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National Center for Academic and Dissertation Excellence FAQs

Q: What is the National Center for Academic & Dissertation Excellence?

A: The National Center for Academic & Dissertation Excellence (NCADE) is TCSPP’s writing and research center that represents an innovative approach to student support. It provides a variety of academic resources to enhance student coursework and scholarship. NCADE accomplishes these objectives by providing comprehensive assistance and guidance for students in the areas of methodology and academic and professional writing, with a focus on APA writing and formatting. Contact NCADE ( for more information.


Q: Where is NCADE located?

A: NCADE offers on-ground and virtual support for all services, thereby keeping with our guiding principle of consistent, high-quality support for students no matter their program, location, or modality. For on-ground support, the Writing Center ( is located at 325 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL., Room 1008. The Dissertation Writing Expert for the Chicago Campus is also located at 325 N. Wells St on the 10th floor ; the Dissertation Writing Expert for the D.C. Campus is located at 901 15th Street, NW, Suite 2F03 . A Methodology Expert is located at the LA campus on the 7th floor, 617 W. 7th Street, room 748, Los Angeles, CA. Contact NCADE ( for more information.

Q: What is the Writing Assessment Process (WAP)?

A: To ensure academic preparedness for graduate level coursework, TCSPP has implemented a Writing Assessment Process for all new graduate students. Instructions about this institutional requirement are emailed to all new graduate students about 10 days after the Future Start Deposit date. Each student is asked to submit a 500-word essay in response to a short article and a specific prompt. The essay is due within 10 days of receipt of the instructions and is then evaluated by two writing specialists. Based on the WAP score, a student may place out of the Academic Writing Seminar (AWS). Contact the Writing Center ( for more information.

Q: What is the Academic Writing Seminar (AWS)?

A: AWS is a seven-week online writing workshop taught by experienced writing instructors, and is available to all students. Students who do not place out of the AWS based on their WAP score are required to complete the AWS with a grade of Pass (P).


Q: How can Bachelor's, Master's, and pre-dissertation doctoral students obtain feedback on their academic and professional writing?

A:  Bachelor's, Master's, and pre-dissertation students may contact the Writing Center at to request assistance from peer writing coaches and English language specialists. Rather than simply "fixing" student papers, the coaches and tutors focus on clarity and conciseness, and assist students in the process of acquiring writing skills such as revising, editing, and proofreading

Q: How do Master's students who do not complete a thesis or dissertation as part of their academic program receive support?

A: Master's students enrolled in academic programs in the Online Campus complete Applied Research Projects (ARP) with their ARP Instructor assigned in the first term of their academic program. ARP Instructors guide students in the written delivery of ARPs for APA style writing and formatting and preparation for ARP showcases. Master's students completing an ARP have access to a methodology expert in NCADE, if needed.

Q: How does the Institutional Review Board (IRB) work in relation to NCADE?

A: Prior to sending an IRB application to the Institutional Review Board for approval, students are encouraged to send their IRB materials to for one editorial/writing and one methodological review. After revising, students must follow IRB processes to submit a complete application to the IRB for approval. 

Q: What is the Graduate Student Success Program (GSSP)?

A: GSSP is a resource hub hosted in Canvas, the online learning environment used at TCSPP. This site contains a collection of resources and a forum for sharing academic experiences and helpful tips. It contains information about the process of submitting documents for writing consultations. All new students are automatically enrolled in the GSSP during the first week of their studies.

Q: How can doctoral students at the point of dissertation receive APA writing and formatting style feedback on dissertation chapters?

A: Upon approval from their dissertation chairs, students may contact to request a consultation, dissertation chapter review, or related resources. NCADE utilizes its Canvas classroom for the submission of dissertation chapters.

Q: How can doctoral students at the point of dissertation receive methodology support on dissertation chapters?

A: Upon approval from their dissertation chairs, students may contact to request a methodological consultation, review, or related resources. NCADE utilizes its Canvas classroom for the submission of dissertation chapters.  

Q: How does NCADE support students post-defense during the Manuscript Preparation (formerly copy editing) stage?

A: After a Chair approves the final thesis/dissertation post-defense, each student is required to submit the final thesis/dissertation to NCADE for review prior to ProQuest publication. This process must be initiated by the Department chair/Manager after a student's successful defense and approval of the final dissertation by submitting a completed Dissertation Processing Tracking form to Students are assigned a DWE to ensure that their manuscript is acceptable for ProQuest publication. Contact for more information.

Q: How is TCSPP's approach to supporting doctoral students different from the approach used by other institutions?

A: At most institutions, writing and methodology support for dissertations is provided primarily by faculty members through classroom work and seminars led by dissertation chairs. NCADE offers additional, hands-on support through a dedicated team of Dissertation Writing Experts and Methodology Experts. This model allows dissertation chairs more time to mentor and support students with the academic content of their dissertations while the NCADE experts focus on APA writing and formatting style and research methodology .