Dissertation Help

You are in the homestretch!  The final step to graduation is writing your dissertation – no small feat. In addition to the essential support and feedback that your faculty advisor, mentor, and committee members will provide, be sure to take full advantage of the following opportunities:

Led by University Health Services, these groups are designed to provide support and discussion around the common emotional, behavioral and organizational challenges in the dissertation process. Participants establish weekly goals related to research and overall life tasks, and share experiences, suggestions, insights, and perspectives on common themes (e.g. procrastination; isolation; negotiating with advisors; relationships and family).  Learn more about dissertator support groups here.

Writing camps provide you with intense, focused time to write in a supportive atmosphere amid other writers; multiple opportunities to discuss your work; daily writing exercises and workshops, on topics such as setting realistic goals, managing your time, organizing a major project, obtaining useful feedback, and staying motivated.  Space is limited, so apply early!  Read more about writing camp here.  Hosted by the Graduate School Office of Professional Development and Engagement and the Writing Center. 

Be sure to check out the following workshops.  These and many others can be found here.

How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing by Paul Silvia, PhD This is an easy yet effective read that gives practical tips on writing productively, finding your motivation, managing your time wisely, and overcoming procrastination – all written with a great sense of humor. Get It: UWLibraries, Amazon.



Bolker_coverWriting Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis by Joan Bolker Written by the cofounder of the Harvard Writing Center, this book provides essential advice on conquering writer’s block and becoming productive writers. Get it: UWLibraries, Amazon.




“Starting an Effective Dissertation Writing Group” by Dr. Sohui Lee and Dr. Chris Golde. This PDF serves as a “starter kit” to creating your own dissertation writing group, in which you will receive support and feedback on your work, as well as the benefits of peer mentoring and community. Read it online.

Detailed rules and deadlines can be found here.

Questions about dissertation rules or deadlines?  Contact a degree coordinator in the Graduate School Office of Admissions and Academic Services at 217 Bascom, 608-262-2433, gsacserv@grad.wisc.edu.  When you are ready to deposit, stop by the office during daily pre-check times 9:00-9:30 Monday-Thursday and Friday 12:30-1:00, for advice on requirements around formatting and submission.

Each spring semester, the Office of Admissions and Academic Services hosts a session on “Last Steps to Completing your PhD”.  Be sure to attend!


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