GSAS Writing Studio

A library-like work space filled with writers working at laptops.

The GSAS Writing Studio, which opened in September 2018, is dedicated to supporting Arts and Sciences graduate students in the process of writing dissertations and MA theses.

The Studio offers workshops, writing groups, retreats, structured co-working time, and quiet writing stations in our newly renovated space on the third floor of Lehman Library. Additional meeting rooms, including our downstairs Seminar Room, are available by reservation for dissertation-related group work. All GSAS Writing Studio programs are restricted for use to GSAS graduate students in these Arts and Sciences departments; some, including use of the Studio's physical space, are also restricted to students in the dissertation-writing phase of the PhD. 

If you have questions regarding accessibility or accommodations, please contact us directly: [email protected].

Peer Writing Groups

Registration for Summer 2024 MA thesis writing groups has closed. If you are interested in joining an existing peer group, please email [email protected].

Working on your MA thesis this semester? Develop a strong writing routine by joining an interdisciplinary group of fellow MA thesis writers for accountability, goal-setting, co-working, or draft feedback. Groups will begin meeting in January, and meet regularly throughout the spring semester. Remote and in-person options available.

Focused Writing Time

Need dedicated time for writing? Sign up for Pomodoros!

Join fellow graduate students for 2-hour blocks of accountability and community with our Pomodoro sessions. A Pomodoro is a 25-minute block of work + 5-minute break. Breaking a longer writing session into a series of Pomodoros can help writers stay focused and meet their writing goals. 

Our Pomodoro sessions are open to all GSAS Arts & Sciences writers. During Summer 2024, they run at the following times:

  • Tuesdays 10:00am-12:00pm (remote)
  • Thursdays 2:00-4:00pm (remote)

Sign up here to receive the Zoom link and a weekly reminder of upcoming sessions. 

NB: Prospectus writers in the third year or above of an Arts and Sciences PhD program are also eligible to use the Studio's resources for dissertation writers (see below). 

Prospectus Club

Registration for Summer 2024 Prospectus Club is now open! Register here. 

Working on your dissertation prospectus or proposal this summer? Join us for The Prospectus Club! Find support, dedicated writing time, and accountability as you clarify your ideas and get words on the page. By the end of 6 sessions, writers will have drafted significant sections of their prospectus and had the opportunity to receive feedback from fellow writers. Writers should expect a high level of participation and engagement, and will be expected to share their ideas and drafts with fellow group members.

This group meet twice weekly at 12:00-2:00pm for 3 weeks: Mondays and Thursdays, July 8 - 25.

All sessions will be held remotely on Zoom. A Zoom link will be sent out to registered students prior to the start of the first session.

Registration deadline: Monday, July 1

Focused Writing Time

Need dedicated time for writing? Sign up for Pomodoros!

Join fellow graduate students for 2-hour blocks of accountability and community with our Pomodoro sessions. A Pomodoro is a 25-minute block of work + 5-minute break. Breaking a longer writing session into a series of Pomodoros can help writers stay focused and meet their writing goals. 

Our Pomodoro sessions are open to all GSAS Arts & Sciences writers. During Summer 2024, they run at the following times:

  • Tuesdays 10:00am-12:00pm (remote)
  • Thursdays 2:00-4:00pm (remote)

Sign up here to receive the Zoom link and a weekly reminder of upcoming sessions. 

All Arts & Sciences PhD and DMA students in or beyond their third year should have received an email inviting them to register a password with the booking system. If you did not receive this invitation, please email [email protected] and request that it be resent.

One-on-One Consultations

Make an appointment by using the Studio's booking system.

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!

Focused Writing Time

Need dedicated time to focus on writing? Sign up for Pomodoros!

Join fellow graduate students for 2-hour blocks of accountability and community with our Pomodoro sessions. A Pomodoro is a 25-minute block of work + 5-minute break. Breaking a longer writing session into a series of Pomodoros can help writers stay focused and meet their writing goals. 

Our Pomodoro sessions are open to all GSAS Arts & Sciences writers. During Summer 2024, they run at the following times:

  • Tuesdays 10:00am-12:00pm (remote)
  • Thursdays 2:00-4:00pm (remote)

Sign up here to receive the Zoom link and a weekly reminder of upcoming sessions. 

Dissertation Writing Retreats

Our next four-day dissertation writing retreat will be August 26-29. Applications will open in late July.

While the main goal is to provide dissertation writers ample time to write, brief goal-setting meetings will help frame the day’s work. Writers will also have the opportunity to attend afternoon workshops and activities that offer strategies for navigating common dissertation-writing challenges. To support focus, we will provide a light breakfast and lunch as well as coffee and snacks.

Peer Dissertation Writing Groups

Registration for the Studio's Summer 2024 Peer Dissertation Writing Groups has closed. If you'd like to join an existing peer group, please contact [email protected].

Keep up your writing momentum this summer by joining an interdisciplinary group of fellow Arts & Sciences dissertation writers for accountability, goal-setting, co-working, or draft feedback. Groups will begin meeting in late May, and meet regularly throughout the summer. Remote and in-person options available.

Please note that these groups are not facilitated by Studio consultants; our facilitated writing groups will return in fall 2024.

Registration deadline: May 16, 2024

Room Reservations

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 6:00pm daily. PhD students are also welcome to use any empty room on a drop-in basis.

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 2-3: Reserve Room B or C in the Studio’s upstairs mezzanine space (319M Lehman Library). 

Groups of 4-8: Reserve Room A 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.

 

League of Defenders Summer 2024

June 11 - August 1
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00-11:30am
Registration Deadline: Friday, June 7
Registration for this group has closed; email [email protected] to inquire about joining. 

Are you an Arts and Sciences PhD student planning to distribute by September 2024? Join our summer League of Defenders group! This group offers regular, protected writing time for those who are working hard to complete their dissertations this summer. We will build community, offer support, and maintain collective accountability. Meetings will mostly prioritize structured goal-setting and dedicated stretches of focused writing, but may occasionally include information-sharing about institutional requirements and trouble-shooting of particular end-stage dissertation issues.

Facilitated Dissertation Writing Groups

12 Weeks to an Academic Article: Belcher's Bootcamp
Mondays, 1-3 pm ET; May 27 - August 12
Remote + monthly hybrid check-ins
Registration for this group has closed.

Got an article kicking around in your drafts folder? Are you feeling the pressure to publish but lost without a specific deadline? Join a group of dedicated and personable writers as we read and write along with Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Belcher’s book lays it all out, whether you are converting a chapter into an article or starting from a new idea. Our target? Leave the summer with complete and submittable academic articles with a targeted plan for publication.

Registration for Fall 2024 Facilitated Dissertation Writing Groups will open in August.

The Studio's writing groups are interdisciplinary by design and include a range of options: short and long blocks of co-working time; remote and in-person meetings; some groups offering draft feedback and others focused solely on accountability and community. 

Dissertation Templates

GSAS has developed dissertation templates in Word and LaTeX, based on the existing guidelines required for formal deposit.

Dissertation Copyright Information

The GSAS Writing Studio and Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries have developed a copyright management tool. It offers dissertation writers whose work will include multiple images a way to collect and organize rights-related information throughout the research process, enabling them to assess on a use-by-use basis whether their uses are fair uses or whether permission to use the works will be necessary.

Download the copyright management tool by clicking here.

The use of this worksheet is governed by a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.  Attribution should be given to the GSAS Writing Studio at Columbia University and Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries, representing the Trustees of Columbia University, rightsholders.

Director of Copyright Advisory Services, Rina Elster Pantalony, has also put together a series of short, informal videos to address frequently-asked questions around copyright and the dissertation.

For further information on how to navigate copyright issues surrounding dissertation research and related publication, please visit the Copyright Advisory Services website.

Digital Tools for Writing *NEW*

Our Digital Tools for Writing guide orients thesis and dissertation writers to software options ranging from the familiar (Scrivener, Zotero) to the unexpected (OmmWriter, Forest). Whether you are just starting a project, encountering writer's block, or looking for new ways to stay focused, you'll find tools to support your writing process in this guide. 

Peer Writing Groups

For all students wishing to start their own peer-feedback or accountability writing groups, the Studio offers these resources:

Our Accountability Partners Guide offers guidance on how to work effectively with a writing accountability partner.

Our 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:

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.

The GSAS Writing Studio is located inside Lehman Library, in the SIPA building. 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.

From 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday, the GSAS Writing Studio's physical space is restricted for use by PhD students in Arts and Sciences departments who are already in the dissertation phase of their program.

General Policies

  • The GSAS Writing Studio's events, programs, spaces, and services are restricted for use by GSAS graduate students in these Arts and Sciences departments.
  • 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 students outside of GSAS may be found here.
  • Certain GSAS Writing Studio programs are reserved for doctoral students in the dissertation-writing phase of their program. Currently, these programs include retreats, dissertation-writing groups, one-on-one consultations, and room reservations. 

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.
  • 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 Jess Engebretson, Interim Director of the GSAS Writing Studio, with any questions or suggestions at [email protected].