Jenny: Our most recent column on how to make the most of your first year in a Ph.D. program struck a chord with readers. The lively response inspired us to continue in that vein and examine another critical year in your doctoral studies—the third.
Julie: A common time for doctoral students to “get stuck” is in their second or third year. We’ve covered some of that ground before, writing about the emotional and intellectual issues that can interfere with good progress toward your degree. But in this month’s column, we will focus on the academic and professional goals that students should achieve in, or by, their third year.
Jenny: 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. <Read more.>