Dissertation Boot Camp

June 2021 Dissertation Boot Camp

Before going to boot camp in January 2020, I struggled to believe that I could ever finish my dissertation. Spending three days in a supportive environment surrounded by other people with the same struggles helped me gain the confidence I needed to push through to the end.

– Jen, Urban Education (PhD 2020)

Groove into your dissertation with the Graduate School’s three-day Dissertation Boot Camp on June 8-10, 2021. Boot Camp will be virtual again, and free of charge, so as Nancy Sinatra once said, “Boots, start walking!”

Register Here

Boot Camp is held on Microsoft Teams for three days of supported writing, tutoring, guidance on writing process, and camaraderie. You’ll find your rhythm writing alongside a community of peers. In past years, Boot Camp participants have produced the equivalent of two full dissertations in just three days.

We also heard your feedback about wanting a Boot Camp that’s better suited to working virtually from home. We’ll be changing our breaks, programming, and schedule to make it more comfortable and more productive for everyone. And we know working from home comes with interruptions, but we ask participants to try to commit to three full days of writing as much as possible.

“I had been feeling really stuck with my work, and this event loosened my thoughts up a bit and allowed me to make more critical connections to the literature. I lessened the amount of unnecessary self-editing and just wrote.

When is this year’s Boot Camp?

Tuesday June 8, Wednesday June 9, and Thursday June 10, 2021
Session times are 8:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.
Application Deadline: Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Who is Boot Camp for?

Boot Camp is limited to doctoral dissertators and students in the terminal MFA programs.
PhD students must:

  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Have achieved Dissertator status by June 8, 2021.
  • Have passed the proposal stage and be in the write-up phase.

What should I expect at Boot Camp?

  1. Three days of writing, eight hours each, spent focused on your dissertation
  2. A structured day with periods of quiet writing and regular breaks
  3. Introduction to goal setting and effective writing strategies
  4. Guidance on writing process from faculty experts
  5. Optional breaktime exercise activities to stay fresh
  6. Writing tutors available on-line every afternoon through UWM’s Writing Center
  7. A community of fellow dissertators at UWM

The real conversations about writing, barriers, and tangible suggestions to be a better writer are incredibly valuable.

What do I need for Boot Camp?

  1. A comfortable private space where you can write for long periods and join discussions with other participants.
  2. Your own computer for writing.
  3. Internet access.
  4. Microsoft Teams installed on your computer. Teams can be installed on the computer you use for writing or on a second machine (such as an iPad or cell phone) that you use alongside it.
  5. A speaker and microphone on the device running Teams.
  6. An optional webcam if you want to be able to share video during our discussions.
  7. A firm resolution not to check email, texts, social networks, or the internet during writing periods!


The cost for participation is free! All UWM Dissertators are invited to apply. Eligible participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Boot Camp will be limited to a maximum of 50 participants. Application Deadline: Wednesday, June 2, 2021.

To participate, you must commit to attending all three days. If you know you have a substantial conflict during the June 8-10 Boot Camp hours, check with us about whether our ReBoots might be better for you. Of course, we understand that working virtually from home involves all sorts of interruptions and occasional distractions, but we ask all participants to plan to work as much as possible all three days.

Register Here

Writing with a group was very helpful to me. So often, I lose motivation and focus when I am on my own, but being surrounded by dozens of other graduate students for three days in a row was great.


We are happy to provide more information and discuss the program with you. Please reach out by email to our professional development intern, Renee Scampini (scampin2@uwm.edu).

NEW! ReBoots of Dissertation Boot Camp

What is a ReBoot?

Need a virtual coffee shop or writing “space”? Join us for the Graduate School’s mini Dissertation Boot Camps, which we’re calling “ReBoots.” Each ReBoot is a virtual 4-hour intensive writing and/or research session on Microsoft Teams. The group checks in together with stated goals, turns off their mic and keeps their cameras on, and then gets to work. There’s a quick reminder for a break halfway, and then a final check-in after 4 hours.

We heard from many that the feeling of community and solidarity was helpful in these isolating times. This is why we asked people use their cameras … it feels a bit like looking up and seeing a group of people working at a coffee shop, but safer from home and more acceptable to show up in your pjs and slippers. Cameras are also not required!

4-hour ReBoot Team meetings are scheduled through Fall 2021, with more planned starting in January. Dissertators will receive an email from the Graduate School with the month’s ReBoot dates and can join as many as they need. Dissertators RSVP to Renee Scampini (scampin2@uwm.edu) and receive the link to join the ReBoots.

Eligibility (dissertation status) and what you need to participate (primarily, Microsoft Teams) is the same as during regular Dissertation Bootcamp.

ReBoot RSVP and Questions

Please reach out by email to our professional development intern, Renee Scampini (scampin2@uwm.edu) for the ReBoot Teams Meeting invites or any questions.