Time management is often listed by current students as a major challenge in graduate school. Invest in a good planner, be tech savvy on your phone calendar, whatever it may be – you’ll have lots of deadlines, meetings, beer dates, etc.
Program of Study
If you completed a masters degree, in your first term, find out which courses you can transfer from your university. You can transfer as many as you want, especially those that fulfill you program requirements. This gives you more time to work on your research and you can minimize class work. It counts towards your 108 required credits for a Ph.D.
Visit CEOAS student office and asked them to give you a list of classes that will be offered in next academic year. Also, do not be afraid to ask professors to send you last year syllabus, if you want to learn more about the course.
To design your program of study, talk to your advisor and your committee. Take courses that fulfill your program requirements and relate to your area of expertise.
Make yourself a timetable per each term and make sure to share it with your advisor. Try to not take more than 3 classes per term, especially if you are TA. Shoot to complete your program of study in 4 to 5 terms.Your committee can approve you a waiver for certain program requirements/course. You have to have a reason, but if you justify it correctly and program director approves you are good to go.
If your program of study is designed correctly, you can also get a graduate certificate at the same time. (e.g. many course in Geography overlap with GIS certificate)
Submit the Program of Study to the Graduate School with only 108 credits. You can always add some extra if you wish so but you cannot drop classes once your program is approve.
A simple email and perhaps a short meeting with each member is enough to get a faculty member on your committee. Make sure to keep an open line of communication with your committee members, including mutual expectations.
Besides your major (and minor if applicable) professor, your other committee members should know something about your research and if you can, take one of their classes.
Make sure committee members are people that could write you any letter of recommendation in the future (for a fellowship, scholarship, or employment).
Every committee has a representative, called the Graduate Council Representative (GCR) from the Graduate School. The GCR is selected by the student from a list provided by the Graduate School. The GCR is a full voting member of the student’s committee. If you have further questions, please see the GCR Guidelines.
Try to incorporate any possible piece of your research in any class projects. Saves you double the work, and you might learn even more in the process!
Before you take proposal writing class, have a clear idea what your research will be. In that way, you are ready for a proposal defense when you are done with a class.