Culminating years of significant thought and research into a dissertation is rewarding, but it can be very challenging too. Dissertation writing can also be an isolating experience where students work largely on their own.
The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) is committed to providing help and support to students throughout the dissertation writing process. SGS recommends scheduling regular consultations with the supervisor, attending formal dissertation writing seminars when offered, and joining student-organized groups to gain support and a sense of community. SGS also offers workshops to help with the logistical aspects of writing a dissertation and writing groups for students to help one another.
Here are some additional resources that can be of help:
Bookable Space at SGS
Many graduate units offer bookable space for dissertation writing groups; in addition, SGS makes space available.
To book space at 65 St. George, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check back for updates about booking space at our renovated facility at 63 St. George.
The Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS) offers a wide range of workshops to support graduate student writing. Topics include writing literature reviews, mastering citation and sources, editing your work, and many more. Individual consultations are also available by appointment. See the full listing of current workshops.
Academic Success Centre
The Office of Student Life's Academic Success Centre offers graduate writing groups for students. Groups of ten graduate students, with the support of a Learning Strategist and graduate mentor, provide a small, informal and encouraging atmosphere for you to focus on your work and discuss your writing goals. The writing groups run throughout the calendar year. Get more information and register.
Dissertation Writing Roundtable
The purpose of the SGS dissertation writing roundtable is to share experiences of how members of student-organized, student-led groups can help one another--and help themselves--endure and thrive throughout the dissertation writing process. The roundtable includes a working lunch, with five presenters speaking for about five minutes each, followed by a broad conversation. Participating students are encouraged to take ideas back to their home units, to be shared with their local community of graduate students.
Next Roundtable dates: TBA
Roundtable on Alternative Models of Graduate Supervision: The "Lab" Model
The purpose of this SGS-hosted roundtable is to share ideas and experiences on alternate models of supervision--especially in cases where faculty are supervising a large number of doctoral students writing dissertations. The roundtable will discuss the "lab model," where conventional one-on-one meetings are supplemented by creative mentoring approaches, where students being supervised by a single faculty member form a research community. This format is typical in science labs and less common among humanities graduate units. Roundtables will include invited students who are part of such supervisory "lab" communities.
Next roundtable date: TBA
Resources for Writing Support
The student perspective:
Support Structures for Graduate Writing (Gradlife blog)
U of T grad students and faculty write about writing: How We Write: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blank Page (open access)
University of Toronto, Graduate Supervision Guidelines - Students (2016)