Thesis and Dissertation Writing Support

In addition to one-on-one writing appointments, the Graduate Writing Center has a number of programs and workshops that offer support to dissertators and thesis writers.

Spring Humanities Dissertation Prospectus Boot Camp

The Humanities Dissertation Prospectus Boot Camp is designed to help graduate students make substantial progress on a draft of their dissertation prospectuses. For more information about this program, click here

Summer Dissertation Boot Camps

The Graduate Writing Center holds a number of programs during the summer to help graduate students who are at the dissertation and dissertation proposal stages. For a description of the summer dissertation boot camps and program offerings, click here.

Master's Thesis Writing Program

The Graduate Writing Center offers a program to graduate students writing who are working on master's theses and doctoral qualifying papers in the humanities and social sciences. The program provides workshops and one-on-one writing appointments. For more information, click here.

Writing Groups

The Graduate Writing Center has previously organized two types of writing groups: facilitated writing groups and independent writing groups. The groups facilitated by Graduate Writing Center staff are offered spring and sometimes summer, primarily for graduate students writing master's theses or similar projects. The independent writing groups are organized in winter for graduate students at the dissertation writing stage. For more information, click here.


During the academic year, the GWC offers single-session overview workshops on master's theses, dissertation proposals, and dissertation writing. Click our current schedule or browse past workshops to see when these topics may be offered.

STEM Writing Retreat for Dissertation and Thesis Writers

This program targets graduate students who are already writing their doctoral dissertation or master's thesis, or who are writing manuscripts for publication. The program provides a quiet space to get away and focus on your writing. It also offers workshops that address thesis and dissertation structure, writing strategies, and scientific writing issues. 

To read more and apply for the spring break STEM Writing Retreat, please click on the program description below.

CLICK to see application instructions and program details for spring retreat.

SCHEDULE, March 25thMarch 28th (Monday Thursday):

Schedule (all days):*
9:00-9:15: Check in
9:15-10:00: Goal setting and productivity sessions
10:00-12:00: 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 Goal Setting and Productivity Sessions (Required)
Every morning we will address goal setting and productivity 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, March 25th, 12:45–2:00 PM
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, March 26th, 12:452:00 PM
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, March 27th, 12:45–2:00 PM
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, March 28th, 1:00–2:00 PM
Writing Group/Peer Review
This session will be a writing group peer review feedback session for anyone who would like to discuss their current writing. We will also have an option to sign up for a writing group that will meet during spring quarter.

How to Apply for the Writing Retreat:
Interested graduate students should fill out the web application (linked here). Applications due Friday, March 22nd @noon.

We will let you know whether you are accepted and send further details shortly after the deadline. The program will take place in reserved rooms within the Engineering 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. (You can do this through the ProQuest Dissertations database available through the UCLA Library.) 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