GSAS Writing Studio

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: gsas-writingstudio [at]

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


Unless otherwise noted, all workshops will be held in the GSAS Writing Studio SEMINAR ROOM (321 Lehman Library).

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...Use 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.


Past Workshops
(If you'd be interested in our running another session, please let us know:  gsas-writingstudio [at]

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.

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.

Starting the 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.

Using Scrivener (To Stay Calm and Organized)
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.

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.




Spring Break 2020 Dissertation-Writers' Retreat (March 16-19, 2020 from 9:00am-4:00pm)

For our four-day retreats, in addition to dedicated, quiet writing space, the GSAS Writing Studio offers light meals, coffee, and help managing tech distractions. While the main goal is to provide dissertation writers ample time to write, brief goal-setting meetings at the start and close of day will help frame the day’s work. Writing Studio consultants will be on hand to provide further support to interested writers.

Retreats are interdisciplinary and open to all dissertation writers in Arts & Sciences departments. Priority will be given to those who are nearing the end of their years in program and available for the full retreat.

**Applications are now OPEN** Deadline for application: Friday, February 21, 2020.

Prospectus Club

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.

Mondays & Wednesdays, 3:00-5:00pm for 4 weeks

February Session: Jan 27-Feb 19
March Session: Feb 24- Mar 25
April Session: Mar 30- April 27

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.

Please be aware that belonging to a dissertation writing group requires that you be willing to make a commitment to the group's mutually agreed upon expectations and procedures.

Weekly Writing Events

Dissertation-Writing Sprints
Tuesday Evening Sprints, 4:00-7:00pm
Thursday Morning Sprints, 9:00am-noon

Join fellow Arts and Sciences dissertation writers for 3-hour blocks of focused writing time. We offer coffee, tea, and light goal-setting structures.

Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. NB: Seating is very limited but spots open frequently from the waitlist; even if an event is listed as full, it's still worth registering.


One-on-One Consultations: New Appointment Scheduler

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: gsas-writingstudio [at]

Dissertation-Writing Groups

**Registration for Spring 2020 Facilitated Dissertation-Writing Groups has now CLOSED.**


Groups begin meeting the week of January 27.

Join fellow dissertation writers for mutual support, accountability, and reader feedback. Most groups meet weekly throughout the semester; all are led by trained Studio consultants.

For information about starting or joining a peer-led writing group, please email gsas-writingstudio [at]

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 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 gsas-writingstudio [at]

How to Find Us

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.