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Obtaining a Ph.D.

Surviving Graduate School

These resources give an overview of what skills are needed to survive and thrive in graduate school, how to deal with the academic and personal pressures of doctoral programs, the general stages doctoral students move through, and where to go for further information.  Check through our collection of Promising Practices on Socializing Doctoral Students to see if your institution offers any innovative programs aimed at helping doctoral students adapt to graduate school.  We rely on institutions' submissions to keep our collect of Promising Practices updated: if your institution has innovative mentoring practices but isn't represented here, they can be submitted at  


American Educational Research Association Graduate Studies List This site by Scott and Bobbi Kerlin offers resources (some of them Canadian) focused on how to succeed in graduate school and an email discussion list for students, faculty and administrators interested in academic discussions about the current and future state of the academic profession.  

Doctoral  Provides various online forums for doctoral students and links to other resources.

H-Grad  A discussion group for graduate students that covers issues such as time management, research concerns, choosing an advisor, navigating departmental politics, and calls for papers, conferences, grants, fellowships, and job opportunities.


How to Be a Good Graduate Student (Indiana University)   This series of linked essays aims to raise some issues that are important for graduate students to succeed in graduate school and to get as much out of the experience as possible.  

The Keogh Lab  Provides advice for students in the sciences on how to succeed in graduate school, write grants, publish, complete the dissertation, and more.

A Little Advice from 32,000 Graduate Students   Graduate students give advice to other graduate students about preparing themselves for their professional lives while still in graduate school.

National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS)  Acts as a clearinghouse for information on graduate and professional student groups at all stages of development. Science, Math and Engineering Career Site  Offers links to other sites dealing with graduate school survival, graduate student and postdoc organizations, resources for women and minorities in the sciences, and more.

Ph.D. Stages (University of Queensland)  Offers advice for all stages of doctoral study, from "Thinking about doing a Ph.D.?" to "Finishing touches."  See also the page of "FAQs."

So Long, and Thanks for the Ph.D. (University of North Carolina)  Ronald Azuma, a Ph.D., sketches out the character traits/skills needed to succeed in a doctoral program.

Some Advice for Getting Through Graduate School (Georgia Tech)  Includes general links on success in graduate school, writing, women in computer science, "The Unwritten Milestones for the Ph.D." and other links.

Survival in the Academy
  From a handbook at Indiana University, this covers choosing an advisor, survival skills for graduate women, advice for dealing with the ABD syndrome, and more.

What You Can Do as a Second-Year Grad Student (UC Berkeley)  Discusses how to focus your research, what to do for professional development, and how to begin developing a teaching portfolio.


Promising Practices on Socializing Doctoral Students


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