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Paperback The PH.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences Book

ISBN: 0195119002

ISBN13: 9780195119008

The PH.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences

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Book Overview

The Ph.D. Process offers the essential guidance that students in the biological and physical sciences need to get the most out of their years in graduate school. Drawing upon the insights of numerous current and former graduate students, this book presents a rich portrayal of the intellectual and emotional challenges inherent in becoming a scientist, and offers the informed, practical advice a "best friend" would give about each stage of the graduate...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

For Science, Engineering, and Computer Science Grad Students

The following was copied from another website's review of The Ph.D. Process, and I think it describes the book perfectly: 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!

What Grad School is Really Like

The PhD process is a great overview of graduate school in the sciences. It covers most basic topics such as choosing a type of school, applying, preliminary exams, comps, thesis work, etc. Of course each school does these things slightly differently, but the main points are there and the authors do a good job of pointing out where differences between programs are likely to turn up. This book also explains things that graduate programs aren't likely to advertise such as using students as `cheap labor' and what things to look for in an advisor other than interesting research. This is a fun to read honest book, and the anecdotes from current and past graduate students are the best part. I enjoyed reading them because so many of the same things have happened to me, and it's nice to know that I'm not alone. I wouldn't say that I received any great insights from the book because I had some experience with academic labs before I applied to graduate school and had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. I found it a little calming to read about others' experiences as I was waiting to get started. I think most students who apply to graduate school have already spent much time in labs with current graduate students so this might not be that useful to them as practical advise; however, I found this book to be an excellent resource for my parents. My parents had no idea what graduate school is like, and the fact that I'm at school all day and only go to class for an hour baffles them to no end. Reading this book helped them to understand the structure and goals of graduate school. Though I still don't think they understand journal club. (Why would anyone join that club? It doesn't sound like very much fun.)I recommend this book to grad students for their parents or to undergraduates who aren't sure if graduate school is the right path for them. This book gives great insight into what graduate school is really like.

Required Reading

This book should be required reading for anyone applying to gradutate school in the sciences (physical or biological). A quick read of the text will give one plenty to think about before making the big decision. The earlier you read it the better off you will be. The most important reading regards selecting an advisor. I am in the process of completing my degree and in hind sight agree with the issues on which the author has choosen to focus.

Outstanding, can also be used for Engineers

This book is an outstanding guide. It covers all the bases of grad school; from getting in to finishing up. The student perspectives let you on the "inside" of grad school and especially the unspoken parts of research and lab life. Even though I am entering Engineering grad school this book is extremely helpful; about the only thing not applicable is that experiments will not run your life (for most Eng. majors). For anyone going into (or considering going into) grad school in the Sciences or Engineering, GET THIS BOOK!

What you've always wanted to know about graduate school...

This is the first book I've seen that deals with the opportunities and challenges of being a graduate student in the sciences in a fair and equitable fashion. You'll find neither university-specific recruitment cheerleading nor intellectual snobbery in this book, just what the reality of life is like for students in graduate school. And make no mistake - this reality is very personal. From choosing a graduate school to tying up the loose ends of your dissertation, this book explains just what you can expect from this exhilarating, unnerving, and sometimes overwhelming experience. I wish this book had been available when I was applying to graduate schools! I highly recommend it to anyone, whether they are simply considering going to graduate school or are weeks away from a defense date. Being a graduate student in the sciences can be very isolating, and reading about other students' experiences that echo your own (especially in other universities around the country) provides a sometimes much-needed perspective on both your feelings and your attitudes about your current work and your upcoming career. If you are considering a Ph.D. in the sciences, READ THIS BOOK.
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