How to write a PhD thesis
at Ecole polytechnique
Writing a PhD thesis is a colossal task… If you are setting out to write one, then you have no doubt been working on a piece of research for several months if not years. Now it’s time to start putting all your hard work down onto paper, knowing that it will be critiqued and marked by a jury of experts in your subject. No pressure at all! All the more reason to know how to write about your research in its best light.
The specificities of a PhD thesis
A PhD dissertation has a page count ranging between 200-300 pages and will take no less than three months of your time to complete. Even the bravest of us are intimated by the idea. Planning, writing, editing, science illustrations, figures, proofreading and supervisor feedback are just a few of the hurdles you will need to face. How do you get started? And what makes a good thesis dissertation?
This month, one of our science writing coaches trained PhD candidates from the prestigious Ecole polytechnique on how to write a thesis dissertation in English. This three-day training course was packed with techniques and custom-built exercises to help participants write and re-write essential parts of their manuscript. Participants enjoyed a range of different examples and extracts from existing theses to learn how to make their own work better. Now, they have all the skills they need to produce a polished final draft in only several months.
In total, four sessions of this thesis writing training were organized during this academic year, and three more are scheduled for 2024. Thus, for the past four years, approximately seventy doctoral students have participated in this training program.
Feedback from participants
What have they thought about it? Here is some feedback from former participants.
«One of the best experiences in a training course. Really learned a lot of positive things about writing the thesis and scientific documents in general.» – Abhishek, January 2023
«The program was great – good length and very pertinent. It was a dynamic course that kept you tuned in and involved, significantly helping me retain the information.» – Catherine, March 2023
«I am very satisfied. The duration of the program is precisely long enough to cover all the important points. I really think all PhD students should attend this training course.» – Marina, June 2023
Writing a PhD thesis might be a daunting task, especially when English is not your native language. But with proper organization and the right method, anything is possible!