Frequently Asked Questions
A list of common queries about how the Thesis Boot Camp works and how to apply.
Whats the purpose of a Thesis Boot Camp? Will attending benefit me? Can't I write my thesis by myself at home?
TBC aims to challenge you to write significant numbers of words on a chapter or section of your thesis/dissertation. This is done in a supported, comfortable and fully catered environment - enabling you to concentrate on turning off your inner critic and getting some words down on the page. Writing together with others in a supportive atmosphere has proven to be an effective strategy for many, rather than the more ‘traditional’ route of writing your thesis alone.
How do I apply?
The dates of the next Thesis Boot Camp are to be confirmed. Applications usually open a month in advance. Applications which arrive after the deadline or which are not on our TBC application form will not be accepted. If you experience any difficulties accessing or filling out this application form, please email us for assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t make the whole of the session due to other commitments, can I still attend?
Unfortunately not, we do require that you are able to attend for the full duration of the TBC to gain the maximum benefit from the session. We anticipate high demand for TBCs and thus cannot guarantee places for everyone who would like to attend. We would therefore like those who do attend to be able to get the most out of their attendance.
I have previously attended a Thesis Boot Camp, can I attend again?
Due to the high demand for TBCs we prioritise PGRs who have not previously attended. If you have attended, and would like to do so again, you may be able to as a TBC Veteran Helper. When applications open, please contact the Bristol Doctoral College directly to enlist.
Will I be trapped indoors the whole time?
The answer to that is largely yes! This is an intensive event and you will need to be focussed on achieving as much as you can on your writing. We will be providing a supportive environment though with plenty of breaks, food and drink. There will also be some activity breaks where we will go for a walk or do some gentle exercise indoors, depending on the weather. Please wear comfortable clothing which allows you to move and shoes which you can walk comfortably in for that reason.
What do I need to bring to TBC?
- A Laptop: Thesis Boot Camp is about getting as many words written as possible so you will need a laptop to get the most out of the weekend. If you do not own your own laptop, you may ask to borrow one from a friend or family member. Please contact us immediately if you do not have a laptop available to you and we will do our best to have one available to you on loan. You WILL be able to charge your laptop during Thesis Boot Camp, though you will not necessarily be able to leave it plugged into mains electricity continuously. Please therefore ensure your laptop is fully charged before each day of the program to ensure you do not experience any interruptions to your work.
- Your preparatory work: We will email you if you are successful in gaining a place on TBC to ask you to think about your writing in advance and to prepare so that you are ready to get the maximum benefit by the time of the TBC. We ask you to commit fully to this process so that you can get the most out of your time.
- Key texts only: There may be a couple of books or papers which you feel you may need to refer to in order to write the chapter/section of your thesis which you are working on. If so, you are welcome to bring those with you. Please do not bring substantial amounts of papers or books however, as the bulk of the reading needs to be done before, not during, the TBC.
- Things which make you feel comfortable: We will do our best to provide you with a comfortable environment for the duration of the Thesis Boot Camp. Remember, however, that you will be sitting down for many hours at a time (though we highly encourage regular stretching and short breaks). Thesis Boot Camp is definitely not a fashion parade and you will not be judged on what you wear. Please feel free to dress in your comfiest clothing – whatever you like to wear when relaxed. Please bring enough warm clothing to feel comfortable when you are sitting for long periods.
What happens if I'm not successful? Is there other support available to help me with writing my thesis?
We run a number of Writer’s Retreats which are day-long supported writing workshops. Our online Thesis Mapping resources can also help you to plan a timetable that maximises your chances of delivering on time. You could also use the resources on our Tips and tools during COVID-19 webpage to run your own Writers Retreat with others, or shorter writing sessions, sometimes called Shut-up-and-Write.
If you have any further questions about TBC, please contact Sarah Watts.