Thesis/Dissertation Accelerator

Summer Thesis/Dissertation Accelerator: May 23rd-26th, 2022

This is a four-day intensive event for graduate students wishing to progress quickly on their theses and dissertations between semesters. The Writing Center will provide help with goal setting and accountability, and a variety of KU staff will be available for individual, specialized consultations on a range of topics: writing, goal setting and creating accountability, field-specific research, database research and locating sources, EndNote, Zotero, and thesis/dissertation formatting. Students will benefit from coaching, encouragement, and plenty of quiet time to write during these four days. Participants are required to attend each day for the full duration (8:30am-4:00pm). Breakfast refreshments and lunch will be provided each day. This event is open to all graduate students drafting their masters theses, master projects, or doctoral dissertations: preference goes to students past the proposal stage. It is capped at 30 students. The event is free of charge.


In 2005 the University of Pennsylvania held a dissertation "boot camp" because staff felt that students should not have to pay out of pocket for dissertation coaches. Soon this idea caught on with other colleges and universities. Now dissertation boot camps are being held across North America and the world. Most of these events include mandatory morning sessions and optional afternoon sessions as well as individual consultations and help with goal setting and accountability. The KU Writing Center has decided to welcome masters students working on their theses to our event. We have also chosen to focus on acceleration and progress, rather than use a militaristic "boot camp" approach.

Registration Opens December 6th, 2021

You may fill out an application for the upcoming TDA through our online application form. Applicants must apply by the provided deadline, and will be informed if they have been accepted within about a week. (Note that an application does NOT guarantee you a spot. This is a highly competitive program, and applicants are chosen based on a variety of factors). There are 30 spots open in the program. If you are accepted we will ask you to fill out a pre-questionnaire before the event. If you are declined, you will be put on a waitlist and notified if a spot opens up. This event is free of charge.

The Thesis/Dissertation Accelerator is open to all KU graduate students drafting their masters theses, masters projects, or doctoral dissertations. Students will be given priority if their proposal has already been approved. The Accelerator is particularly helpful for students who wish to progress quickly on their writing and for anyone struggling with goal setting and creating accountability.

Students are selected based on a variety of factors. Priority is given to students whose thesis/dissertation proposals have been accepted, who demonstrate high levels of motivation and commitment, who have set clear, realistic goals for the week, and who can benefit from increased accountability in their writing process. If you have questions about the selection process please email the Assistant Director, Graduate Writing and Support. Please note that the application process is competitive and students are not selected on a first, come first served basis or guaranteed a spot simply because they have applied.

If you are accepted into the Thesis/Dissertation Accelerator program we expect you to attend every day for those four days. With the exception of emergencies, if you fail to attend on any one of those days you will lose your spot and will not be allowed to continue in the program. We have such a strict attendance policy because this event focuses on creating accountability in order to help you reach your writing goals. Your fellow participants will be counting on you to help them move forward and create an atmosphere of committed focus and concentration. The Accelerator only works if all participants are engaged, present, and dedicated.

The graduate/research write-ins also provide a time for quiet focus and writing. However, they are shorter in length and much more flexible. Students may come and go when they like and are not penalized if they fail to attend. The Accelerator is capped at 30 students so is more intimate and allows for more individualized attention from KU staff. Participants may choose from a wide variety of optional specialized consultations. The Graduate Writing Specialist will also help students create writing goals, perform frequent goal check-ins, and examine their own particular writing obstacles and struggles. Because it lasts for four days and includes optional writing time each afternoon the Accelerator allows students to work for up to 28 hours on their writing in a quiet, focused, and encouraging atmosphere.

In addition to writing time, goal setting, and accountability check-ins, the Thesis/Dissertation Accelerator offers a variety of optional individual consultations. You may work with staff who have expertise in the following areas:  using databases to find sources, field-specific research, EndNote, Zotero, thesis/dissertation formatting, organizing and writing thesis/dissertation drafts, overcoming writing blocks, goal setting, and creating accountability.

What students have to say about the Accelerator:

"I was able to create a vision for my thesis moving forward. It was also tremendous to have such a quiet area to work in. Had I not signed up for this Accelerator, I definitely would not have got much done." (Student in Sport Management)

"I was really discouraged before coming to the TDA. I now feel that I have tools and resources in place to move forward." (Student in Educational Psychology)

"I appreciate the support and feedback we got. I learned a lot about the process of approaching a dissertation, including strategies to revise, organize, and write. I've already recommended this to my friends!" (Student in Educational Psychology)

What is a sample TDA schedule?

8:30-9:00 opening session8:30-9:00 morning workshop8:30-9:00 morning workshop8:30-9:00 morning workshop
9:00-12:00 writing time I9:00-12:00 writing time I9:00-12:00 writing time I9:00-12:00 writing time I
12:00-1:00 lunch break12:00-1:00 lunch break12:00-1:00 lunch break12:00-1:00 lunch break
1:00-4:00 writing time II1:00-4:00 writing time II1:00-4:00 writing time II1:00-4:00 writing time II
1:00-4:00 optional individual, specialized consultations available as needed1:00-4:00 optional individual, specialized consultations available as needed1:00-4:00 optional individual, specialized consultations available as needed1:00-4:00 optional individual, specialized consultations available as needed