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UCLA Graduate Writing Center

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.

Workshops

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.

Thesis Writing Retreats

The Graduate Writing Center offers writing retreats for graduate students who are working on master's theses, dissertation proposals, and dissertations. These programs are usually offered in spring break and summer. Retreats 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 and registration instructions for spring break thesis 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.

Master's Thesis Coaching (Pilot Program)

This program will take place during Spring 2022. The short coaching engagement will generally include 2-4 sessions over 1-2 months, depending on the needs of the coachee. Each coaching session will last up to 60 minutes. This program will take a holistic approach to supporting master's thesis students who are in the process of choosing and/or focusing a master's thesis topic and thinking about their longer-term research interests.

Participants in the program may receive coaching in one or more of these areas –

  • Choosing or focusing a thesis topic
  • Aligning long-term research agenda with core values
  • Setting up a research agenda that will build from a master's thesis to a dissertation

If you would be interested in being a participant in the pilot program, please fill out the Google form linked here by Monday, April 18th.

Thesis Writing Retreat for STEM and Quantitative Fields (Spring Break)

This program targets graduate students who are writing their doctoral dissertation or master's thesis, or who are writing manuscripts for publication. This program provides dedicated time to focus on your writing. It also offers workshops that address thesis structure, writing strategies, and scientific writing issues. Note: The spring break 2022 thesis retreat will be online.

To read more and apply for the spring break STEM/Quant Thesis Retreat, please click on the program description below. Deadline extended to noon, Friday, March 18th.

CLICK to see application instructions and program details for spring break STEM thesis retreat.

SCHEDULE, March 21st March 24th (Monday Thursday):

Schedule (all days):
9:00-9:45: Goal setting and productivity sessions*
9:15-10:00: Break
10:00-12:00: Online writing group / Individual work
12:00-12:45: Lunch break
12:45-1:45: Workshop or Individual work
1:45-2:00: Break
2:00-4:00: Online writing group / Individual work
4:00-4:10: Check out*

*Only the morning goal setting/productivity and afternoon checkout sessions are required. Attending relevant workshops and at least one online writing group session per day is strongly recommended.

Morning 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.

Online Writing Groups (Recommended):
We recommend joining one or two writing group a day, but if you prefer not to, then feel free to join just the final checkout at the end of the day.

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 21st, 12:45–1:45 PM
Strategies for Writing Scientific Papers
This workshop will focus on strategies for self-editing structure and style in scientific writing. It will also address strategies for improving flow, clarity, and conciseness, as well as general tips for healthy writing.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 12:45–1:45 PM
Creating 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 23rd, 12:451:45 PM
Crafting an Argument in Scientific Writing
This workshop will focus on the components of creating an argument. We will talk about incorporating arguments into writing and examine examples of argument structures.

Thursday, March 24th, 12:45–1:45 PM
Organizing and Managing Larger Projects (STEM focus)
This workshop will give an overview of how to organize and manage large scale writing projects in STEM fields.

How to Sign Up for the Writing Retreat :
Interested graduate students should fill out the web form (linked here) by no later than Wednesday, March 16th. Any UCLA graduate student in a STEM field who is working on a master's thesis, dissertation proposal, dissertation, or journal paper related to thesis/dissertation work may join the program. We don't anticipate any capacity issues, but if we have any, we will accept registrants on a first-come, first-served basis.

The program will take place online, and we will confirm participation details with you shortly after the registration deadline.

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 prepare an outline of your thesis or dissertation 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 or departmental expectations, please consult faculty advisors/mentors.

If you have any questions, please contact gwcprograms@gsa.asucla.ucla.edu.

Thesis Writing Retreat for Humanities, Arts, and Qualitative Fields (Spring Break)

This program targets graduate students who are writing their doctoral dissertation, dissertation prospectus, master's thesis/capstone project, or manuscripts for publication that relate to their thesis/dissertation. The program provides dedicated time to focus on your writing. It also begins each day with goal-setting/productivity sessions that support students with organization and time management strategies. Note: The spring break 2022 thesis retreat will be online.

To read more and sign up for the Thesis Retreat for humanities, arts, and qualitative fields, please click on the program description below. Deadline extended to noon, Friday, March 18th.

CLICK to see application instructions and program details for spring break humanities/social sciences thesis retreat.

SCHEDULE, March 21st March 24th (Monday Thursday):

Schedule (all days):
9:00-9:45: Goal setting and productivity sessions*
9:45-10:00: Break
10:00-12:00: Online writing group / Individual work
12:00-12:45: Lunch break
12:45-1:45: Workshop video or Individual work

1:45-2:00: Break
2:00-4:00: Online writing group / Individual work
4:00-4:10: Check out*

*Only the morning goal setting/productivity and afternoon checkout sessions are required. Attending at least one online writing group session per day is strongly recommended.

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.

Online Writing Groups (Recommended):
We recommend joining one or two writing group a day, but if you prefer not to, then feel free to join just the final checkout at the end of the day.

Online Workshop Videos (Optional):
Recommended workshop videos will be provided through the program's CCLE site.

How to Sign Up for the Writing Retreat :
Interested graduate students should fill out the web form (linked here) by no later than Wednesday, March 16th. Any UCLA graduate student in a humanities, arts, social science, or related field who is working on a master's thesis, dissertation proposal, dissertation, or journal paper related to thesis/dissertation work may join the program.

The program will take place online, and we will confirm participation details with you shortly after the registration deadline.

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 prepare an outline of your thesis/dissertation to aid you in discussing your project during the program.

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

Please Note : For guidance on field-specific issues or departmental expectations, please consult faculty advisors/mentors.

If you have any questions, please contact gwcprograms@gsa.asucla.ucla.edu