Grad School

A collection of resources for people interested in pursuing a Ph.D.!

The resources below include links to the advice of other people that I found really helpful when applying. I hope these resources will help you as much as they’ve helped me – best of luck!

Finding Ph.D. Positions and Supervisors

Lots of possibilities here! See the links below for concrete approaches:

Emailing Potential Supervisors

Emailing potential supervisors is important because it puts you on their radar (even if they may not reply), and more importantly, because it helps you figure out whether your person of interest is accepting applications in the first place. You don’t want to spend hours preparing applications for a Ph.D. position that doesn’t exist! Kind people on the internet (and universities!) have shared helpful email templates:

Asking for LORs

Asking for recommendation letters (of which you usually need three) can be uncomfortable if you don’t know what the common procedure is. As a first-generation student myself, and someone who worries about saying the wrong things, I actually googled how to do it – and it helped! See below for my search results.

Writing a "Statement of Purpose" (SOP)

The statement of purpose is required for almost any graduate school application in the U.S, and arguably the most important document that you yourself will write. The resources below will give you a good idea of what it’s for and how to write it (at least they did for me!).

Writing a "Research Proposal"

To my horror, I recently found out that when applying to a Ph.D. program in the UK, one has to write a research proposal: A text of about four pages outlining what you envision your dissertation work to be, including a theoretical introduction, a plan for data collection, your data analysis approach, and everything inbetween. You can find…

  • ... an outline of what's different about Ph.D.s in the UK here
  • ... a very comprehensive UK application guide here (written by Timothy Sandhu).
  • ... and further tips here (Cambridge) and here (Edinburgh)

Compiling an Academic CV

Tips and example CVs below (you may also want to check out the CVs of students in the lab you’re interested in):

Application Assistance

I recently found out that there are very kind souls out there that volunteer their time to help prospective applicants prepare their materials:

What to Expect in Admissions Interviews

I’ve never gone through Ph.D. interviews myself, so I have no tips of my own, but once again the community delivers:

Other (Potentially) Helpful Links / Content

… and some light-hearted Psychology podcasts and comics to keep you motivated:

Fun Psychology podcasts and comics!