The Ph.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences

The Ph.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences

The Ph.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences

The Ph.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences


The Ph. D. Process offers the essential guidance that students in the biological and physical sciences need to get the most out of their years in graduate school. Drawing upon the insights of numerous current and former graduate students, this book presents a rich portrayal of the intellectualand emotional challenges inherent in becoming a scientist, and offers the informed, practical advice a "best friend" would give about each stage of the graduate school experience. What are the best strategies for applying to a graduate program? How are classes conducted? How should I choose anadvisor and a research project? What steps can I take now to make myself more "employable" when I get my degree? What goes on at the oral defense? Through a balanced, thorough examination of issues ranging from lab etiquette to research stress, the authors--each a Ph. D. in the sciences--provide thevital information that will allow students to make informed decisions all along the way to the degree. Headlined sections within each chapter make it fast and easy to look up any subject, while dozens of quotes describing personal experiences in graduate programs from people in diverse scientificfields contribute invaluable real-life expertise. Special attention is also given to the needs of international students. Read in advance, this book prepares students for each step of the graduate school experience that awaits them. Read during the course of a graduate education, it serves as a handy reference covering virtually all major issues and decisions a doctoral candidate is likely to face. The Ph. D. Processis the one book every graduate student in the biological and physical sciences can use to stay a step ahead, from application all the way through graduation.


The world of a graduate student in the sciences is privileged and wondrous. One is surrounded daily by skillful researchers bustling about confidently doing science -- people who are making genuine strides in the understanding of nature, discovering the knowledge that will fill the textbooks of the future. Some of these researchers may be world leaders in their fields; others may be relatively unknown, but on the verge of great discoveries. in this high-tech environment, at the very forefront of knowledge, life is exciting, challenging, and stimulating. Every day can bring new insights, new directions, new revelations.

And here you are, a new graduate student, about to become an important participant in this restricted and extraordinary world. Surely you are excited and thrilled by the opportunity granted you. But you are likely also to be feeling somewhat confused and perhaps anxious at the prospect. Exactly where do you fit in? What is expected of you? What will your daily life be like? What is the best way for you to proceed to insure the successful completion of your education, and future success in your chosen profession?

Your confusion about these issues is understandable. in fact, it may even persist for quite a while after you arrive. Some students never figure it all out, and their careers suffer or never begin. the confusion and uncertainty stem from a peculiar characteristic of graduate school: the rules of the game are rarely talked about!

Contrary to what you might be expecting, unless you have a wonderful mentor, you are unlikely to receive explicit guidance as to what you should or should not be doing in grad school. a graduate program has a certain vague and open-ended character. There is no rigid agenda, no circumscribed plan of action, no set time- table. Little is mapped out for you. You will not take any specific courses on how to be a scientist, and no one will stand by you and . . .

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