The Ph.D. Process, A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences, by Dale F. Bloom, Jonathan D. Karp, and Nicholas Cohen

The Ph.D. Process

A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences

About The Ph.D. Process

What is Graduate School Like?

The Ph.D. Process offers the essential guidance that students in the biological and physical sciences require to get the most out of their graduate years. Through a balanced examination of issues ranging from lab etiquette to research stress, the authors provide the vital information needed to make informed decisions all along the way to the degree.

  • Richly portrays daily life in a graduate program, while revealing the intellectual and emotional challenges inherent in becoming a scientist.
  • Offers informed, practical advice, such as a "best friend" would give, about each stage of the graduate school process.
  • Outlines strategies for success, covering the major issues and decisions a doctoral candidate is likely to face.

This book prepares students for each step of the experience that awaits them; they will learn what to expect—socially, psychologically, and academically. The Ph.D. Process is the one book every graduate student in the sciences can use to stay a step ahead, from application all the way through graduation.

A Note from the Author

Graduate school in science is not an experiential extension of undergraduate education, where the passing of a sufficient number of courses usually guarantees one a degree; nor is it medical school or law school, where there is a delineated and set curriculum. Ph.D students are actually pretty much on their own--and they will sink or swim depending upon their own interpretation of how the system works.

The purpose of this book is to provide students with some insight into this unusual system. The authors--each a Ph.D. in the sciences--reveal the generally unspoken "rules" of the game. They offer the secrets of survival and success: What should you discuss in your application essay? What types of research advisors should you avoid? What kinds of research projects should you never undertake? How hard do you have to work? Are grades important? What steps should you take now to make yourself "employable" when you finish? What decisions can make or break your career? How can you network in the scientific community? What goes on at the oral defense, and how can you prepare?

Described also is the daily experience itself: research life, classes, seminars, journal clubs, lab meetings, interactions with peers and professors, qualifying exams, professional meetings, oral exams, dissertation preparation, etc. Anxiety, frustration, and joy--all normal responses to a grad student's life--are also examined. (In quotes sprinkled throughout the text, numerous past and present grad students relate their individual experiences and emotions during their doctoral training.) A separate chapter is devoted to the special problems of foreign students, strangers to our culture and educational system.

There are many intellectual and emotional challenges inherent to becoming a scientist. This book prepares students for each stage of the experience. They will learn what to expect--socially, psychologically, and academically.

Copyright © 2004 Dale F. Bloom, Jonathan D. Karp, and Nicholas Cohen
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