Thesis & Dissertation Writing Camps



The purpose of The Graduate School's Thesis & Dissertation Writing Camps is to provide dedicated writing time and a supportive environment for graduate students who are in the process of actively writing their master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. The Graduate School offers structure to help schedule your time as well as programming meant to motivate and encourage you as you work. The camps are intended for graduate students who have completed their research or are nearing completion and are engaged in writing their theses or dissertations, as much of the time is self-directed writing time. Since our camps are very popular and we hold two to three of them per year, we ask those students who are pre-quals or still in the data collection phase of their theses or dissertations to please consider waiting to apply for one of our future camps.

We do our best to offer three Writing Camps annually, depending on the academic calendar. These camps are usually held at the following times:

  • Summer Writing Camps
    • This special two-week-long camp is held in the middle of May, approximately a week after finals week.
  • Winter Writing Camps
    • The timing of this one-week-long camp depends heavily on the academic calendar, and, when possible, will either be held the full week between the end of the fall semester and Christmas or the full week between New Years and the beginning of the spring semester.
  • Spring Writing Camps
    • This one-week-long camp is held during Spring Break.


While each Writing Camp is slightly different, we usually establish some variation of the following general structure:

  • Welcome Session
    • The Welcome Session is where we introduce you to the camp structure, the facilitators, and all the other participants. We like to give each participant a moment to introduce themselves and their research so that everyone can get an idea of the wide variety of incredible research that is happening around them. We often include a motivational talk to encourage writers who may feel like they are stuck in a rut or that completing their thesis or dissertation is an impossible task. 
  • Canvas Course
    • To help facilitate online and hybrid camps, we maintain a course shell in Canvas where we house resources and recordings of sessions and encourage participant interaction. We also use this course to divide participants into individual writing groups (see below).
  • Writing Group Check-In
    • We believe that interaction with your fellow writers is important, so we divide participants into groups of five to ten writers and schedule check-in meetings at least a couple of times a week, usually first thing in the morning to make sure everyone is awake and ready to write. In these check in meetings, we'll celebrate successes, talk about hurdles we're encountering in the writing process, and share tips and tricks for increasing your productivity.
  • Dedicated Morning Writing Time
    • Dedicated writing time is the most important part of this camp. We know that life can be busy, but we highly encourage you to block off, at minimum, your entire morning each day after group check-in for dedicated writing time. Turn off the TV, silence your phone, chain yourself to your desk, and focus solely on writing!
  • Writing Consultants
    • Whenever possible, we hire experienced writing consultants from the Robert E. Hemenway Writing Center or the departments of English or Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies. These consultants will be available to schedule up to one thirty-minute session per day in advance or on a first-come-first-serve basis for unschedule appointment slots.
  • Special Programming
    • Throughout the week we offer sessions intended to encourage and empower you in the writing process. Whenever possible, we schedule programming in the afternoon so as not to conflict with dedicated morning writing time. Common topics include: Mindfulness Meditations, Formatting and Submitting Your Dissertation, Practical Tips for ESL Writers, Managing Imposter Syndrome, Editing and Publishing Tips, and a panel discussion with recent defenders, including a Q&A session at the end. 
  • Encouraged Afternoon Writing Time
    • While mornings are reserved for dedicated writing time, we know that large stretches of writing can be intensive and draining, so we try to break up the afternoons with at least an hour lunch break followed by afternoon programming. But if you're on a roll, we highly encourage you to carry that momentum into the afternoon. If not, we encourage you to use the afternoon time for writing-related tasks, like reading, editing, tracking down citations, or updating your bibliography.

Upcoming Camp

Summer 2023 Writing Camp



Contact Morris Grubbs at (859-257-9725) or Chad Gilpin at (859-257-4137).