How to be a good graduate students ?

How to be a good graduate students ?
Marie desJardins, 1994
• The two main things that make graduate school hard
– unstructured nature of the process,
– lack of information about what you should spend your time on.
• First, ask yourself why go to graduate school at all?
• After you start, you will look for books and current journals
and conference proceedings in your area, and read through
them to get an idea of who's doing what and where.
• Keeping a journal/daily of your research activities and ideas is
very useful.
• Staying Motivated, try to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
• Breaking down any project into smaller pieces is always a
good tactic when things seem unmanageable
What does a graduate student should achieve?
Learn to be a good scientist
Independent thinking
Independent research capability
Effective communication/presentation
Reasonable writing skills
Laboratory skills
Writing Grants/Proposals: Planning, design, and
budget preparation
• People skills
• Organizing skills
What does a university/institute want?
Resources from government/agency
Future leaders / scholars!
Quality Controls
Course work
Qualifying exams (written + oral)
– Advisory Committee
– Exam Committee
– Supervisory Committee
What does a professor want?
‘Cheap’ labors
Young and active brains
Future helpers/followers
Future colleagues
Finding a good advisor
• Read research summaries by faculty members
• attend or audit courses given by professors you
might be interested in working with
• Talk to other graduate students and recent graduates
• Find out:
– What is the average time their Ph.D. students take to finish their
degrees? What is the dropout rate for their students?
• The most important thing is to ask
How to use your supervisor
• Knowledge
• Experience
• Resources
– Monthly Stupid
– Machines / Equipments
– Reputation
– Connection
Finding a Thesis Topic
• A good thesis topic is a topic interesting to you, to your
advisor, and to the research community
• Try to become aware and stay aware of directly related
• If you see new work that seems to be doing exactly what
you're working on, don't panic.
• Present your ideas for solving the problem in as much detail
as possible, and give a detailed plan of the remaining research
to be done
• Remember: you know more about your thesis topic than your
committee; you're teaching *them* something for a change.
How to be creative?
Use your common sense
Practice your brain
Make mistakes and learn from it
Jot down your thoughts (good or bad)
Attending meetings/seminars
Very important and wonderful opportunity
Know people and their research
Make yourself known
Sense the art of science and feel the future
Ask questions, stupid question is also a good
• If you don’t think you are stupid, then you are
not stupid
Writing the Thesis
• Realize that your audience is almost guaranteed to be less
familiar with your subject than you are.
• Explain your motivations, goals, and methodology clearly
• Getting Feedback
– learn to cope with criticism, and even that you actively seek it out
– Learn to listen to valid, constructive criticism and to ignore
destructive, pointless criticism
• Giving feedback
– helps you to polish your critical skills, which are helpful both in
understanding other people's work and in evaluating your own
– helps you to build a network of people who will be your colleagues for
years to come
One of the most important skills in research
Grant proposals
How to write a good manuscript?
Think before you write
Prepare an outline/story line
Fill the outline with ‘messages’
Logic is important: good story vs bad story
Write clearly/use short sentences
Be explicit as much as you can
Good discussion is important
Reading other people’s writing
Proofread again and again !
• How to be a good graduate student