PhD Dissertation Workshop

"A mother's vision includes tough nurturance, survival love, a demanding state of grace. It is a vision slowly forming from the body of work created by women. I imagine a wide and encompassing room filled with women lost in concentration. They are absorbed in the creation of an emotional tapestry, an intellectual quilt."      --- Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay's Dance  

Held on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Gender Institute's PhD Dissertation Workshop provides a supportive, rigorous structure for PhD students who are writing dissertations on topics related to women, gender, and/or sexuality. Participants make steady, demonstrable progress each week by meeting to write, discuss their work, and report on their progress. Each workshop begins with two hours of writing followed by discussion over lunch (provided by the institute). The workshop is free, but space is limited and registration is required. Staunch commitment to the weekly meetings is required for participation; more than two missed sessions will result in dismissal from the workshop.

The Spring 2022 session will meet from Februaury 7 - May 9, 2022.

Register here

For more information contact the workshop's facilitator, Surabhi Pant

Dissertation Workshop participants.
Workshop participants.

Testimonials from Participants

"The Gender Institute provided me with tremendous support during my final year at UB. I struggled to write my dissertation during a pandemic while co-parenting a toddler and the weekly writing check-ins helped me to stay on track as well as providing me social interactions with other struggling graduate students who keep each other motivated. The result is that I managed to graduate on time in my fourth year by producing a high-quality written dissertation and film."
Azalia Primadita Muchransyah, Media Study

"The group was very supportive and encouraging and kept me motivated. I enjoyed learning about everyone's topics of research and editing their work. I feel like I made progress on my dissertation, much more than when I was not regularly meeting in any writing group."
Rebecca Borowski, Educational Leadership and Policy

"I enjoyed the workshop and knew that no matter what other crazy things happened in my life, I had three dedicated hours a week to write. Because those hours were scheduled, and I was accountable to others to be there, I also made sure I did some prep beforehand, such as reading, so I would spend most of my time writing. The wrap ups each week, where we spoke about our progress and challenges really helped me feel like I was part of a community, which can be hard to come by during a potentially isolating project such as a dissertation."
Nicole Lowman, English

"I find it useful to be surrounded by students who are in similar situation as mine. It serves as a motivation and making me feel less alienated in graduate studies, particularly when I am no longer taking coursework and not meeting classmates as much as I used to. The workshop also provides me with a structure, that is I feel required to make substantial progress every Monday and I make clear goals on what I want to achieve that day. The discussions that we have are also immensely useful as they range from "basic" problems such as managing time, proposal writing, and just how to remain motivated throughout the process. It is helpful that the group consists of students who are at various stages in the dissertation writing, so that those who are almost finished can give input to those who are just starting."
Asri Saraswati, American Studies


Inaugurated in January 2013 the Dissertation Workshop has met every semester and for two sessions each summer. Participants have included dozens of doctoral students from 14 countries of origin and ten academic fields in four UB schools (Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Social Work, and Graduate School of Education).