GSAS Writing Studio
The GSAS Writing Studio, which opened in September 2018, is dedicated to supporting Arts and Sciences doctoral students in the process of writing the dissertation.
The quiet writing stations in our newly renovated space on the third floor of Lehman Library are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis on weekdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Additional meeting rooms, including our downstairs Seminar Room (Room 321), are available by reservation for dissertation-related group work.
If you require accessibility accommodations, please contact us directly: [email protected].
All GSAS Writing Studio events, programs, spaces, and services are restricted for use to PhD and DMA students in these Arts and Sciences departments. Students from all other programs, departments, or schools are ineligible to use the GSAS Writing Studio or participate in its programs. A list of writing support resources available to doctoral students outside Arts and Sciences departments may be found here.
The Studio switched to a new-and-improved registration system in Fall 2021. Older registration links for room reservations, Sprints, workshops, and one-on-one consultations will no longer work after September 2021.
Click here for the GSAS Writing Studio's new booking page.
All Arts & Sciences PhD and DMA students should receive an email inviting them to register a password with the new system. If you did not receive this invitation, please email [email protected] and request that it be resent.
Please note: Students visiting the GSAS Writing Studio must comply with the University's COVID 19 Public Health Protocols.
Applications for the Spring Break 2023 Dissertation-Writers' Retreat (Monday, March 13-Thursday, March 16, 2023) are now open.
The GSAS Writing Studio will host Arts and Sciences PhD students in a four-day writing retreat (3/13-3/16/2023, 9am - 4pm). While the main goal is to provide dissertation writers ample time to write, brief goal-setting meetings will help frame the day’s work.
The Studio is now offering a flexible, hybrid registration model for our retreats. Instead of requiring that retreat participants commit to four full days, you will be able to indicate which morning and/or afternoon sessions you would like to attend.
- Morning sessions: 9:00am-noon EST
- Afternoon sessions: 1:00-4:00pm EST
This retreat will be conducted remotely, via Zoom. However, NYC-based writers are invited to join us in person for full or half-days in the Studio's mezzanine (319M Lehman Library, SIPA Building).*
We will keep the coffee brewing all day!
Please note: the expectation is that you will arrive on time and remain present for all of your requested sessions. If you've reserved a spot in a particular session but we don't see or hear from you, it will affect your ability to register for retreats in the future.
We will also offer workshops each afternoon during the retreat, from 1:15-2:30pm EST. Workshops will be conducted remotely.
- Monday 3/13: Setting Ambitious, Attainable Goals
- Tuesday 3/14: Developing a Sustainable Writing Practice
- Wednesday 3/15: Strategies for When You're Stuck
- Thursday 3/16: Soliciting Effective Feedback
Application deadline: Friday, March 3, 2023
*NB: The Studio mezzanine is accessible only by stairs.
Registration for Spring 2023 Facilitated Dissertation-Writing Groups has closed.
All GSAS Writing Studio groups are interdisciplinary by design. For tips on forming writing groups within departments, please contact us directly: [email protected].
Registration is now open for Spring 2023 Prospectus Club.
The Prospectus Club offers early-stage dissertation support for students in the Humanities or Social Sciences who are starting to work on their prospectus/proposal and who could benefit from an interdisciplinary group of peers.
Best for: Writers in the humanities or social sciences who are starting to work on their prospectus/proposal and who could benefit from an interdisciplinary group of peers at a similar stage.
What to expect: By the end of 8 sessions, writers will have a working draft of their prospectus. Writers should expect a high level of participation and engagement, and will be expected to share their ideas and drafts with fellow group members.
NB: This is a four-week writing group that meets for two hours, twice a week. By signing up, you are committing to attendance at all 8 sessions.
Spring 2023 Sessions:
Groups meet REMOTELY from 4:00-6:00pm, twice weekly for 4 weeks
Session 1: Mondays and Wednesdays, January 23-February 15;
Session 2: Tuesdays and Thursdays, February 21-March 23
- Click here to register for the Spring 2023 Prospectus Club
- Registration deadline: Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Are you aiming to defend this spring? Join others on a similar timeline for protected writing time, goal-setting, accountability, and an interdisciplinary cheering section.
Register for League of Defenders
Meetings begin Monday, January 23
Registration deadline: Wednesday, January 18
For all workshops: you must make a reservation using the Studio's new booking system (see note on main page).
Spring 2023 WORKSHOPS
Make a Semester Writing Plan
Set yourself up for dissertation-writing success this semester. In this one-hour workshop, you'll develop meaningful goals and set a plan for reaching them, including identifying support systems, safety nets, and other structures to help you succeed. This workshop is open to Arts & Sciences PhD students at any phase of the dissertation process, but is best suited to those who plan to write actively this semester.
In-person workshop: Wednesday, January 18; 12:00-1:30pm; GSAS Writing Studio Seminar Room (321 Lehman Library)
Remote workshop: Friday, January 20; 12:00-1:00pm
Using Images and Navigating Copyright Issues in the Dissertation
Who owns a particular image? What permissions must be secured in order for you to include it in your dissertation? Rina Elster Pantalony, Director of Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries, will lead this remote 90-minute workshop designed to help dissertation writers tackle common image-related issues.
**Dates and times TBA**
(If you'd be interested in our running another session, please let us know: [email protected])
Developing a Sustainable Writing Practice
In this workshop, we will invite you to reflect on your existing writing process, experiment with new strategies drawn from experts' research on sustainable writing habits, and plan how to incorporate new ideas into your ongoing practice. In addition, we'll encourage you to approach productive, sustainable—but not punitive—long-term writing practice as one way to formulate a new (or evolving) identity as a scholar.
Strategies for What to Do When You're Stuck
In this workshop, we'll offer a range of strategies for moving through tricky moments in the drafting and revision process.
Soliciting Effective Feedback
When you send a chapter to your advisor or committee member, what do you write in the body of the email? In this 90-minute workshop, writers will reflect on how they communicate with their readers and practice drafting a "cover letter" for their writing, in which they ask for the kind of feedback that will be most helpful to them.
Revise and Resubmit
In this informal workshop, we offer strategies for incorporating reader feedback into revisions. We'll discuss productive methods for working with in-text comments, tracked changes, and narrative feedback from faculty, peers, and reviewers. This workshop is ideal for dissertation writers who would like to approach the revision process with increased confidence.
Write an Effective Dissertation Abstract
In this workshop, we tackle one of the trickiest, highest-impact writing tasks required of us as dissertation writers: the abstract. We'll offer strategies for developing a clear, concise, and exciting articulation of your work. Participants will leave with tools that they can use in developing dissertation abstracts for grants/fellowships, the job market, and the deposit.
Scrivener's writer-designed interface makes it one of the most powerful tools available for drafting long, complex, researched works. In this informal workshop, we'll offer participants a first-hand look at how we use the program in our own writing: to organize sources and citations, create flexible chapter outlines, record ideas that are still under development, make deep cuts and radical revisions, and encourage a sustainable, steady writing practice.
Make the Most of a Dissertation Progress Meeting
Join us for a one-hour workshop that will help you approach dissertation progress meetings confidently and productively! We'll talk about how to schedule a committee meeting, set a productive agenda, and invite the feedback that will be most helpful to you. We'll also troubleshoot common stressors like elusive advisors and confusing revision directives. Participants will leave the workshop with a plan for how to structure and lead their next committee meeting.
Revision Strategies for the Dissertation
This workshop offers concrete methods for revising long, complex drafts. We’ll help you find simple, new ways to rethink structure, sharpen argument, and incorporate specific, high-stakes reader feedback.
Zotero for the Dissertation
In this informal workshop, we will offer participants a first-hand look at using Zotero to aid the dissertation-writing process. We will discuss citation management as well as Zotero's more general database functionality, with a focus on using Zotero to manage large quantities of archival source material. Most useful to writers in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
LaTeX for the Dissertation
In this informal workshop, we'll offer participants a firsthand look at how we use LaTeX in our own dissertation writing. Note: While this workshop will discuss the GSAS dissertation template in LaTex, it is not designed as a tutorial.
Jumpstart Your Prospectus
This 90-minute workshop is designed for PhD students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who would like to kickstart their prospectus/dissertation proposal this Fall. We will think together about how to structure a prospectus to fit your disciplinary needs, and talk about the different models you might follow. You will leave with an outline and a plan for executing your prospectus.
Archive Basics for Non-historians: Pandemic Edition
Does your dissertation require archival research, but you're not sure where to start? The Writing Studio's consultant-historians are here to help! In this hour-long workshop, we will cover basics: planning archival research; tips and tricks to make the most out of your research time; tools for organizing your research; and ideas for integrating your findings into your writing upon your return. In light of the current impossibility of traveling to archives, we will also discuss strategies for doing archival research remotely. Participants will learn a variety of strategies and will have the opportunity to draft an individualized research plan.
How to Use the Word Template for your Dissertation Most Effectively
GSAS has devised a dissertation template for students in Word, based on the existing guidelines required for formal deposit. In this workshop, we will offer an overview, answer questions, and help writers get started. Please note: though GSAS also offers a template in LaTeX, this workshop will focus exclusively on the Word template.
Copyright Issues and the Dissertation
Rina Elster Pantalony, Director of Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries, will lead this 90-minute workshop on how to avoid potential last-minute, dissertation-related copyright issues. She will recommend resources and answer questions from students.
This Is How I...Write an Effective Dissertation Abstract
In this workshop, we tackle one of the trickiest, highest-stakes writing tasks required of us as scholars: the abstract. We'll offer strategies for developing a clear, concise, and exciting articulation of your work. Participants will leave with tools that they can use in developing abstracts for conferences, grant applications, and dissertation deposit.
Managing Copyright Issues in STEM Dissertations
Rina Elster Pantalony, Director of Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries, leads this 90-minute workshop on how to navigate the particular copyright issues that arise in the sciences. The workshop addresses:
- Rights in data and data sets
- IP ownership of data obtained from third parties
- Rights concerning graphs, charts and survey questions
- Use of published articles as chapters in a dissertation
- IP ownership and co-authorship in research output
You must make an appointment using the Studio's new booking system (see note on main page).
Dissertation writers in Arts and Sciences departments may schedule a forty-five-minute, one-on-one consultation with one of the Studio’s trained consultants. We can help you make a writing plan, organize a chapter, develop a concise articulation of a big idea, or revise an existing draft. Bring us whatever you're working on and we'll jump right in!
If you require accessibility accommodations, please contact us directly: [email protected].
GSAS has developed dissertation templates in Word and LaTeX, based on the existing guidelines required for formal deposit.
Dissertation Copyright Information
Columbia Copyright Advisory Services offers information on how to navigate copyright issues surrounding dissertation research and related publication.
Copyright Advisory Services: Dissertation Resources
Director of Copyright Advisory Services, Rina Elster Pantalony, has put together a series of short, informal videos to address frequently-asked questions around copyright and the dissertation.
- Do I need to register copyright in my dissertation?
- Do I need permission to include a published journal article in my dissertation? What if I co-authored the article?
- Can I include data sets generated by other researchers or organizations in my dissertation without permission?
- Do I need permission to include underlying copyright-protected works such as photographs, images, graphs, or charts in my dissertation?
For other copyright resources, including the Fair Use Checklist, please visit the Copyright Advisory Services website, linked above.
Peer Dissertation-Writing Groups
The GSAS Writing Studio offers facilitated dissertation-writing groups to current dissertation-stage students in Arts & Sciences departments.
For all students wishing to start their own peer-feedback or accountability writing groups, the Studio offers these resources:
Our Dissertation Writing Group Checklist takes you step-by-step through the questions to consider when setting up a new group.
Our Peer-Feedback Guides offer tips for getting the most out of working with fellow writers:
Goal-setting and Time Management
For both groups and individuals, developing and stating specific goals at the start of a writing session can help structure and frame the time effectively.
GSAS Writing Studio Worksheets:
Columbia Mental Health Services offers semesterly workshops on managing procrastination.
Columbia Mental Health Services offers semesterly workshops on managing procrastination.
Work-from-Home and Wellness
The Columbia Office of Work/Life has compiled an excellent collection of resources related to working remotely and maintaining physical and mental health.
You must make a reservation using the Studio's new booking system (see note on main page).
The GSAS Writing Studio offers meeting space to PhD students in Arts and Sciences departments for dissertation-related group work. All rooms are equipped with whiteboards. Reservations are available until 10:00pm daily.
Please note that these rooms are to be used for dissertation work only. They may not be used for grading, by organizations, to make phone calls, or for meetings with people other than peers.
Groups of 2-8: Reserve a room in the Studio’s upstairs mezzanine space (319M Lehman Library). Room A seats eight and is equipped with a media screen.
Groups of 9-16: Reserve the Studio’s downstairs Seminar Room (321 Lehman Library), which is equipped with a media screen. This room is wheelchair accessible.
From 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday, the GSAS Writing Studio is restricted for use by PhD students in Arts and Sciences departments who are already in the dissertation phase of their program.
- The GSAS Writing Studio's events, programs, spaces, and services are restricted for use by PhD students in these Arts and Sciences departments who are already in the dissertation phase of their program.
- Students from all other programs, departments, or schools are ineligible to use the GSAS Writing Studio or to participate in its programs. A list of writing support resources available to doctoral students outside Arts and Sciences departments may be found here.
Room Use Policies
- Arts and Sciences dissertation writers may reserve meeting room space for one to four hours at a time, in hour-long blocks.
- Arts and Sciences dissertation-writing groups may reserve space for up to four hours per day, and up to ten hours per week.
- Registrants will be emailed promptly by email of the status of their reservation request.
- GSAS Writing Studio spaces may be used for dissertation-writing only. They may not be used as classrooms, recitation rooms, lecture rooms, or TA grading rooms; for office hours; or as venues for social gatherings or student organization meetings.
One-on-one Consultation Policies
- Arts and Sciences dissertation writers may make appointments for one-on-one consultations with trained Studio consultants.
- Writers are limited to two appointments per week (1 scheduled appointment + 1 drop-in OR scheduled appointment, if available); no more than one visit per day; and no more than eight visits total per semester.
No-show and Lateness Policies
- A writer or group is considered a no-show if they have not arrived or communicated with us by 15 minutes after the start of the appointment, room booking, or event, according to Studio clocks.
- Writers who miss two one-on-one appointments without canceling in advance lose their appointment-making privileges for the remainder of the semester. They are still welcome to make use of drop-in appointments, when available.
- Writers who no-show three times for events, appointments, or room bookings will not be considered for a GSAS Writing Studio Dissertation-Writers' Retreat and may be automatically placed on the waitlist for other events.
Please write to Kate Daloz, Director of the GSAS Writing Studio, with any questions or suggestions at [email protected].
Click here to view a map of Lehman Library.
- The Studio’s mezzanine space is located on the west side of Lehman Library, in 319M (West Reading Room). Once you pass through Lehman Library’s main turnstile, turn right. The stairs up to the mezzanine level are located at the near end of the reading room.
- The GSAS Writing Studio Seminar Room is located on east side of the library, in 321 Lehman. Once you pass through Lehman Library’s main turnstile, turn left. This room is available by reservation only; the keys may be obtained from Lehman’s circulation-desk librarians after you have reserved the room online (see above). This room is wheelchair accessible.