Summer Dissertation Programs 2016

The Graduate Writing Center holds several programs during the summer to support graduate students who are at the dissertation and dissertation proposal stages. Programs are free of charge to those who participate. Plan to participate and have a productive summer!

How to Apply: Submit an application by the deadline indicated for the specific program. Space is limited, but we try to accept as many people as we can.

Eligibility: Only UCLA graduate and professional students who have been registered during the academic year are eligible to apply. Participants must also be at the appropriate stage for the program to which they apply.


1) Dissertation Boot Camp (Humanities & Arts)

This program targets humanities and arts graduate students who have advanced to candidacy and are at the dissertation-writing stage. The program will teach writing strategies and provide structure to help people produce a draft of a dissertation chapter. Graduate students from social science fields who use humanities approaches, such as historians or political science students who focus on theory, should also apply to this program. This program will meet for the 6 weeks of Summer Session A (Tuesdays, 5:30–8:00pm, June 21st–July 26th).

CLICK to see application instructions and program details.

How to Apply for the Humanities & Arts Dissertation Chapter Boot Camp: Interested graduate students must fill out the application Google form linked here (your application will be kept confidential) by no later than Monday, June 13th. Space is limited.

Not sure whether you should apply to the Humanities or Qualitative Social Sciences Dissertation Boot Camp?

Your dissertation would fit better with humanities if one or more of the following applies:

  • you study texts, aesthetic objects, or theories;
  • you don't have separate chapters on literature review and methods;
  • you don't work with human subjects (in a manner requiring IRB approval);
  • and/or your chapters are organized in a purely topical way.

Your dissertation would fit better with qualitative social sciences if one or more of the following applies:

  • you have separate methods and literature review chapters;
  • you work with human subjects and went through the IRB process;
  • you do descriptive or ethnographic research based on interviews and observations;
  • your data analysis involves coding;
  • and/or you write your findings in results and discussion chapters.

Some research--such as oral histories, ethnographic studies, and studies of language and performance--falls in between humanities and qualitative social sciences, but we usually group projects involving human subjects with qualitative social sciences. Oral historians who don't code their interviews may fit better with the humanities. If you are not sure which section to choose, please consult with the GWC Director (Marilyn Gray: mgray@saonet.ucla.edu).

Preparation for the Humanities & Arts Dissertation Boot Camp (for those accepted)

First Session Preparation and Homework:

Before the first session, participants should
1) read/skim a dissertation recently completed in your department, preferably one chaired by your dissertation committee chair, to get a sense of overall structure (search ProQuest Dissertations/Theses database by advisor);
2) review and do a brief outline/sketch (1-page maximum) of the structure of one of the analytical chapters in the sample dissertation, paying attention to
     a) type of content (primary source analysis, secondary criticism, theory, historical or biographical background, etc.); and
     b) form (narrative arc, argument, and language that signposts what the writer is doing);
3) organize your notes, sources, and data for the analytical dissertation chapter you will work on during the program. Bring all relevant materials into a single physical and/or electronic location to simplify your workflow.

Participants should bring to the first session

1) your brief sketch of the sample dissertation chapter you reviewed; and
2) a 1-2 page outline of the analytical dissertation chapter you will work on during the program. If you are in the very early stages, a bulleted list of the topics and ideas you plan to address in the chapter would be fine.

Homework for Subsequent Sessions: Each session after the first will require 5 to 10 pages of new writing (of the dissertation draft). There may be additional reading and homework assignments to reinforce writing strategies.

Strongly Recommended Reading: Joan Bolker. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. 1998. (Available at the UCLA bookstore.) We recommend a more careful reading of chapters 3, 4 and 8, but the entire book is worth skimming.

Deadline to Apply: Monday, June 13th.

2) Dissertation Boot Camp (Qualitative Social Sciences)

This program targets graduate students using qualitative social science research methods or mixed methods with a qualitative emphasis. Graduate students who apply to this program should have defended their proposals, completed the majority of their research and data analysis, and be ready to write (or already writing) the results and discussion chapters (or sections). The program will address writing issues specific to qualitative research as well as general writing and organizational strategies. You are also welcome to apply if you use mixed or quantitative methods but intend to work on a descriptive or qualitative section. This program will meet for the 6 weeks of Summer Session A (Wednesdays, 5:30–8:00pm, June 22nd–July 27th).

CLICK to see application instructions and program details.

How to Apply for the Qualitative Social Sciences Dissertation Chapter Boot Camp: Interested graduate students must fill out the Google application form linked here (your application will be kept confidential) by no later than Monday, June 13th. Space is limited.

Not sure whether you should apply to the Humanities or Qualitative Social Sciences Dissertation Boot Camp?

Your dissertation would fit better with humanities if one or more of the following applies:

  • you study texts, aesthetic objects, or theories;
  • you don't have separate chapters on literature review and methods;
  • you don't work with human subjects (in a manner requiring IRB approval);
  • and/or your chapters are organized in a purely topical way.

Your dissertation would fit better with qualitative social sciences if one or more of the following applies:

  • you have separate methods and literature review chapters;
  • you work with human subjects and went through the IRB process;
  • you do descriptive or ethnographic research based on interviews and observations;
  • your data analysis involves coding;
  • and/or you write your findings in results and discussion chapters.

Some research--such as oral histories, ethnographic studies, and studies of language and performance--falls in between humanities and qualitative social sciences, but we usually group projects involving human subjects with qualitative social sciences. Oral historians who don't code their interviews may fit better with the humanities. If you are not sure which section to choose, please consult with the GWC Director (Marilyn Gray: mgray@saonet.ucla.edu).

First Session Preparation and Homework:

Before the first session, participants should
1) read/skim a dissertation recently completed in your department, preferably one chaired by your dissertation committee chair, to get a sense of overall structure (search ProQuest Dissertations/Theses database by advisor);
2) review and do a brief outline/sketch (1-page maximum) of the structure of one of the analytical chapters in the sample dissertation, paying attention to
     a) type of content (primary source analysis, secondary criticism, theory, historical or biographical background, etc.); and
     b) form (narrative arc, argument, and language that signposts what the writer is doing);
3) organize your notes, sources, and data for the analytical dissertation chapter you will work on during the program. Bring all relevant materials into a single physical and/or electronic location to simplify your workflow.

 

Participants should bring to the first session
1) your brief sketch of the sample dissertation chapter you reviewed; and
2) a 1-2 page outline of the analytical dissertation chapter you will work on during the program. If you are in the very early stages, a bulleted list of the topics and ideas you plan to address in the chapter would be fine.

Homework for Subsequent Sessions: Each session after the first will require 5 to 10 pages of new writing (of the dissertation draft). There may be additional reading and homework assignments to reinforce writing strategies.

Strongly Recommended Reading: Joan Bolker. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. 1998. (Available at the UCLA bookstore.) We recommend a more careful reading of chapters 3, 4 and 8, but the entire book is worth skimming.

Deadline to Apply: Monday, June 13th.

3) Dissertation Writing Retreat (STEM & Quantitative Social Sciences)

This program targets graduate students who are already writing their doctoral dissertation or master's thesis. The program will provide a quiet space to get away and focus on your writing. It will also offer workshops that address thesis and dissertation structure, writing strategies, and scientific writing issues. This program will meet 9:004:45, MondayThursday, June 27th30th.

CLICK to see application instructions and program details.

SCHEDULE, June 27th30th (Monday Thursday):

Schedule (all days):*
9:00-9:40: Check in and goal setting
9:40-12:00: Individual work
12:00-12:45: Lunch break
12:45-4:30: Workshops and individual work
4:30-5:00: Check out

*Full attendance is required, but you may miss a few hours to attend lab meetings or other required appointments.

Morning Check in and Goal Setting (Required)
Every morning will address goal setting and strategies for managing writing projects efficiently. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss how their work is going and share tips. We will provide coffee and bagels.

Workshops (Recommended):
Attending workshops is not required, but we recommend attending the ones that are relevant to you at your current stage of writing.

Monday, June 27th, 12:45–2:15pm
Getting Started on the Dissertation
This workshop will focus on identifying and improving dissertation structure. We will examine common dissertation structures and discuss strategies for improving organization and flow both within and across articles/chapters of the dissertation. We will also discuss writing process in the sciences, project management, and time management strategies. Please bring an outline of your dissertation or dissertation proposal if you have one. Recommended for people working on their dissertation proposal and people at the early stages of writing their dissertation articles/chapters, but all are welcome.

Tuesday, June 28th, 12:452:00pm
Strategies for Writing Scientific Papers
This workshop will focus on strategies for self-editing structure and style in scientific writing. We will review in depth tactics for improving flow, clarity, and conciseness, as well as general tips for healthy writing. Recommended for people at all writing stages.

Wednesday, June 29th, 12:45–2:15pm
Writing the Sciences Dissertation
This workshop will focus on writing the final dissertation components, including global introduction and background sections, global conclusions, and abstracts. We will also discuss strategies for editing and integrating articles/chapters. We will be focusing on dissertations structured as a compilation of articles, but writing strategies are applicable to other thesis types. If you have started writing global introduction or conclusion chapters, we encourage you to bring them with you. Recommended for people approaching the final stages of their dissertation writing, but all are welcome.

Thursday, June 30th, 12:45–1:45pm
Writing Groups: Types, Logistics, and Benefits
This workshop will cover best practices for organizing your own writing groups and giving peer review feedback on the writing of colleagues.

How to Apply for the Writing Retreat:
Interested graduate students should fill out the web application (linked here). Applications due Tuesday, June 21st.

We will let you know whether you are accepted and send further details by Friday, June 17th. The program will take place in reserved rooms within the Young Research Library.

Preparation for the Writing Retreat (for those accepted)

In preparation for the program, read/skim a master's thesis or dissertation recently completed in your department, preferably one chaired by your advisor that uses similar methods. This exercise will help you get a sense of structure and organization as well as demystify what the end product looks like. Please also bring an outline of your thesis or dissertation--the more detail, the better--to aid you in discussing your project during the program.

Optional Reading: Paul Silvia. How to Write a Lot. 2007.

Please Note: For guidance on field-specific issues, please consult faculty advisors/mentors.

If you have any questions, please contact gwcprograms@gsa.asucla.ucla.edu.

Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, June 21st.

4) Dissertation Proposal Boot Camp (Social Sciences)

The Social Sciences Dissertation Proposal Boot Camp is designed to help graduate students make substantial progress on a draft of their dissertation proposals. Sessions will cover strategies for writing the components of the proposal as well as managing the process. For guidance concerning research design, methodology, and other field-specific issues, please consult with faculty mentors.This program will meet for 6 weeks in mid-summer (Thursdays, 5:308:00pm, July 7th–August 11th).

CLICK to see application instructions and program details.

How to Apply: Interested graduate students must fill out the Google application form linked here (your application will be kept confidential) by no later than Thursday, June 16th. Space is limited.

Homework for those accepted to the Social Sciences Dissertation Proposal Boot Camp:

For the first session, participants must bring the following:

  • Annotated Bibliography: bring a bibliography of your secondary and theoretical sources. Select four or five of the most important theoretical and secondary sources and write a paragraph or two about each. Also make sure that you have organized notes for your other sources. For the other sources that will be discussed in your literature review, we recommend writing at least a short annotation (2-3 sentences) for each one.
  • Project description (from application): bring a 200-300 word description of your dissertation project. Please be prepared to articulate your research topic succinctly.
  • Reading Assignment: In preparation for the first session, please read: Joan Bolker. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes A Day. 1998. Chapters 1, 3 and 4. (Available at the UCLA bookstore.)

For subsequent sessions: Each session will have a required writing assignment related to your proposal. There may be additional required readings that we will make available electronically.

Not sure whether you should apply to the Humanities or Qualitative Social Sciences Dissertation Boot Camp?

Your dissertation would fit better with humanities if one or more of the following applies:

  • you study texts, aesthetic objects, or theories;
  • you don't have separate chapters on literature review and methods;
  • you don't work with human subjects (in a manner requiring IRB approval);
  • and/or your chapters are organized in a purely topical way.

Your dissertation would fit better with qualitative social sciences if one or more of the following applies:

  • you have separate methods and literature review chapters;
  • you work with human subjects and went through the IRB process;
  • you do descriptive or ethnographic research based on interviews and observations;
  • your data analysis involves coding;
  • and/or you write your findings in results and discussion chapters.

Some research--such as oral histories, ethnographic studies, and studies of language and performance--falls in between humanities and qualitative social sciences, but we usually group projects involving human subjects with qualitative social sciences. Oral historians who don't code their interviews may fit better with the humanities. If you are not sure which section to choose, please consult with the GWC Director (Marilyn Gray: mgray@saonet.ucla.edu).

Deadline to Apply: Thursday, June 16th.

5) Dissertation Prospectus Boot Camp (Humanities & Arts)

The Humanities Dissertation Prospectus Boot Camp is designed to help graduate students make substantial progress on a draft of their dissertation prospectuses. Sessions will cover strategies for writing the components of the prospectus as well as managing the process. For guidance concerning research design, methodology, and other field-specific issues, please consult with faculty advisors/mentors. This program will meet for the 6 weeks of Summer Session C (Tuesdays, 5:30–8:00pm, August 2nd–September 6th).

CLICK to see application instructions and program details.

How to Apply: Interested graduate students must fill out the Google application form linked here (your application will be kept confidential) by no later than Friday, July 15th. We still have space, but apply soon!

Homework for those accepted to the Humanities & Arts Prospectus Boot Camp:

For the first session, participants must bring in the following:

  • Annotated Bibliography: bring a bibliography of your secondary and theoretical sources. Select four or five of the most important theoretical and secondary sources and write a paragraph or two about each. Also make sure that you have organized notes for your other sources. For the other sources that will be discussed in your literature review, we recommend writing at least a short annotation (2-3 sentences) for each one.
  • Project description (from application): bring a 200-300 word description of your dissertation project. Please be prepared to articulate your research topic succinctly.
  • Reading Assignment: In preparation for the first session, please read: Joan Bolker. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes A Day. 1998. Chapters 1, 3 and 4. (Available at the UCLA bookstore.)

For subsequent sessions: Each session will have a required writing assignment related to your prospectus. There may be additional required readings that we will make available electronically.

Not sure whether you should apply to the Humanities or Qualitative Social Sciences Dissertation Boot Camp?

Your dissertation would fit better with humanities if one or more of the following applies:

  • you study texts, aesthetic objects, or theories;
  • you don't have separate chapters on literature review and methods;
  • you don't work with human subjects (in a manner requiring IRB approval);
  • and/or your chapters are organized in a purely topical way.

Your dissertation would fit better with qualitative social sciences if one or more of the following applies:

  • you have separate methods and literature review chapters;
  • you work with human subjects and went through the IRB process;
  • you do descriptive or ethnographic research based on interviews and observations;
  • your data analysis involves coding;
  • and/or you write your findings in results and discussion chapters.

Some research--such as oral histories, ethnographic studies, and studies of language and performance--falls in between humanities and qualitative social sciences, but we usually group projects involving human subjects with qualitative social sciences. Oral historians who don't code their interviews may fit better with the humanities. If you are not sure which section to choose, please consult with the GWC Director (Marilyn Gray: mgray@saonet.ucla.edu).

Deadline to Apply: Friday, July 15thWe still have space, but apply soon!

6) Dissertation Proposal Workshop (STEM)

This workshop will cover dissertation proposal structures and how proposal structure may vary across discipline. We will also focus on writing the dissertation proposal components, including global introduction and background sections, as well as methods and abstracts. In addition, we will address issues related to the oral portion of the proposal. Please bring an outline of your proposal and an abstract if you have them.
Recommended for people currently working on their dissertation proposal, but all are welcome.
Monday, July 25, 5:307:30pm
Location: Conference Room 4, Student Activities Center (basement level) (map)

RSVP not required. 


7) Four-Week Writing Group (STEM and Quantitative Social Sciences)

The GWC will facilitate writing groups that will meet for four weeks for those working on dissertations, theses, and article manuscripts: Fridays, July 15th – August 5th, 2:00–4:00pm. Interested graduate students should fill out the Google application form linked here (your application will be kept confidential)by no later than Tuesday, July 12th.


Previous Workshops and Programs

Click here to see an archive of past programs and workshops.