My 5-year plan towards PhD

This is my very rough 5-year plan that I did after talking to the Head of Division and Head of School during my job interviews. This ultimate goal of this plan is to graduate with a PhD. That’s one of the important issues we discussed during the interviews. I guess a PhD is inevitable if I want to build an academic career and I’m already preparing myself for this possibility. However, before I can make this happened, a plan is essential, especially when I’m new to academia. I also do not plan to go into PhD unprepared, so I’m trying to plan ahead and learn as much as possible even before starting.

Year 1

1. Course work, program structure and teaching

  • I guess I would spend a lot of time getting myself to familiarize with the course work and program structure plus preparing for teaching time. These are the things that I need to invest time and effort to catch up on teaching experience (to balance up my industry experience).

2. Explore research topics in preparation of research proposal

  • Meanwhile, I should get my research started by exploring potential research topics that I can turn into a research proposal. I expect myself to restart my literature review process and I believe it will be a continuous long process.

Year 2 – 3

1. Enroll to PhD program

  • If things go well with my teaching career for the first year, I would expect to get a job confirmation status that allows financial support to enroll to PhD program.

2. Research methodology

  • Research methodology is very important as a road map for successful research project. Once the research topic is finalized, a research methodology should be in place too, though it will not be an easy task to finalize a research methodology.

3. Data collection and analysis

  • If everything goes as planned, data collection can be started and followed up by analysis.

Year 4 – 5

1. More data collection and analysis

  • I guess it’s safe to plan sufficient time for data collection and analysis. It is a PhD! The quantity and quality of data is very important.

2. Recommendation/Implementation/Conclusion

  • Implementation usually takes quite a lot of time to execute to be followed by good recommendations. Writing conclusion should be good indication for near completion but I guess things are not as simple as that. We will see…

3. Publication and Graduation

  • Most PhD programs required the candidates to have at least 2 or more publications. That would be totally another challenge in academia. Graduation is normally just a ceremony, however, to be able to graduate with a PhD should be a great accomplishment in life.

As I said, this 5-year plan is really at a very early initial stage. I expect this plan to evolve accordingly (hopefully positively too) once I officially start my job in August. Anyway, I feel more confident and motivated with a plan for now. I hope this is a good start, at least.

What do you think of my plan? Any good tips from your experience you want to share?

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2 thoughts on “My 5-year plan towards PhD

  1. The research process is actually quite messy (as you probably saw yourself, during your masters) and the stages tend to overlap rather the neatly follow each other – so, for instance, when you are conducting your literature review, you should probably start noticing the methodology / methodologies used and start thinking about how you are going to collect your data.

    My main advice would to start writing as soon as possible – and that is both start collecting words for your PhD, and thinking about publications: waiting until the end of the PhD to start getting your work out there is too late.

    And, apart from that, enjoy the ride – it will be ridden with self doubt, but it is a unique opportunity to explore a topic in depth.

    • Ana,

      Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it. I know research process is messy and I just hope I won’t fall apart trying to organize the mess. I’ll follow your advice to start writing as early as possible and to look out for publication as early too. I truly hope my ride will be enjoyable, thanks to you and everyone who is so generous with sharing advice and experience.

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