This jumpstarted my writing and put me in a position to finish my dissertation on time! I wrote just over 30 pages alongside the other dissertators, and it was truly invaluable to connect with others who were in a similar position as me to learn how to set productive writing goals, avoid procrastinating, and work through complex ideas.
Cody C., Communication, 2022

The next 3-day Dissertation Writing Retreat will be held on January 9th, 10th, 11th, 2024. This event is held virtually and is free of charge.

The registration deadline is Wednesday, January 3, 2024. Apply Now.

This WRITING RETREAT is held for three consecutive days and includes supported co-writing, guidance on writing process, and camaraderie. You’ll find your rhythm writing alongside a community of peers. We know working virtually may come with interruptions, but we ask participants to try to commit to three full days of writing as much as possible. You will get more from this if you do.

In past years, participants of these 3-day events have achieved 1-2 chapter drafts, expanded outlines, sections of creative works, edited sections of writing, found confidence in their writing, and gained an understanding of the benefits of co-writing. Many students continue with writing groups after these Dissertation Writing Retreats.

We have listened to student feedback and continue to fine tune this offering in a manner that is well-suited to working virtually, as this allows us to reach the greatest number of individuals. Our breaks, programming, and schedule make participating in the Dissertation Writing Retreat comfortable and productive for everyone.

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.

Who is the 3-day Dissertation Writing Retreat for?

The Dissertation Writing Retreat is limited to doctoral dissertators and students in the terminal MFA programs.
PhD students must:

  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Have achieved Dissertator status.
  • Have passed the proposal stage and be in the writing phase.

What should I expect during the Dissertation Writing Retreat?

  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. Opportunity for connection to other dissertators at UWM
  4. Introduction to goal setting and effective writing strategies
  5. Guidance on writing process from faculty experts
  6. Optional breaktime activities to stay fresh and/or to provide information about dissertation next-steps.
  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 the Dissertation Writing Retreat?

  1. A comfortable private space where you can write for long periods and join discussions with other participants.
  2. Your own computer for writing. (You will need to sustain connectivity across these 3 days, so plan to have access to a power source without disrupting your work.)
  3. Internet access.
  4. A speaker and microphone on your device.
  5. A commitment to focused work on your dissertation during these 3 days.
  6. Chocolate and coffee?!
  7. A “can do” attitude. We believe in you!


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. The 3-day Dissertation Writing Retreat will be limited to a maximum of 50 participants.

To participate, you must commit to attending all three days. 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.

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, Nick Kanetzke (