Think about it first!
Do you really want to start a PhD?
Do you really know what to expect & in those 4-5 years?
Is graduate school right for you at all?
The Ph.D. Process: A Student’s Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences – this is one of the most practical PhD handbooks out there, with lots of advice to solve all grad school issues. Written by Dale F. Bloom, Jonathan D. Karp and Nicholas Cohen.
Guide to Starting a PhD Robert Feldt’s well-formulated personal insights into the PhD journey (2012)
How to Start a PhD – of a Engineering PhD graduate from The University of Sydney, Kai Xu. Great advice on one-page, touching down on important aspects, such as i) deciding whether research (and the lifestyle that comes with it) get you on the right career path, or not? ii) How to find a good supervisor?, iii) finding your PhD topic. Definitely recommended!
Starting well: how to do a good first year in your PhD by Joshua Howgego
Starting Your PhD/MPhil – Get Set for Success – nothing but great tips from the University of Leicester! The famous “Good Doctorate Videos”, “Your Guide to Success in Your PhD/MPhil” and a couple of useful links.
Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. – a useful collection of interviews with people from the academic world, this guide will give you practical advice on starting and finishing your doctoral studies in the most effective way; written by Robert Peters (2006)
The PhD Chronology (PDF) – practical advice, resuming resuming the whole Chronology of a PhD on just two pages. From the initial thought process before starting a PhD course through the milestones of the whole PhD. From the application to the oral examination defending your thesis. Start with this one!
PhD students say… – Quotes from the responses made on the Survey of Doctoral Education and Career Preparation, sorted by discipline. Current PhD students responded to the question: “Knowing everything that you know now, what advice would you give others entering or in the early years of graduate school?
Questions To Ask When Thinking About Pursuing a Ph.D. – Questions To Ask When Thinking About Pursuing a Ph.D. is an article of advice for selecting a doctoral program; by Chris M. Golde (2001)
What you should know… – What you should know before starting a doctorate… a great blog post by Tom Coates (2004)
Useful books for PhD Freshmen starting their studies
Getting What You Came For by Robert Peters helps students finish in less time, for less money, and with less trouble. Based on interviews with career counselors, graduate students, and professors, this PhD starting Guide is packed with advice based on real-life experiences a student will need not only to survive graduate school: instructions on applying to school and for financial aid; how to excel on qualifying exams; how to manage academic politics—including hostile professors; and how to write and defend a top-notch thesis. Most important, it shows you how to land a job when you graduate. Paperback: 400 pages; Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1997)
The Ph.D. Process: A Student’s Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences by Dale F. Bloom, Jonathan D. Karp and Nicholas Cohen is a practical guide about graduate school. It goes through all aspects of the grad school experience, from application through dissertation defense, with special advice to foreign students. The combination of authoritative summaries along with anecdotes from students themselves help you understand more the do’s and don’ts about grad school. The book is organized in a more or less chronological sequence of major events and issues in the grad school process. The chapters work both to explain how things work and also how to make things work well for you. Paperback: 224 pages; Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (1999)