Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

Professional Development

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Writing Support

Writing Support

Writing can be a lonely time and even harder when you would prefer to do more research or just be out in the sun. But avoiding writing doesn't help you complete your degree. This page contains information on our popular writing retreats (Dissertation Bootcamp, The Lake Shift, and Dissertation on the Lake), as well as other programs and services on campus designed to help you with the writing process and stay on track.


Writing Camps

Dissertation Boot Camp

The primary aim of the 5-day Dissertation Boot Camp is for you to write and to make substantial headway on your thesis. To achieve this goal, you’ll spend the majority of your time writing, with breaks for snacks, lunch, and structured group discussions about topics relevant to thesis writers.  All this in a distraction free environment.

Our expectation is that you will arrive every day of the Boot Camp with materials prepared and pre-work done to enable you to focus on writing. The two most significant components of this pre-work will be, first, to meet with your supervisor prior to the Boot Camp to plan your goals for the week and, second, to organize the materials (articles, notes, data, charts, etc.) that you will need to bring with you to Douglas Library so that you can write without interruption. At the Boot Camp, you can expect to write between 5 and 6 hours each day.

These camps are held in February (Reading week) and May/June.

The Lake Shift

The Lake Shift is a thesis writing retreat for graduate students from Ontario universities. The retreat provides graduate students with structured time to write, workshops on tips for effective dissertation writing, opportunities to network with other graduate students and all in a beautiful location. The objective of the retreat is to enable graduate students to make substantial progress in writing their thesis and to develop foundations to maintain that momentum. The fringe benefits of The Lake Shift include swimming, boating, hiking and campfire conversations and make for a balance of the cerebral with the physical and social for a well-rounded experience.

This camp is held in July each year

Dissertation on the Lake

A week long writing retreat on the shores of Elbow Lake, 30 minutes north of Kingston. Offered by the School of Graduate Studies, the retreat is to provide graduate students the opportunity to write in a relaxing and inspiring environment, setting aside the distractions of daily life at home.

Each day will be loosely structured around two writing sessions: three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon (you can always write for longer!) Although writing will be the primary activity, there is ample opportunities for relaxation including swimming, canoeing and hiking.

This retreat is held August each year.

PA Day Writing Circle

Balancing the responsibilities of parenthood and studies can be a challenge. The SGS and the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic) have partnered with the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) to provide both a day of sustained writing and a day of childcare.

To be held on 4 PA Days a year, students will work on their theses or other pieces of writing while their children will be cared for in an adjoining room by ASUS camp staff.

Ban Righ Writing Studio

Hosted by the Ban Righ Centre, each Wednesday and Friday in May. Several desks around the Centre will be set up and dedicated for these writing sessions. Lunch will be provided, morning and afternoon snacks, and some motivational information sessions (to be held in the second half hour of the lunch break). You can elect to attend mornings or afternoons only, on specific days, or you can elect to attend every day and stay all day (900-4:00). Remember registration is a must each year as spaces are limited. Contact the Ban Righ Centre for more information and to register.

SGPS Thesis Thursday

SGPS Thesis Thursday is a workshop series that also features free one on one writing support for graduate students in a supportive environment focused on the graduate community. No registration or sign up is required and you can drop in at any time during the weekly session. Visit the SGSP events page  and facebook page  for more details.

Student Academic Success Services (SASS)

Student Academic Success Services (SASS) helps graduate students hone their writing and academic skills. Popular areas of support for graduate students include completing theses, writing clearly and concisely, increasing motivation, managing time, reading efficiently, and practicing English as an Additional Language. We offer resources, workshops and appointments for students at any stage of degree progression. SASS is located on Stauffer Library’s ground floor at the north end, and online at sass.queensu.ca..

Queen's University International Centre (QUIC)

QUIC is there to help you. Find like-minded students who also need support with their writing. Why not use the space at QUIC to schedule some writing times. Have colleagues or set up a buddy system, to look over your writing before you show the next chapter to your supervisor.

School of English

As in international student your first language may not be English. The School of English has tailored English programs to increase your fluency in the English language. This can also help you in the long term with your writing.

Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre (4DISC)

Whether you have self-identified or not as an Indigenous student, the 4DISC is a welcoming place, supportive and there for members of the indigenous community At Queen’s. Take part in SAGE an interdisciplinary and cross-institutional peer-mentoring program designed to support Indigenous graduate students with the successful transition into and completion of their graduate programs.  Also look out for the SAGE writing retreats!

Ban Righ Centre

Apart from the Writing Studio in May, the Ban Righ Centre is there throughout the year to support female students. You may want the opportunity to speak about your research which in turn can help you focus on your writing. You may just want a quiet place to sit and write. The Ban Righ Centre is there for you.