University of Minnesota
student writing support
center for writing

Student Writing Support.Center for Writing's home page.

Dissertation Writing Retreat

image of writers workingThanks to generous support from the Graduate School, Student Writing Support offers a free annual Dissertation Writing Retreat. Each May Term, fifteen dissertation writers from across the University gather in 15 Nicholson Hall for three weeks of concentrated dissertation-writing time in a supportive group setting.

This year's retreat will be held Mondays through Thursdays, May 20 through June 6 (no session on Monday, May 27, Memorial Day). Applications, which involve both the writer and their advisor(s), are due by 5 pm Central time on Friday, April 5. To be considered, applicants must commit to participating in the full 11 days of the retreat, and they must not yet have won a DDF or IDF.

Retreat expectations and activities

Participants in the retreat…

  • do focused, sustained work on their dissertations in scheduled blocks of writing time
  • have access to one-to-one meetings with experienced Student Writing Support consultants
  • participate in brief warm-up activities designed to facilitate writing
  • pledge to limit internet use to essential dissertation-writing tasks during the dedicated writing hours of the retreat
  • participate in three Tuesday lunch discussions on issues and strategies related to dissertation writing
  • participate in two 15-minute assessments of the program during the course of the retreat (to help make the retreat as useful as possible for current and future participants)
  • have no other teaching or research responsibilities during May Term

Go to Why participate in the Dissertation Writing Retreat? for quotes from past participants.

For a sampling of the disciplinary diversity of the retreat, see our list of Defended dissertations completed by retreat participants.

Writing retreat location and scheduleNicholson Hall

If you are selected, you will gather with other retreat participants Mondays through Thursdays, May 20–June 6 (no session on Monday, May 27, Memorial Day), from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in 15 Nicholson Hall, the location for Student Writing Support, which also houses a computer lab. Coffee, tea, and healthy snacks will be available. We will break for lunch from 12:15–1:15 each day. On Tuesdays, participants will be provided with lunch during a discussion of dissertation writing issues and strategies. Participants must commit to the full 11-day retreat schedule.

Interested? Questions?

Instructions to apply are available here. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with Katie Levin (; 612.624.7720).

For a sampling of the disciplinary diversity of the retreat, see our list of Defended dissertations completed by retreat participants.