Tag Archives: PhD

Should a PhD be hard?

Should a PhD be hard?

Of course a PhD is “hard” – as in it “has a high difficulty setting” and also “is a lot of work”. It is three or more years of creating new knowledge, after all. But how “hard” should it be, and what kind of “hard”? In my work teaching research and writing skills at La […] … learn more→

Lessons learned from an African PhD journey

Lessons learned from an African PhD journey

I commenced my PhD programme in Molecular and Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), the University of Ghana in August last year. WACCBIP is a world class research centre where young African researchers are groomed to be research leaders who would change the landscape […] … learn more→

New Year – seeing anew

New Year – seeing anew

You’ve heard of Lego your research method and Dance Your PhD. But now Bake Your Thesis is getting to be a thing. There’s a hashtag #bakeyourphd and active competitions in New Zealand, Canada and the UK. One of the Canadian thesis baking competition represents their research on immigrant communities through a cinnamon bun – a complicated and lengthy […] … learn more→

Cleaning up, ready for the next phase

Cleaning up, ready for the next phase

The PhD is finished, and finally, everything is packed away in my home office; but it took me 18 months to get to this concluding stage. My desk was unusable for the year-and-a-half that followed my graduation and the mess worsened as the months slipped by. After the final printing, the lovely purple-bound copy of […] … learn more→

Rough and ready: the fast and lean route to a PhD

Rough and ready: the fast and lean route to a PhD

My friend Tim’s PhD had been four years in the making when he finally dropped out. His decision followed a meeting with his supervisor: the culmination of almost six months of work preparing a further draft chapter of his thesis. Only at this point did he learn that his supervisor did not approve of the […] … learn more→

Work smarter, finish faster: winning strategies for completing a PhD

Work smarter, finish faster: winning strategies for completing a PhD

Decades ago, we sat in the library as graduate students, staring at shelves of books and thinking: “If only we understood all the knowledge sitting on just one shelf, what power that would be.” Today, we try to convince ourselves that such daydreaming was not naive. Of course, there are people who love to learn, […] … learn more→

Dealing with administrative grief

Dealing with administrative grief

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with whilst working on my PhD is managing the expectations of my university. In the end, I realised we were working towards two different goals. While we both wanted me to complete the PhD, our relationship was more complicated than that. My Graduate School and […] … learn more→

Is your PhD stuck on Mars? Apply the Martian Method

Is your PhD stuck on Mars? Apply the Martian Method

‘Hello!’ to anyone who’s stuck in their PhD. I feel for you. As I write, I’m half-way through my PhD program, and I’ve been stuck too. I’m out the other side now, but it’s made me think: a PhD and Mars have a lot in common. Remember the movie, ‘The Martian’? Matt Damon plays astronaut, […] … learn more→

Coping strategies for full time workers turned PhD students

Coping strategies for full time workers turned PhD students

I made the decision to commence a full-time PhD after ten years in the workforce. At the time, many people made encouraging comments such as, “you’ll be fine, you’re very organised.” While I appreciated their compliments, I didn’t share the same level of confidence. Although I worked with researchers every day as part of my […] … learn more→

The PhD badly needs a doctor

The PhD badly needs a doctor

The PhD was first introduced at Humboldt University of Berlin in the early 19th century and remains the iconic degree of the modern research university. But both in and outside the ivory towers, there is an increasing sense that the PhD is no longer fit for purpose, both in terms of the requirements of employers […] … learn more→