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10 Time Management Tips for Older PhD Students Who Want to Balance Work and Studies

Breaking barriers: empowering black women over 40 to excel in information systems phd programs. , the top 8 must-know tips for phd preparation: how to get started.

PhD  Information

You’ve Decided to Pursue a PhD in Your 40s – Now, What?


First, I want to say congratulations on deciding to pursue a PhD in your 40s. Now that the big decision is made, let’s move to some less daunting activities that’ll get you sitting in your first classroom in a few months. ( Please note that the steps in this post are mainly directed toward pursuing a traditional Ph.D. However, these steps should also apply to DBA and Executive PhDs. ).

I classify these as early activities and application activities.  

Early Decisions to Pursue a PhD

The early activities involve some early decisions you must make. These decisions include; the location of the PhD program, the PhD concentration, and what to study. Once you have answers to these questions, the rest of the application process becomes a little more straightforward.

#1 Location:

The general location where you desire to do your pursue a PhD should be decided. For the most part, if you’re pursuing a PhD in your 40s, there’s a chance you have settled in a particular location. This means that you prefer to do a PhD near or around that location. On the other hand, you may be looking for a fresh start in life and have the flexibility to choose where you want to do it. In that case, you have many more location options: North, South, West, or East.

#2 Schools:

After you’ve decided on the general location, it’s time to hone in on the school or schools. If possible, try not to make that decision blindly. In other words, try and find someone who might tell you one or two things about the schools, the culture especially. Given that pursue a PhD education is more than just schooling, it’s important that you understand the culture of the people you’ll be working very closely with for 4 years. Some PhD programs are collegial. Others are not and could be stressful. If you’re in your 40s and 50s and seeking your pursue a PhD, you probably want to avoid PhD programs with non-collegial cultures.

#3 PhD Concentration:

There are many PhD concentrations in business schools. The one you select should complement your current skills or experiences. For example, if you are a technologist, you might consider pursue a PhD concentration in information systems. You might consider management science or operations research if you are a math or statistics professional. See our post on concentrations.

Application Activities for a PhD in your 40s’

Now Let’s look at some of the requirements for gaining admission to a Ph.D. program. PhD program requirements include taking a GRE/GMAT, identifying and sending your transcripts (bachelors and masters), writing your personal statement, securing some good recommendation letters, etc. Figure 1 is a visual of those steps. Steps 1 to 5 can take about 6 months to 1 year. We address GRE/GMAT and transcripts in this post.

Phd in your 40s:


finishing phd at 45

If you’ve taken a GRE/GMAT within the last 5 years, then you can skip this step. If you have not, you should start studying for the GMAT or GRE exam. Most universities in the US accept either of these. However, if you have a clearer idea of the schools you’ll like to apply to, you should find out their preference. Usually, this information is posted on their Ph.D. information website.

finishing phd at 45

#2 Get ready to send your transcripts:

If you’re a domestic student, the process of sending your transcripts to your schools of interest usually takes a few simple steps. Most universities have an automated process that allows former students to log in and order and sends their transcripts to schools for a small fee.

The process is a lot more involved if you’re an international student. International transcripts sometimes need to be evaluated and translated. There are college credential evaluation services that could evaluate your transcripts for a fee. This process can take a longer time to complete than you initially anticipated. So, plan accordingly. You could also call the graduate office of your schools of interest and ask if they could recommend an evaluation service or if they do the transcript evaluation themselves. Some schools do. So, it’s worth a try.

See more on writing your personal statement and securing some good recommendation letters .

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Related Posts

7 tangible strategies for coping with burnout while pursuing your phd after 40, a 2023 resolution to start a phd in information systems – make a bold move, 7 career options: what you can do with a phd in information systems or technology, is it worth it to get a phd in information systems.

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Taking On the Ph.D. Later in Life

finishing phd at 45

By Mark Miller

  • April 15, 2016

ROBERT HEVEY was fascinated by gardening as a child, but then he grew up and took a 30-year career detour. Mr. Hevey earned a master’s in business and became a certified public accountant, working for accounting firms and businesses ranging from manufacturing to enterprise software and corporate restructuring.

“I went to college and made the mistake of getting an M.B.A. and a C.P.A.,” he recalled with a laugh.

Now 61, Mr. Hevey is making up for lost time. He’s a second-year Ph.D. student in a plant biology and conservation program offered jointly by Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Mr. Hevey, whose work focuses on invasive species, started on his master’s at age 53, and he expects to finish his doctorate around five years from now, when he will be 66.

“When I walk into a classroom of 20-year-olds, I do raise the average age a bit,” he says.

While the overall age of Ph.D. candidates has dropped in the last decade, about 14 percent of all doctoral recipients are over age 40, according to the National Science Foundation. Relatively few students work on Ph.D.s at Mr. Hevey’s age, but educators are seeing increasing enrollment in doctoral programs by students in their 40s and 50s. Many candidates hope doctorates will help them advance careers in business, government and nonprofit organizations; some, like Mr. Hevey, are headed for academic research or teaching positions.

At Cornell University, the trend is driven by women. The number of new female doctoral students age 36 or older was 44 percent higher last year than in 2009, according to Barbara Knuth, senior vice provost and dean of the graduate school.

“One of the shifts nationally is more emphasis on career paths that call for a Ph.D.,” Dr. Knuth said. “Part of it is that we have much more fluidity in career paths. It’s unusual for people to hold the same job for many years.”

“The people we see coming back have a variety of reasons,” she added. “It could be a personal interest or for career advancement. But they are very pragmatic and resilient: strong thinkers, willing to ask questions and take a risk in their lives.”

Many older doctoral candidates are motivated by a search for meaning, said Katrina Rogers, president of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif., which offers programs exclusively for adult learners in psychology, human and organizational development and education.

“Students are asking what they can do with the rest of their lives, and how they can have an impact,” she said. “They are approaching graduate school as a learning process for challenging themselves intellectually, but also along cognitive and emotional lines.”

Making a home for older students also makes business sense for universities and colleges, said Barbara Vacarr, director of the higher education initiative at, a nonprofit organization focused on midlife career change. “The convergence of an aging population and an undersupply of qualified traditional college students are both a call to action and an opportunity for higher education.”

Some schools are serving older students in midcareer with pragmatic doctoral programs that can be completed more quickly than the seven or eight years traditionally required to earn a Ph.D. Moreover, many of those do not require candidates to spend much time on campus or even leave their full-time jobs.

That flexibility can help with the cost of obtaining a doctorate. In traditional programs, costs can range from $20,000 a year to $50,000 or more — although for some, tuition expenses are offset by fellowships. The shorter programs are less costly. The total cost at Fielding, for example, is $60,000.

Susan Noyes, an occupational therapist in Portland, Me., with 20 years’ experience under her belt, returned to school at age 40 for a master’s degree in adult education at the University of Southern Maine, then pursued her Ph.D. at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. During that time, she continued to work full time and raise three children. She finished the master’s at 44 — a confidence-builder that persuaded her to work toward a Ph.D. in adult learning, which she earned at age 49.

Dr. Noyes, 53, made two visits annually to Lesley’s campus during her doctoral studies, usually for a week to 10 days. She now works as an assistant professor of occupational therapy at the University of Southern Maine.

At the outset of her graduate education, Dr. Noyes wasn’t looking for a career change. Instead, she wanted to update her skills and knowledge in the occupational therapy field. But she soon found herself excited by the chance to broaden her intellectual horizons. “I’ve often said I accidentally got my Ph.D.,” she said.

Lisa Goff took the traditional Ph.D. path, spending eight years getting her doctorate in history. An accomplished business journalist, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in history at the University of Virginia in 2001 while working on a book project. Later, she decided to keep going for her doctorate, which she earned in 2010, the year she turned 50. Her research is focused on cultural history, with a special interest in landscapes.

Dr. Goff had planned to use the degree to land a job in a museum, but at the time, museum budgets were being cut in the struggling economy. Instead, a university mentor persuaded her to give teaching a try. She started as an adjunct professor in the American studies department at the University of Virginia, which quickly led to a full-time nontenure-track position. This year, her fourth full year teaching, her position was converted to a tenure-track job.

“I thought an academic job would be grueling — not what I wanted at all,” she recalls. “But I love being in the classroom, finding ways to get students to contribute and build rapport with them.”

As a graduate student, she never found the age gap to be a challenge. “Professors never treated me as anything but another student, and the other students were great to me,” Dr. Goff said. The toughest part of the transition, she says, was the intellectual shock of returning to a rigorous academic environment. “I was surprised to see just how creaky my classroom muscles were,” she recalled. “I really struggled in that first class just to keep up.”

Mr. Hevey agrees, saying he has experienced more stress in his academic life than in the business world. “I’m using my brain in such a different way now. I’m learning something new every day.”

His advice to anyone considering a similar move? “Really ask yourself if this is something you want to do. If you think it would just be nice to be a student again, that’s wrong. It’s not a life of ease: You’ll be working all the time, perhaps for seven or eight years.”

Mr. Hevey does not expect to teach, but he does hope to work in a laboratory or do research. “I’m certainly not going to start a new career at 66 or 67,” he said. “But I’m not going to go home and sit on the couch, either.”

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Average Age of PhD Student: How Old Is Too Old?

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Are you considering pursuing a PhD? You may be thinking that you don’t have the average age of PhD students? Well, we’ve all seen those images of fresh-faced twenty-somethings, latte in hand, typing away at their computers and hitting every academic milestone with ease. However, the reality of the situation is that you’re never too old to pursue your dreams – even if it means a PhD!

In this blog post, we’ll explore the average age of PhD student myths – and make light work of busting some persistent myths about older students in academia. So put those stereotypes aside and get ready to chuckle as we take a look at whether or not there is an age limit on success! After all, life’s too short (or long!) to skip out on big goals due to silly fears about getting older!

Debunking Some Average Age of PhD Student Myths

There are several persistent myths regarding older students in academia. One common myth is that older students have difficulty adapting to new technology and concepts, which can make them unable to succeed in a classroom setting. However, this is not true – while it may take some time for an older student to adjust to a new learning environment, they can often become just as successful as any other student once they understand the basics.

Additionally, another myth surrounding older students is that they lack motivation or enthusiasm for their studies. Wrong again! Many mature learners approach their studies with greater focus and commitment than younger students do due to their extensive life experience and knowledge.

Finally, another misguided belief is that older adults cannot keep up with the pace of grad school. This is also untrue – many older students can take on the challenge of a full-time course load and often excel more than their younger peers due to their discipline and determination.

Overall, these myths do not reflect the reality of older students in academia and should be disregarded by anyone. Older students are highly motivated and have a great deal of enthusiasm for learning. By dispelling these myths, we can create an inclusive academic environment where all ages can thrive.

finishing phd at 45

Average Age Of PhD Student Data

That being said, beyond all myths, how old is your run-of-the-mill PhD student? While the average age of PhD students is quite varied depending on the field of study, statistics reveal that in 2021 nearly 45 percent of individuals who received doctorate degrees in the United States were aged between 26 and 30 years old. Additionally, around 31 percent of doctorate recipients fell between the ages of 31 and 35 years old.

Factors That Influence The Age of Applicants to PhD Programs

Factors such as professional experience, personal background, and life goals all come into play in determining the average of PhD students. Many applicants may already have significant work history in their field before applying for a PhD. Alternatively, others may be younger with fewer years of work experience or coming straight out of undergrad. Some applicants may have other commitments outside of research, such as family obligations or jobs that limit their availability for a full-time program of study. Other factors such as finances and personal interests also play a large role in shaping the profile of an incoming PhD cohort.

In addition, it is important to note that competition among applicants can vary depending on the age of those applying. While younger students may have an advantage in terms of their energy and flexibility, they may also lack the professional experience that more established candidates possess. Meanwhile, older students may have successful careers but limited availability due to their career responsibilities.

When Is It Too Late to Get a PhD?

It is never too late to pursue a PhD. Average of PhD student data is only what it is: data! You have the room to be different! Many students take time off between their undergraduate and graduate studies or wait until after they have been in the workforce for some years before pursuing a doctoral degree. There are no age limits on getting a PhD, so it can be done at any stage of life. In fact, those who pursue a doctorate later in life often bring with them valuable experiences from the workplace that can benefit their research and writing projects. Ultimately, when it comes to choosing when to get your PhD, it is an individual decision — one that should be made based on personal and professional goals. With the right motivation and dedication , anyone can pursue a PhD at any age.

There are, however, practical considerations when it comes to taking on such a long-term commitment. If you have already started a family or career, for example, it could be difficult to juggle both your studies and other life responsibilities. Additionally, financial aid is often more limited for older students; therefore, finding alternate sources of funding may be necessary. Still, with proper planning and preparation, getting a PhD later in life is an achievable goal. Regardless of your age or stage in life — if you have the drive and ambition — getting your doctorate is possible.

Can One Be Too Young to Enroll in a PhD Program?

It is never too early to start thinking about getting a PhD, but it may be too early to pursue one. Generally speaking, most students should have at least a bachelor’s degree before beginning doctoral-level work. This means that those who are still in high school or college should not yet focus on obtaining a PhD. Instead, they should concentrate on their current studies and make sure they lay the necessary foundation for doctoral study. Once the appropriate level of undergraduate education has been completed, then it may be time to start considering applying for and pursuing a PhD program .

(If you are wondering about what to look for in a PhD program, watch this quick video where I break it down for you.)

However, even if you have already completed your undergraduate degree, you may want to take some time off from formal academic study before starting a doctoral program. This will allow you to gain life experience and explore other interests, which can help shape your academic journey. Ultimately, when you have the necessary educational background and are ready to commit yourself to a PhD program, then it may be time to start the process of applying for and pursuing a doctoral degree.

finishing phd at 45

What Is The Best Age to Enroll in a PhD Program?

When it comes to enrolling in a PhD program, the best age to do so depends on a variety of factors. Ideally, someone who is interested in pursuing a PhD would be between 25 and 35 years of age due to the fact that they will likely be more mature and able to better manage the rigors of graduate school. Additionally, those with more life experience may bring different perspectives into the classroom as well as beneficial connections from their previous career experiences. Ultimately, regardless of age there are many successful PhD candidates; therefore applicants need to consider all aspects before making an enrollment decision.

Is Being 30 Too Old to Apply for a PhD ?

At thirty years old, it is not “too old” to apply for a PhD. As seen above, many successful students complete their doctoral studies after the age of 30. As long as you demonstrate strong academic credentials , relevant experience, and research interests that align with an available program, there should be no reason why an individual cannot pursue post-graduate education at any stage in their life.

Age does not necessarily need to be a limiting factor when deciding whether to commit to further study. Achieving academic success requires a combination of dedication and hard work regardless of your age. An appropriate amount of time and effort into studying can easily make the difference between success or failure in any academic venture. So, if you are thirty and considering applying for a PhD, go ahead and give it your best shot!

finishing phd at 45

Is Age a Factor in the Hiring Process in Academia?

You might be wondering if the average age of PhD student data has an influence on hiring trends in academia. As a rule, age is not typically a factor in the hiring process for assistant professor positions in academia. Different universities and colleges have different policies, but generally speaking, age should not be considered when assessing candidates for assistant professor positions. Instead, universities focus on a candidate’s qualifications—academic accomplishments, teaching experience, research abilities, and other skills that could equip them to teach and mentor students. In the US , the average assistant professor is 46 years old. 67% of assistant professors are 40+ years old or older, 21% are between the ages of 30-40 years, and 11% are between 20-30 years old

A More Important Factor Than Average Age of PhD Students: Timing!

Applying to a PhD program is a life decision that should not be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration and planning, as it will significantly shape your future career path and have an important impact on the next few years of your life. Therefore, it is vital to make sure you apply at the right time in your life; when you are both academically and personally prepared for such an endeavor. This could mean waiting until after graduating with a master’s degree or dedicating some time to gain work or other experiences before applying. Whatever route you decide to take, make sure that you are adequately prepared before taking this big step into doctoral studies.

The timing of when to apply for a PhD program is just as important as age in determining one’s ability to be accepted into a program. Applying too early may mean you do not have the requisite experience or knowledge that would make you competitive for admission while applying too late means there may be fewer positions available and more qualified applicants vying for those spots. The ideal time to apply is after having accumulated enough research and professional experience so that you can demonstrate both your aptitude and capability for success in the program.

finishing phd at 45

Putting an End to Ageism in Academia

Ageism in academia is a real issue, with older professors and students facing discrimination due to age. Ageism manifests itself in the form of decreased opportunities for senior faculty members and students, as well as unjustified criticism or negative assumptions about one’s capability based solely on age. This type of discrimination can cause feelings of isolation and exclusion for those affected.

Institutions must do their part to combat ageism by instituting policies that promote diversity and inclusion regardless of age. Additionally, further research should be conducted to better understand how this phenomenon manifests itself in the academic setting and what can be done to address it. Only then will we be able to create an equitable learning environment where all ages are respected and valued.

The key to eliminating ageism in academia is recognizing the unique contributions that each individual has to offer regardless of their age. Everyone should be respected, valued, and given equal access to opportunities without fear of discrimination. Institutions must take the lead in implementing policies that promote diversity and inclusion while also encouraging open dialogue about ageism in the academic setting. With everyone’s collective efforts, we can work towards creating a more equitable learning environment where all ages are welcome and respected.

Parting Words…

It’s easy to understand why a lot of people hold on to the average age of PhD student myths that paint the picture of an ideal PhD student that is at once young and fits a certain mold. Conventional wisdom is entrenched in academic life, and it will take time (and effort) to unseat these misperceptions. The good news? More and more older students are seeing the benefits of seeking out a higher degree later on in life, proving that needing a particular age as an entry requirement for PhD programs is flat-out wrong.

With age comes experience, knowledge — and plenty of motivation– which many programs will find just as valuable as youth in their prospective candidates. If you’re over 30 and want to pursue a doctorate degree – don’t let anyone tell you “you’re too old.” Instead, laugh at their ignorance – because with any luck, your story will become more commonplace over time! So if you’d like help honing in on your PhD application process, whatever your age might be, check out our PhD application services today to get started! Got questions? Sign up for a consultation . It’s FREE!

With a Master’s from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University, Dr. Philippe Barr is the founder of The Admit Lab . As a tenure-track professor, Dr. Barr spent a decade teaching and serving on several graduate admission committees at UNC-Chapel Hill before turning to full-time consulting. With more than seven years of experience as a graduate school admissions consultant, Dr. Barr has stewarded the candidate journey across multiple master’s and Ph.D. programs and helped hundreds of students get admitted to top-tier graduate programs all over the world .

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly tutorials on navigating the PhD application process and live Q&A sessions!

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Older PhDs student experiences – should you pursue a PhD later in life?

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for individuals to change careers or pursue higher education later on in life.

For those considering a PhD program at an older age, there may be some hesitations and concerns about the experience.

  • Will it be worth it?
  • How difficult is it to balance academic responsibilities with other commitments such as family and work?
  • What are the experiences of older PhD candidates?
  • And many more questions…

In this article, we will explore the unique challenges and rewards of pursuing a PhD later in life, and share the insights and experiences of older PhD candidates.

Whether you’re considering a career change or simply seeking personal growth, read on to discover if pursuing a PhD is right for you.

Two specific case studies:

This case study explores the experiences of two mature PhD students, who despite their age, successfully navigated through their doctoral programs.

These students come from diverse backgrounds, having pursued their PhDs in Marketing and Computer Engineering. Their stories highlight the importance of determination, support systems, and practical experiences in achieving their academic goals.

Case 1: Marketing PhD Student at 48


This student began their PhD journey at the age of 43, having accumulated 15 years of corporate experience, 5 years of teaching, and some consulting work. They decided to pursue a PhD after talking with their advisor during their master’s program.


One of the main challenges faced by this student was knowing when to stop working and take breaks. Managing workload and maintaining mental health were essential aspects of their PhD journey.

Key Factors for Success:

The student emphasized the importance of having a good advisor and a support network. Their prior experience in the corporate world helped them form interesting and relevant research questions. This also made them more relatable to students when teaching.

The student is now in the final stages of their PhD and has been offered a tenure-track assistant professor position at a university in New York.

Case 2: Computer Engineering PhD Student at 32

This student completed their PhD at the age of 32, having taken five years off after their master’s to work in the aerospace industry. They had always planned on getting a PhD and built significant experience in their field during their time off.

Working full-time while pursuing a PhD consumed most of their time, making it difficult to balance work, studies, and personal life. They acknowledged that having children would have added another layer of complexity to their situation.

The student’s success can be attributed to a fantastic advisor, a passionate research topic, and the ability to work from home. Their company’s financial support for their PhD program played a significant role in their decision to continue working full-time.

Having completed their PhD in three years, the student now plans to continue climbing the technical ladder within their company and aims to achieve a Technical Fellowship.

The experiences of these mature PhD students demonstrate the importance of determination, support systems, and real-world experience in successfully completing a doctoral program. Both students managed to overcome challenges and leverage their unique backgrounds to achieve their academic and professional goals.

If you want to know more about how to do a PhD at an older age you can check out my other articles:

  • What is the PhD student average age? Too late for your doctorate?
  • What is the average masters students age? Should you return to graduate school?
  • Typical Graduate Student Age [Data for Average Age]
  • Balancing PhD and family life – tips for balancing a busy life

Life Experience Helps with a doctoral degree 

Life experience can be a valuable asset when pursuing a PhD. The journey towards obtaining a doctoral degree can often be challenging and demanding, requiring dedication, hard work, and resilience.

Other benefits can include:

Iindividuals with life experience may have an advantage as they already possess a certain level of maturity, self-discipline, and time-management skills.

Life experience can bring a unique perspective and insight to research, as individuals may draw from their personal experiences to inform their research questions and design.

Moreover, being part of a cohort with diverse backgrounds and experiences can also enrich the doctoral experience, leading to greater learning and growth as a researcher.

You’re never too old to become a PhD student

Age is just a number, and this is especially true when it comes to academic pursuits. It is never too late to do a PhD, as academia welcomes learners of all ages. Long gone are the days when PhD candidates had to be in their early 20s to pursue this degree.

Nowadays, more and more people in their 30s or 40s are pursuing doctoral degrees, and many have even found great success after graduation.

Here are some potential advantages and drawbacks of doing a PhD later in life:


  • Greater maturity: You have a better understanding of what you want to do and can focus on your goals.
  • Real-world experience: You have a better understanding of real-world problems and can work on more relevant research.
  • Stronger mental health: Having other commitments in your life can help you maintain a better work-life balance and prevent you from dwelling on research-related stress.
  • Financial resources: You may have more financial resources at your disposal, which can be helpful during your PhD journey.
  • Less need for validation: You’re likely pursuing the degree for genuine reasons rather than seeking status or validation.
  • Better relationships with professors: You may find it easier to connect with your professors as peers and friends.
  • Research relevance: Your research may be more relevant to managers because you’ve experienced management roles.
  • Time constraints: You may not have as much time to enjoy the benefits of your PhD, especially if you plan to retire in your 60s.
  • Additional life commitments: You may have more personal responsibilities, such as children, a spouse, or aging parents, which can make it more challenging to balance your PhD work.
  • Potential need for relocation: You may have to move around for job opportunities, which could be difficult if you have a family or other commitments.
  • Opportunity cost: Pursuing a PhD at this stage in life may come at the expense of other career opportunities or financial gains.
  • Difficulty in obtaining tenure: You may not obtain tenure until your late 50s, which may be a drawback for some individuals.
  • Not a financially sound decision: If you’re pursuing a PhD to make more money, the return on investment may not be as high as you expect.

Older PhD candidates often have a wealth of experience and knowledge that can only enhance their research and academic contributions.

So if you are considering pursuing a postgraduate degree, don’t let your age hold you back. It’s never too old to follow your academic dreams!

If you want to know more about how doing a PhD later in life you can check out my other articles:

Who is the oldest person to do a PhD? 

The oldest person to earn a PhD was a 95-year-old woman named Ingeborg Rapoport.

She was a Jewish-German physician who began her PhD studies in the 1930s but was unable to complete them due to the Nazi regime.

After a successful medical career, she decided to resume her studies in 2008 at the age of 94 at the University of Hamburg in Germany.

Her doctoral thesis focused on diphtheria and included research conducted in the 1930s, making her research especially significant.

In 2015, Rapoport successfully defended her thesis and earned her doctorate, becoming the oldest person in history to do so.

Her achievement received widespread recognition and admiration, and she demonstrated that age is just a number when it comes to academic achievement.

Wrapping up – doing a PhD later in life

In this article, we explore the unique challenges and rewards of pursuing a PhD later in life, drawing from the experiences of older PhD candidates.

Two case studies showcase the importance of determination, support systems, and practical experiences in successfully completing a doctoral program.

Life experience offers numerous benefits for older PhD students, such as a broader perspective, problem-solving skills, transferable skills, time management, an established professional network, emotional resilience, enhanced credibility, motivation and purpose, adaptability, and mentorship opportunities.

Age should not be a barrier to pursuing a PhD, as older candidates often bring valuable real-world experience and knowledge to their research.

Key advantages of pursuing a PhD in your 40s include greater maturity, real-world experience, stronger mental health, financial resources, less need for validation, better relationships with professors, and research relevance.

Drawbacks may include time constraints, additional life commitments, potential need for relocation, opportunity cost, difficulty in obtaining tenure, and lower return on investment.

The oldest person to earn a PhD was 95-year-old Ingeborg Rapoport, exemplifying that it’s never too late to follow your academic dreams.

finishing phd at 45

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.

Thank you for visiting Academia Insider.

We are here to help you navigate Academia as painlessly as possible. We are supported by our readers and by visiting you are helping us earn a small amount through ads and affiliate revenue - Thank you!

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Dissertating Like a Distance Runner: Ten Tips for Finishing Your PhD

finishing phd at 45

The above photo is of Sir Mo Farah running past Buckingham Palace into the home stretch of the London Marathon. I took the photo two days after my viva, in which I defended my PhD dissertation. Farah become a British hero when he and his training partner, Galen Rupp, won the gold and silver medals in the 10k at the London Olympic Games.

I had the honor of racing against Rupp at Nike’s Boarder Clash meet between the fastest high school distance runners in my home state of Washington and Rupp’s home state of Oregon. I’m happy to provide a link to the results and photos of our teenage selves since I beat Galen and Washington won the meet. (Note: In the results, ‘Owen’ is misspelled with the commonly added s , which I, as a fan of Jesse Owens, feel is an honor.) By the time we were running in college—Rupp for the University of Oregon and myself for the University of Washington—he was on an entirely different level. I never achieved anything close to the kind of running success Rupp has had. Yet, for most of us mortals, the real value in athletics is the character traits and principles that sports instill in us, and how those principles carry over to other aspects of life. Here I want to share ten principles that the sport of distance running teaches, which I found to be quite transferrable to writing my doctoral dissertation.

To provide some personal context, I began as a doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham in 2014. At that time my grandparents, who helped my single father raise my sister and me, continued their ongoing struggle with my Grandfather’s Alzheimer’s. It was becoming increasingly apparent that they would benefit from having my wife and I nearby. So, in 2015 we moved to my hometown of Yakima, Washington. That fall I began a 2/2 teaching load at a small university on the Yakama Nation Reservation as I continued to write my dissertation. Since finishing my PhD four years ago, in 2018, I have published one book , five research articles , and two edited volume chapters related in various ways to my dissertation. As someone living in rural Eastern Washington, who is a first-gen college grad, I had to find ways to stay self-motivated and to keep chipping away at my academic work. I found the following principles that I learned through distance running very helpful.

(1) Establish community . There are various explanations, some of which border on superstitious, for why Kenyan distance runners have been so dominant. Yet one factor is certainly the running community great Kenyan distance runners benefit from at their elite training camps, as discussed in Train Hard, Win Easy: The Kenyan Way . Having a community that values distance running can compel each member of the community to pursue athletic excellence over a long period of time. The same can be said for academic work. Many doctoral researchers have built-in community in their university departments, but for various reasons this is not true for everyone. Thankfully, alternative ways to establish community have never been easier, predominantly due to technology.

Since my dissertation applied Aristotelian causation and neo-Thomistic hylomorphism to mental causation and neural correlates of consciousness, I found it immensely helpful to meet consistently with neuroscientist, Christof Koch, and philosopher of mind, Mihretu Guta. Mihretu does work on the philosophy of consciousness and Christof propelled the dawn of the neurobiology of consciousness with Francis Crick . Though Mihretu lives in Southern California, we met monthly through Skype, and I would drive over the Cascade Mountains once a month to meet with Christof in Seattle. As my dissertation examiner, Anna Marmodoro, once reminded me: the world is small—it’s easier than ever before to connect with other researchers.

It can also be helpful to keep in mind that your community can be large or small. As some athletes train in large camps consisting of many runners, others have small training groups, such as the three Ingebrigtsen brothers . Likewise, your community could be a whole philosophy department or several close friends. You can also mix it up. As an introvert, I enjoyed my relatively small consistent community, but I also benefitted from attending annual regional philosophy conferences where I could see the same folks each year. And I especially enjoyed developing relationships with other international researchers interested in Aristotelian philosophy of mind at a summer school hosted by the University of Oxford in Naples, which Marmodoro directed. For a brief period, we all stayed in a small villa and talked about hylomorphism all day, each day, while enjoying delicious Italian food.

Whatever your community looks like, whatever shape it takes, what matters is that you’re encouraged toward accomplishing your academic goal.

(2) Know your goal. Like writing a dissertation, becoming a good distance runner requires a lot of tedious and monotonous work. If you don’t have a clear goal of what you want to achieve, you won’t get up early, lace up your running shoes, and enter the frosty morning air as you take the first of many steps in your morning run. There are, after all, more enticing and perhaps even more pressing things to do. Similarly, if you don’t have a clear goal of when you want to finish your dissertation, it is easy to put off your daily writing for another day, which can easily become more distant into the future.

(3) Be realistic about your goal . While it is important to have a clear goal as a distance runner and as a doctoral researcher, it is important for your goal to be realistic. This means your goal should take into account the fact that you are human and therefore have both particular strengths and limitations. Everyone enters the sport of distance running with different strengths and weaknesses. When Diddy ran the city it would have been unrealistic for him to try to break the two-hour barrier in the marathon, as Eliud Kipchoge did . If Diddy made that his goal, he probably would have lost all hope in the first mile of the marathon and never finished. Because he set a more realistic goal of breaking four hours, not two hours, he paced himself accordingly and actually finished.

The parent of two young children who is teaching part-time can certainly finish a dissertation. But the parent will have a greater likelihood of doing so with a reasonable goal that fits that individual’s strengths and limitations. If the parent expects to finish on the same timescale as someone who is single with no children nor teaching responsibilities, this will likely lead to disappointment and less motivation in the middle of the process. Motivation will remain higher, and correspondingly so will productivity that is fueled by motivation, if one’s goal is realistic and achievable.

Another element of having a realistic goal is being willing to adapt the goal as your circumstances change. Sometimes a runner might enter a race expecting to place in the top five and midway through the race realize that she has a great chance of winning (consider, for example, Des Linden’s victory at the Boston Marathon ). At that point, it would be wise to revise one’s goal to be ‘win the race’ rather than simply placing in the top five. At other times, a runner might expect to win the race or be on the podium and midway realize that is no longer possible. Yet, if she is nevertheless within striking distance of placing in the top five, then she can make that her new goal, which is realistic given her current situation and will therefore sustain her motivation to the finish line. Sara Hall, who could have and wanted to crack the top three, held on for fifth at the World Championships marathon because she adjusted her goal midrace.

The PhD candidate who initially plans to finish her dissertation in three years but then finds herself in the midst of a pandemic or dealing with a medical issue or a family crisis may not need to give up on her goal of finishing her dissertation. Perhaps, she only needs to revise her goal so that it allows more time, so she finishes in five years rather than three. A PhD finished in five years is certainly more valuable than no PhD.

(4) Know why you want to achieve your goal . My high school cross-country coach, Mr. Steiner, once gave me a book about distance running entitled “Motivation is the Name of the Game.” It is one of those books you don’t really need to read because the main takeaway is in the title. Distance running requires much-delayed gratification—you must do many things that are not intrinsically enjoyable (such as running itself, ice baths, going to bed early, etc.) in order to achieve success. If you don’t have a solid reason for why you want to achieve your running goal, you won’t do the numerous things you do not want to do but must do to achieve your goal. The same is true for finishing a PhD. Therefore, it is important to know the reason(s) why you want to finish your dissertation and why you want a PhD.

As a side note, it can also be immensely helpful to choose a dissertation topic that you are personally very interested in, rather than a topic that will simply make you more employable. Of course, being employable is something many of us must consider. Yet, if you pick a topic that is so boring to you that you have significant difficulty finding the motivation to finish your dissertation, then picking an “employable dissertation topic” will be anything but employable.

(5) Prioritize your goal . “Be selfish” were the words of exhortation my college cross-country team heard from our coaches before we returned home for Christmas break. As someone who teaches ethics courses, I feel compelled to clarify that “be selfish” is not typically good advice. However, to be fair to my coaches, the realistic point they were trying to convey was that at home we would be surrounded by family and friends who may not fully understand our running goals and what it takes to accomplish them. For example, during my first Christmas break home from college, I was trying to run eighty miles per week. Because I was trying to fit these miles into my social schedule without much compromise, many of these miles were run in freezing temps, in the dark, on concrete sidewalks with streetlights, rather than dirt trails. After returning to campus following the holidays, I raced my first indoor track race with a terribly sore groin, which an MRI scan soon revealed was due to a stress fracture in my femur. I learned the hard way that I have limits to what I can do, which entails I must say “no thanks” to some invitations, even though that may appear selfish to some.

A PhD researcher writing a dissertation has a substantial goal before her. Yet, many people writing a dissertation have additional responsibilities, such as teaching, being a loving spouse, a faithful friend, or a present parent. As I was teaching while writing my dissertation, I often heard the mantra “put students first.” Yet, I knew if I prioritized my current students over and above finishing my dissertation, I would, like many, never finish my dissertation. However, I knew it would be best for my future students to be taught by an expert who has earned a PhD. So, I put my future students first by prioritizing finishing my PhD . This meant that I had to limit the teaching responsibilities I took on. Now, my current students are benefitting from my decision, as they are taught by an expert in my field.

While prioritizing your dissertation can mean putting it above some things in life, it also means putting it below other things. A friend once told me he would fail in a lot of areas in life before he fails as a father, which is often what it means to practically prioritize one goal above another. Prioritizing family and close friendships need not mean that you say ‘yes’ to every request, but that you intentionally build consistent time into your schedule to foster relationships with the people closest to you. For me, this practically meant not working past 6:00pm on weekdays and taking weekends off to hang out with family and friends. This relieved pressure, because I knew that if something went eschew with my plan to finish my PhD, I would still have the people in my life who I care most about. I could then work toward my goal without undue anxiety about the possibility of failing and the loss that would entail. I was positively motivated by the likely prospect that I would, in time, finish my PhD, and be able to celebrate it with others who supported me along the way.

(6) Just start writing . Yesterday morning, it was five degrees below freezing when I did my morning run. I wanted to skip my run and go straight to my heated office. So, I employed a veteran distance running trick to successfully finish my run. I went out the door and just started running. That is the hardest part, and once I do it, 99.9% of the time I finish my run.

You may not know what exactly you think about a specific topic in the chapter you need to write, nor what you are going to write each day. But perhaps the most simple and helpful dissertation advice I ever received was from David Horner, who earned his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford. He told me: “just start writing.” Sometimes PhD researchers think they must have all their ideas solidified in their mind before they start writing their dissertation. In fact, writing your dissertation can actually help clarify what you think. So “just start writing” is not only simple but also sage advice.

(7) Never write a dissertation . No great marathoner focuses on running 26.2 miles. Great distance runners are masters of breaking up major goals into smaller goals and then focusing on accomplishing one small goal at a time, until they have achieved the major goal. Philosophers can understand this easily, as we take small, calculated steps through minor premises that support major premises to arrive at an overall conclusion in an argument.

Contained within each chapter of a dissertation is a premise(s) in an overall argument and individual sections can contain sub-premises supporting the major premise of each chapter. When you first start out as a doctoral researcher working on your dissertation, you have to construct an outline of your dissertation that maps out the various chapters and how they will relate to your overall conclusion. Once you have that outline in place, keep it in the back of your mind. But do not focus on writing the whole, which would be overwhelming and discouraging. Rather, focus on writing whichever chapter you are working on. The fastest American marathoner, Ryan Hall, wrote a book that sums up the only way to run long distances in the title Run the Mile You’re In . And Galen Rupp discusses in this interview how he mentally breaks up a marathon into segments and focuses on just finishing one segment at a time. Whatever chapter you’re writing, make it your goal to write that chapter. Once you’ve accomplished that goal, set a new goal: write the next chapter. Repeat that process several times and you will be halfway through your dissertation. Repeat the process a few more times, and you will be done.

By the time you have finished a master’s degree, you have written many chapter-length papers. To finish a dissertation, you essentially write about eight interconnected papers, one at a time, just as you have done many times before. If you just write the chapter (which you could call a “paper” if that feels like a lighter load) you’re writing, before you know it, you will have written a dissertation.

(8) Harness the power of habits . Becoming a great distance runner requires running an inordinate number of miles, which no one has the willpower to do. The best marathoners in the world regularly run well over one hundred miles a week, in addition to stretching, lifting weights, taking ice baths, and eating healthy. Not even the most tough-minded distance runner has the gumption to make all the individual decisions that would be required in order to get out the door for every run and climb into every ice bath apart from the development of habits. The most reliable way around each distance runner’s weakness of will, or akrasia , is developing and employing habits. The same can be true for writing.

If you simply try to write a little bit each weekday around the same time, you will develop a habit of writing at that time each day. Once you have that habit, the decision to write each weekday at that time will require less and less willpower over time. Eventually, it will take some willpower to not write at that time. I have found it helpful to develop the routine of freewriting for a few minutes just before starting my daily writing session of thirty minutes during which I write new content, before working on editing or revising existing content for about thirty minutes. My routine helped me develop the daily habit of writing, which removes the daily decision to write, as I “just do it” (to use Nike’s famous line) each day.

I have also found it helpful to divide my days up according to routines. As a morning person, I do well writing and researching in the morning, doing teaching prep and teaching during the middle of the day, and then doing mundane tasks such as email at the end of the day.

(9) Write for today and for tomorrow . Successful distance runners train for two reasons. One reason—to win upcoming races—is obvious. However, in addition to training for upcoming races, the successful distance runner trains today for the training that they want to be capable of months and years ahead. You cannot simply jump into running eighty, ninety, or one-hundred-mile weeks. It takes time to condition your body to sustain the stress of running high mileage weeks. A runner must have a long-term perspective and plan ahead as she works toward her immediate goals on the way to achieving her long-term goals. Similarly, for the PhD researcher, writing a dissertation lays the groundwork for future success.

For one, if the PhD candidate develops healthy, sustainable, productive habits while writing a dissertation, these habits can be continued once they land an academic job. It is no secret that the initial years on the job market, or in a new academic position, can be just as (or more) challenging than finishing a PhD. Effective habits developed while writing a dissertation can be invaluable during such seasons, allowing one to continue researching and writing even with more responsibilities and less time.

It is also worth noting that there is a sense in which research writing becomes easier, as one becomes accustomed to the work. A distance runner who has been running for decades, logging thousands of miles throughout their career, can run relatively fast without much effort. For example, my college roommate, Travis Boyd, decided to set the world record for running a half marathon pushing a baby stroller nearly a decade after we ran for the University of Washington. His training was no longer what it once was during our collegiate days. Nevertheless, his past training made it much easier for him to set the record, even though his focus had shifted to his full-time business career and being a present husband and father of two. I once asked my doctoral supervisors, Nikk Effingham and Jussi Suikkanen, how they were able to publish so much. They basically said it gets easier, as the work you have done in the past contributes to your future publications. Granted, not everyone is going to finish their PhD and then become a research super human like Liz Jackson , who finished her PhD in 2019, and published four articles that same year, three the next, and six the following year. Nevertheless, writing and publishing does become easier as you gain years of experience.

(10) Go running . As Cal Newport discusses in Deep Work , having solid boundaries around the time we work is conducive for highly effective academic work. And there is nothing more refreshing while dissertating than an athletic hobby with cognitive benefits . So, perhaps the best way to dissertate like a distance runner is to stop writing and go for a run.

Acknowledgments : Thanks are due to Aryn Owen and Jaden Anderson for their constructive feedback on a prior draft of this post.

Matthew Owen

  • Matthew Owen

Matthew Owen (PhD, University of Birmingham) is a faculty member in the philosophy department at Yakima Valley College in Washington State. He is also an affiliate faculty member at the Center for Consciousness Science, University of Michigan. Matthew’s latest book is Measuring the Immeasurable Mind: Where Contemporary Neuroscience Meets the Aristotelian Tradition .

  • Dissertating
  • Finishing your PhD
  • graduate students
  • Sabrina D. MisirHiralall


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What to do after getting your phd: 5 next steps, published by steve tippins on february 11, 2019 february 11, 2019.

Last Updated on: 2nd February 2024, 05:47 am

What to do after finishing your PhD is a surprisingly common challenge for students who have recently graduated. So if you’re asking this question, you’re not alone.

After years of hard work and passing on enjoyable opportunities to get your writing done, you have finished your dissertation. This is quite an accomplishment. But what do you do now that you’ve finished?

This is something that few doctoral programs prepare you for. How do you take what you have learned and capitalize on it? How do you start your new career or use your PhD to take the next step in your existing one?

What to Do After Getting Your PhD

Based on my own experience and my experience coaching countless recent graduates, I’ve come up with an answer. Here is what to do after PhD is officially part of your title.

Step 1: Take a Breath

It may be tempting to rush right into the next thing. You finally have your PhD, now you get to use it! Apply for a thousand jobs, become a postdoctoral fellow, take a research trip to Indonesia with your favorite professor, launch a consulting firm, and publish a Nobel-Prize-worthy paper in an academic journal. All before breakfast.

Or not. In fact, my advice is to slow down. Not for too long–of course you have to take the next steps in your career. But once you start your career, it’s that much more difficult to take a break. Relax for a moment, and then take a good long deep breath. You are at the summit of one of the largest (proverbial) mountains you’ve ever climbed. Take a moment to appreciate the view. Then, get back to work.

Step 2: Set your Goals

woman taking notes in front of her laptop next to a bright window

After taking a break, the first thing you need to do is figure out what your goals are . You employed a great deal of discipline to get to this point. Use that skill to determine how you want to move forward. Your doctoral degree is an asset, so try to maximize the return that you get. Getting clear on your goals will determine your next steps and provide a map of what to do after completing your PhD.

When setting your career goals, it’s important to remember your life goals. Remember why you started this journey in the first place. How have you changed? How have your goals changed? What is most important in your life, and how will your next steps support this? Considering how your career fits into your life as a whole will help you make decisions about how to move forward.

finishing phd at 45

Here are some of your options:

Do you want to publish? Think hard about this. You are now an expert on your topic, it would be great if you shared that expertise with the world. Think about your goal in publishing. Is your goal to see your name in print so that your mother can brag about her child being a published author? Do you want to spread the findings of your dissertation across the world to help humanity? Different goals will lead you in different publishing directions.

What a noble profession. Many people want to use their degree to help shape the future by teaching. If this is a path for you, think about the following questions: Do you want to teach full time or part time? Would you prefer to teach online or in a traditional classroom setting? Are you bound to one geographic location or are you willing to go anywhere? Do you want to prioritize teaching over research or vice-versa? Each choice offers various, but different, opportunities.

Outside of Academia

Are there non-academic alternatives available to you? Are you looking for a promotion at your current job? Do you want to speak at conferences? How about a new job? Maybe consulting is the path that you want to take. Your degree puts you in a very small group outside of academia; use it as best you can, remembering that you will be seen as the expert in most settings.

There are many things that you might want to do with your degree. Stop and take the time to determine your goals and then you can see how all of the hard work that you put in to get your degree can get you there. If you find yourself stuck, or want support realizing your full potential, career coaching can help.

Step 3: Prepare your Material

woman holding a pen and having a discussion with a colleague in a suit

No matter what you choose to do after getting your PhD, you will have to put together a package of material that represents you. This is true whether you want to apply for academic jobs, work outside academia, or start your own business as a consultant. This is the first thing that most employers or potential clients will see of you, so make sure it represents the best of who you are.

You will need a resume and to be ready to answer all kinds of questions. It’s important to update your resume after finishing your PhD, adding relevant accomplishments and experience besides your new degree.

Prepare to answer common questions (for example, “Why did you get a PhD?” “Can you tell me about a situation where you worked well with others?” and “Can you tell me about a situation where you were able to work with someone who was difficult to work with?”).

Also, remember to highlight the unique strengths and skills that you have as a newly minted PhD. Having spent the past few years in the company of other people who either already have PhDs or are trying to get them, it’s easy to lose sight of your uniqueness. Remember the grit and persistence you’ve shown, the critical thinking skills you’ve had to cultivate, and the balanced ability to simultaneously take direction from committee members and forge your own unique research path.

Remember that you are a member of a small group of people with an exceptionally useful skill set, and a degree to prove it. You have proven your capacity to innovate, learn, and work with others. Take a look at Catherine Sorbara’s excellent article on this subject.

Inside of Academia

Work on creating a CV (curriculum vitae) that fits the standards of your discipline. You will probably need to submit documents that cover your teaching philosophy, a list of references, a research agenda, and copies of teaching evaluations, if available.

If you get a campus visit interview, you will need to prepare a presentation about your research and may be asked to teach a class or give a seminar to interested students. Do not take these two steps lightly, as the search committee will get feedback from everyone who participates in these sessions about your suitability for the position.

Find research interest connections at prospective universities. Look within the department you are applying for professors who share your research interests, but also look more widely — to the college and to other colleges within the university — for others doing related studies that may dovetail with your work. The potential for collaborative research and interdisciplinary studies will catch the attention of university administrators and may well give you an edge.

Seek advice. Make sure you are prepared for all of this and get well-acquainted with norms. Your professors and advisors are an excellent resource to help you prepare for this, as are my career coaching services .

Step 4: Search for a Job

woman with bright hair typing on her laptop

When people ask what to do after PhD completion, they’re usually trying to skip ahead to this step–but it’s vital to take the time to set your goals and prepare your material before looking for a job . Now that you’ve done that, you can set your sights on your new (or improved) career. Many people use their PhD as a springboard to an exciting new career path. Here are some insights to help you do that.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a great place to start. The Chronicle posts jobs daily online for most disciplines. You can also look at HigherEdJobs which tends to have jobs that may not make it to the chronicle.

Conferences within your discipline are a very good place to find out about jobs. Also, the professors within your program may be a good source of contacts who may know about jobs. Remember, most academic jobs start in August/September and postings may come out as much as 11 months before a job starts.

Some professions specifically recruit PhDs. If you are in the sciences this may be the case. Consultancy firms also seek PhDs. Outside of these areas the job search may include networking, sending out resumes, and using the services of recruiters. Your committee chair may be able to connect you with former students in your field who would be willing to make introductions. Most universities have career centers that offer assistance with networking and other job-seeking skills.

Step 5: Stay on Track

Periodically reevaluate your goals–both whether you’re meeting them and whether the goals themselves need to change. Perhaps you started out wanting to pursue research but have fallen in love with teaching. Or maybe you started off teaching but found that consulting is much more enjoyable. Whatever your goals are, they’re subject to change as you learn and grow.

However, if your goal was to teach but you find yourself getting bogged down in research projects due to the pressure to publish, take some time to reflect on how you can better achieve the goals that are most fulfilling to you. Would you prefer an instructor’s position? Or perhaps looking at universities that emphasize teaching over research would be your solution.

What to Do After PhD Completion: A Summary

finishing phd at 45

Getting your PhD is a huge accomplishment. However, if you’re wondering what to do after your PhD is complete, you’re not alone. Once you finish your PhD, take a breath and allow some space in your life. Next, determine your goals and create a plan for how to proceed. Once you are clear on your goals, prepare your materials and apply for jobs. Finally, periodically re-evaluate your goals to see whether you’re meeting them and whether they’re still relevant.

Many recent graduates use a career coach to help them in this process. If you are interested in this kind of coaching, feel free to take a look at my services page or get in touch.

Steve Tippins

Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

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Open Access

Ten Simple Rules for Finishing Your PhD

* E-mail: [email protected]

Current address: Gene Center, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Munich, Munich, Germany

Affiliation Department of Chemistry, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Affiliation Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

Affiliation Society for Experimental Biology (SEB), Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom

  • Jacopo Marino, 
  • Melanie I. Stefan, 
  • Sarah Blackford


Published: December 4, 2014

  • Reader Comments

Table 1

Citation: Marino J, Stefan MI, Blackford S (2014) Ten Simple Rules for Finishing Your PhD. PLoS Comput Biol 10(12): e1003954.

Editor: Philip E. Bourne, National Institutes of Health, United States of America

Copyright: © 2014 Marino et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: The authors have received no specific funding for this article.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


After years of research and with completion in sight, the final year of the PhD often represents the most challenging time of a student's career, in which the ultimate reward is the PhD honor itself. A large investment in time, energy, and motivation is needed, with many tasks to be completed; concluding experiments must be carried out, results interpreted, and a research story mapped out in preparation for writing the final thesis. All the while, administrative obligations need attention (e.g., university credits and mandatory documents), papers may need to be published, students mentored, and due consideration paid to planning for the next career move. Without some form of strategic action plan and the employment of project management skills, students run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and run down or of not meeting their final deadlines. Personal time management and stress resilience are competences that can be developed and honed during this final period of the PhD.

Here, we present ten simple rules on how to deal with time issues and conflict situations when facing the last year of a PhD in science. The rules focus on defining research goals in advance and designing a plan of action. Moreover, we discuss the importance of managing relationships with supervisors and colleagues, as well as early career planning.

Rule 1: Plan Your Last Year in Advance

Preparing a plan of action for the final year of your PhD is vital. Ideally, devised and agreed upon with your supervisor, a plan will help to optimize the time left and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. Individuals plan in different ways; some prefer to work towards their goals in a stepwise linear fashion, whilst others are more comfortable flitting from task to task until all the jobs are done. There is no definitive way to plan, so find out what works best for you. You may decide to map out a timeline, or perhaps a mind-map is your preferred planning style. Whichever method you use, it's important that you adhere to your plan whilst allowing for some flexibility (but not distraction or procrastination).

Your time frame will vary according to the organization of your graduate school, your supervisor or advisory committee, and even your graduation date, but one year before submission of your doctoral thesis is the time when you should decide on how best to invest the last months of your research and associated activities. Having a plan of action will help to avoid time wasting, e.g., being distracted by superfluous experiments that might be interesting but are not necessary. Furthermore, from a psychological point of view, referring to a concrete plan can make you feel more secure and in control. Ideally, the supervisor and PhD student should both agree on the overall plan (with provision for the unexpected, e.g., technical issues), with intermittent reviews every few weeks to check that progress is being made. Your supervisor should also be able to advise you on the organization and writing of your thesis—for example, its structure—and the number and length of chapters to include.

Rule 2: Make Your Priorities Clear

Select the activities you want to include in your plan. What are your priorities? They are likely to include experiments that will give the thesis a conclusion or that may be necessary to publish a final paper. Mandatory administrative tasks will also need attention, and allowing time to prepare for your next career move will give you the best chance of a seamless and successful transition post-PhD. As a final year PhD candidate, you are likely to have acquired high-level competencies comparable to those of a junior postdoctoral researcher, in which case your supervisor may offer you responsibility for new projects or graduate students. Saying no to him/her can be difficult for various reasons, e.g., fear of potentially creating conflict in your relationship or causing a negative reaction or of perhaps losing the opportunity to be included in future research activities and publications. It can also be difficult to let go of a topic or project to which you are wedded or to miss out on the opportunity to help train the next generation of scientists. In such situations, referring back to your plan (Rule 1), previously agreed upon with your supervisor, should help to remind you both of your priorities and deadlines, making negotiation easier. However, should any conflict of opinion arise between you, bear in mind that finding a mutually agreeable solution is the best way forward. You can take advice from a mentor or refer to the many publications that provide approaches and tactics for effective negotiation. If the relationship between you and your supervisor is more complicated and cannot be resolved by a discussion, you may need to turn to your graduate school, your academic committee, or other senior managers in your institution, who can act to mediate the situation.

Rule 3: “The Truth Can Wait”

A research project is never really finished, so do not try to do everything before submitting. In fact, the perfect doctoral thesis does not exist; there are students with good research projects and many publications and others with more difficult and testing challenges who are still waiting for their first paper. If the project is ambitious, it might take several years to reach the final goal, and thus the thesis might only be a small part of the whole story. If the project is going well, it will open up new research questions and future directions, some of which will be beyond the scope of a PhD. At some point, you need to decide that what you have is enough for a PhD and start writing (a strategy we heard described at a dissertation-writing seminar in Cambridge as “the truth can wait”; it helps to write this on a post-it note and stick it on your computer!). Starting to write the thesis is not easy when there is a sense that more could be done to accumulate more data and a fuller story; a common mistake is to go back to the lab instead of getting started with the results chapters of the thesis. To postpone writing will cause delays and not necessarily improve the thesis whilst increasing the prospect of unfulfilled and extended deadlines. Thus, once the experiments that you have agreed on have been completed, it is really important to start writing with the data in hand.

Rule 4: Enlist Support

Finalizing experiments and writing the thesis (and even papers), as well as considering your next career transition, can be stressful and even isolating. It is a contrast to the relatively more relaxed earlier years of the PhD experience, and the writing process does not come naturally to everyone. The prospect of facing these stresses alone can make the experience even harder to bear, so it is advisable to communicate with and find support in those you trust and respect. Relying on such people during this period can help to ease the strain and enable you to achieve your final aims so that you arrive at your PhD graduation with your sanity still intact! Talking about personal feelings with selected colleagues usually helps you to realize that you are not alone, whatever difficulties and challenges you might be experiencing with your research project, supervisor, or coworkers. Sharing uncertainties and talking through issues can be constructive, helping you to understand the strategies other people use to cope with similar problems. As well as colleagues, it can also help to talk to friends and family, even though they won't be as au fait with the highly particular challenges you are experiencing. You can share your feelings and anxieties with them, but they can also act as a welcome distraction to help you to relax and take a break from thinking about the stresses of your PhD.

Support and advice can also come in the shape of courses, books, blogs, mentoring, etc. There is much published on the subject of how to write a thesis [1] . Furthermore, graduate schools, such as those in which we are based, usually offer courses to help PhD candidates improve their personal and professional skills. For example, the University of Zurich organizes courses on, amongst others, time and self-management skills, managing conflict, and academic writing and publishing [2] . The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard lists workshops and resources offered across the university on topics such as scientific writing, time management, and overcoming procrastination. In addition to relying on your supervisor, postdoctoral researchers in your group or department (or even friendly collaborators) may agree to read chapters of your thesis and comment on aspects such as content, logical flow of ideas, and the overall structure. At a later stage, you may want to engage someone to check your grammar, spelling, and reference style (this can be especially important if you are not writing in your native language). If your PhD defense includes a presentation, try to practice beforehand, preferably in front of some of your peers, and include asking for feedback and possible questions that may come up. This should make you feel more prepared and confident.

Rule 5: Get Familiar with the Software

Being familiar with software for both writing and making figures will facilitate the creation of your thesis. One of the most effective tools with which to produce a scientific document is LaTeX ( ). This software, freely available, is not as immediately understandable as other text editors, but the advantages are greater: it offers a professional layout similar to published books, it makes the insertion and management of figures easier as their position in the file does not depend on text editing, and it allows for easy typesetting of mathematical equations and referencing of articles from a bibliography database. Moreover, the text file size does not increase while inserting figures, making its handling easier. An example LaTeX package for typesetting dissertations is “classicthesis”, written by André Miede ( ). Although advantageous, LaTeX can also present disadvantages. In contrast to commonly used text editors (e.g., Microsoft Word), it does not make it easy to track changes in the manuscript, often a preferred way for supervisors to correct theses in an electronic form. Therefore, we suggest you discuss the preferred software with your supervisor when you agree upon your plan (Rule 1).

A professional design software can also speed up the creation of figures for your thesis, which can be further used for your final PhD presentation, so check whether your institution provides an introductory course to some of these software packages. Taking a one-day class can save you a lot of time later. Organize your bibliography; many excellent reference managers exist that allow you to catalogue and annotate the papers you have read and integrate them seamlessly with text processing software (e.g., Endnote or the freely available Mendeley and Readcube). Choose one that fits your needs and check whether your university provides institutional licenses (and be disciplined about adding each paper you read to it!).

Consider using version control software. This allows you to keep a log of all the changes you make to a file or directory and makes it easy to recover a previous version if something goes wrong or to merge two versions of a file. This is often used in software projects to produce, document, and improve computer code, but it can also be useful when working on a long text document, such as a dissertation. Commonly used free version control systems include git/GitHub [git, github], Subversion [svn], and Bazaar [bzr] (see Table 1 ).


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Most important of all is to have a backup strategy. A hard-drive crash at the wrong moment can set your work back by weeks and jeopardize the timely completion of your thesis. Institutions or departments will often have a backup system employees can make use of. This may require you to install a specific piece of software on your computer that backs up your data at regular intervals or to save your file on an institute server. Contact the information technology (IT) department at your institute to learn about your options.

Rule 6: Know Your University's Procedures and Regulations

During the course of your PhD, you will have been acquiring project management skills, such as organizing your time and resources, reviewing progress, and meeting deadlines. In order to avoid last-minute surprises, you can capitalize on and develop these skills during the final year of your PhD. Prepare a list of all the documents and certificates that you will need, even before you start writing; it will be of critical importance to include this information in your plan and priorities (Rules 1 and 2). Having a good working relationship with someone who can help you to navigate a bureaucratic process will usually be an asset and will ensure you are familiar and aware of all the rules. Considering the amount of documents and certificates that are needed for handing in a thesis, it is advantageous to introduce yourself to the institute secretary or human resources manager, as well as any other staff who can help you to deal with the administrative side of the process. Don't rely on previous documents, which may have been revised since the last person in your group graduated. Be aware of all the necessary institutional administrative requirements (e.g., credit points, research seminar attendance, publications, etc.), as well as the faculty criteria, including deadlines (as well the date of the graduation ceremony), thesis copy numbers and format, font size, binding, and supporting documents. Take time to go through the list of documents and start collecting them in a folder. Get the formatting right early on, e.g., by using a dedicated template file. With your documents in order, you are bound to feel you have the situation more under control, which can help to reduce stress and enable you to focus more closely on writing your thesis.

Rule 7: Exploit Synergies

You are doing a lot of work for your thesis, so use it to your advantage. The literature review in your introduction can also be used to write and publish a future review article, an idea that might also be welcomed by your supervisor. If you are intending to write a grant proposal for a postdoctoral fellowship on a similar research topic, you can use some of the thesis introduction and future directions as a basis for your research plan. If you are keen to gain teaching experience, you could propose a short course on your specialty area. For instance, at Harvard Medical School, senior graduate students and postdoctoral researchers can be involved in lecturing on short, specialized “nanocourses” [3] . You may also be able to deliver a specialized lecture within a class your supervisor is teaching or, ideally after you have completed the PhD, teach at a workshop or summer school.

Take advantage of opportunities to deliver a talk as an invited speaker at a conference or at another institute, for example, if you are visiting a research group or investigating possible postdoctoral options. This will give you the chance to practice your defense presentation in front of an unfamiliar audience and, at the same time, allow a potential future supervisor and colleagues to gain a more complete picture of your research interests, skills, and personality.

Rule 8: Pay Attention to Your Career

It is not always easy to decide on which career path to follow after your PhD. You have been trained primarily towards an academic research career, and so many PhD graduates choose to continue on with a postdoctoral position as their first career destination. This is perfectly acceptable, and many industrial employers look upon early-career postdoctorals favorably. However, it is worth bearing in mind that permanent tenured positions are hard to secure nowadays and competition is tough, with less than 5% of those who complete a PhD ultimately realizing an academic career [4] . For those who are determined to have an academic career, a strategic research plan is crucial; for those who are unsure, a viable alternative career plan is equally important.

Knowledge of your professional and personal skills and capabilities, personality, values, and interests, as well as how to map them onto the job market and sell them to employers, will help you to make effective career decisions and a successful transition to your next job. In addition, factors such as your personal situation and priorities, mobility, and preferred work–life balance all need to be taken into consideration before entering the complicated world of the job market. Be ready to make compromises either in your work or personal life, depending on your priorities. Take advantage of courses and professional career guidance and coaching while you are still at university, as they are usually offered free of charge. Along with books and websites, face-to-face career support can help raise your self-awareness and knowledge of the job market so you can start to decide which types of career may best suit you. Blackford's book and blog [4] contain useful material on career planning for bioscientists, with concrete examples of different career paths within and outside of academia, and further information and resources. In addition, the Science Careers portal offers an online tool [5] to create an individual development plan and explore your career options based on your skills, interests, and values. Also, take advantage of dedicated career job boards associated with specialist websites, such as that of the International Society for Computational Biology [6] .

How soon should you start job seeking? Finding a job whilst writing up your thesis can seem like an attractive prospect, but it's important to consider that applying for jobs can easily take up as much time as working a full-time job. Then, if you do secure a job, the time left for writing up your thesis, completing experiments, and wrapping up your lab work will be seriously limited. It is exceedingly hard to write a doctoral thesis in the evenings after work or on the weekends, so in case you are offered a job before you have finished the PhD, consider seriously how this might affect your work and life. On the other hand, finishing a PhD when scholarship money has been seriously reduced (or has run out) comes with a different set of challenges. Many students need to tap into their savings (if indeed they have any), drastically reduce their spending, and move out of their accommodation. Losing employment at the university can also affect health insurance, social security, and visa status. Finishing up a PhD under these additional constraints and pressures can be extremely challenging, both logistically and psychologically. To ensure that you can concentrate all your time on (and get paid for) finishing your PhD, start planning ahead one year earlier. Be aware of your university's regulations, talk to your supervisor about the funding situation (is it possible for you stay on as a postdoctoral researcher for a short period?), and know what you need to do in order to finish on time (Rule 1).

Rule 9: Network

Unofficial statistics tell us that only around 30% of jobs are advertised, so to enhance your employment prospects you would be well advised to network in order to access the hidden job market. During the final year of your PhD, and even earlier, you can build up and extend your network so that your chances of finding the job of your choice are optimized. If you are looking for research positions, your supervisor might have contacts or know about positions available in academia or industry. Reviewing your personal network further will reveal it consists of colleagues, friends, and family. You may also have a wider network of collaborators (research and industry), people associated with your research whom you have met during the course of your PhD, as well as many others. Conferences, seminars, informal gatherings, and learned societies are great places to meet the academic community face to face or to broaden your horizons. Job fairs are held at universities and sometimes during conferences, where experts from industry look for potential employees as well as sometimes provide informal advice on your curriculum vitae (CV). Try to exploit these opportunities if they come your way.

A relatively recent, and highly democratic, addition to the networking system is social media, through which it is possible to meet people online from all over the world and from all walks of life. More and more professors, researchers, students, policy makers, science “celebrities”, science communicators, industry personnel, and professionals have a presence on social media, using it primarily for work-related purposes. Researchgate, LinkedIn, and Twitter are probably the most useful platforms for networking with academia, business, and the wider world, respectively. Your online profile should be fully completed and reflect your expertise, achievements, and personality. Used to greatest effect, social media will give you access to information, jobs, and influential people—its importance to you as a PhD student cannot be overestimated.

Rule 10: Leave on Good Terms

Wrap up the work in your lab, especially if you are leaving the institute. This includes any required training of new personnel in the methods and techniques you use, having lab notes in order, making it easy for other lab members to access your protocols and data, organizing and labelling your reagents and equipment, and documenting your computer code. If someone is taking over an unfinished project from you, take time to hand it over. Discuss with your supervisor to find a solution for who will do the final experiments, how to proceed with the writing of journal manuscripts, and what should be the order of authorship. If you have started a project that you want to take with you to your new lab, discuss with your supervisor how to handle possible future publications and how to agree on material transfer. If your work resulted in patents or patentable innovations, make sure you are clear about regulations concerning patents and intellectual property, both at your PhD institution and at the institution to which you are moving. Stay in touch with your former colleagues and cultivate the contacts you have made in graduate school; they are sure to be useful during the course of your career.


Jacopo Marino is grateful to colleagues from the University of Zurich for the everyday discussions that have inspired this manuscript. Melanie I. Stefan is likewise grateful for discussions on the topic with fellow predocs (and sympathetic postdocs) at the European Bioinformatics Institute. She would also like to acknowledge advice and support from Nicolas Le Novère and Susan Jones, which helped her navigate her PhD and graduate in a timely manner. She has since learnt a lot from discussions with colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, the University of Tokyo, and Harvard Medical School.

  • 1. Turabian KL (2013) A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 8th edition. Chicago (Illinois): The University of Chicago Press.
  • 2. University of Zürich (2014) Courses for PhD candidates and postdocs. Available: . Accessed 30 October 2014.
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  • 4. Blackford S (2013) Career planning for research bioscientists. Wiley-Blackwell. Available: . Accessed 30 October 2014.
  • 5. Hobin JA, Fuhrmann CN, Lindstaedt B, Clifford PS (2012) You Need a Game Plan. Science Careers Career Magazine. Available: . Accessed 30 October 2014.
  • 6. International Society for Computational Biology (2011) ISCB Careers. Available: . Accessed 30 October 2014.

PhD Progress

How to Finish Your PhD

Out now in paperback and ebook editions.

Are you stuck in your PhD? Is progress imperceptible to the naked eye? You’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and there’s no clear path. The more you worry, the less work you get done; the less work that gets done, the more you worry: it’s a vicious cycle. With the help of this practical book, you’ll take a new approach to your thesis.

I’ve coached thousands of PhD students through to the finish line. I also managed to complete my own PhD when it seemed vanishingly unlikely. Some people breeze through their PhD, knowing exactly what they’re doing and never giving their supervisor a moment’s worry. That probably isn’t you. For most of us it’s tough – that’s why relatively few people get to call themselves Doctor. It’s hard, but not impossible. I want to help make it possible for you.

I’ll help you understand why you’re stuck and what you can do about it. By the end of the book,  you’ll have the clarity and confidence you need to finish your PhD. Together, we’ll create an action plan that’s right for you. Each chapter includes activities and downloadable resources.

You won’t find anything about theory, methodologies, or epistemologies here. There are plenty of other books on how to write a PhD – this book is on how to finish it. Take a look at the outline below to see what we’ll cover.

How to Buy 

How to Finish Your PhD  is available in  paperback and ebook  editions. You can order through your favourite online retailer or independent bookstore. The ebook edition is available through Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and all the other major channels. If you’d like to buy in bulk for your students (20+ copies),  please contact me for discounts or any other queries.

ISBN:  978-1838242909

Cover of How to Finish Your PhD

Introduction  (read for free)

1. what’s the purpose of a phd.

  • Why are you doing a PhD? (I’ll help you remember)
  • What on earth is a thesis, anyway?
  • How can you set some limits and avoid doing too much?

2. Getting Ready to Do Things Differently

  • Forgetting the past and focusing on the future
  • Adopting a growth mindset
  • Overcoming imposter syndrome and defeating your inner critic

3. Making a Plan

  • You’re the project manager!
  • Who’s on your team?
  • What needs to happen and when?
  • Anticipating problems and solving them in advance
  • Breaking everything down into more manageable chunks

4. Working with Your Supervisor

  • What type of supervision do you need?
  • Managing the supervisory relationship
  • Resolving conflict
  • Agreeing plans with your supervisor
  • Soliciting effective feedback

5. Managing Competing Priorities

  • Understanding your circle of control
  • Managing your time effectively
  • Choosing the best time to write
  • Looking after your health

6. Becoming a More Productive Writer

  • Protecting your writing time
  • Finding the right place to work
  • Improving focus and eliminating distractions
  • Making writing easier for yourself
  • Defeating procrastination

6. Building Routines and Keeping Going

  • Meeting your monkey sidekick
  • Creating startup and shutdown routines
  • Developing good habits
  • Measuring progress
  • Avoiding perfectionism

7. Getting Ready for Submission

  • Thinking about your examiners
  • Breaking down the editing process
  • How much time do you need for editing?
  • Knowing when to stop
  • Your submission checklist

PhD Progress

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finishing phd at 45

154. How to Plan Your PhD w/ Hugh Kearns

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A PhD Plan sounds like an oxymoron, but charting a path to graduation is one of the most important things you can do as a graduate student.

This week, we talk with Hugh Kearns of Thinkwell about why PhD planning is so challenging for students, and learn about some tools that can keep your research on track.

Uncharted Territory

We start the conversation by trying to understand why planning is so difficult and so rare for PhDs.

“They’ve never done a PhD so they don’t know what’s coming,” Kearns observes. “And your previous education doesn’t prepare for research.”

He continues, “Research by its nature is uncertain. Things go wrong. And then what happens is people think that ‘Because I don’t know, we just won’t plan anything! We’ll see what happens.'”

But just because you’ve never done a PhD before, and no one has pursued your particular branch of research, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead.

In fact, there are already tools and strategies, adapted from project management in the business world, that will help you set some guide rails around your winding path to a PhD.

Getting Your PhD Plan Backward

Traditional ‘forward’ planning works great for a well-worn process, like building a house. Builders know from experience that you can’t build the walls until you’ve poured the foundation, and you can’t paint until the drywall is installed.

Each of those activities has a reasonably predictable timeline, so you can plan the construction of a home week by week until it’s finished.

But a PhD isn’t quite at prescriptive. Sure, you know you need to do a literature review, but how long does that take? And how long will experiments take?

The fact is, they’ll take as much time as you give them. There’s no definitive ‘finish line’ for a literature review the way there is for a construction project. You just need to decide how long you’re willing to give the review, and stop when it’s ‘good enough.’

That’s why Kearns recommends ‘backward planning’ for PhDs. You start with an end date in mind (usually when the funding runs out) and work back from there.

His book, Planning Your PhD: All the tools and advice you need to finish your PhD in three years , lays out the steps in detail, and provides some worksheets you can use to create a multi-year Thesis Plan .

In fact, he offers those worksheets for free on the website!

Drilling into Detail

With your Thesis Plan in place, you can begin the process of adding more and more detail to the events closest in time.

This ‘rolling plan’ recognizes that you don’t know what you might be doing on Tuesday March 25 at 3PM three years from now, but you CAN decide on some goals over the next six months.

And don’t stress out if those goals shift, or you don’t quite manage to meet them. If you revisit your plan on a regular schedule, you can adjust and adapt.

If you never set the goal, or never look back at what you planned, you’re guaranteed to drift as the months and years pass by.

Kearns shares some other tools, like his ‘To Day’ list that works in conjunction with your ‘To Do’ list to put a time component on your tasks. That way, you slowly make progress toward your goals, rather than watching your list grow more and more unmanageable.

The Paradox of Choice

Finally, we talk about the surprising fact having more options usually means you are less happy and get less done. Weird, right?

It’s the ‘paradox of choice,’ described by Barry Schwartz in his 2004 book of the same name, and this TED Talk .

For graduate students, that manifests as a list of things you need to get done: pour a gel, set up those reactions, manage the lab animals, read three papers, write a section of a review, respond to your PI’s email, and on and on.

And what happens when you have all those things you COULD be doing? You get overwhelmed and go scroll through Instagram instead.

Kearns recommends that you identify ‘The Next Thing’ (or TNT) and work on that. The smaller you make that task, the better!

We’ve learned over the years that PhD students don’t understand the meaning of the word “small”. Because they’ll say, “OK, I know what the task is: I’ll finish my literature review”. But this is still way too big. So now we use the word micro-task. For example, some micro-tasks are: * Add two paragraphs to the discussion section * Add the new data to Table 1 * Read my supervisor’s comments on my draft Planning Your PhD, by Hugh Kearns and Maria Gardiner

Keeping ‘The Next Thing’ manageable prevents your brain from shutting down and giving up.

And if you stack up enough ‘The Next Things’, day after day and week after week, you’ll soon be making measurable progress on your PhD!

finishing phd at 45

One thought to “154. How to Plan Your PhD w/ Hugh Kearns”

There’s so many people that I’ve already approached and address the subject, and while it’s still needs to be addressed and is of great value to younger grad students… There’s something that I have experienced two times in my graduate student career, that I’ve yet to hear any academic institution discuss… What happens, when you are left alone when your advisor dies, and/or commits suicide? I realize this is a very small population of the onions that you speak to, but to those of us that I’ve gone through this, it is absolutely devastating. I’m the first person from my family to go to college, let alone grad school. Trying to finish my PhD was absolutely, not supported the least. When my advisor died it just sent things out of control. So, how do you propose to integrate maybe even in a small portion… However uncomfortable it may be, if a student is to be in such a situation where their advisor dies, And they are not receiving any support by their department which leaves them in even greater shock.. And perhaps I need them selves in limbo for years. This is what happened to me. But I had extenuating circumstances. I fought as hard as I could, While escaping a very unsafe home situation… Essentially, how do you bring up these topics for students for the worst possible case scenario for when things go wrong? Hopefully, they never do reach a point Were you have to learn that your advisor died or that you were advisor completed suicide in one of the parking garages is in your university. If you happen to plan your research out, let’s say perfectly; you have five research papers and you were on track to graduate and you were ready to give your defense And anticipated your graduation to be the next upcoming semester. You did everything right. Your plan worked. You follow the rules. What advice for students would you suggest, to prevent them from essentially falling apart completely? Because at the end of the day they put their entire lives into what they are doing here to finish up and move on with their lives. They put relationships and marriages and children on hold… So what happens when a disaster strikes? I think that should be a topic you might want to touch on in the future. Like I said, might be a small demographic, but I lost 1 advisor suddenly, An excellent professor to suicide, a remarkable and rising star an excellent lab-mate to suicide as well. I think that if we can integrate mental health and just kind of trickle it into conversations more, and dedicate more time to Just discussing it, and just discussing that mental health is as important as physical health… mental health won’t be as stigmatized as it unfortunately still is at this very day. Overall, I’m happy about the topic of this episode and this podcast in general. However, I think there are modern in inclusive pathways and things that Students really need help with especially regarding mental health and support… Especially when the loss of a lame or a advisor or a loved one… If any of this occurs, and they feel like they cannot reach out, that can be detrimental to your perfect research plan. So at the end of the day, your research plan could mean absolutely nothing. You have to essentially plan for the worst. Sounds sounds like a very pessimistic thing, I understand. But having gone through this myself, I don’t want anybody to ever experience what I have. We can only start making these extreme cases easier to deal with by Integrating it in our discussions. After all, it is quite relatable to your planning of your research and your PhD career. Because when your world gets turned upside down, your “plan” Could be dead or worthless. So where do you go from there? Just trying to provide a thought on my own take Hope it helps thanks for the podcast.

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Finishing Your Doctorate - a guide for students approaching the end of their studies

Learn about about the different stages you will go through to complete your doctorate. find out about the timescales and the issues you will need to consider..

  • Introduction

As you approach the end of your doctoral studies there are many things to consider including finishing off your research, writing and submitting your thesis, preparing for your viva voce examination and completing any corrections before your doctorate is awarded.

This step-by-step guide will help you understand the different stages you will need to go through. If you are completing an MPhil, please contact your supervisor or the Doctoral Programmes Administrator in the Doctoral College for specific advice for finishing your award as the process will be different. They are on hand to provide help and further detailed information about each step.

  • Timeline for completion of your doctorate

The timeline from when you formally tell us that you intend to submit your thesis or portfolio to when your award is approved, can vary from six to 18 months, depending on the outcome of your viva voce examination. You can see the timeline in full on this diagram .

You should aim to submit in advance of your expected registration end date, in order to allow time for the examination process to be completed before your registration period runs out.

Funding and visa issues

If you are in receipt of funding for a fixed period, you should bear this in mind when considering when to submit. Whilst technically it is still possible to submit your thesis on the last day of your formal registration period, or after your funding ends, you are strongly advised not to do this: you will need extensions to cover the examination period and you will still be required to pay fees until the date you submit your thesis. If you are a Tier 4 visa holder, you may also need to consider that your visa could expire before your viva examination can be held.

For those students who find themselves in financial difficulty, The University of Bath Hardship Fund is available.

  • Step 1: Decide how to submit your thesis

A doctoral thesis submitted for the award of MPhil, PhD, DBA, DPRP or DHealth may be submitted in one of two differing formats:

a traditional thesis consisting of chapters

an alternative format thesis which integrates academic papers into the text.

You will need to decide, if you haven’t already, which format you plan to submit. Ideally, you will have discussed with your supervisory team at an appropriately early stage in your studies how you wish to present your work.

The programme regulations for each Degree will describe how the research work may be presented: in a thesis, a portfolio (EngD, and DClinPsy only) or via a body of published works (MD MS only). Only students registered on an EdD prior to 2014 are able to present their work in either a thesis or portfolio format.

Further details of the University’s specifications for Higher Degree Theses and Portfolios can be found in Appendix 6 of QA7 . You may also want to read the Alternative Format Thesis FAQs .

You can access the Library’s collection of successful thesis submissions online via the Research Portal. You may wish to look at a few from your department as examples, taking note of content and organisation.

  • Step 2: Transfer to Writing Up Status

Once you have completed the minimum period of study required for your particular degree as stipulated in Regulation 16 , and you have finished the specified amount of work, you may be able to apply for transfer to 'Writing Up' status.

Each Faculty / School has its own requirements for what needs to be in place before you can transfer to writing up status. These are as follows:

Engineering - supervisor confirms that you have finished all experimental work and analysis and that you are now writing up the results

Science - laboratory work has been completed where appropriate, and the required data has been collected in preparation for writing up

Humanities & Social Sciences – a clear outline of the thesis structure, including methodological and analytical approaches to be used, a detailed content of all chapters has been agreed, and, where appropriate, data collection has been completed.

School of Management - data collection and analysis has been completed and you have started writing up analysis

Fees associated with writing up

There are two writing up fee levels: Continuation and Administration, both of which are a significant drop from the regular fee rate. The one you choose will depend on the level of supervision you will need and the extent to which you will require access to the Library. Please note that Tier 4 students who wish to stay in the UK to write up are required to transfer to the Continuation fee and maintain regular supervisory contact.

Continuation fee - requires continued supervision and use of University facilities at a reduced level.

Administration fee - no longer requires supervision or the use of University facilities

Whether you transfer to the Continuation or Administration fee, your supervisor will still be expected to provide a critical proof reading of your thesis, prior to its submission. In addition, a member of the supervisory team will be available for consultation with the Board of Examiners on the day of the examination, and your supervisor will be with you at the point the examiners tell you about the outcome of the exam.

Writing up fee levels can be found here . They are paid on an annual basis.

Approval process

You should consider making an application for transfer to writing up status at the earliest point, as changes of status may take time to be approved. In order to apply to transfer to writing up status and for your fee status to be changed you must:

complete the PGR10 form

ask your lead supervisor and your Director of Studies to sign the form to authorise the change in your status

submit the form to your Doctoral Programmes Administrator in the Doctoral College for consideration by Board of Studies (Doctoral) for formal approval.

Impact of change of status

You should note that if you are in receipt of funding, such as a full studentship or a fee waiver, this funding will end at the point at which you transfer to writing up status. You should also be aware that a change in your status may impact on your liability to pay Council Tax .

  • Step 3: Notice of intention to submit

At least two months before you intend to submit your thesis or portfolio, and before your registration period ends, you should complete the HD1 form, which can be accessed through your SAMIS in-tray.

By completing this form you are providing formal notice of your intention to submit, which then prompts your supervisors and Director of Studies to start the appointment of examiners process by nominating an appropriate internal and an external examiner. It will also alert the graduation team that you are likely to be completing in the near future, so your name can be added to the invitation list for the next available graduation ceremony.

Most students will receive an email notification, reminding them to complete the HD1 form, six months prior to their registration end date. Students on the DClinPsy programme will be told by their Programme team when and how to complete a version of HD1. If you wish to submit your HD1 form earlier than six months before your end date, please contact your Doctoral Programme Administrator in the Doctoral College.

  • Step 4: Restriction of access to your thesis

You should talk to your supervisor and/or funder about whether there is a need to restrict access to your thesis. Typical reasons for restricting access can include:

contractual agreements with companies or funders to not make findings public for a fixed period

deferral of open release of the e-thesis until after a paper’s publication

delay in making results public as they are being used to prepare patent applications.

If, for reasons of confidentiality, you want to restrict access to your thesis, it is possible to request a 12 month restriction. This applies to the electronic copy of the final thesis at the point when it is uploaded to the Library repository, Pure .

If you wish to secure a more comprehensive restriction of both the electronic and printed copies, or would like a restriction of a longer duration, you will need to make a formal request for approval from the Board of Studies (Doctoral) using the PGR7 form . On this form you will need to indicate why you need access to be restricted, and for how long.

The University has an open access policy on research outputs, and the expectation is that all theses/ portfolios will be available within the Library repository, therefore you will need to provide some details about why your work should not be shared. You will then need to submit the form to your Doctoral Programmes Administrator in the Doctoral College.

  • Step 5: Appointment and role of examiners

Your supervisors and your departmental Director of Studies are responsible for nominating a Board of Examiners for the viva voce examination of your thesis or portfolio. This team will consist of an internal examiner who is usually, but not always, an academic from your department, and an external examiner from another university or organisation.

The team of examiners may also consist of an additional examiner, as a condition of funding, or an independent chairperson who can be appointed when the Director of Studies considers that the presence of an additional academic would be of assistance.

Criteria for appointment and role of examiners

For information on the criteria for the appointment of examiners, see section 14 of QA7 . You can also find further information in QA7 (section 13) on the role of examiners.

Nominations for doctoral examiners will be submitted using the PGR13 form: Appointment of Examiners for Doctoral Research Degrees. This form includes details of who the proposed examiners are and what previous examination experience they have, and it is signed by the lead supervisor and the Director of Studies.

The appointment of examiners needs to be approved by Board of Studies (Doctoral) before a viva voce examination can take place, so this form should be submitted to your Doctoral Programmes Administrator in the Doctoral College in good time prior to the submission of your thesis or portfolio. When you submit your Notice of Intention to Submit form you might want to also check with your lead supervisor that they have begun the process of identifying potential examiners.

  • Step 6: Final preparation for submission

Word counts

The guidelines on word limits for final theses/portfolios vary by faculty or department. In order to be sure that you stay within any prescribed limits please consult the Doctoral College guidance document on word counts .

Plagiarism is a serious academic offence. You will have by now completed the academic integrity training and are expected to be aware of the rules around plagiarism.

All theses are checked for plagiarism using appropriate software. Whether it is detected by the supervisor when proof-reading a draft copy, or by the examiners in a thesis actually submitted for examination, QA53 (Examination and Assessment Offences) outlines the investigation process that will be followed if a suspected plagiarism offence is detected. The viva examination cannot go ahead until the investigation is completed, and where plagiarism is found to have taken place this may result in a disciplinary hearing where an appropriate penalty will be decided.

For a refresher on academic integrity whilst writing your thesis, see the Library guide on citing references and how to avoid plagiarism .

Seeking advice from your supervisor on draft(s)

The lead supervisor is responsible for advising you on the format of the thesis to be adopted and for carrying out a critical reading of the draft. When you are ready, your lead supervisor should read a complete draft of your thesis or portfolio and advise you of any changes or additions that should be made prior to submission. You may need to produce more than one draft before it is finalised.

You should give your supervisors not less than two weeks notice that you will be providing them with a copy of the draft thesis. They will need at least six weeks to read the draft and make their comments. The supervisor’s opinion is only advisory, and you have the right to decide whether to make any of the edits they recommend, and to decide when you are ready to submit your work for examination (subject to the requirements of the Regulations for the degree for which you are registered). Addressing the comments made by your supervisor does not guarantee that your thesis/portfolio will subsequently be passed by the examiners.

Specification for submission

There are detailed specifications for the presentation of a thesis or portfolio for examination and these can be found in Appendix 6 of QA7 . Please take note of these before submitting your work.

Printing / binding costs

You will need to print one hard-bound copy after the examination is completed. Information on the prices and process for printing your thesis/portfolio can be found here. You will be expected to bear the cost of printing this copy and as such may wish to speak with your supervisor about what assistance might be available.

  • Step 7: Submission of your thesis/portfolio

What do I submit?

You are required to submit your thesis/portfolio in electronic format to the Doctoral College Submission page in Moodle where it will be checked for plagiarism. If an investigation into a potential plagiarism offence has to take place, the examination process will be stopped until this is concluded.

You will also need to complete the HD2 form: Record of submission of a thesis or portfolio , and email it to your Doctoral Programmes Administrator. Upon receipt of the HD2 form, and your submission onto Moodle, the Doctoral College will email you, your supervisor and the Director of Studies to formally confirm receipt of your submission.

When do I submit?

You are strongly advised to submit before the last day of your formal registration period so that the examination process can be completed before your registration ends, and if you are a Tier 4 visa holder, before your visa runs out.

If you do not submit before your registration end date, you will have to seek permission from Board of Studies to re-register as a student.

Your registration end date can be found on your SAMIS page or you can check this with your Doctoral College Programme Administrator.

If your visa runs out before the examination process is complete, you may be required to obtain a new visa (such as a short-term study visa) or return to your home country. If this happens, it may be possible to return to the UK at a later date to attend the viva voce examination in person, or alternatively a video conference can be arranged to facilitate the examination.  Find out more about visas .

What happens to my tuition fees after I submit?

Tuition fees will no longer be incurred but may still be charged from the point of submission. Depending on the outcome of your viva examination, and the level of access you may need to supervision and resources in order to complete your corrections/revisions, you may be charged a writing up fee for the corrections period.

Do I have to start paying Council Tax after I submit?

Full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax until their expected, or actual, end date of registration. If you submit your thesis/portfolio on, or close to, your end date, you will need to contact your Doctoral Programmes Administrator to request an examination extension, which will extend your end of registration date. The actual end date of registration will then be the day of the Board of Studies (Doctoral) meeting where your final award is approved.

  • Step 8: Preparing for the viva voce examination

Purpose of the viva voce

The main purpose of the viva voce is for you to defend the content of your thesis/portfolio and demonstrate your understanding of the broader aspects of the field of research and the subject of the thesis. It is an essential part of the examination process, and you must pass the viva as well as present a satisfactory thesis/portfolio in order to gain the award.

The examiners will test your ability to defend the work presented for examination. They need to ensure that your work is robust and that you fully understand the implications of your findings. They want to check the foundations of your research to ensure that the basic assumptions underpinning the work are sound, and that nothing major has been overlooked. Being able to discuss the work with you in person is of particular help if there is disagreement between the examiners about the outcome, or when the decision is marginal.

Think about the viva voce as more than an examination. It is an opportunity for you to discuss and develop ideas with experts in the field, to receive guidance on future publication plans and to receive constructive feedback on your work.

When should the examination take place?

The viva voce examination should normally take place within three months of the submission of the thesis/portfolio. Efforts will be made, where possible, to arrange the viva examination on a date convenient to all parties involved, and to minimise the amount of time a student has to wait for a viva examination.

You will be advised of the date of the examination as soon as possible after the thesis has been submitted. As a minimum, you will be given at least one week’s notice of the date of the exam. Those Tier 4 students on an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) course who are coming back to the UK for their viva examination may require more notice, so that they can apply and receive their new ATAS certificate. The Doctoral Programmes Administrator for your department or programme/supervisor will work with the examiners to check availability and agree a date and time.

Where should the examination take place?

The venue for the viva voce examination will vary by discipline. In some cases it will take place in the office of the internal examiner. In other cases a room may be booked. In all cases, the venue should be a quiet, comfortable environment free from interruptions.

Video Conferencing

In certain circumstances, the use of video conferencing facilities may be permitted for your viva examination, although some programmes may have their own expectations with regards to the use of these facilities. This might be an option if you or your examiner are based outside the UK and for reasons of cost, time or restricted mobility are unable to travel to the University of Bath in order to participate in the viva exam at an appropriate time. Should you require further advice on this, or should you want to take advantage of this facility, you should contact your Doctoral Programmes Administrator as soon as you are notified of your viva date.

For further information on the use of video conferencing in viva examinations see QA7 Appendix 3 .

Who will attend?

In line with UK practice, the viva voce will be a closed examination rather than a public event. You and the examiners will attend, along with an independent Chairperson if they have been appointed. You may ask that your supervisor is permitted to attend the viva voce examination to provide moral support or reassurance, but they must not play an active role in the examination. If you want your supervisor to be in attendance you will need to notify the Doctoral College on your HD2 form at the point of submission.

Some departments may also require you to undertake a public lecture or presentation before your viva voce. Please contact your supervisor for further information about whether this applies to you.

Can I ask for adjustments to help me participate in the viva examination?

The University is responsible for ensuring that appropriate facilities are made available should you need them. Please raise details of any reasonable adjustments that you may require to enable you to participate fully in the viva examination at your earliest opportunity. These adjustments can be related to a long-standing disability or a short-term medical issue, for example a back problem. Student Services can provide you with advice about adjustments and will generate a Disability Action Plan to record the adjustments where appropriate.

  • Tips and advice for your viva voce

The following tips and advice will help you to prepare:

  • expect to be challenged!
  • be active - anticipate the questions that are likely to be asked in the viva examination
  • use your research skills to identify commonly asked questions, and, after they’ve proof-read the thesis, ask your supervisors to suggest some potential questions too
  • be prepared to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of your work
  • if you’ve presented your work at a conference or departmental seminar consider the questions that other researchers have raised about your work
  • re-familiarise yourself with your examiners’ work in the field, as this can help you anticipate some of their likely questions
  • be ready to summarise their most significant findings or area of greatest strength in your thesis
  • be objective, and identify any areas of weaknesses within the body of work and be ready to discuss these, too
  • ask your supervisory team, fellow researchers, or doctoral students in your office to hold a practice viva voce examination, in order to gain experience in answering questions about your work.
  • re-read the thesis, particularly the first chapters that you wrote, in order to familiarise yourself with the contents once more
  • attend the DoctoralSkills workshop ' Preparing for your doctoral viva '. You'll discuss what is expected of you in the examination and there will be a Q&A session with experienced examiners. Alternatively, you can complete the online learning module . Find out more by emailing DoctoralSkills .
  • Further information about the viva voce

There are several useful resources in the library catalogue, the following list may be accessed online: Murray, R., (2009) How to Survive Your Viva: Defending a Thesis in an Oral Examination. Mansfield, N., (2007) Final hurdle: a guide to a successful viva. Potter, S., (2006) Doing postgraduate research.

The following Vitae guides may also prove helpful:

  • Finishing your doctorate
  • Completing your doctorate
  • Writing and submitting your doctoral thesis
  • Defending your thesis: the PhD viva
  • Thesis defence checklist
  • Thesis outcomes and corrections
  • I had my doctoral viva and I enjoyed it

ATAS requirements

If you are a visa-holding student on an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) course coming back to the UK for your viva voce examination on a short-term study visa, you will need to ensure that a new ATAS certificate has been applied for, and received, in good time before making your new visa application. This includes nationals who are able to ask for permission to enter the UK on arrival at the border, rather than apply for a visa in advance. If you return to the UK for your viva voce without having a new ATAS certificate in place then it may not be possible to proceed with the examination.

  • Step 9: Examiners' role in the viva voce

What do the examiners do?

Once appointed, internal and external examiners will read your thesis and each complete a preliminary report which records their initial independent thoughts on the work presented for examination. The examiners will refer back to these reports when they ask you questions in the viva voce examination. After the viva examination is concluded, the examiners will ask you to leave the room whilst they make their decision. You will be called back in, with your supervisor, to hear the examiners’ recommended outcome of the examination.

Examiners are asked to assess doctoral candidates' research and confirm their research as:

  • making an original and significant contribution to knowledge
  • giving evidence of originality of mind and critical judgement in a particular subject
  • containing material worthy of peer-reviewed publication
  • being satisfactory in its literary and/or technical presentation and structure with a full bibliography and references
  • demonstrating an understanding of the context of the research: this must include, as appropriate for the subject of the thesis, the scientific, engineering, commercial and social contexts

And passing a viva voce examination on the broader aspects of the field of research in addition to the subject of the thesis

Examiners' Report

On the day of the viva the examiners will complete an Examiners’ Report, which summarises how the examination went, their recommended outcome, and any minor corrections or revisions that are required. It is not always possible for these to be outlined in detail on the day of the examination, so the full list of corrections/revisions may be supplied by the examiners up to two weeks later.

The Examiners Report, and corrections list, goes to Board of Studies (Doctoral) for consideration and approval, and until this point their recommendations are only provisional. The official outcome of the examination will be confirmed to you by email from the Doctoral College/Secretary of the Board of Studies (Doctoral).

More information about the role and responsibilities of the Board of Examiners and how the examination will be conducted can be found in the Guidelines for Research Examiners .

Contact with examiners

You should have no contact with your examiners prior to the viva voce examination, other than with the internal examiner to arrange the date and time of your examination. After the examination, advice and supervision in support of any required corrections or revisions will be provided by your supervisors, not the examiners. If needed, your supervisor or the Doctoral College can liaise with examiners on your behalf.

Please note that examiners usually need between four and six weeks to read a thesis and prepare for the examination. Later, when presented with a corrected thesis, the internal examiner may take up to four weeks to determine whether the corrections have been done satisfactorily. Examiners should not be pressured to set an early viva date, or examine to a foreshortened schedule.

  • Step 10: Possible outcomes of the viva voce examination

The Board of Examiners will agree a recommended outcome following your viva examination. The list of potential outcomes of the examination are set out fully in both QA7 Section 17 and Regulation 16 but in summary, the examiners can recommend to:

  • award the degree
  • award the degree subject to satisfactory completion of minor corrections. These will either be of a trivial or typographical nature, or of a significant or substantial nature (but do not require major re-working of the intellectual content of the thesis/portfolio)
  • award the degree subject to satisfactory performance at a second viva voce examination and the satisfactory completion of any minor corrections to the thesis/portfolio. If the recommendation is to attend a second viva, the date will be arranged at the convenience of all involved
  • request that a revised thesis/portfolio be submitted before recommendation of the award can be considered. The Examiners may require the student to undergo a second viva voce examination, but may choose not make this decision until the revised thesis has been received and considered
  • award a lower degree (MPhil), subject to any minor revisions to the thesis/portfolio (not currently available for the DBA)
  • defer the decision to a Board of Examiners for the taught stage of the programme (for DBA, DHealth, DPRP and EdD)

Communication of the recommendation

You will be informed verbally of the recommended outcome by your examiners following the viva examination. Your supervisor should be in attendance at this point. The outcome is unconfirmed, and subject to approval by the Board of Studies (Doctoral).

You will have 30 days from the date of written notification of the outcome of the examination to complete minor corrections of a trivial or typographical nature and return them to the internal examiner.

In cases where the examiners require substantial amounts of work to be completed, the examiners will send their report and the details of the corrections/revisions to the Board of Studies (Doctoral) for consideration.

The Board of Studies (Doctoral) is responsible for checking that the examiners’ recommended outcome is supported by what is written in their report, and that any significant minor corrections or thesis revisions specified by the examiners may reasonably be expected to be completed within the time allowed. Written notification of the outcome of the exam will then be sent to you, and you will have up to 12 weeks to complete minor corrections of a more substantial nature, or up to 12 months to complete a revised thesis. You can find out more about Corrections in Step 12.

It is important that you meet the deadline for submission of your corrections or revised thesis, failure to do so may result in a fail outcome. In exceptional circumstances you may request an extension to the deadline for submitting the corrected or revised thesis/portfolio. Please contact your Doctoral Programme Administrator for information. If you have a disability access plan that relates to your ability to meet the deadline, please contact your Doctoral Programme Administrator.

  • Step 11: Approval by Board of Studies (Doctoral)

The Board of Studies (Doctoral) normally meets approximately every four-six weeks. You will receive formal notification of the outcome of your examination shortly after it is approved by Committee.

You are permitted to use your new academic title of ‘Doctor’ from the point at which you are awarded your degree by the Board of Studies (Doctoral). You will no longer hold student status from the date of the Board of Studies meeting where your award is approved.

You can appeal against an academic decision made by the Board of Studies (Doctoral) about your degree award. Regulation 17 sets out the grounds, process and timescales for which you can do this.

If you wish to raise an issue you are encouraged to:

speak with your supervisor or Director of Studies

seek independent advice from the Students’ Union Advice and Support Centre

-seek advice from the University Independent Advisors for Postgraduate Research Students

  • seek support from Student Services

-speak to the Doctoral College .

  • Step 12: Corrections to your Thesis or Portfolio

No Corrections

If no corrections are required, you will need to submit a hardbound copy of your final thesis/ portfolio to your Doctoral Programme Administrator in the Doctoral College and an electronic copy to Pure , before the outcome of your viva examination can be approved by the Board of Studies (Doctoral) - see Step 13, below.

Minor Corrections

Depending on the outcome of your examination, you may be required to complete some minor corrections. It is uncommon for a thesis or portfolio to be accepted without requiring some form of correction following the examination. Minor corrections can either be trivial or typographical where you are normally given 30 days in which to make the changes. They can also be more substantial, where you normally receive up to 12 weeks to complete them.

When the minor corrections are completed, you will need to submit the corrected thesis to Moodle.

The internal examiner will then determine, on behalf of the Board of Examiners, whether the corrections have been completed satisfactorily, and whether you may now receive the award. It may help your examiner to do this if you complete the corrections in a different colour ink, and/or provide a document listing how each of the required changes has been addressed.

The internal examiner will update the examiners’ recommended outcome, and inform the Doctoral College. The Doctoral College will email you to inform you of the recommended final outcome that will go to Board of Studies (Doctoral) for approval. When you receive this email, you should start the process of printing a hardbound copy of your thesis and uploading an electronic version to PURE (see Step 13 below).

Revised thesis/portfolio

If the recommendation is to submit a revised thesis/portfolio, you will be given a reasonable time frame to complete the work, usually up to 12 months. You may also be required to attend a second viva. Before this deadline expires, the revised thesis or portfolio should be submitted to Moodle and paper copies presented to your Doctoral Programmes Administrator in the Doctoral College, in the same way as you did for the first submission.

Extension to your deadline

  • Step 13: Submitting Your Final Thesis or Portfolio

Submitting a hardbound thesis/portfolio

Once your examination has been successfully completed, the final version of your thesis or portfolio should be submitted in hardbound copy to your Doctoral Programmes Administrator in the Doctoral College, along with a completed HD3 form before the final outcome can be approved by the Board of Studies (Doctoral).

You need to check the requirements for the colour of the hardbound case before proceeding with binding - see section 5iii of the thesis specifications document . Your hardbound thesis/ portfolio will be deposited in the Library by your Doctoral Programmes Administrator, and access will be subject to any approved restrictions. You are expected to cover the cost of printing the hardbound thesis yourself. Find further information about printing and binding a thesis here .

Uploading electronic thesis/portfolio to Pure

You will need to make the electronic copy of your thesis or portfolio publicly available by uploading it to the University’s research information system Pure . The Library provides guidance on submitting your final thesis/portfolio , including details on how to request a 12 month restriction to the electronic version.

  • Step 14: Graduation

You will be contacted about the graduation ceremonies by email.

If you receive an invitation but have yet to have your final award approved, these invitations will be provisional. Deadlines for actions that must be completed before you are eligible to attend a graduation ceremony can be found here .

Your Bath student email address will be deactivated a short time after the Board of Studies (Doctoral) approves your award, so it is really important that you provide an alternate contact address within your SAMIS record. You may wish to switch to BathMail which is an email address that is exclusive to University of Bath graduates. Graduating students will automatically be sent a BathMail username and password to their student email account before it is deactivated.

Graduation Ceremony

The University holds graduation ceremonies twice a year, in December/January and July. Find more information on the dates of future ceremonies .

See eligibility to attend graduation ceremonies and doctoral deadlines for graduation ceremonies for more information.

If you are interested in attending a specific ceremony, please contact your Doctoral Programmes Administrator who will be able to inform you of the deadline for that ceremony.

See doctoral deadlines for graduation ceremonies , for more information on the next ceremony.

Preparation for Graduation

You can find out further information about how to prepare for your graduation ceremony . You should not book your travel until you have received confirmation that your successful outcome has been approved by Board of Studies (Doctoral) and the Graduation team have confirmed you have a place at the ceremony.


Your degree certificate will be generated once the Vice Chancellor formally confers the award, following Board of Studies approval. Conferment is timed so that certificates can be released for the graduation ceremonies. If you decide not to attend a ceremony, or your ceremony is a while away, you can find out more information about receiving your certificate here .

Your Graduation certificate will include the following information: - your full name

degree awarded (such as Doctor of Philosophy)

date awarded

signatures from the Vice Chancellor, Director of Academic Registry and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International & Doctoral)

Please note that the University of Bath Doctoral certificate does not specify the subject studied.

Alumnus status

All graduates, former staff and students who have studied at Bath for at least one semester are members of our alumni community . Alumni receive invitations to events, regular updates about the latest news from campus and opportunities to get involved with University life.

There are University of Bath alumni groups or networks in more than 40 different locations around the world. Activities vary in each city or country, from an online network to a Chapter - where an international volunteer committee organises a programme of events for local alumni. Getting involved can be a great way to make new contacts and widen your social or professional circle.

University of Bath alumni can use the Sports Training Village and Library, which offer discounted membership and special rates to alumni. Alumni are also able to use the University Careers Service. To access these services you will need to provide your alumni ID number or other proof of alumni status, available by contacting the Alumni Relations team .

  • Further information

During the above timeline, you may also be thinking about your next steps after your doctorate, in terms of your career. The University Careers Service can provide support and guidance and specialist careers information.

On this page

A 5 step program for finishing your PhD (finally!)

Part of the fun of being Thesis Whisperer is the emails I get from all around the world. Many of them outline classic PhD student dilemmas, which are excellent blog fodder, such as this one, from Laura S:

Have you, or have you considered anything along the lines of *actually finishing* writing? I can produce writing like nobody’s business, and get well on my way into a paper. Finishing, however, is agony. I think this is in part because I’m a lateral thinker and a perfectionist. I’m sure you are familiar with these traits! It is also, however (as I’ve recently discovered) a particular challenge for folks with ADHD. Discovering as an adult that I had ADHD has been a real light on a lot of my patterns and tendencies, so when I feel ready (i.e. more research) I would be happy to contribute a couple of blogs on the topic if you are interested and think it would be helpful to others.

Now, I can’t talk about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder specifically because I am not an expert, but I do know a thing or two about finishing a piece of writing. The ‘ Thesis Bootcamp ’ program I run at ANU helps PhD students who have run out of time to complete their dissertation. The program is insanely popular, but it’s expensive to run. We can only take 26 people from up to 100 applicants, so we must choose people who are most at risk of dropping out. We look for people who have done most of the thinking and just need to write. Our selection strategy means most of our Bootcampers have faced significant challenges along the way, such as failed experiments, ill-health and conflict with advisors. Despite these issues, most of these people just need to sit down and, well – write. Sadly they can’t seem to do this on their own because they feel ‘stuck’. It’s almost like they have late stage dissertation constipation.  

finishing phd at 45

At thesis Bootcamp, we use a range of strategies to help people move on from this ‘stuck’ feeling. We are proud that everyone who spends a weekend with us writes at least 5000 words, and many write more. At least a couple of people hit our ‘stretch goal’ of 20,000 words. After watching over 400 people go through this program, I’ve got a good idea of what it takes to finish a dissertation. Below is my patented, trialled and tested 5 step program for drawing a line under your PhD studies and calling it done.

Step one: identify what is holding you back

In my experience, there is a range of factors at play in people feeling unable to finish, but most people are held back by fear. Some people are in a comfortable rut and fear what comes next after their PhD – especially if the job market for their skill set is unclear. Other people are perfectionists – functional or otherwise- who fear the dissertation they are crafting will not pass. Others fear confrontation with their supervisor over the content of the dissertation.  

Unpacking the feelings with a professional therapist is the best way I know to put these fears to rest, which is why we hire at least one for the Bootcamp weekend (sometimes we have two!). Having a therapist on hand while confronting the fear of finishing is amazingly powerful. Some people who have resisted therapy in the past are finally free to share their concerns with an expert who can help them lay those fears to rest. Later these therapy resisters tell me that confronting their fear of writing helped them with other issues too. Some have saved their marriage, others have got divorced, some change careers or cities – some even decide to drop out of their PhD. The program is meant to stop the dropouts of course, but I figure that helping a person move on with their life without the PhD is sometimes the best outcome.

Step two: commit to it

Some people have a habit of restarting their writing (or even their whole project) over and over again. The reason for restarting all the time seems rational until you dig a bit deeper and see a pattern that stretches right back to the beginning of candidature. Restarting over and over is a symptom of perfectionism: if you feel like your writing is misshapen and ugly, working with the text long enough to finish provokes a range of unpleasant feelings. One way to avoid the feelings is by starting again with a ‘clean slate’. Other people have trouble committing to a structure for the dissertation. These people can be functional perfectionists, who are willing to accept their ‘bad writing’ but get obsessed with finding the perfect structure for the whole work. You will never find the perfect structure because it’s an illusion. A dissertation is a story of the research done, that’s all. You could tell at least10 different stories; some will be better or worse, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter because the PhD endeavour is a pass/fail proposition. Perfect is the enemy of done.   Just find a structure and stick with it long enough to get the whole thing written.  

Another good avoidance strategy is to funnel creative energy into side projects. Instead of finishing the (now slightly boring) big project, I encounter people who are getting stuck into journal papers, articles, blogs, podcasts – you name it! There is always another creative distraction if you look for i. It’s easier, in the moment, to go for immediate gratification ahead of long term benefits.

I don’t want to shame anyone for these behaviours – I’ve done many of them myself. There’s no need to beat yourself up. In fact, the shame spiral just makes things worse. If you really want to finish, learning to focus is crucial. In the first instance, just notice and be aware of your behaviour. Noticing helps you develop strategies to counter the unhelpful patterns. When you feel like starting over again because you hate what you have written, put it away for a day or two and then come back. I guarantee the writing isn’t as bad as you thought it was when you come back to it. Self-talk helps too. When the feelings that everything you write is shit well up, say out loud: ‘ok, it isn’t perfect, but it will have to do for now’, or ‘I’ll come back to this later, let’s move on’. Self-talk can help you suspend judgment and just keep writing – which is most of the trick to finishing after all.

Step Three: Write the conclusion before you finish  

In my What do examiners really want? workshop, I advise people who are to write a draft of the conclusion to their dissertation at around the six-month mark. The suggestion always gets funny looks, but there’s method in my madness. Writing the conclusion sometimes helps you think through your methods: what experiments or data gathering would you need to do to prove anything you said? Writing a draft of your conclusion also forces you to surface assumptions and biases so that you can be aware of them as you process your data. People ask whether writing the conclusion early is ‘cheating’. Of course, it would be if you just constructed the whole project to ‘prove’ what you thought in the first place – that isn’t research. My view is, writing the conclusion early is acceptable as long as you:

  • consciously write the conclusion draft as a thought exercise only and/or  
  • use the draft as part of the development of your project and method, and  
  • take the opportunity to examine and critique your own biases.  

Writing the conclusion can work when you are close to the end as well. When you’ve finished most of the other writing, doing the conclusion can usefully narrow the scope of what remains to be written. The conclusion fixes your endpoint and forces you to commit to finishing – sort of like aiming an arrow at a target. Give it a try and see.

Step Four: list it out

When you have written the conclusion, start a list about what you want to achieve in the piece of writing and tick it off as you go. Making a list forces you to articulate a pathway to the end and define what ‘finished’ means. For example, at the moment I am working on a journal article about what non-academic employers want, using job ads as data. Here’s my list of provisional goals for the paper:

  • Why is it important to know what non-academic employers want?
  • Tell the reader why using job ads is a good approach and how you have used them.
  • Explain the key findings – particularly the unexpected ones
  • Explain the new curriculum model and how it could be used in research education and policy development.

The list is not a writing outline – I can address these points in any order I want to. The paper will be ‘finished’ when I’ve written about everything on the list to my satisfaction, so I try to keep the list as short as possible. After the first brainstorm, I leave it for a few days, review it (or share it with co-authors) and then finalise the ‘master list’. I then pretend the master list is not allowed to be altered. This forces me to commit. In my experience, this mind game is remarkably effective, but it only works for short pieces, so if you are employing this technique for a dissertation, do a goal list for each chapter.

Step Five: Imagine life without the dissertation

At Bootcamp we ask people to write on a single post-it note a fun, non-work thing they have been putting off doing. The answers range from ‘sleeping as long as I want’ to ‘having a baby’ or ‘riding a motorcycle around Sicily’. We then encourage people to imagine how they will feel when they do those things they have put off. People sit with dreamy smiles on their faces as they contemplate the bliss of a dissertation free life complete with babies, motorcycle rides and endless sleep (well, not all at once – I don’t think those things are compatible really!). We encourage people to keep the post-it note as a handy reminder of the long term rewards they can have if they do the boring, finishing bit first. Some people tell me they hang on to this encouraging piece of paper for years afterwards!

Ultimately, if you decide to finish, you will. And that’s all I have to say on the subject of Taming your PhD. Why don’t you go off now and do it?

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The Thesis Whisperer is written by Professor Inger Mewburn, director of researcher development at The Australian National University . New posts on the first Wednesday of the month. Subscribe by email below. Visit the About page to find out more about me, my podcasts and books. I'm on most social media platforms as @thesiswhisperer. The best places to talk to me are LinkedIn , Mastodon and Threads.

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Nikki Haley writes 'finish them' on Israeli artillery shell: A look at her trip to Israel and her past comments on the war in Gaza

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wrote “Finish them!” on an Israeli military artillery shell during a visit to Israel over Memorial Day weekend.

That same weekend, Israel launched airstrikes near Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip where more than half of the Palestinian population has been displaced since the start of the war eight months ago.

Haley, who lost the bid for the 2024 Republican nomination to former President Donald Trump, was touring a community that Hamas militants attacked on Oct. 7. She was visiting less than 24 hours after an Israeli strike killed 45 Palestinians at an encampment for people displaced by war.

On the artillery shell, she added, “America ♥️ Israel!” and signed her name alongside her note.

“Finish Them, America ♥️ Israel Always!” Message from @NikkiHaley , written on an Israeli missile intended for Hamas. — Team Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaleyHQ) May 28, 2024

Danny Danon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. and a current member of the Israeli Parliament, originally shared the photos of him and Haley signing the shells with the caption “Finish them!” and said the Israeli Defense Forces “can win!”

⏪ Haley’s past comments on Israel and Hamas

It’s not the first time Haley has shared this message. In a Fox News interview from Oct. 7 , Haley called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “finish them,” referring to Hamas.

“Finish them. Hamas did this, you know Iran is behind it, finish them,” she said. “They should have hell to pay for what they’ve just done.”

As U.N. ambassador in 2018, Haley, alongside Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, pushed for the U.S. to withdraw its funding for an agency that assisted millions of Palestinian refugees.

📰 Haley doubles down in an interview with popular Israeli newspaper

An interview with Haley was published in the Israel Hayom newspaper on May 28. The paper is the country’s most widely distributed daily publication and is owned by Netanyahu’s family friend , who is married to Republican donor Miriam Adelson .

In the interview, Haley called “on Israel to ignore the restrictions imposed by President Biden regarding the war in Gaza” and to “continue” fighting “until Hamas is eliminated.” Biden told CNN in early May that the U.S. would withhold military assistance if Israel launches an attack on Rafah.

“Israel, they’re the good guys,” Haley said. “And you know what I want Israelis to know? You’re doing the right thing. Don’t let anybody make you feel wrong.”

Haley added that the U.S. should continue to support Israel unconditionally and said the nation had done nothing wrong since Hamas attacked on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people. As of May 20, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry estimates 35,562 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7.

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Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

At michigan state university, new frib precision measurement program advances understanding of proton halos, theoretical physicists and experimentalists work together to measure the mass of a rare isotope expected to form a rare proton halo, publishing the first results from frib’s precision measurement program. .

In May 2022, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU), launched its precision measurement program. Staff from FRIB’s  Low Energy Beam and Ion Trap (LEBIT) facility take high-energy, rare-isotope beams generated at FRIB and cool them to a lower energy state. Afterward, the researchers measure specific particles’ masses at high precision. 

The LEBIT team, led by  Ryan Ringle , adjunct professor of physics at FRIB and in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy and senior scientist at FRIB, and  Georg Bollen , University Distinguished Professor of Physics and FRIB Experimental Systems Division director, recently published a research paper that used the facility to take a step in verifying the mass of aluminum-22. Researchers think this exotic isotope demonstrates a rare but interesting property—specifically, that the nucleus is surrounded by a “halo” of protons that loosely orbit the nucleus. This halo structure reveals distinctive physical properties during its fleeting existence.

“This program requires a lot of extra beam preparation to perform experiments, and this is the first measurement in FRIB’s science program,” Ringle said. “This measurement could not have been done in a reasonable time at FRIB’s predecessor, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, and it highlights our facility’s potential moving forward. Considering this was done with one-eightieth of FRIB’s power specification, this was like a warm-up before exercising.” 

The team published its results in  Physical Review Letters (“ Precision Mass Measurement of the Proton Dripline Halo Candidate 22 Al”).

Capturing elusive proton halos

While most atoms have electrons tightly orbiting the nucleus, protons and neutrons are part of the nucleus itself. However, when atoms encounter many of the same charged particles under certain conditions, they can create halos that orbit the nucleus beyond the pull of the strong nuclear force—the force that would normally keep these particles within the nucleus. While all halo structures are rare fleeting phenomena, neutrons are usually observed as halo particles. A nucleus’s positive charge usually repels protons’ positive charges, meaning that halos made of protons are even rarer. Measurements on nearby isotopes suggested that aluminum-22 might be an isotope that could form a proton halo, but researchers needed to verify this directly in other experiments. 

To achieve this, the team creates a high-energy isotope beam of aluminum-22 using a process called “projectile fragmentation” at FRIB. The researchers create a beam from a heavy, stable atomic nucleus of a given element—in this case, an isotope of argon—then accelerate the beam to half the speed of light. The beam then hits a target with these ultra-fast-moving particle projectiles. This violent collision creates rare, short-lived isotopes that the researchers can shepherd into an instrument to filter out the particle of interest. They then lower the temperature to slow them down into a uniform beam and measure particle mass accurately. 

While the team was able to accurately measure the mass of aluminum-22, it is only part of verifying the isotope’s proton halo structure. The LEBIT researchers’ colleagues in the  Beam Cooler and Laser Spectroscopy (BECOLA) facility at FRIB now plan to take the next step in verifying the proton halo by measuring the charge radius—the distribution of protons around the nucleus—as well as how much the nucleus may be deformed from its traditional, spherical shape. Taken together, these measurements can unequivocally confirm the existence of a proton halo structure around aluminum-22. 

Ringle pointed out that the collaboration between theoretical physicists and experimentalists at FRIB plays an essential role for research like determining the existence of a proton halo around a rare isotope such as aluminum-22. 

FRIB provides research opportunities to graduate students 

Ringle credited students on the team for playing a key role in advancing this research. One of LEBIT’s graduate students, Scott Campbell, took this project on as part of his dissertation. 

“He really took charge of running this experiment from start to finish,” Ringle said. “The students who work with us really benefit from the wealth of expertise we have at this facility. Nowhere else is a facility like this located in the middle of a university campus. It allows students to come in for an hour or two between their classes or before they go home for the day. They can work at the lab part-time and easily pair that with taking classes. But our facility gets benefit as well; we have increased access to talented, motivated students.” 

Campbell studied physics and computer science at Gonzaga University as an undergraduate. He was excited by the prospect of coming to MSU for graduate school in large part to FRIB being on campus and being a major resource for physics students. “I was very excited by the prospect of doing for nuclear physics research at MSU, especially with FRIB ramping up during my studies,” he said. “We have access to these great facilities and a great community, and we get to participate in groundbreaking advances in nuclear science.” 

Campbell also noted that FRIB not only offers world-class facilities, but also networking opportunities and mentors like Ringle. “We are surrounded by colleagues who are interested in your research and want to help you push science forward,” he said.

Eric Gedenk is a freelance science writer.

Michigan State University operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. Hosting what is designed to be the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB enables scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit

Andover teen finishes in top 45 in Scripps National Spelling Bee

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: An impressive run from an Andover 13-year-old ends with a top-45 finish in one of the world’s most prestigious academic competitions for middle-school-aged students ended Wednesday afternoon. Carey Cheshire advanced all the way to the sixth round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. when the ride ended.

After navigating through five rounds of correct spellings and definitions, Chesire stumbled on the word” sagenite.” The Andover teen fell just short of the national spelling bee’s final

An Andover 13-year-old is among 245 master spellers competing for a national championship this week in the nation’s capital. The Scripps Spelling Bee started Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C. and carries through Thursday. Early results show Carey Chesire getting off to a strong start.

Chesire spelled his first word correctly and provided the proper definition for another word in the opening rounds of the national competition. In Round 1, he correctly spelled ‘Hamtramck,” which is a proper noun that among several identifiers, is a city in Michigan. In the second, “word-meaning round,” Chesire correctly identified “feckless” as being “lazy and impractical.”

If Chesire’s strong start continues, he’ll advance to the nationally televised rounds beginning with the Semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday (May 29). The finals will be live at 7 p.m. Thursday, on ION. You can find information on how to watch here: .

To advance to the national spelling bee, Chesire emerged as a state-champion speller in March, winning the 2024 Kansas Press Association Sunflower State Spelling Bee hosted by Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina.

On social media, Andover Schools shared Kansas Wesleyan’s photo of Chesire at the state spelling bee and the tricky word he correctly spelled to win the Kansas crown. The school district said Chesire’s winning word was “Ahuehuete,” a type of Mexican cypress tree. The district said the eighth-grader is believed to be the first Andover student to win the state spelling bee.

Copyright 2024 KWCH. All rights reserved. To report a correction or typo, please email [email protected]


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Andover teen among field competing in Scripps National Spelling Bee

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Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Admissions Process Now Open for Cycle #51

May 29, 2024

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) admissions process is now open for the academy’s next class, Cycle #51, which begins on July 14, 2024. To begin the application process, interested youth and parents can visit the admissions page here, Admissions Process . In-person information sessions, a mandatory part of the application process, are listed on the MYCA events page . For more information:

  • Area codes 810, 586, 248 and 947 - contact Jayme Ham at 269-968-1397
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US 45 ramp to I-41 to close for 4 months starting Tuesday in Oshkosh. Here's how it could impact your commute.

Both directions of i-41 will be reduced from three lanes to two across lake butte des morts..

finishing phd at 45

OSHKOSH – Starting Tuesday, the U.S. 45 ramp to southbound Interstate 41 will be closed for four months to facilitate a $2.04 million road works project.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation issued a reminder in a news release ahead of the planned rehabilitation project on the I-41 Lake Butte des Morts causeway between State 21 and U.S. 45.

Construction is expected to finish in October, according to the release.

In addition to the closure of the U.S. 45 ramp, both directions of I-41 will be reduced from three lanes to two across Lake Butte des Morts starting Tuesday.

Oshkosh revaluation: Concerned Oshkosh's revaluation of properties will impact your taxes? Here's what to know.

All lanes and ramps will temporarily reopen to traffic from July 22-28 when the project is suspended to accommodate EAA AirVenture .

The detour route will follow U.S. 45 to State 21 to I-41.

The project will see the replacement of structure approaches for I-41 bridges over the main channel of Lake Butte des Morts and the relocation of a 100-foot section of cable barrier on the west side of I-41 near the U.S. 45 interchange.

More road construction news: State 21 improvements in Winnebago County will start a year sooner than first planned. Here's what to know.

Existing safety and weight enforcement facilities along I-41 are also expected to be replaced.

Commuters are asked to visit and / for more updates and information.

Have a story tip or public interest concern?   Contact Justin Marville at  [email protected] .

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May 29, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Sophie Tanno, Rob Picheta, Heather Chen, Christian Edwards, Tara John and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Our live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war has moved here .

Gaza could see another 7 months of war, Israel says. Here's the latest

From CNN staff

Palestinians evacuate Rafah, Gaza, during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on May 28.

The head of Israel's National Security Council said the country expects " another seven months of fighting " in Gaza to achieve the claimed objective of destroying Hamas. 

"It was honestly stated in the first days of presenting the plans to the cabinet that the war would be long," Tzachi Hanegbi said in a radio interview on the Israeli station Reshet bet Wednesday.

Here are more headlines you should know:

Developments on the ground:

  • A video geolocated by CNN shows two Israeli tanks positioned in the Tal Zurob neighborhood in western Rafah, as Israel intensifies its operations in the southern Gaza city. "The devastation is only intensifying" in Rafah as Israel expands its ground operations ," Tor Wennesland, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the UN Security Council Wednesday.
  • Also, two medics with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) were killed in the Tal al-Sultan area following Israeli bombardment , according to PRCS and the Ministry of Health in Gaza on Wednesday.
  • The Israeli military said they have established “operational control” over the Philadelphi Corridor, a 14 kilometer (8.7 miles) strip of land along the border between Gaza and Egypt. 
  • Meanwhile, Egypt denied Israeli statements about the existence of tunnels along its border with Gaza, calling Israeli media reports untrue, according to state-affiliated Al-Qahera TV on Wednesday. 
  • At least one girl was killed and 10 civilians injured on Wednesday following a strike on a residential building in the coastal Syrian city of Baniyas, the country’s state news SANA reported.

US support for Israel:

  • Israel will " never have to worry " about support from America, US Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina assured  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  in Tel Aviv Wednesday. And, Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz stressed the "imperative" of removing Hamas from Rafah during a meeting with  former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley  on Wednesday,
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Israel must decide if its military actions are worth the cost in civilian lives, as pressure increases on his administration to change its relationship with Israel amid the offensive on Rafah.

Issues with humanitarian aid:

  • A floating pier – constructed by the United States to  help facilitate aid into Gaza  – has been almost completely dismantled in the last 24 hours, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies. The $320 million pier's near total dismantling comes as  rough seas broke off a section  on Sunday. The only section left is the large floating platform that connected the floating pier to the beach.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza to reopen to allow humanitarian supplies in, after the Israeli military seized the Palestinian side of the crossing earlier this month.

More from around the world:

  • Brazil has withdrawn its ambassador in Israel from its Tel Aviv embassy after months of tension over the war in Gaza.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he is ready to recognize a Palestinian state – but only following reforms to the Palestinian Authority.

Mexico is seeking to join a case initiated by South Africa against Israel for alleged violations of the United Nations Genocide Convention during its war in Gaza, according to a statement published by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday.

2 Palestine Red Crescent Society medics were killed in Israeli bombardment in Rafah, officials say

From CNN's Abeer Salman

Two medics with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) were killed in the Tal al-Sultan area following Israeli bombardment, according to PRCS and the Ministry of Health in Gaza on Wednesday.

The paramedics were killed west of Rafah when their ambulance was hit while they were carrying out humanitarian duties, according to PRCS.

The Gaza health ministry said the paramedics were headed to evacuate the dead and injured in the vicinity of the Abu Al-Saeed roundabout in Tal al-Sultan

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment.

Syria says Israeli strike killed 1 child and wounded 10 civilians

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali

At least one girl was killed and 10 civilians injured on Wednesday following a strike on a residential building in the coastal Syrian city of Baniyas, the country's state news SANA reported.

SANA, citing a military source, said Israeli fighter jets launched an “air aggression from the direction of Lebanese territory, targeting a site in the central region and a residential building in the city of Baniyas in the coastal region.” 

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) regarding the claims but has yet to hear back. 

Syria was last struck in April after a series of Israeli airstrikes targeted areas close to the Syrian city of Aleppo, which led to casualties among both civilians and military personnel, SANA reported. 

Israel has previously launched attacks on Aleppo and the Syrian capital Damascus, including before the October 7, saying it feared Iran would turn Syria into “a base for aggression” against the Jewish state.

Both Syria and Israel consider each other enemies and do not share diplomatic relations. 

Egypt denies Israel claims of tunnels along border with Gaza

From CNN's Sarah El Sirgany

Egypt denied Israeli statements about the existence of tunnels along its border with Gaza, calling Israeli media reports untrue, according to state-affiliated Al-Qahera TV on Wednesday. 

“These lies propagated by Tel Aviv indicate the size of the crisis facing the Israeli government,” the channel said, quoting an unnamed senior official. 

A different senior source told the channel earlier in the day that there is no communication “with the Israeli side about the claims of the existence of tunnels along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.” 

Deployment of Israeli troops in the Philadelphi Corridor — a 14 kilometer (8.7 miles)-long wide strip of land along the border between Gaza and Egypt — without prior agreement between both countries would be a breach of the peace treaty, an Egyptian official  told CNN in February,  adding that the government had not approved such a deployment.

On Wednesday, the Israeli military says they have established “operational control” over the Philadelphi Corridor. Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said the military is carrying out an operation and the corridor and neutralizing 20 tunnels. Earlier Wednesday, an Israeli official said the 20 tunnels crossed into Egypt, some of which are new, and that the information has been passed on to Egypt. 

CNN is unable to independently verify the Israeli claims of control and has reached out to the Egyptian government for comment.

Mexico seeks to join South Africa’s ICJ case against Israel over war in Gaza

From CNN’s José Álvarez

 Smoke billows following Israeli strikes in Rafah, Gaza, on May 28.

Mexico invoked Article 63 of the Statute of the Court, which grants countries other than those interested in the case the right to intervene in the process, the court’s statement read. "If they do so, the interpretation given by the court's ruling will be equally binding on them," it said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the “most important thing is to achieve peace, that is Mexico's position.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador speaks at a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, on May 24.

The Palestinian Authority's Foreign Ministry welcomed Mexico’s request on X, saying it showed "a steadfast commitment to justice and the international rule of law, underscoring the deep-rooted solidarity and historical friendship between our nations."

Colombia and Libya submitted the same request on April 5 and May 10, respectively. 

South Africa brought a case against Israel last December, where it accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians during the conflict. Hearings in the case began in January when Israel accused South Africa of presenting a “grossly distorted” accusation of genocide. Israel insists that its war in Gaza is being fought in self-defense, that its target is Hamas and not Palestinian citizens, and that its leaders have shown no genocidal intent.

This is not the first time that Mexico has spoken out about the siege on Gaza. On Monday, its government condemned the bombing in Rafah and called for a ceasefire.

Israeli military says it has established “operational control” over Philadelphi Corridor

From CNN's Zahid Mahmood, Eugenia Yosef and Hira Humayun 

The Israeli military says they have established “operational control” over the Philadelphi Corridor, a 14 kilometer (8.7 miles) strip of land along the border between Gaza and Egypt. 

He said the military is carrying out an operation at the Philadelphi Corridor and that 20 tunnels the military has found there are now being "neutralized".

The IDF clarified that "operational control" meant it had "full control of the corridor in terms of intelligence gathering and fire range" even though there was a "small area near the sea where we are not physically present."

Earlier on Wednesday, an Israeli official said the troops had achieved “tactical” control over the corridor, but that did not mean “Israel had boots on the ground” along its entirety. The official said the 20 tunnels crossed into Egypt; some of them are new, and the information has been passed on to Egypt. According to the official, the IDF also found 82 access points to tunnels along the corridor. 

CNN is unable to independently verify the Israeli claims of control and has contacted the Egyptian government for comment.

Israel aims to cut off the corridor from Egypt as it believes smugglers have long turned to the enclave’s underground tunnel network to bring in commercial goods, people and weapons. Hagari said Hamas has used the corridor to smuggle arms and "took advantage" of the space to build infrastructure "tens of meters away from the border with Egypt so that we will not attack them."

The IDF says it has also found "terrorist infrastructure" a mile long in east Rafah, the entrance to which is 100 meters from the Rafah crossing. Hagari said this route was used to transfer weapons and that the Israeli military found and destroyed weapons there.

Some context: Israel began a limited ground operation in Rafah against Hamas earlier this month, crossing the Philadelphi Corridor and seizing the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt.

Egypt has strongly opposed the operation at its border. On Monday, an Egyptian security personnel was killed on the border with Gaza in a shooting that involved Egyptian and Israeli soldiers. Egypt’s state-affiliated Al-Qahera News outlet said “Palestinian resistance” fighters were also involved.

"Devastation is only intensifying" in Rafah, UN special coordinator says

From CNN's Richard Roth

Displaced Palestinians inspect their tents destroyed by Israel’s bombardment west of Rafah, Gaza, on May 28.

"The devastation is only intensifying" in Rafah as Israel expands its ground operations," Tor Wennesland, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Wennesland condemned the "appalling incident" in which at least 45 people were killed, and more than 200 others injured when a fire broke out following an airstrike by the Israeli military on Sunday. "I remind all parties of their obligations to protect civilians," he said. 

Wennesland called for the reopening of the Rafah crossing and for unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Gaza.

A "breakdown of law and order" resulted in the looting of a base belonging to the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees, UWRA, in Rafah on Wednesday, Wennesland said. The incident is under investigation, he added.

"The risk of a regional conflagration is constant and is mounting every day this war continues. This trajectory must change if we are to avoid further catastrophe," Wennesland said, "I urge the parties to return to the negotiating table immediately and in good faith."

Macron: France "ready" to recognize a Palestinian state after reforms to Palestinian Authority

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman and Julen Chavin in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to reporters in Gransee, Germany, on May 28.

Macron spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a call on Wednesday and offered the “prospect of recognition” if the Palestinian Authority "implements necessary reforms,” according to the Elysee Palace.  

Macron also highlighted to Abbas France’s commitment to building a “common vision” and “security guarantees” for Palestinians and Israelis.

The French leader’s comments come after Ireland, Norway, and Spain each formally recognized a Palestinian state. 

Macron also spoke about recognition on Tuesday, saying that “there’s no taboo for France,” and that he was “totally ready to recognize a Palestinian State.”

"I consider that this recognition must come at a useful time, at a time when it is part of a process in which the states of the region and Israel are engaged and which allows, on the basis of a reform of the Palestinian Authority to produce a useful result. I will not make an emotional recognition,” Macron said Tuesday.

Some background: The PA, which is dominated by the Fatah political party, held administrative control over Gaza until 2007, after Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections in the occupied territories and expelled it from the strip. Since then, Hamas has ruled Gaza, and the PA governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

It was set up in the mid-1990s as an interim government pending Palestinian independence after the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords with Israel. It is headquartered in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah and exercises nominal self-rule in parts of the territory. But the PA is  very unpopular  among Palestinians, who see it as unable to provide security in the face of regular Israeli incursions in the West Bank.

Israel has rejected the prospect of the PA returning to Gaza after the war, and has dismissed the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in the territories. The US, however, favors a reformed PA being in control of both the West Bank and Gaza as part of a future independent state.

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  • International

May 28, 2024 - Israel-Hamas war

By Helen Regan, Heather Chen and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Our live coverage of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza has moved here .

Nikki Haley writes "Finish them!" on Israeli artillery shells

From CNN's Ebony Davis

Nikki Haley visits Kibbutz Nir Oz, Israel, on May 27.

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley wrote “Finish Them!” on Israeli artillery shells during a Memorial Day visit to Israel, according to  photos in a post from Danny Danon, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, who accompanied her on the trip.

Her visit to the northern Israeli border came a day after an  Israeli strike  that killed 45 at a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the strike as "a tragic error ".

Haley's message echoes her previous sentiment during a Fox News interview in which she condemned Hamas’ attacks and called on Netanyahu to “finish them.”

"I will say this to Netanyahu: finish them. Finish them. Hamas did this, you know Iran is behind it, finish them. They should have hell to pay for what they've just done,” Haley said back then.

CNN has reached out to representatives for Haley for comment.

Haley said Tuesday: "1 in 4 of their neighbors were murdered or taken hostage in Gaza. No other country would accept this, Israel should not either."

She also reaffirmed her commitment to Israel, saying during the tour, saying "Don't listen to what is being said in the media. I reassure you: America stands with Israel!"

During the Memorial Day weekend trip, Haley visited Kibbutz Nir Oz, the site of the Nova festival, and Sderot.

She reflected in a  social media post  about a nurse she met whose “life changed forever’ after October 7.

“Like my daughter, Tali Biner is a nurse in her 20s who loves music and her friends. But, her life changed forever at the Nova Music Festival. For hours she hid, praying not to be next, listening to fellow concert goers beg for mercy as they were raped, genitally mutilated, and shot to death by Hamas,” Haley said.

“When she escaped, she tried to treat victims who were butchered and left to slowly die. Now, she bravely tells her story to bear witness for the hundreds who can’t — raped, tortured, kidnapped, and murdered simply for being Israeli,” she continued.

Algeria draft Security Council resolution calls for ceasefire in Gaza and hostage release, UN diplomat says

From CNN's Richard Roth

Algeria has circulated to all UN Security Council members a proposed draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the unconditional release of all hostages, a UN diplomat told CNN on Tuesday.

It's unknown how the US will vote on this.

Algeria's draft resolution comes after 45 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a Rafah camp housing displaced people on Sunday.

Houthi ballistic missiles strike Greek-owned ship in Red Sea, US military says

A Greek owned and operated merchant ship in the Red Sea reported being struck by three anti-ship ballistic missiles launched Tuesday by Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, according to US Central Command.

Merchant Vessel Laax continued on its voyage and there were no injuries reported, CENTCOM said in a statement.

During the same time, US forces destroyed five Houthi drones over the Red Sea that were launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen and “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels in the region,” the statement added.

Nearly 1 million Palestinians displaced from Rafah, UN officials say. Here's what you should know

From CNN staff

At least 940,000 people have been displaced from Rafah in the past three weeks as a result of "the intensification of hostilities and issuance of evacuation orders" by Israeli forces, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Many of the displaced Palestinians are attempting to evacuate following devastating Israeli strikes – but they don't know where to go.

Here are more headlines you should know:

More on the Rafah strike:

  • The Israeli military is looking into the possibility that the Israeli airstrike, which killed more than 45 people on Sunday, may have unintentionally set off possible stored weapons in a nearby compound and a large fire that decimated part of a camp housing displaced Palestinians, according to spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.
  • A CNN analysis of videos and a review by explosive weapons experts found that US-made munitions were used in the strike.
  • The United States “ will be watching ” the results of the Israeli investigation, said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. He added that the findings should be “presented openly and transparently to us and to the world.”
  • White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby  told reporters Tuesday  that Sunday’s airstrike did not cross President Joe Biden's red line. Kirby said he had “no policy changes to speak to” when asked if this strike would change policy – but emphasized that this strike “just happened.”

International reaction to the Rafah strike:

  • French UN Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière warned of any further escalations in Rafah, saying "it is high time," for the UN Security Council "to take action and to adopt a new resolution" about the war in Gaza.
  • Protesters in cities across Europe gathered to voice opposition to the deadly strike in southern Gaza.

Other Israeli attacks:

  • The Israeli military killed at least 29 Palestinians  in two separate attacks around Rafah, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health and the Emergency Committee of the Rafah Governorate. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said his staff are "terrified" and are packing up and moving following the strikes.

Broken pier:

  • The  temporary pier constructed by the US military  to transport aid into Gaza broke apart in heavy seas on Tuesday in a major blow to the American-led effort to create a maritime corridor for humanitarian supplies into the war-torn enclave, according to four US officials. An effort to reassemble the causeway and connect it to the parking area will resume when sea conditions allow, officials said.

US-made munitions were used in deadly strike on Rafah tent camp, CNN analysis shows  

From CNN’s Allegra Goodwin and Avery Schmitz

US-made munitions were used in a deadly Israeli strike on a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, a CNN analysis of video from the scene and a review by explosive weapons experts found. 

CNN geolocated videos showing tents in flames in the aftermath of the strike on the camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) known as "Kuwait Peace Camp 1."

In video shared on social media, which CNN geolocated to the same scene by matching details including the camp’s entrance sign and the tiles on the ground, the tail of a US-made GBU-39 small-diameter bomb (SDB) is visible, according to four explosive weapons experts who reviewed the video for CNN.

The GBU-39, manufactured by Boeing, is a high-precision munition “designed to attack strategically important point targets,” and result in low collateral damage, explosive weapons expert Chris Cobb-Smith told CNN.

However, “using any munition, even of this size, will always incur risks in a densely populated area,” said Cobb-Smith, a former British Army artillery officer.   

Trevor Ball, a former US Army senior explosive ordnance disposal team member who also identified the fragment as being from a GBU-39, explained to CNN how he drew his conclusion.  

“The warhead portion [of the munition] is distinct, and the guidance and wing section is extremely unique compared to other munitions. Guidance and wing sections of munitions are often the remnants left over even after a munition detonates. I saw the tail actuation section and instantly knew it was one of the SDB/GBU-39 variants.”   

CNN’s identification of the munition is consistent with a claim made by Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari in a briefing about the tragedy on Tuesday. Hagari said the strike – which he said targeted senior Hamas commanders – used two munitions with small warheads containing 17 kilos of explosives, adding these bombs were "the smallest munitions that our jets could use.”

The traditional GBU-39 warhead has an explosive payload of 17 kilos.  

Additionally, serial numbers on the remnants match those for a manufacturer of GBU-39 parts based in California – more evidence the bombs were made in the US.  

The Pentagon declined to comment and referred CNN to comments from Israel on its operation. CNN has also reached out to the US National Security Council.

Read the full story.

French UN ambassador calls on UN Security Council "to take action and to adopt a new resolution"

From CNN's Richard Roth and Mohammed Tawfeeq

Nicolas de Rivière speaks to press at UN Headquarters in New York on November 6, 2023.

French UN Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière warned of any further escalations in Rafah, saying "it is high time," for the UN Security Council (UNSC) "to take action and to adopt a new resolution" about the war in Gaza.

"There must be an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the unconditional release of the hostages. There is no safe zone for Palestinian civilians in Rafah," Rivière said in a statement Tuesday. 

He added that the Security Council "must fulfill its mandate and take action now,"

"It must allow the UN to play its full role in the Gaza Strip, in order to cover the immediate needs of the population," he said.

"France will remain committed to building a state for the Palestinians and security guarantees for Israel," Rivière added.

Doctor describes sleepless nights and "very miserable" situation in Rafah

From CNN's Sarah EL Sirgany and Mohammed Tawfeeq

The situation in Rafah is "very miserable," according to a doctor currently working in the southern Gaza city.

"All night, we couldn't sleep," Dr. Safa Jaber told Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières), in an Arabic audio message shared by t he group on X with English subtitles .

"All night we heard the clashes, the bombings and the sound of the rockets. Nobody knows what is happening exactly. There are clashes in two different locations in Tal al-Sultan area, in the north and the south," Jaber said. "I am speechless, I cannot even describe what is happening. We are scared for ourselves and for our children. We are not expecting this to happen so suddenly," she added. "Everyone is very terrified. Where shall we go? We are heading to the so-called safe zone. But there is no safe space here after what happened the day before yesterday with the burning of tents," she explained. "We are forced to stay in tents where we will be exposed to the heat, sand. We have to struggle to find water every day; both clean and salt water; the basic services that every human being needs to stay alive. The situation is very miserable," Jaber added.

"There is no shelter, no life, no future." Displaced Palestinians in Rafah wonder where they must move next

From Mohammed Al-Sawalhi, Sarah El Sirgany and Abeer Salman and Hira Humayun 

Palestinians flee from Rafah on Tuesday.

Displaced Palestinians are attempting to evacuate following devastating Israeli strikes in southern Gaza – but they don't know where to go.

Speaking to a CNN stringer in Khan Younis, north of Rafah, people said they did not know where else to go, as they tried to head north toward Deir El-Balah in central Gaza.

Video from the stringer shows mattresses, wooden panels, chairs, and various other belongings piled on top of vehicles and donkey carts.

"What’s happening now, whether in Rafah, Khan Younis or Gaza in general, is the disastrous displacement of people. There is no shelter, no life, no future," said Ansar Mahdi, who said she's been displaced four times.  "The displacement is repugnant. When people move from one place to another, they want to live.They need money. They’ve lost their savings," she said. "They told us to move from the north to the south. We did. We stayed in tents in abysmal conditions. No words can convey what we went through," she added. "Where else can we go? Where the next displacement would be?" Mahdi asked.

The roads, lined by tents and piles of garbage, were busy with people and vehicles moving in search of empty spaces.

Walking on crutches, Mohamed Jarbou, said, "The elderly have been humiliated. Children humiliated. What’s wrong? They are all civilians. The resistance is not here. The resistance is fighting somewhere else. We are displaced. Why are you hitting the displaced people?"

Israeli strikes over the past two days in Rafah have forced the already displaced people to flee.

More than two dozen people were killed in Israel strikes on two camps on Tuesday, according to Palestinian officials.

The Israeli military denied striking a humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi, telling CNN, "Contrary to the reports from the last few hours, the IDF did not strike in the Humanitarian Area in Al-Mawasi.”

CNN has asked if the military struck elsewhere in Al-Mawasi, and for comment on a strike that hit the Tal al-Sultan camp .

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  1. Tips for Finishing a PhD Degree

    finishing phd at 45

  2. How to finish a PhD thesis quickly

    finishing phd at 45

  3. Finishing your PhD thesis: 15 top tips from those in the know

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  5. Finishing Your PhD: What You Need To Know by Helen Kara

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  6. Top 50 Tips to finish PhD work faster

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  1. Average Age of a PhD Student: When Is It Too Late?

    In 2020, the average age of a graduate from a PhD program in the United States was 33. However, 6% of the graduates were over 45. When people ask what the average age of a PhD student is, many times they're really asking, "Am I too old to get a PhD?". The answer is almost always no.

  2. You've Decided to Pursue a PhD in Your 40s

    Application Activities for a PhD in your 40s'. Now Let's look at some of the requirements for gaining admission to a Ph.D. program. PhD program requirements include taking a GRE/GMAT, identifying and sending your transcripts (bachelors and masters), writing your personal statement, securing some good recommendation letters, etc. Figure 1 is ...

  3. Starting a PhD at 40

    Let's starts with negative points: You're 40 years old right now. So realistically you will finish your PhD at the age of 45 or even more if you're doing it in countries like the US or Canada. So ...

  4. What is the PhD student average age? Too late for your doctorate?

    The average age of a PhD student varies depending on the field of study and individual circumstances but generally ranges from late 20s to early 30s. The average age upon graduation across multiple fields, in the US, is 31.5 years old. This suggests that many students may start a PhD program directly after completing their undergraduate degree.

  5. Taking On the Ph.D. Later in Life

    Later in Life. Rob Hevey, a Ph.D. student in a plant biology and conservation program, expects to finish his doctorate around five years from now, when he will be 66. Whitten Sabbatini for The New ...

  6. Average Age of PhD Student: How Old Is Too Old?

    While the average age of PhD students is quite varied depending on the field of study, statistics reveal that in 2021 nearly 45 percent of individuals who received doctorate degrees in the United States were aged between 26 and 30 years old. Additionally, around 31 percent of doctorate recipients fell between the ages of 31 and 35 years old.

  7. should you pursue a PhD later in life?

    Here are some potential advantages and drawbacks of doing a PhD later in life: Advantages: Greater maturity: You have a better understanding of what you want to do and can focus on your goals. Real-world experience: You have a better understanding of real-world problems and can work on more relevant research.

  8. Dissertating Like a Distance Runner: Ten Tips for Finishing Your PhD

    Since finishing my PhD four years ago, in 2018, I have published one book, five research articles, and two edited volume chapters related in various ways to my dissertation. As someone living in rural Eastern Washington, who is a first-gen college grad, I had to find ways to stay self-motivated and to keep chipping away at my academic work. I ...

  9. Finishing a PhD

    Writing the dissertation. The average length of a PhD is 75,000 words or 300 pages, depending on the institution. When you start writing will depend on many variables. It's often advised to start as early as possible so there's time for a sufficient editing period. Additionally, writing can help you identify gaps in your research.

  10. What to Do After Getting Your PhD: 5 Next Steps

    Step 2: Set your Goals. After taking a break, the first thing you need to do is figure out what your goals are. You employed a great deal of discipline to get to this point. Use that skill to determine how you want to move forward. Your doctoral degree is an asset, so try to maximize the return that you get.

  11. What age is realistically too late to start a PhD? : r/AskAcademia

    It sounds like you are thinking about a PhD in Philosophy with a hope of an academic job. We can imagine you getting the PhD in 6 years (so 34), and then maybe needing to be a postdoc for a few years (let's be optimistic and say 4), and so we're talking about you starting a TT job at the age of 38 if it works out well.

  12. Ten Simple Rules for Finishing Your PhD

    Furthermore, graduate schools, such as those in which we are based, usually offer courses to help PhD candidates improve their personal and professional skills. For example, the University of Zurich organizes courses on, amongst others, time and self-management skills, managing conflict, and academic writing and publishing . The Graduate School ...

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  14. How to Finish Your PhD

    Protecting your writing time. Finding the right place to work. Improving focus and eliminating distractions. Making writing easier for yourself. Defeating procrastination. 6. Building Routines and Keeping Going. Meeting your monkey sidekick. Creating startup and shutdown routines.

  15. 154. How to Plan Your PhD w/ Hugh Kearns

    Uncharted Territory. We start the conversation by trying to understand why planning is so difficult and so rare for PhDs. "They've never done a PhD so they don't know what's coming," Kearns observes. "And your previous education doesn't prepare for research.". He continues, "Research by its nature is uncertain. Things go wrong.

  16. Tips for Finishing a PhD Degree

    The process of finishing a PhD requires exceptional personal discipline regarding time management. As you're developing your schedule, keep in mind the times of the day when you tend to be most productive and creative; schedule your most important tasks for those times of day. Many people struggle to stay on task, yet it's necessary to ...

  17. Finishing Your Doctorate

    Step 1: Decide how to submit your thesis. A doctoral thesis submitted for the award of MPhil, PhD, DBA, DPRP or DHealth may be submitted in one of two differing formats: a traditional thesis consisting of chapters. an alternative format thesis which integrates academic papers into the text.

  18. At what age did you start/graduated from your Ph.D. ? : r/PhD

    CrzPart. •. Based on the average time it takes to get the degrees leading up to a PhD, 25 is not to old, it's actually very young. If you start college at 18 and then spend the "traditional" 4 years getting a bachelors and then 2 years getting a masters, then you'd be 24.

  19. PhD Careers

    A PhD in Maths and Computing could benefit jobs in Finance, Investment or Web Development, complimenting skills in logic, problem solving and data. A PhD in the Physical Sciences demonstrates experience with software and data. This could set graduates up to work in Software Engineering, Data Science or even Sound Engineering.

  20. Completing PhD in 3-4 years? : r/AskAcademia

    Yes. 100%. Reply reply. voidofneurons. •. Completing a PhD in less time will also be more doable in fields and programs that don't have lab rotation requirements (completing those took up my entire first year) Reply reply. francium_87. •. One of the postdocs in my lab finished his PhD in Immunology in about 3 years.

  21. A 5 step program for finishing your PhD (finally!)

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