After careful consideration of your strengths and weaknesses and your professional goals, you’ve decided to get a PhD. Now what? Here are three pieces of advice on how to choose a PhD program based on your interests.
Choose PhD programs based on what you want to study.
Which programs are right for you depends on what you want to study. It’s important to give careful consideration to your discipline and specific research interests before moving forward. You should narrow programs down according to your interests. At the same time, it’s a good idea to apply to multiple graduate programs (about a dozen or so).
Therefore, thoroughly researching which PhD programs are worth your time will help you to get into the right program.
See how PhD programs in your discipline are ranked.
A program’s ranking shouldn’t be the only criteria by which you make your decision, but it should still be a strong consideration. You can find the most recent rankings by searching for your subject of study here.
Get acquainted with the scholars in your field.
Just as important as a program’s rankings is whether its professors are working on similar projects or using similar methodologies to your own.
Do some research to find out which professors work with graduate students in the programs you’ve selected. You can even reach out to them to see if they’re interested in your potential research before applying. Finally, look at the program’s job placement page to see if the program (and the faculty) have a good track record for helping students get jobs.
Once you’ve zeroed in on a research topic or question, researched program rankings, and found some scholars with which you’d like to work, you can finally start putting together your application materials.