students of Environmental and Resource Management, it is recommended to pass the module „Academic Research and Methods” before taking this module. For PhD students of Heritage Studies it is recommended to pass the module “Theories / Methods” before taking this module.

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