Doctoral School

Thesis Boot Camp

Are you a late-stage doctoral researcher?
Struggling to finish your thesis?
Do you keep putting off your writing? Finding it tough to get motivated?

If so, Thesis Boot Camp is for YOU!

The next Thesis Boot Camp has been confirmed for Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December 2022

Applications for the December event have now closed.


Thesis Boot Camp is an intensive and supportive writing environment for late-stage doctoral researchers. 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 generating text. This might be producing a large number of words, or else refining and editing existing content.

Support is provided through short tutorials, group discussion, and 1-to-1 consultations with the facilitators. Attendees are required to complete preparatory tasks to get the most out of the weekend, and there will be a compulsory short introductory session on the Friday before so attendees can get to know one another.

The weekend is fully catered, but no overnight accommodation is available. We encourage attendees to follow Covid guidelines, including washing hands regularly and wearing a mask when in close proximity to others.

Who can attend?

Thesis Boot Camp is a free event provided by the Researcher Development Programme. You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • a doctoral researcher at Sussex.

  • in the final stages of completing your 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 significant amounts of first draft material or to rework and edit existing material (with specific goals in mind). It is not for proof-reading, preparing presentations or grant applications, or any outputs other than your thesis.

  • able to clearly identify how you would benefit from an intensive weekend of drafting a particular section of your thesis, and to identify the particular chapter(s) of your thesis that you will work on as part of your Thesis Boot Camp goals.

  • 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 Director of Doctoral Studies).

Important notes for applicants

There is high demand for places at Thesis Boot Camp and it is likely to be oversubscribed. We'll 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.

If you accept a place on Thesis Boot Camp and fail to turn up on either day you will be charged the cost of your attendance. Please ensure you inform us well in advance if you need to cancel, so we can pass your place to a researcher on the waiting list.

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 RDP writing 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 1-to-1 sessions with the Sussex Language Centre. 

Feedback from Thesis Boot Camp participants:

"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."

Doctoral School

E: doctoralschool@sussex.ac.uk