Summer Dissertation Programs 2020

2020 Summer Programs will be conducted via Zoom.

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 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 Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:30–4:00 PM via Zoom, for the 6 weeks of Summer Session A (June 22nd–July 29th).

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 Monday, June 15th.

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: Monday, June 15th

2) 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 participants 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, may also apply to this program. This program will meet Mondays & Wednesdays, 5:30–7:00 PM via Zoom, for the 6 weeks of Summer Session A (June 22nd–July 29th).

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 15th. 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 15th

3) 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 data collection and 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 Mondays & Wednesdays, 5:30–7:00 PM via Zoom, for the 6 weeks of Session A, June 22nd–July 29th.

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 15th.

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 Qualitative 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 (data analysis, relevant empirical literature, theory, historical background, cultural context, 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 15th

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 Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:30–6:00 PM via Zoom, for the 6 weeks Summer Session A, June 23rd–July 30th.

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 Monday, June 15th. 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.
  • Research questions: bring in a printout of your specific research questions, or if appropriate, your hypotheses and aims.
  • Recommended Reading: 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 also be 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: Monday, June 15th