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 two "one week-long" camps 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 11:00 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. 

2019-2020 Schedule


Dissertation Boot Camp —session 1

Registration begins: Septmber 30 at 10 AM

Camp:  October 14 – October 25 (weekdays), 9 AM-1 PM


Dissertation Boot Camp “Before Dawn”—session 2

Registration begins: October 21 at 10 AM

Camp:  November 4 – November 15 (weekdays), 7-11 AM



Dissertation Boot Camp —session 3

Registration begins: January 13 at 10 AM

Camp:  January 27 - February 7 (weekdays), 8 AM-12 PM


Dissertation Boot Camp “Before Dawn”session 4

Registration begins: February 10 at 10AM

Camp:  February 24 - March 6 (weekdays), 7AM-11 AM


NEW: DBC Reboot Session

The Hume Center for Writing and Speaking will be holding a DBC Reboot (half day DBC session), on Thursday, 2/13 from 3:30-7:30 pm (Hume 106). During this half-day DBC Reboot we will revisit some of the guiding principles for establishing a productive (and enjoyable) writing process over longer periods of time. Dinner will also be served! If you are interested, please take a moment to sign up here. DBC Reboot is filled on a first-come, first-served basis for returning DBCers and will be capped at 15 participants. 


Spring Break

Dissertation Boot Camp —session 5

Registration begins: March 2 at 10AM

Camp:  March 16 – March 27 (weekdays), 9AM-1 PM



Dissertation Boot Camp “After Dark”—session 6

Registration begins: March 30 at 10AM

Camp:  April 13 – April 24 (weekdays), 5-9 PM


Dissertation Boot Camp—session 7

Registration begins: April 27 at 10AM

Camp:  May 11 – May 22 (weekdays), 8AM-12PM


Summer Camp 1

Dissertation Boot Camp “One Week”session 8

Registration begins: May 25 at 10AM

Camp: June 8 – June 12 (weekdays), 9 AM–4 PM


Summer Camp 2

Dissertation Boot Camp "One Week"—session 9

Registration begins: June 8 at 10AM

Camp: June 22 – June 26, 9 AM-4 PM


Summer Camp 3

Dissertation Boot Camp—session 10

Registration begins: July 6 at 10 AM

Camp: July 20 – July 31, 9 AM-1 PM


Summer Camp 4

Dissertation Boot Camp—session 11

Registration begins: August 3 at 10 AM

Camp: August 17 – August 28, 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.