Dissertation Writing Groups

Dissertation Writing Groups

This program aims to help graduate students maintain regular progress on their dissertations during the academic year, as well as introduce various strategies and resources available to them.

After a start-of-semester orientation session, groups of up to eleven participants will meet once a week. Based on students’ familiarity with writing theory, they can select one of two types of group: Foundation groups provide new participants with texts about goal-making and writing habits, while Solidarity groups give seasoned writers more time to put these theories into practice.

Each three-hour Foundation meeting will consist of about an hour of group discussion facilitated by a WTS graduate tutor on topics including writing and motivational strategies. Discussion will be followed by 5-10 minutes in which group members share their progress since the last meeting and set goals for the remaining two hours of the session, which is devoted to structured writing time. While this time will be focused on individual work, the WTS facilitator and other members of the writing group will be available to answer questions and offer support. In the final fifteen minutes of the session, students meet up again to discuss the goals they met and to establish week-long goals in advance of the next session.

Each three-hour Solidarity meeting will begin with 10-15 minutes in which group members share their progress since the last meeting and set goals for the following session. The following two and a half hours are devoted to structured writing time focused on individual work. Finally, in the last fifteen minutes, students come together and discuss the goals they met during the session and those that remain until the next meeting.

Participants will

  • Commit to regular, punctual attendance for the full fourteen-week session
  • Share their experiences writing on a weekly basis with progress updates, and on a reflective basis by describing their writing habits and goals
  • Learn about the graduate school experience in other disciplines
  • Support their fellow participants in positive solidarity

Dissertation Group Facilitators will

  • Lead a 45-60 minute discussion at the beginning of each session (Foundation Group Facilitators only), and a 15-minute check-in at the start and end of each session
  • Facilitate group discussion of goals, strategies, and long-term writing plans
  • Encourage participants to remain on-task and achieve their goals with check-ins
  • Be available to offer advice or feedback on the writing process


We ask that all participants

  • Have successfully defended their dissertation proposal or be writing substantial portions of their actual dissertation as part of the proposal (advisor’s acknowledgement required)
  • Commit to attendance at all sessions except for rare exceptions such as days on which they are aware for a conference, family emergency, or urgent health problem
  • Fully complete application materials per instructions; unfortunately, we cannot consider incomplete applications

For information or questions about the program, please contact Sean Sidky at ssidky@iu.edu. Applications go out around each August and December; please check the GPSG announcements, emails from your departmental administrator, or email wts@indiana.edu directly for the application.

For spring 2022, the deadline will be Wednesday, January 5th, 2022, 5:00pm EST. We will host both online and in-person groups, depending on participant interest and campus health conditions.

Please click on this link for the application. 



Find out more about dissertation writing groups

Contact WTS at (812) 855-6738 or send an email to wts@indiana.edu if you have questions about dissertation writing groups.