Graduate School

Thesis Boot Camp 2017

The Graduate School are delighted to announce the first Thesis Boot Camp at the University of Portsmouth. This is a three day event and is aimed at late-stage postgraduate research degree students. The boot camp will take place from Friday the 9th - Sunday 11th of June, 2017 and is a free event.

    Day 1: Friday 9th June – 16:00 – 20:00

    Day 2: Saturday 10th June- 09:30 – 20:00

    Day 3: Sunday 11th June – 09:30 – 20:00

Thesis boot camp logo

What to expect

Thesis Boot Camp is an intensive and supportive writing environment for late-stage postgraduate researcher. The core idea is to give you the necessary time, space, and encouragement to make significant progress on your first draft. It’s not designed to provide specific advice on editing, restructuring, or polishing a thesis – the focus is on overcoming writer’s block to produce a large number of words.

Support is provided through short tutorials, group discussion, and 1-2-1 consultations with the facilitator. Attendees are required to complete preparatory tasks to get the most out of the weekend.

The weekend is fully catered, but no overnight accommodation is available.

The programme is facilitated by Dr Catherine Pope, Researcher Development Officer in the Doctoral School, University of Sussex.

Please see below for the full eligibility criteria before completing the application form.

Who can attend - Eligibility and criteria

Thesis Boot Camp is a free event provided by the Graduate School. You are eligible to apply if you are: 

  • A postgraduate research degree student at UoP
  • In the final stages of completing your postgraduate research degree. That is, you have completed data collection (in whatever form is relevant to your project and discipline) and are currently 'writing up'. The ultimate aim of thesis boot camp is to write 20,000 words of first draft material. It is not for editing, revising, preparing presentations or grant applications etc. In other words, you must be able to identify the particular chapter(s) of your thesis that you will work on as part of your Thesis Boot Camp goal
  • Able to clearly identify how you would benefit from an intensive weekend of drafting a particular section of your thesis
  • Willing and able to attend all sessions, to complete preparatory tasks in the lead up to the event, and to commit to the ethos of dedicated writing required at Thesis Boot Camp
  • Able to provide details of an academic referee to support your application (e.g. your Supervisor or Departmental Research Degree Coordinator)

Important applicant information

There is high demand for places at Thesis Boot Camp and it is likely to be oversubscribed. We will be assessing each application carefully, so please answer the questions as fully as possible. We want to recruit only attendees who will make the most of the opportunity. 

It’s important to note that Thesis Boot Camp is an intensive writing environment and the focus is on productivity, not on style. If you want more general help with improving your academic writing, then one of our workshops would be more appropriate for you. Neither is there any specific support for attendees writing in English as a second language. If you need this type of assistance, you can book individual workshops with the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) team (

The deadline for applications is Friday 12th May 2017, 16:00pm.

Please email any enquiries to:

Feedback from Thesis Boot Camp participants at University of Sussex:

"There were so many positive aspects. I loved the feeling of community; a PhD is something you have to experience to understand. Meeting and talking to people who are also writing really helps put things into perspective. The food was great! The structured days and the physical activities were very helpful. Some good hints and tips were provided."

"Overall the idea of having a space where we could share the struggles, tips and tricks of becoming writers was very useful. Additionally, having a space where we did not have to worry about anything other than writing was a real luxury!"

"Great set-up and organisers with exercises and guidance to help focus. The environment was good as everyone was there for the same purpose - to keep focused on the thesis! Would certainly recommend it to all PhD students to attend”