Thesis Boot Camp is an intensive three-day writing event for late-stage doctoral researchers. The core idea is to provide the time and space for up to 30 attendees to make significant progress on the first draft of their thesis manuscript. It’s not designed to provide specific advice on editing, restructuring, or polishing a thesis – the focus is on producing a large number of words. This is achieved by providing a comfortable and supportive environment.
Support is provided through short tutorials, motivational talks, and 1-2-1 consultations with the facilitator. Attendees are required to complete preparatory tasks to get the most out of the weekend.
The original format of Thesis Boot Camp was devised in 2012 by Dr Peta Freestone at the University of Melbourne. It has been developed over the last few years and hosted at many universities around the world. I have further refined the programme, based on my own experience of running Thesis Boot Camp at a number of universities. My emphasis is on helping attendees to develop a writing process that suits their individual circumstances and to set realistic targets.
Typically, the timings are as follows:
- Friday, 4.00 – 8.00pm
- Saturday, 10.00am – 8.00pm
- Sunday, 10.00am – 4pm
- “It was all so good! It was great to have Catherine there to support us and also to give us encouragement, tips and advice. She was very calm and I think made a lot of us feel like we can really get our theses finished on time. It was also nice to be in an environment where everyone is just focused on writing. I have changed the way that I see my work and am definitely going to carry on with the new practices of writing that I learnt over the weekend and change where I work.”
- “Wonderful – thanks to Dr Pope for organising and supporting with such good humour, understanding and empathy. It was very welcome to feel supported rather than patronised – the tone was inclusive rather than didactic and I felt that this was a particularly strong point.”
- “Thank you! Boot camp was really really really beneficial. Helpful tips, and space to work on my PhD.”
- “The tips were fantastic and I found being in a group of like-minded people fantastic. It also helped having support ‘on tap’ if required – usual things that derail my work could be dealt with sufficiently. All present benefitted greatly … the tutor was brilliant.”
- “I am so glad that I attended it, I made immense progress. Moreover, I have been able to maintain the momentum and motivation I gained at the camp.”
- “Catherine created a very positive, nurturing environment.”
- “I liked the individual sessions that we could have with Catherine and just basically the idea of putting us together in a room and to get us to write. Simple but Excellent! The encouragement and peer support is also very valuable. Excellent food as well. A big thank you to Catherine for encouraging us throughout the weekend!”
- “Thesis Boot Camp was an incredibly productive environment.”
- “Thank you Catherine for your excellent facilitation work and personal encouragement.”
- “Catherine is a really excellent leader of the boot camp. She really knows how to inspire and encourage.”
- “This was a great experience and I always appreciate Catherine’s commitment, genuine support and valuable advice. The aspect I really enjoyed was the fact that the PhD and thesis writing were described in very pragmatic terms and they weren’t romanticised as it often happens in other events, workshops and in academia, in general. As a self-funded PhD student struggling with finance and time, this has been the first time I have felt completely at ease and not left behind.”
- “The facilitator Catherine Pope was unbelievably helpful and supportive. She also instilled a calm atmosphere in the workroom, rather than what could potentially become a very intensive and stressful environment.”
The facilitator fee for planning, preparation and delivery is £1,500 plus travel and accommodation. All catering costs are covered by the host institution. I’ll help you with the application process, and also provide full details on how to organise the event.
If you’re interested in bringing Thesis Boot Camp to your institution, please contact me to arrange a chat.