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.


Writing About Your Dissertation Workshop

Monday, December 07, 2015, 02:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Goldstein Electronic Classroom (Room 114), Van Pelt Library

Writing About Your Dissertation Workshop

Distilling your dissertation down to just a couple paragraphs can seem like an insurmountable task. This workshop aims to give advanced PhD Students and Candidates space and guidance to produce summaries of your dissertation for use as part of job, grant, and fellowship applications or book proposals. Summaries can range from just 150 words up to several pages. We will help you strategize to figure out what is essential and what to prioritize when you have a bit more space.

This workshop will begin with presentations from writing experts at Weingarten on the structure and mechanics of a strong summary and from the Career Services advisers on tailoring content for various purposes. In the second part of the workshop, participants will work on dissertation summaries (as part of cover letters, research statements, grant or postdoc applications, etc.) and receive iterative feedback on drafts.  


This workshop is for students who already have a finished prospectus or proposal. Please bring a copy of your proposal or prospectus on a flash drive (or downloadable from a cloud drive). Also bring any drafts of documents including dissertation summaries that you would like to work on.

Workshop objectives:

  • Provide guidance on writing dissertation summaries
  • Provide structured time and space to produce a document containing a strong summary of the dissertation
  • Provide feedback on dissertation summaries
  • Students should leave with an advanced draft



Dissertation Boot Camp Winter 2016

Friday, January 8 -- Friday, January 22, 2016, 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Ticket sales end: Thursday, January 07, 2016
Price: $25 each, limit 1 per Graduate Penn Card

Winter Boot Camp 2016: Mandatory orientation session from 9:00am to 11:00am on Friday, January 8th; Boot Camp writing sessions run for two weeks January 11th-January 22nd from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Participants have the option to stay until 5:00pm. January 18th 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

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.
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
Show dates

Writing Consultations
Show dates

Register here for a 30 minute appointment with Weingarten's Rachel Throop. Rachel 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). 

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

Thanksgiving Break Hours

Wed, Nov 25: Close at 3PM
Nov 26-28: CLOSED
Sun, Nov 29: Open at 12 noon

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221