Monday, 30 January 2012

Mastering Your PhD: Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond

Mastering Your PhD: Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond [Paperback]

Patricia Gosling (Author), Lambertus D. Noordam (Author)

Mastering Your PhD: Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond [Paperback]
Patricia Gosling
Patricia Gosling (Author)
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(Author), Lambertus D. Noordam (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From the reviews:

"It focuses on the non-scientific aspects of academic life and the PhD process, discussing issues which often are neglected ... . the book really shines in the discussion of human relations issues, such as how to communicate effectively with people different from yourself … . Their suggestions on time management, planning and self-regulation are particularly useful: people who acquired their PhD years ago may also profit … . Mastering your PhD can be recommended to any student considering graduate school ... ." (Sarah Boslaugh, MathDL-online, October, 2006)

"The book is easy to read and is split into nineteen short chapters … . Most chapters have their main points highlighted by examples, describing a team of students restoring a piece of artwork, for instance, which tend to be useful. … I would also recommend the book as a useful guide for prospective PhD students who are not sure of what a PhD actually entails, and what is expected of you as a student … ." (Sarah Casewell, The Observatory, Vol. 127 (1199), 2007)
From the Back Cover

"Mastering your PhD" helps guide PhD students through their graduate student days. Filled with practical advice on getting started, communicating with your supervisor, staying the course, and planning for the future, this book is a handy guide for graduate students who need that extra bit of help getting started and making it through. Every year, thousands of students around the world embark on the long and difficult journey toward a PhD. Some of these students will make it through their program with flying colors. Others will experience difficulty getting to the end: some will sink and some will manage to swim – barely. The doctoral years can be daunting. While mainly directed to PhD students in the sciences, the book's scope is broad enough to encompass the obstacles and hurdles that almost all PhD students face at some point in their doctoral training. Who should read this book? Students of the physical and life sciences, computer science, math, and medicine thinking about entering a PhD program, doctoral students at the beginning of their research and any graduate student who is feeling frustrated and stuck. It’s never too early or too late!

"A must for any student in natural science who is doing or is considering doing a PhD. Also, I strongly recommend PhD supervisors to read this book -- they will learn a lot."

--Henrik Stapelfeldt, Professor of Chemistry, Arhus Denmark

"At last, a book about graduate study that paints the big picture and that recognizes PhD work as a real job involving many of the same relationship and business issues that will be important to students throughout their careers. Outstanding!"

-- Lou Bloomfield, Professor of Physics, University of Virginia, USA

At first I'd like to say that there are many references out there, online, that one can find about how to excel the PhD years and beyond. However, the author compile it in a very good, organized way, that practically explain how to tackle the common situations during the PhD years.
It's a small, practical book, that you can bring anywhere in your pocket, I recommend this book to all PhD students, alumni, and everyone who is thinking about doing a PhD.

I'm currently in my third year as PhD student, and I came across a news item annoucing the book. I thought it would be a great source of external advice, besides the advice I get from my own advisors. And when I began reading the book, I knew I had struck gold: The style of the book makes it a pleasure to read, and the tons of advice in the book range from very practical to almost psychological.

There are chapters in the book that give tips on preparing for your first conference (you don't have to go to *every* session, have fun!), prepare for meetings with your advisors, and how to steer those meetings to be productive for you as well.
And finally there is a chapter that helps you make the choice of what to do after your PhD, and reminds you that you have to start looking long before it all ends (even though it may seem that it never does ;)).

Since reading it, I often look back into it, rereading tips. I've given this book to all other graduate students in my group, who have all thanked me for doing that.


An indispensable book for every PhD student with advice from the very first day to career advice at the end of your PhD. The authors manage to discuss many items in a clear, concise, and comprehensive way. In this book you can find practical advice like; how to get started on your first day, time management, presentation, writing skils and so on. However, we value that the authors pay attention to other important aspects aswell, like dealing with setbacks, something every PhD student encounters but which is not often discussed. Other aspects, as the role your personality plays in communication with your supervisor and a method to monitor your progress are interesting subjects too. In short; everything you always wanted to know about a PhD, but were afraid to ask.
If you want to know what a PhD is about, read this book! If you want to make a good start with your PhD, read this book! And if you are a PhD student, treasure this book!

Marjan de Vries and Ans Rekers, trainer and PhD councellor University of Amsterdam

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