Penn Graduate Student Center

Navigating the Dissertation

About Navigating the Dissertation

Navigating the Dissertation seeks to help doctoral students be successful in the dissertation process through workshops, resources, dissertation groups, and Dissertation Boot Camp. This program is cosponsored by Penn Graduate Student Center and GAPSA.

The Library offers a great many workshops to help in the research and dissertation process. 

Career Services offers extensive programming to help doctoral students transfer their skills to the academic and non-academic job market process.

Career Services Events

THE ACADEMIC JOB SEARCH HANDBOOK BOOK CLUB: Understanding the Academic Job Search and Planning Yours
by Julia Miller Vick, Jennifer S. Furlong, and Rosanne Lurie

Discussion With the Authors

In book club format, Penn graduate students and postdocs will discuss the new edition of the Academic Job Search Handbook* with two of its three authors and gain insights into how the Handbook can be a resource throughout your job search.  Pizza lunch will be provided.

Session 1 Understanding the Academic Job Search and Planning Yours
Reading: I What You Should Know Before You Start and II Planning and Timing Your Search
Thurs. Sept. 15, 2016, noon-1pm, Grad Center, second floor conference room

Session 2 Presenting Yourself on Paper: Written Materials for the Job Search
Reading: III Written Materials for the Job Search: Suggestions and Samples
Tentative date: Tues. Oct. 11, 2016, noon-1pm, Grad Center, second floor conference room

Session 3 Presenting Yourself in Person: Interviews – Phone, Skype and In-Person, Offers, Negotiation and Rejections
Reading: IV Conducting the Search and VI Additional Considerations
Tentative date: Tues. Nov. 15, 2016, noon-1pm, Grad Center, second floor conference room

Session 4 Off to a Good Start or…Off to Another Career
Reading: V After You Take the Job and VII Beyond Faculty Careers
Tentative date: Tues. Jan. 17, 2017, noon-1pm, Grad Center, second floor conference room

*Penn doctoral students and current postdocs may purchase a copy of the Academic Job Search Handbook in Career Services for $10.  Paper and electronic copies are also available through For more information:


Registration is required and participants are encouraged to sign up and to attend all four sessions:




Academic Job Search Handbook Book Club

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Conference Room (2nd Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk


Dissertation Boot Camp Winter 2017

Friday, January 6 -- Friday, January 20, 2017, 09:00 AM - 06:00 PM
Room 302 (3rd Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk, Room 303 (3rd Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk, Room 305 (3rd Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk
Ticket sales end: Friday, December 16, 2016
Price: $25 each, limit 1 per Graduate Penn Card
Waiting list only!

Winter Boot Camp 2017: Mandatory orientation session from 9:00am to 12:00pm on Friday, January 6th; Boot Camp writing sessions run for two weeks January 9th-January 20th from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Participants have the option to stay until 5:00pm. January 16th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Bootcamp will not be open on MLK Day.

Registration: Registration will begin on Monday, November 14th and end on Friday, December 16th. Registration will take place at the Graduate Student Center. Students should register in person.  If you cannot register in person, please have someone come with you Penncard or a photocopy of your Penncard, and register for you.  We will need your email address and Penn Card number at time of registration.

Cost: Non-refundable $25 supply fee at the time of registration and a separate $50 payment if a camper does not abide by the rules or complete Boot Camp. 


  • Each day will include a 4-hour mandatory writing session from 9am till 1pm. Participants have the option to stay until 5pm. Weekends are off.
  • Each participant will have an assigned work station, and must obey the Boot Camp Rules, which will be discussed during the orientation session of the Boot Camp.
  • Boot Camp participants must bring their own laptops and all materials (e.g., books, data) that are necessary. These items can be secured in the Grad Center for the duration of Boot Camp.
  • During the orientation session, we will have a RULES SESSION followed by a group workshop on organization and writing offered by the Weingarten Learning Resources Center. We strongly encourage students to attend one mandatory advising session with a WLC Advisor at some point before the boot camp or during the two weeks of Camp.  Students can bring drafts of their work, discuss topic and structure, future publications and work, etc. Weingarten staff will remain available on an on-call basis throughout the program for additional appointments, to help students overcome any habits or problems standing in the way of success.
  • All participants are asked to make a serious commitment to the program. To encourage this sustained commitment, we charge $50 fee to those campers who do not abide by the rules or complete the program.
  • All extenuating circumstances must be documented in writing before the start of Camp.  if we decide that your circumstances would cause too much absence from Camp, we will forfeit your seat to another student. (We will refund your supply fee). Please contact if you have any questions regarding this issue before registering.  We will discuss pre-noted and emergency absences in detail during the Friday Rules Session.  As a general rule, we suggest that all students make-up their lost time during the afternoon optional time period.

Questions or Concerns?

We are happy to explain our policies and discuss the program with you. Please contact us at 215-746-6868 or

Writing Days

Writing Mondays and Writing Consultations 

Mondays 1-5pm l Grad Center Conference Room 

  • Having trouble with your paper, proposal, or thesis?

  • Feeling stressed out and isolated?

  • Can't find a quiet place to write?

Join fellow grad students in a self-directed and highly-focused writing environment during Writing Mondays! Snacks will be served! Register in advance here. (Registration begins August 15, 2016.)

We are also offering Writing Consultations during Writing Mondays with a writing expert from the Weingarten Learning Resources Center from 1-4 pm. Our consultant can discuss work at every stage, and help you move past difficult roadblocks in the process. Register in advance below, and select your half-hour slot when you arrive in the Writing Monday room (2nd Floor Conference Room).


Writing Mondays

Monday, December 12, 2016, 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Conference Room (2nd Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk

Writing Consultations

Monday, December 12, 2016, 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Room 303 (3rd Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk


Register here for a 30 minute appointment with an adviser from the Weingarten Learning Center. The writing adviser will get you on track with your writing goals and help you improve your writing at every stage of the process. After registering, you can choose a specific time slot when you arrive at Writing Monday (Grad Center, 2nd floor Conference Room).

The Graduate Student Center offers Writing Consultations every Monday afternoon, 1-4 pm. For additional meeting times, please make an appointment directly with the Weingarten Learning Resources Center at Penn: The Weingarten Center offers individual appointments throughout the year.

Event Archives

Electronic Dissertation Workshop, March 16, 2010

Submission Instructions


Copyright and your Dissertation

Common Room Hours

Monday-Thursday: 9AM-8PM Friday: 9AM-6PM Saturday-Sunday: 12PM-6PM

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221