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.


Dissertation Boot Camp Winter 2015

From: Friday, January 9 -- Friday, January 23, 2015, 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Graduate Student Center, 3615 Locust Walk
Ticket sales end: Thursday, January 08, 2015
Price: $25 each, limit 1 per Graduate Penn Card
Waiting list only!

Winter Boot Camp 2015: Mandatory orientation session from 9:00am to 11:00am on Friday, January 9th; Boot Camp writing sessions run for two weeks January 12th-January 23rd from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Participants have the option to stay until 5:00pm. January 19th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Bootcamp will not be open on MLK Day.

Registration: Registration will begin on Monday, November 17th and end when all seats are sold out. 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

All students are expected to arrive at the graduate student center for boot camp orientation no later than 8:55am on Friday, January 9th. At 8:55am, all spots of those who do not arrive on time will be given to students on the waitlist.

Other University Programs

GAS 610: Advanced Writing for non-native English-speaking Ph.D. candidates.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GAS) is offering an advanced writing course for non-native English speaking Ph.D. candidates. The course will be held in the spring semester and registration is now open through special permission.

GAS 610 is a writing course designed for Ph.D. students whose native language is not English. The features of academic writing used in American universities will be explored. This will be done by analyzing sample texts, papers in various academic disciplines, and the students' own writing. A variety of rhetorical patterns will be practiced and attention will be paid to organization, development of ideas, clarity, coherence, style, and grammar and mechanics. 

Weekly writing assignments will be given throughout the first half of the term. These short assignments will build upon the skills taught in class and will be analyzed and edited. The students will be free to adapt the topics to their own disciplines and areas of interest. 

During the second half of the term, the students will choose a topic for their final writing project. They can combine this project with a paper that they are working on for another course, an article they are submitting for publication, or a chapter of their dissertation. During this time, work on the final paper will take place via one-on-one conferences with the instructor. Editing and revising will be ongoing throughout this period. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00-10:30 AM 

This course is open to Ph.D. candidates only. Preference will be given to candidates further along in their programs. Registration is by permit. Interested students should contact Elizabeth Gillstrom at stating their program, school and current year of study.

Event Archives

Electronic Dissertation Workshop, March 16, 2010

Submission Instructions


Copyright and your Dissertation

Common Room Hours

Monday-Thursday: 9AM-8PM Friday: 9AM-6PM Weekends: 12 NOON-6PM

Winter Break Hours

Dec 17:Close at 4pm
Dec 18 - Jan 11: CLOSED

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221