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:
- How well-established is the program and what are some of the academic institutions, research labs, or companies where its graduates are employed?
- How research-active are the department’s faculty members, and how well-known are they within the research community?
- Will you have diverse and in-depth learning opportunities, and will you have a variety of options to choose from for your dissertation research?
- 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?
- How well do you think you will be able to get to know faculty and fellow PhD students?
- Will you be supported financially and how does the amount of support align with the cost of living at the location of the program?
- 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:
- How flexible is the program and how well will it prepare me to meet my professional goals?
- What kind of job opportunities will I be prepared for?
- What is the program’s placement record for its graduates?
- What opportunities might be available to me for internship or co-op assignments?
- What is the size of the department? Is it big enough? Small enough?
- How many faculty members are there and what is their national reputation? Are there adjunct faculty who bring in current industry experience?
- Is it located in a college town or a big city? What is the nature of industry (if any) in the area?
- What is the cost of living? What recreational and/or extra-curricular options might I have?