Dear Commons Community,
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a brief article today for Ph.D. students on what they should be doing in their third year of study. Here is an excerpt:
“Career planning needs to happen throughout the graduate-school experience. There may have been a time when doctoral students could blithely ignore the practicalities of the job market until the final year of their studies, but those days are long gone (if they ever truly existed).
Today, to be competitive, new Ph.D.’s are expected to have published in peer-reviewed journals, to have secured grants, and to have taught independently (or nearly so). Securing a strong postdoc—an essential step for Ph.D.’s in the sciences—is a decision that must be thought out well in advance. Doctoral students must lay the groundwork for completing those tasks long before they graduate.
…For most doctoral students at U.S. universities, completing the coursework is a mark of the third year (students in some science disciplines finish their courses at the end of the second year). Once you’ve reached this stage, and are no longer evaluated on class material, you will take a first step toward becoming an independent researcher who is at least partly, if not entirely, responsible for generating his or her own ideas.”
Good, practical advice!