Writing Camps

Intended to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows make writing progress, these camps and resources prioritize work-life balance and community building to foster wellbeing and writing development. This page contains information on our popular writing retreats, but don’t forget about resources such as SASS, a unit that offers Grad Writing Labs, 1:1 writing consultations, and supports for students for whom English is a second language.

Dissertation Boot Camp (DBC)

Dissteration Boot CampThese camps are held in the Fall (online), the winter in February Reading week (in person), at the end of May beginning of June (in person), and the end of June (online) and are open to both graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The primary aim of DBC 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 (if in person) or in your own home.

It is important to meet with your supervisor prior to the DBC to plan your goals for the time period of the camp.

Registration for Spring 2024 (May 21 - 24) is now closed.

Dissertation Day Camp (DDC)

Similar to the Dissertation Boot Camp, Dissertation Day Camps are designed to help students work on their writing in a focused environment alongside other graduate students.

Registration for Spring/Summer Dissertation Day Camps are now open - check out our Workshops & Opportunities page for more information!

The Lake Shift

The Lake ShiftThis camp is held in July each year and is a thesis writing retreat for doctoral students from Ontario universities only. The retreat provides doctoral students with structured time to write, workshops on tips for effective dissertation writing, opportunities to network with other doctoral students, all in a beautiful location. The objective of the retreat is to enable doctoral 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.

There is a small fee to be a part of this camp.

Submissions to be considered to be one of ten Queen's doctoral students to attend the 2024 Lake Shift will be open in June 2024.

Dissertation on the Lake

Dissertation on the LakeThis retreat is held at the end of August each year. It is a week-long writing retreat on the shores of Elbow Lake, 30 minutes north of Kingston. Offered by the SGSPA, the retreat is to provide graduate students and postdoctoral fellows 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 are ample opportunities for relaxation including swimming, canoeing and hiking.

Registration for Dissertation on the Lake 2024 will open July 2024.

PA Day Writing Circles 

PA Day Writing CirclesBalancing the responsibilities of parenthood and studies can be a challenge. The SGSPA has partnered with Athletics & Recreation to provide both a day of sustained writing and a day of childcare (a reduced fee is required for the day care with Athletics & Recreation).

To be held on four PA Days each year, students will work on their theses or other pieces of writing while their children will be cared for by programming provided by Athletics & Recreation staff.

Details on how to register for the camp will be posted in the event calendar the month before the camp. There is a reduced fee for the children to attend the Athletics & Recreation camp.