Dissertation Boot Camp

Dissertation Boot Camp:  What is it?  Why does it work?

The Dissertation Boot Camp is a free program that gives graduate students a chance to make serious progress on a dissertation, master’s thesis, or other graduate writing project.  Students show up, ready to write; the Hume Center provide snacks, supplies, and a highly productive work environment.

With the exception of session 4, which runs for 9 days, and a week-long camp we will run this summer, all camps provide students with a total of 10 writing days.  "The Classic" Boot Camp runs from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm, while the "After Dark" and "Before Dawn" Boot Camps are designed for graduate students who have classes or other obligations during the day and want to write in the evening or early morning. "After Dark" Boot Camps run from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. "Before Dawn" Camps run from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. 

Dissertation Boot Camp helps students learn to write more productively, and often to produce better writing, by providing four critical elements : 1) space with minimal distractions; 2) writing regimen/routine; 3) peer motivation and support; and 4) expert writing consultants. While the program focuses on helping students improve writing productivity, we also hope that students will take away with them writing habits and strategies that will aid them in writing projects in the future. To learn more about what to expect in a Dissertation Boot Camp, and for information about our policies, please download our Boot Camp handout.

Registration Process

  • Boot Camps are limited to 16 participants
  • Camps are filled on a first-come, first serve basis
  • Registration starts at 10:00 a.m., in person, two weeks before each camp begins. Registration runs for one week ONLY from Monday to Friday.   *PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A CHANGE FROM THE PREVIOUS REGISTRATION PROCESS
  • We recommend that students come to the Hume Center (Bldg. 250) in person to register and complete a Student Participation Fee Agreement (see description of the Agreement below) 
  • Preference is given to participants who have not attended a previous Boot Camp and who have completed the Fee Agreement
  • If you have a question regarding Dissertation Boot Camps, please email the Hume Center
  • You will receive an email a few days before Boot Camp begins to confirm your space

Monetary incentive

We collect a Fee Agreement to encourage Boot Camp participants to complete the program. Consequently, students complete their registration by filling out a Student Participation Fee Agreement.  This agreement authorizes the Hume Center to charge $100 to participants' Stanford University bill if they do not fully attend the Camp. 


Once you have completed a Boot Camp, we collect your feedback in order to improve our program. Please help us by completing this Boot Camp Survey for 2018-2019. 

2018-2019 Schedule


Dissertation Boot Camp —session 1

Registration begins: October 1 at 10AM

Camp:  October 15 – October 26 (weekdays), 9 AM-1 PM


Dissertation Boot Camp “Before Dawn”—session 2

Registration begins: October 22 at 10AM

Camp:  November 5 – November 16 (weekdays), 7-10 AM



Dissertation Boot Camp “After Dark”—session 3

Registration begins: January 7 at 10AM

Camp:  January 22 (Tuesday) - February 1 (weekdays), 5-9 PM


Dissertation Boot Camp —session 4

Registration begins: February 4 at 10AM

Camp:  February 19 - March 1 (weekdays), 9AM - 1 PM


Spring Break

Dissertation Boot Camp —session 5

Registration begins: March 4 at 10AM

Camp:  March 18 – March 29 (weekdays), 9AM -1 PM



Dissertation Boot Camp “Before Dawn”—session 6

Registration begins: April 1 at 10AM

Camp:  April 15 – April 26 (weekdays), 7-10 AM


Dissertation Boot Camp—session 7

Registration begins: April 22 at 10AM

Camp:  May 6 – May 17 (weekdays), 8AM - 12PM


Summer Camp 1

Dissertation Boot Camp—session 8

Registration begins: May 20 at 10AM

Camp: June 3 – June 14 (weekdays), 9 AM – 1 PM


Summer Camp 2

Dissertation Boot Camp "One Week"—session 9

Registration begins: June 10 at 10AM

Camp: June 24 – June 28, 9 AM – 4 PM


Summer Camp 3

Dissertation Boot Camp—session 10

Registration begins: July 1 at 10AM

Camp: July 15 – July 26, 8 AM – 12 PM

NOTE: The Hume Center will be closed on July 4 and July 5 in Observance of Independence Day.


Summer Camp 4

Dissertation Boot Camp—session 11

Registration begins: July 29 at 10AM

Camp: August 12 – August 23, 9 AM – 1 PM

Additional Resources 

Establishing an Effective Academic Writing Group: Starter Kit

This kit is useful as a guide for any student interested in starting up an effective writing group that will last!  There are three basic types of writing groups:  feedback groups (reviewing student writing), "writing job" groups (meeting just to write), or goal-setting groups (meeting to set goals and report).  We strongly recommend that every member of a new writing group read the kit and use the worksheets to establish a writing group that works best for the group.

Dissertation Boot Camp Starter Kit

If you are interested in starting your own Dissertation Boot Camp in a department or program, please email the Hume Center for our Dissertation Boot Camp starter kit.