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.


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. We also encourage to look at relevant workshop videos

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.

STEM Thesis Writing Retreat

The Graduate Writing Center offers writing retreats for graduate students who are working on master's theses, dissertation proposals, and dissertations. In spring break we focus on the master's thesis, and in summer we focus on the dissertation. However, both programs are open to all thesis and dissertation writers, as well as graduate students working on manuscripts related to their thesis or dissertation. For more information, see the bottom of this page.

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.

Writing Groups

The Graduate Writing Center sometimes organizes 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.

STEM Thesis Writing Retreat

This program targets graduate students who are writing their doctoral dissertation or master's thesis, or who are writing manuscripts for publication. In spring break we focus on the master's thesis, and in summer we focus on the dissertation. However, both programs are open to all thesis and dissertation writers, as well as those working on manuscripts related to their dissertation or thesis. This program provides a quiet space to get away and focus on your writing. It also offers workshops that address thesis 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 23rdMarch 26th (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
12:00-1:00: Lunch break
1:00-4:30: 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 23rd, 1:00–2:00 PM
Getting Started on the Master's Thesis (STEM focus)
This workshop will give an overview of how to write a master's thesis for students in STEM fields. It will include writing activities and discussion to help participants develop their thesis topics. We will also present strategies for organizing research and literature reviews, as well as tips for drafting and revision.

Tuesday, March 24th, 1:00–2:00 PM
Creating Effective Figures and Visual Aids
This workshop focuses on strategies for designing effective figures and visual materials for conference presentations, publications, and other contexts. The workshop will also introduce different software packages that can be used to create high-quality figures, and offer further resources for learning these programs.

Wednesday, March 25th, 1:002:00 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. 

Thursday, March 26th, 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 Wednesday, March 18th @5 PM.

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 

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