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.


Choosing a Thesis Committee

Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 05:45 PM - 08:00 PM
Conference Room (2nd Floor), Graduate Center, 3615 Locust Walk
Professors Ralph Rosen (SAS) and Betsy Rymes (GSE) will lead this talk and discussion on how to choose - and maintain! - your thesis committee. Snacks will be provided. Seats are limited, so please sign up fast!

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 start: Monday, November 17, 2014
Ticket sales end: Thursday, January 08, 2015
Price: $25 each, limit 1 per Graduate Penn Card

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.

Writing Days

Having Trouble with your Paper, Proposal, or Thesis Writing?

  • Feeling stressed out and isolated?
  • Can't find a nice and quiet place to write?
  • Always procrastinating?

Come to Writing Sessions!

  • Establish and sustain a regular writing routine
  • Block up to four hours of concentrated time to write
  • Join fellow graduate students in a self-directed writing environment

Snacks will be served!

Show dates
Writing Mondays

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

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221