Dissertation and Thesis Writing Retreat, Summer 2015

(Sciences & Engineering focus, Quantitative Social Sciences welcome)

This program targets graduate students who are already writing their master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. 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.

Participation eligibility : Participants must be continuing UCLA graduate students who were registered in Spring 2015. Prospective participants must also fill out the application form by the deadline indicated (see below). This program is free of charge for eligible UCLA graduate students, and only UCLA graduate students are eligible to participate. Space is limited.

SCHEDULE, August 18th 21st (Tuesday Friday):

Required (all days):*
9:00-9:30: Coffee and check in
9:30-12:00: Individual work
12:00-12:45: Lunch break
12:45-4:30: Workshops and individual work
4:30-5:00: Check out

*You may miss up to 4 hours to attend lab meetings or other required appointments.

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

Tuesday, August 18th, 12:45–2:15pm
Overview of Dissertation Structure and Writing Strategies

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 and time management strategies. Recommended for people at the early stages of writing their articles/chapters, but all are welcome. Please bring an outline of your dissertation.

Wednesday, August 19th, 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.

Thursday, August 20th, 12:45–2:15pm
Final Stages and Components of the 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. Recommended for people approaching the final stages of their dissertation writing, but all are welcome.

Friday, August 21st, 1 :00–1:45pm
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).
We are still accepting applicants.

We will let you know whether you are accepted and send further details by Friday, August 14th. 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 committee chair or 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: 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.

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.

Previous Workshops and Programs

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