Spring Break Dissertation Boot Camp 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 during spring break. It will also offer workshops that address master's thesis and dissertation structure, writing strategies, and scientific writing issues.

Participation eligibility : Participants must be registered UCLA graduate students (or in their filing fee quarter) who are in the process of writing a dissertation or master's thesis. Prospective participants must also fill out the application form by the deadline indicated (see below). This program is free of charge for registered UCLA graduate students, and only UCLA graduate students are eligible to participate. Space is limited.

SCHEDULE, March 23rd 26th:

Required (all days):*
9:00-9:30: Coffee and check in
9:30-11:45: Individual work
11:45-12:45: Lunch break
12:45-4:00: Workshops and individual work
4:00-4:45: 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.

Monday, March 23rd, 11:00am-12:30pm
Master's Thesis: Overview of Structure and Process

This workshop will cover the scope, expectations, and time constraints related the master’s thesis. It will review organization and typical components, as well as writing and revision strategies. Please bring an outline or draft to the session if you have one.

Monday, March 23rd, 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.

Tuesday, March 24th, 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, March 25th, 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.

How to Apply for the Writing Retreat :
Interested graduate students should fill out the web application (linked here) by Wednesday, March 18th, at 10am . Space is limited.

We will let you know whether you are accepted and send further details by Friday, March 20th. The program will take place in reserved rooms within UCLA Powell 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 dissertation 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.