Dissertation Boot Camp

Waterloo’s Writing and Communication Centre is currently accepting applications for Dissertation Boot Camp . This sustained program, which is designed to help dissertation and thesis writers to get a jump start on their writing goals, runs every Monday from January 21 st to March 4 th , from 9:00am to 12:30pm.

Students can learn more about Dissertation Boot Camp from the Writing and Communication Centre’s website , this profile of one of our previous Boot Camp participants, or from this Daily Bulletin article .

Applications are due by January 1 st , 2019. Please apply using the Google form below.

Apply for Dissertation Boot Camp

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Tag: Dissertation Boot Camp

Pandemic graduate student writing and transition support: reflections and predictions (part 1).

dissertation boot camp uwaterloo

Vol. 2, No. 5 (Spring 2021) Liv Marken, Contributing Editor, CWCR/RCCR

This three-part series looks at how the pandemic affected both graduate student writers and graduate student writing support.We speak to Jill McMillan, a Learning Specialist at the University of Saskatchewan, and Nadine Fladd, a Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialist at the University of Waterloo.

Part I: In the Thick of It

Here, in part one, we learn about Jill’s and Nadine’s roles and work, and how the pandemic has supported intercampus collaboration and better use of resources to benefit the overall student experience.

Liv: Thank you, Nadine and Jill, for speaking with me about your experiences this year.

Could you tell me a bit about who you are and what you do at your institutions?

Nadine: Sure. I am one of several Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialists at the Writing and Communication Centre at UWaterloo. My role, in particular, focuses on supporting graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty, so a lot of the work that I do focuses on developing programs for graduate students, such as Dissertation Boot Camp, a program called Rock Your Thesis that is designed to help students start their dissertation or thesis writing process on the right foot, and orchestrating and coordinating writing groups and writing communities. In between these activities, I also do a handful of appointments with grad students, postdocs, and faculty each week.

dissertation boot camp uwaterloo

Jill: I’m a Learning Specialist, and I work with Student Learning Services. And yes, there’s a lot of overlap in terms of Nadine’s and my dossiers; there is a focus on programming—facilitating workshops, designing new workshops, trying to think of new initiatives that are going to have value for our graduate student population. I’ve also been hosting virtual writing groups and offer one-to-one appointments, though the majority of the one-to-one support comes from our amazing writing help centre. I also offer a course for international grad students. But otherwise, the focus is on designing new programs, creating new initiatives, trying to connect to other campus partners, and thinking of how we can pool resources, which I think is especially important these days as we just try and figure out how we can offer support without replicating services.

Liv: Have either of you have you found that moving online has helped to reduce that duplication and increase communication between communication units?

Nadine: Maybe, but I feel like every university does have that compartmentalizing of units.

Liv: Has that lessened during the pandemic, stayed the same, or intensified?

Nadine: I think that the Writing and Communication Centre had pretty strong collaborative relationships with campus partners before the pandemic, and that has been a blessing. What I’ve seen is more communication between those campus partners and each other than I’ve seen in the past. So, for example, our Student Success Office has traditionally hosted an orientation for graduate students and during the pandemic the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs office helped design and took the lead on building an infrastructure for an online orientation program and has since handed that program over to the Student Success Office. So there’s collaboration there that didn’t exist before that I think has been really useful.

Liv: That’s positive. Jill, what have you noticed?

Jill: It’s certainly helped me as someone who is relatively new to campus to make some of those connections a bit more easily. Of course, you still encounter some of these instances where there is duplication popping up, but then you reach out and make that connection. And so, it’s possible that that duplication will eventually turn into a collaboration at a future point. So, I think that in some ways I do recognize that there have been some strange benefits to how everything has happened over the last year in terms of the shift to remote teaching and learning. I think it really has forced people to think, “oh, how do we make use of the limited resources that are currently available to maximize the student experience?”

dissertation boot camp uwaterloo

Nadine: We have an incentive system. So, students have a digital coffee card that they can fill out every time they attend a writing session. And when you’ve attended 12 writing sessions, you earn a mug that has a #WaterlooWrites logo on it. We see a lot of repeat members in our writing community, and people get to know each other and talk to each other during the breaks and help each other. We see a lot of regulars in those communities for sure.

Liv: Interesting. Now, in terms of your own work, how have you kept up professionally or what’s really helped to you in your job?

Nadine: I’m lucky because unlike a lot of writing centres, I have a team I work with of full-time permanent staff who do the same work I do. I’ve learnt a lot from other members on the team as we navigated this together. A lot of my professional development this past year has been technological. One of my colleagues, Elise Vist, our digital guru on the team, has taught me how to do things like build online asynchronous workshops through Rise 360, and so now we can build these really slick looking modules full of videos and interactive elements. And that’s not something that I ever would have even considered trying to attempt a year and a half ago. It wasn’t on my radar.

So, in some ways, the pandemic has been a push to expand my range of teaching tools. And in a lot of ways, at the beginning of the pandemic, we were focused on trying to recreate what exists in our in-person programming in an online format. And I think that worked for a while. But what students have needed after a year in isolation and after a year of video calls has changed. I think my approach to teaching has really gotten back to the very basics of starting with what is the goal, what is the objective and building from there rather than trying to transfer an in-person equivalent to an online environment.

Jill: We have an academic integrity tutorial now and we’re currently just beginning to work on some new writing modules. So, you know, it’s been good to learn all about Panopto, WebEx and other online platforms.

In part two, posted next week, Jill and Nadine share their thoughts on accessibility, especially around international student writing support.

Dissertation Boot Camp

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Disseration Bootcamp "the dissertation accelerator" with the DBC logo, a "next track" playback arrow

Welcome to Academic Year 2023-24!

DBC Session 7 will run in-person from May 6th - May 17th (weekdays only) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Registration will be online with a link on this page starting April 29  and will be open until May 2  at which point participants will be contacted.

Register for spring DBC #7 here

Planning ahead? View the full year schedule

What is it?

The Dissertation Boot Camp is a free program that gives graduate students a chance to make serious progress on a dissertation, master’s thesis, or other graduate writing project. Students show up, ready to write; the Hume Center provides snacks, supplies, and a highly productive work environment.

With the exception of one "week-long" camp we will run this summer, all camps provide students with a total of 10 writing days. The "Classic" Boot Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are happy to note that based on feedback from previous Dissertation Boot Campers, we are also offering a "Before Dawn" session beginning at 8 am and a few sessions that begin later at 10am. Please review all dates on the DBC Annual Schedule .

Why does it work?

Dissertation Boot Camp helps students learn to write more productively, and often to produce better writing, by providing four critical elements: 1) space with minimal distractions; 2) writing regimen/routine; 3) peer motivation and support; and 4) expert writing consultants. While the program focuses on helping students improve writing productivity, we also hope that students will take away with them writing habits and strategies that will aid them in writing projects in the future. To learn more about what to expect in a Dissertation Boot Camp, and for information about our policies, please download our Boot Camp handout .

Registration Process

  • Registration is available via a Google form link on this web page at 10 a.m. two weeks before each camp begins, except when noted on this page and on the schedule . You will be asked background information and preferences, as well as to agree to a fee if you do not attend (in-person only, discussed below).
  • In-person Boot Camps are limited to 16 participants, whereas Online Boot Camps are limited to 26.
  • Camps are filled on a first-come, first serve basis. Preference is given to participants who have not attended a previous Boot Camp.
  • We will provide a wait list via the Google form once registration meets capacity.
  • You will receive an email a few days before the Boot Camp begins to confirm your space.
  • If you have any questions regarding Dissertation Boot Camps, please email  [email protected]

Monetary incentive

*Applies to the in-person DBC only and not  the online DBC.

We collect a Fee Agreement to encourage Boot Camp participants to complete the program. This agreement authorizes the Hume Center to charge $100 to participants' Stanford University bill if they do not fully attend the Camp. 

Once you have completed a Boot Camp, we collect your feedback in order to improve our program. Please help us by completing this Boot Camp Survey for 2023-2024. 

Additional Resources 

Establishing an effective academic writing group: starter kit.

This kit is useful as a guide for any student interested in starting up an effective writing group that will last!  There are three basic types of writing groups:  feedback groups (reviewing student writing), "writing job" groups (meeting just to write), or goal-setting groups (meeting to set goals and report).  We strongly recommend that every member of a new writing group read the kit and use the worksheets to establish a writing group that works best for the group.

Dissertation Boot Camp Starter Kit

If you are interested in starting your own Dissertation Boot Camp in a department or program, please email the Hume Center for our Dissertation Boot Camp starter kit.

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  2. Dissertation Boot Camp

    Waterloo's Writing and Communication Centre is currently accepting applications for Dissertation Boot Camp. This sustained program, which is designed to help dissertation and thesis writers to get a jump start on their writing goals, runs every Monday from January 21st to March 4th, from 9:00am to 12:30pm. Students can learn more about Dissertation Boot Camp from the Writing

  3. UWaterloo WCC

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  12. Tag: Dissertation Boot Camp

    Vol. 2, No. 5 (Spring 2021) Liv Marken, Contributing Editor, CWCR/RCCR. This three-part series looks at how the pandemic affected both graduate student writers and graduate student writing support.We speak to Jill McMillan, a Learning Specialist at the University of Saskatchewan, and Nadine Fladd, a Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialist at the University of Waterloo.

  13. Dissertation Boot Camp

    The Dissertation Boot Camp is a free program that gives graduate students a chance to make serious progress on a dissertation, master's thesis, or other graduate writing project. Students show up, ready to write; the Hume Center provides snacks, supplies, and a highly productive work environment. With the exception of one "week-long" camp we ...

  14. Dissertation Boot Camps

    Yes. No. Overview In August 2016, we held our first ever physical, intensive doctoral dissertation boot camp for doctoral candidates in the dissertation sequence at our Service Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. While we are proud to deliver our programs online without the requirement to travel, we recognized the value in face-to-face interactions.

  15. Elektrostal Map

    Elektrostal is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located 58 kilometers east of Moscow. Elektrostal has about 158,000 residents. Mapcarta, the open map.

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  17. The flag of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia which I bought there

    Its a city in the Moscow region. As much effort they take in making nice flags, as low is the effort in naming places. The city was founded because they built factories there.

  18. Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

    Elektrostal Geography. Geographic Information regarding City of Elektrostal. Elektrostal Geographical coordinates. Latitude: 55.8, Longitude: 38.45. 55° 48′ 0″ North, 38° 27′ 0″ East. Elektrostal Area. 4,951 hectares. 49.51 km² (19.12 sq mi) Elektrostal Altitude.

  19. Elektrostal

    Elektrostal , lit: Electric and Сталь , lit: Steel) is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located 58 kilometers east of Moscow. Population: 155,196 ; 146,294 ...