How to Survive Your PhD
You need to be smart to begin a PhD - but you need to be resilient to finish one. Between one-quarter and one-third of all research students never finish their degree. The PhD is an emotional journey as much as it is an intellectual one.
What kinds of emotions does the research degree process provoke? What strategies can help students deal with the emotional highs and lows? How can academic advisors, family and friends help research students cope with these stresses - and celebrate the successes?
This course is primarily designed for masters, PhD, and research students and the academics who are tasked with helping them, but you may also be a family member or friend of a PhD student who is seeking to better understand what your loved one is going through.
By directly addressing the emotional issues, and by helping us see the connections between emotional resilience and success, this course aims to help us all create a more supportive academic environment, where students can do their best research work.
Upcoming start dates
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- Virtual Classroom
Who should attend?
- Familiarity with the basic concept of research study (such as Honours, Masters, or PhD processes).
- Some insider knowledge of academic life and tertiary education is advantageous, but not essential.
Setting the scene
Prior research on research student success and failure shows that there are a range of common factors at play. We examine these factors and start to look at the causes.
A quick history of the doctorate
To better understand how and research degree study can be so difficult we will take a brief tour back to the late middle ages and the birth of the university - as a place and an idea.
We take a look at confidence, in particular why some students have very little. We’ll explore the imposter syndrome and how we might counter it and then have a look at the risks of over confidence.
This week we look at frustration. Research can be very frustrating, but writing is perhaps the site of most of the frustration that students feel. We explore the nature of this frustration and how supervisors can make it better - or worse.
Loneliness and isolation seems to be a common problem for research students - but how does it happen? We look at the difference between social isolation and intellectual isolation. We tackle the difficult problem of how much help a supervisor should really give a student.
Research students are high achievers who often have an intense fear of failure. We look at two fears in particular - fear of writing and fear of speaking in public.
Good researchers are curious creatures! Curiosity is crucial to research, but what happens when curiosity gets out of control? This week we focus on the literature review as a site where curiosity can get out of control.
Confusion is an inevitable part of the research degree process - but do research students get confused about the same sorts of things?
A research degree usually involves a big project that takes place over an extended period of time. It’s inevitable that some students will get bored. But boredom is much more interesting than you might think!
Do researchers always love their work? What about love for your supervisor - is that appropriate? If you truly love your discipline, how should you behave as a researcher? This week we look at Love - and it’s complicated.
Course delivery details
This course is offered through Australian National University, a partner institute of EdX.
2 hours per week
- Verified Track -$50
- Audit Track - Free
Certification / Credits
What you'll learn
- Understand the common emotional experiences of research students and why they tend to have emotional issues in common.
- Discuss and create strategies and approaches to help research students cope with the emotional challenges of research study.
- Help academics and prospective academics become more effective research supervisors.
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