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Dissertation Writing Retreat

The Dissertation Writing Retreat provides up to 30 participants with structure, time, and encouragement to make progress on their doctoral dissertations in the company of other writers. This synchronous, week-long, virtual writing retreat will provide dissertators with structure and community for productive dissertation writing.

The retreat is co-sponsored by the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate School, and is led by Charles Carroll, Assistant Director of the Writing Center/Sheridan Center. Graduate students must apply to participate.

Here’s what previous retreaters have said about their experience.

What is something you will continue doing or do differently after the retreat?

"Goal setting is so important. I have been able to set a personal schedule for myself and learned how to adjust to the time of day and other commitments that compete with my time, while also feeling good about my progress because I learned to set realistic goals."

"I recognized that some days are great for deep work and some are not, and there is a need to roll with the punches accordingly.The retreat served as a needed reset for my usual writing plan"

What are the positive aspects of the retreat?

"I enjoyed meeting other PhD students working on their dissertations. It's nice not to feel 'alone' during the writing process."

"This retreat not only provided a supportive and helpful community, but also gave me a consistent schedule and space to work. What's more, due to the food and tea, I did not need to leave that space, but rather could concentrate that time to work. I also found the skills I learned from the other writers to be incredibly productive."

"The deep work presentation and the recent dissertators presentations were the most useful! Also, the timing was really great (starting the week with deep work analysis and ending with the dissertators showing us it will get done!)."
--Isabelle R. Notter, PhD candidate in Sociology

When: Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 10, 2020, from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm

Who can apply?
All doctoral students who are in the process of writing their dissertations; that is, students who have had their dissertation proposals accepted and have sufficient research completed and/or data collected to proceed with writing. 

What is the format? 
Participants will meet in the morning to set writing goals, spend two hours writing, and then break for an informal lunch-time talk, hearing advice and anecdotes about how to successfully navigate the dissertation writing process. In the afternoon, they will spend three hours writing and then close the day by regrouping to check-in about writing goals and to celebrate progress made. 

Where: Online/virtual format

How to apply?  Apply online by Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The retreat can host up to 30 participants.


  • Attend all five days of the retreat (9:30am - 4:00pm, Mon.-Fri.) and participate in all morning and afternoon group meetings. 
  • Take breaks as needed. We suggest stocking up on coffee and tea in preparation for the retreat!
  • Keep what happens during the retreat at the retreat. 

Questions? Contact: Charles Carroll, Assistant Director of the Writing Center, Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning