Professional Tips for PhD Students

Dissertation Resources

Researching, writing, and completing the dissertation is one of the most challenging and time-consuming requirements for earning a PhD. It is the culminating academic project that marks the transition from student to scholar and requires a significant amount of planning, preparation and consultation. 

Dissertation 101
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s comprehensive guide to completing the dissertation. This handout offers insightful and practical advice on starting, drafting, and completing the dissertation.

The Dissertation Coach
An organization specifically designed to helping students successfully complete doctoral theses and dissertations.

Career Planning and Job Opportunities

The purpose of a PhD program is to prepare individuals for an academic/research career. However, there is no single best academic or research career path. Increasingly, those holding PhDs are found in a wide range of job sectors, including administrative, academic, governmental and nonprofit.

National Postdoctoral Association Career Planning Resources
The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) is a member-driven organization that provides a collective voice for postdoctoral scholars. Read about self-assessment, research potential careers, and view trends and reports in order to keep informed about the current job market.

The Perfect Postdoc: A Primer
Practical information and advice on securing a tenure-track faculty positions in the sciences.

Postdocs for Humanists
Insightful article from The Chronicle of Higher Education offering information and practical tips for postdocs searching for careers in the humanities. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Chronicle’s jobs database has compiled nearly 4,000 opportunities. Search by entering a keyword or browse from a variety of categories.

Academic 360 is a meta-collection of Internet resources for those searching for jobs in academia. It includes links to over 3,000 faculty, staff, and administrative job openings including but not limited to teaching positions.

Career Options for PhDs
Browse career options and opportunities by category and job sector.

Independent Educational Consultants Association
IECA is the nation’s leading professional organization for independent educational consultants working in private practice. Find out more about becoming a consultant and research potential career opportunities.

Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) was founded in 2000 by colleges and universities in Northern California that were seeking ways to collaborate on addressing faculty and staff dual career and employment outreach challenges on their campuses.  One of HERCs primary functions is to maintain regional, web-based search engines that include listings for all job openings, both faculty and staff, at all member institutions.


Networking is essential for PhD students, as it provides a variety of opportunities to converse with and impress professionals who may be able to help them advance their careers.

American Association of University Professors
The Career Center offers potential candidates increased exposure for your vita , optional e-mail alerts about new openings, and advanced search options for researching job opportunities.

Professional Networking Sites for Graduate Students
Browse student focused and specialty related networking sites.

Building a Professional Identity
This document provides a comprehensive and in-depth overview on the steps necessary to creating a professional identity, including socializing at conferences, publication and credit, intellectual leadership, and establishing a public voice.

Social Networking Professionalism
The George Washington University Law School assesses the risks of social media tools for potential academic employees.

Planning for Tenure Process

Tenure is intended to make the profession attractive, in part, through the promise of economic security. Only 35 percent of all university instructors hold tenure-track appointments. Twenty-five percent have tenure and ten percent are probationary. The remaining 65% are full-time non-tenure-track, part-time and graduate assistants. The overall process is lengthy and highly complex; thus, it is essential to start preparing and planning for the process as early as possible.

Approaching the Tenure Process
Informative blog offering useful advice and tips for candidates beginning the tenure process.

Additional General Resources:

How to Be a Productive and Motivated Graduate Student
Browse through articles offering advice in a variety of academic and professional areas. Insightful enough for beginning as well as advanced graduate students.

How to Get the Mentoring You Want: A Guide for Graduate Students
The goal of this guide is to provide a resource for students who seek to improve the quality of their relationships with faculty.

Online Phd Programs