Category Archives: PhD Hacks

Navigating the Post-Candidacy Abyss: Locating the Elusive Dissertation Topic

Congratulations, you have achieved candidacy! Now what? The first couple years of a doctoral studies are arduous but predictable: slogging through tough coursework, learning new theories and methods, juggling academic work with teaching or other responsibilities, attending seminars, and trying to figure out academic culture. After some core milestones (such as coursework, comprehensive exams, candidacy papers, etc.), you gain a

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Become a Super-Mentee: 10 Strategies to Improve Your Relationship with Your Adviser

Become a Super-Mentee

The PhD Comics provide endless spoofs on academic advisers, including deciphering their email punctuation marks, managing their cryptic instructions, endless cycles of paper revisions, and their lack of awareness about your research. Students across disciplines offer colorful descriptions of their dissertation supervisors, ranging from dark villains (Darth Vader, Voldemort) and disordered personalities (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), to superheroes who

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The PhD Knowledge Lifecycle: Actual Versus Perceived Knowledge

Surviving your dissertation and the job market requires a secret sauce of excellent research, strong work ethic, and effective project management. Dissertation advisers typically focus on the first two ingredients. However, project management skills are equally important, and not just for MBA, MPA, MHA, and other terminal degree students who are training for managerial positions. In this series, we will

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January’s Hack: Ten Strategies to Solicit Better Writing Feedback

In a painfully realistic PhD Comic series, a student receives his edited paper from his adviser whose “few tweaks” were a rewritten paper with his professor explaining, “it’s easier to rewrite it than to point out all the things you do wrong.” In discussing specific feedback, his adviser’s comments include using too many sentences, poor word choices, bad punctuation, and

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Art of Decluttering Your Dissertation

In an all-too-relatable PhD Comic series, Celia tackles her anxiety by making a list of everything she needs to accomplish and categorizing them by their level of importance. To her horror, she realizes that they are all important. In a state of panic, she does the dishes, organizes the desktop icons on her computer, and finally crawls underneath her desk

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PhD Hacks: Strategic Management for Your Doctoral Studies

Take Control of Your Meetings to Get the Just-in-Time Mentoring You Need You eagerly enter your adviser’s office for your quarterly committee meeting, ready to discuss your burning questions. You can’t decide between two dissertation topics– what is the best choice? You ran some regressions and have an estimated odds ratio of 38.2– that can’t possibly be right, is something

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