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UCLA Graduate Writing Center

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. Note: All summer programs will be held via Zoom. Plan to participate and have a productive summer!

How to Apply : Submit an application by the deadline indicated for the specific program. We screen to make sure participants are in the appropriate fields and at the appropriate stages, but we otherwise 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 should also be at the appropriate stage and in an appropriate field for the program to which they apply.

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

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 Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:00–4:45 PM, via Zoom for 6 weeks (July 6–August 12). Deadline extended to noon, July 1st.

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 28th.

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 28th.

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 Wednesdays, 4:00–7:00 PM via Zoom, for the 6 weeks of Summer Session A (June 23–July 28). Applications are closed.

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 Tuesday, 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: extended to noon, Friday, June 18th.

3) 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, 4:00–5:30 PM via Zoom, for the 6 weeks of Summer Session A, June 22nd–July 29th. Applications are closed.

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 Tuesday, 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: Tuesday, June 15th.

4) 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 Wednesdays, 4:00–7:00 PM via Zoom, for the 6 weeks of Session A, June 23–July 28. Applications are closed.

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 Tuesday, 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: extended to noon, Friday, June 18th.

5) Thesis Writing Retreat (STEM & Quantitative Focus)

This program targets graduate students who are writing their doctoral dissertation, dissertation proposal, 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 writing strategies and scientific writing issues. You may participate in this program in addition to participating in one of the programs above (#1-4).

To read more and apply for the spring break STEM Thesis Retreat, please click on the program description below. Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, July 6th.

CLICK to see application instructions and program details for the thesis retreat (STEM/quantitative focus).

SCHEDULE, July 12th July 16th (Monday Friday):

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
4:00-4:30: 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.

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

Monday, July 12th, 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, July 13th, 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, July 14th, 12:451:45 PM
Strategies for Writing About Statistics

This workshop will provide tips for reporting commonly-used statistical methods, such as ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, including what to report and how to report it. The workshop will also provide general information how to state conclusions, the use of p-values, and common mistakes to avoid.

Thursday, July 15th, 12:45–1:45 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.

Friday, July 16th, 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 Tuesday, July 6th. 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.

Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, July 6th.

6) Thesis Writing Retreat (Humanities, Arts, and Qualitative Focus)

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. You may participate in this program in addition to participating in one of the programs above (#1-4).

To read more and sign up for the Thesis Retreat for humanities and social science fields, please click on the program description below. Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, July 6th.

CLICK to see application instructions and program details for the thesis retreat (humanities/arts/qualitative focus).

SCHEDULE, July 12th July 16th (Monday Friday):

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: Watch prerecorded workshop / Individual work
1:45-2:00: Break
2:00-4:00: Online writing group / Individual work
4:00-4:30: 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 Tuesday, July 6th. 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. 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/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.

Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, July 6th.

Previous Workshops and Programs

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