If you are considering a PhD degree, selecting an appropriate program is a crucial decision for you to make. Here are some questions to consider: 

  1. How well-established is the program and what are some of the academic institutions, research labs, or companies where its graduates are employed?
  2. How research-active are the department’s faculty members, and how well-known are they within the research community?
  3. Will you have diverse and in-depth learning opportunities, and will you have a variety of options to choose from for your dissertation research?
  4. What are the opportunities for professional development, e.g., attendance at national and international conferences, participation in seminars and colloquia, or avenues for professional networking?
  5. How well do you think you will be able to get to know faculty and fellow PhD students?
  6. Will you be supported financially and how does the amount of support align with the cost of living at the location of the program?
  7. What is the campus environment like and how livable is the city/town where the university is located?


We know that selecting the best graduate program can be a difficult decision, but think of this as an investment in your future.  Obviously, cost is a factor, but some other questions you should consider include the following:

  1. How flexible is the program and how well will it prepare me to meet my professional goals?
  2. What kind of job opportunities will I be prepared for?
  3. What is the program’s placement record for its graduates?
  4. What opportunities might be available to me for internship or co-op assignments?
  5. What is the size of the department? Is it big enough? Small enough?
  6. How many faculty members are there and what is their national reputation? Are there adjunct faculty who bring in current industry experience?
  7. Is it located in a college town or a big city? What is the nature of industry (if any) in the area?
  8. What is the cost of living? What recreational and/or extra-curricular options might I have?
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