Thesis and Dissertation Writing Programs

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 you to look at relevant workshop videos.

Writing Groups

The Graduate Writing Center sometimes organizes writing groups of various types (online writing groups, facilitated writing groups, or independent writing groups). We are also happy to help groups of graduate students self-organize into writing groups. For best practices on setting up writing groups, see our writing groups resource page. For information about writing groups currently being offered or organized by the GWC, see our writing groups web page.

Master's Thesis Mentoring Program

The Graduate Writing Center offers a program to support graduate students who are working on master's theses (or other master's capstone projects) and doctoral qualifying papers. The program provides workshops and one-on-one writing appointments. For more information, read Master's Thesis Mentoring Program.

Spring Break Writing Retreats

The Graduate Writing Center offers writing retreats for graduate students who are working on master's theses, dissertation proposals, dissertations, and other writing projects. These programs are usually offered in spring break and summer. Retreats are open to all graduate and professional students. For more information and registration instructions for spring break writing retreats, scroll to the bottom of this web page and click on the relevant program. For programs offered during to the summer, go to the summer boot camp and thesis retreat page.

Summer Dissertation Boot Camps and Thesis Retreats

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. We also offer dissertation/thesis retreats during the summer. See our most current summer dissertation boot camp and program offerings for more information.

Spring Break Writing Retreat (All Fields) with Online and In Person Options

This program is for graduate or professional students who are writing large-scale projects like master's theses or capstones, doctoral dissertations or proposals, or manuscripts for publication. The program provides dedicated time to focus on your writing and has online and in-person options. For STEM students, it additionally offers workshops related to scientific writing issues. To read more and register, please see the program description below. Deadline to register is Monday, March 18th.

CLICK HERE for application and program details for spring break writing retreat.

SCHEDULE, March 25th – 27th (in person); March 25th – March 28th (online):

Daily Schedule:

9:00-10:00: Online productivity workshops & discussion
10:00-12:00: Online writing groups or individual work (in person)
12:00-1:00: Lunch break
1:00-2:00: Online Workshops or individual work
2:00-4:00: Online writing groups or individual work (in person)

Morning Online Productivity Workshops (9-10 am)
Morning workshops will address project organization, time management, and productivity tips.

Online Writing Group or Individual Work
If you are doing the retreat online, you will join online writing groups via Zoom at the designated times. If you are at the in-person location, you may work independently or join the online writing groups via Zoom.

How to Sign Up for the Writing Retreat:
Fill out the web form (linked here) by Monday, March 18th. We don't anticipate any capacity issues, but if we have any, we will accept registrants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Morning Productivity Writing Workshops (9-10 am)

Monday, March 25th, 9:00–10:00 AMProject Organization for Writing
In this workshop, we will discuss how to set up an organized system for a large-scale research and writing project, especially the writing components.

Tuesday, March 26th, 9:00–10:00 AM—Time Management and Productivity Tips for Writing
In this workshop, we will discuss effective strategies for time management, goal setting, and productivity when conducting large-scale research and writing projects, especially for the writing components.

Wednesday, March 27th, 9:00–10:00 AMDemos of Tools
Writing consultants will demo a couple of organizational tools and how they use these tools to support writing.

Afternoon Scientific Writing Workshops (1-2 pm)

Monday, March 25th, 1:00–2:00 PMStrategies for Writing Effective Scientific Papers
This workshop will address basic principles for writing scientific papers and offer strategies for avoiding common pitfalls. We will also introduce key points from Joshua Schimel's book Writing Science on developing good narrative structure and clarity to make writing engaging and impactful.

Tuesday, March 26th, 1:00–2:00 PMCreating Effective Figures and Visual Aids
This workshop focuses on strategies for designing effective figures and visual materials. 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 27th, 1:00–2:00 PMThesis and Dissertation Writing in STEM Fields (Final Stages)
This workshop will give an overview of the final components and writing stages of a STEM thesis or dissertation.

Further Resources

Advice for Thesis Writing
If you haven’t seen a final thesis or dissertation in your field, we recommend looking one from your department in the ProQuest Dissertation database available through the UCLA Library. This database allows you to search by institution, advisor, and manuscript type (master's thesis versus dissertation).

Optional Reading:
Joan Bolker. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes A Day . 1998.
Paul Silvia. How to Write a Lot. 2007.

If you have any questions, please contact