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10 tips for writing a PhD thesis

Ingrid curl shares simple rules for keeping your work clear and jargon-free.

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Writing up a PhD can often take place in a frenzy of activity in the last few months of your degree study, after years of hard work. But there are some steps that you can take to increase your chances of success.

  • Do not be daunted by the task of “writing up”. Work on the text as your PhD takes shape, remember that all writers need editing, and help yourself by using these basic tips to make life easier. Read what great writers say about how to write before you start, and take their advice to heart. There is no dark art to clear, concise work; it is mostly a result of editing, and editing again. Above all, keep Elmore Leonard’s advice in mind: “If it reads like writing…rewrite it.”
  • Plan the structure of your thesis carefully with your supervisor. Create rough drafts as you go so that you can refine them as you become more focused on the write-up. Much of writing comprises rewriting so be prepared to rework each chapter many times. Even Ernest Hemingway said: “The first draft of everything is shit.”
  • Academic writing does not have to be dry. Inject some flair into your work. Read advice on writing and remember George Orwell’s words in Why I Write : “Never use the passive where you can use the active”; and Mark Twain’s on adjectives: “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” If you prefer, Stephen King said: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
  • Do not write up in chronological order. Work on each chapter while it is fresh in your mind or pertinent to what you are doing at that moment, but come back to it all later and work it up into a consistent, coherent piece, restructuring sections where necessary.
  • Think carefully about your writing. Write your first draft, leave it and then come back to it with a critical eye. Look objectively at the writing and read it closely for style and sense. Look out for common errors such as dangling modifiers, subject-verb disagreement and inconsistency. If you are too involved with the text to be able to take a step back and do this, then ask a friend or colleague to read it with a critical eye. Remember Hemingway’s advice: “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” Clarity is key.
  • Most universities use a preferred style of references. Make sure you know what this is and stick to it. One of the most common errors in academic writing is to cite papers in the text that do not then appear in the bibliography. All references in your thesis need to be cross-checked with the bibliography before submission. Using a database during your research can save a great deal of time in the writing-up process. Helpful software includes EndNote or Paperpile. Managing your bibliography from day one may seem obsessive but it will save you a great deal of time and stress by the end of the PhD process.
  • Use a house style. Professional publications such as Times Higher Education use a house style guide to ensure consistency in spelling. For example, do not use both -ise spellings and -ize spellings, stick to British spelling and be consistent when referring to organisations or bodies. Because dictionaries vary in their use of hyphenation, use one dictionary and stick to it throughout the writing process. If you consult the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors , you will note the extraordinary number of words with alternative spellings. It can also be a very useful guide to preferred spellings, use of italicisation and foreign phrases.
  • Take care when quoting from other sources. Ensure you note whether the italic emphasis is in the original and take careful notes when you are collecting quotes for your thesis. Transcribe them accurately to save work later and keep original spellings (even if they differ from your chosen style) to ensure fidelity to your source.
  • Think about plagiarism. If you are quoting from works, quote from them accurately and paraphrase where necessary for your argument. This is where careful note-taking and use of references is invaluable and will help you to avoid even inadvertently plagiarising another work.
  • Remember that your thesis is your chance to present your work in the best possible light. Consider your opening paragraphs, entice your reader with your writing and above all be clear about your hypothesis and your conclusion. Append material where it adds value but not where it merely bulks out your work. Consider your reader at all times. This is your chance to showcase your work.

If you stick to these simple rules, your writing will be clear and jargon-free. Above all, take to heart Orwell’s advice: “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”

Ingrid Curl is associate editor of  Times Higher Education , and a former PhD student.

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How to write a PhD in a hundred steps (or more)

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How to write a Research Paper for PhD?- 10 Things to know

A brief elaborative assay, findings or original research work showing either positive or negative interpretation in a written form is known as a research paper.  

To publish a research work or research paper is yet another important criterion to award a PhD degree. After all, it is the uppermost academic honor. A common question prospective PhD students ask on the internet is “how to write a research paper”, “how to publish a research paper in a peer-review journal”, “how to write an introduction for a research paper” etc. 

In order to pursue the PhD degree, students have to complete coursework, research work, thesis writing, publishing an article and defending the thesis. Those who fail to complete, can’t go ahead. So from the first day when you start your PhD, you should know that you will have to publish a research paper sooner or later. 

Publishing an article or research work in a peer-review journal needs at least some intermediate level writing expertise. One should have to write according to the style and requirement of a journal. 

Peer-reviewed journals are reputed and professional and hence accept only high-quality research work and writing assignments. Until students understand the key things publications want, they will pay for it. It is better to find a way to publish a research paper, rather than paying for it.

In this article, I will explain to you some proven ways, you can say it “tips” that may help you to publish a research paper. 

  • Try from beginning
  • The writing style of a journal  
  • Structurize your article 

Things must be there

  • Importance of abstract 
  • Cite every bit of information 
  • List references 
  • Discuss recent finding
  • Final interpretation- conclusion 
  • Avoid common writing mistakes 

Try from the beginning: 

Understand the writing style of a journal , structurize your article: , understand the importance of abstract: , cite every bit of information: , list references or bibliography: , discuss recent findings: , final interpretation- conclusion , avoid common writing mistakes: , steps to writing a research paper: , conclusion: , how to write a research paper- 10 things to know.

The first thing prospective candidates have to do when starting their doctorate is to study or read related literature to their research topic. From that day, start writing a research paper. I know, you won’t research anything but first, publish a review article. 

A review article will help you in many ways, first, you will gain experience of how you can publish an article. Second, your 70% of the review literature portion will be completed and third, you may start your research work soon because you have done substantial work to start experiments. 

Writing style varied from journals to journals and so the citation and referencing methods too. Though abstract, introduction, material & methods, results and discussion, interpretation and references are common in almost every journal style. 

Journals have different citation and referencing styles, depending on what a writer has to write and submit their article or research paper. 

Pro tips: If you write an article as per the need, requirement and writing style of a journal 80% of your chance of getting published will increase. 

Some popular and common journal styles are: 

  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Modern language association (MLA)
  • Chicago: notes and bibliography
  • Chicago: Author and date
  • Chicago humanities style
  • Harvard: Australian style 
  • Harvard: Author-Date Style

Check out this box to how you can use those styles: 

American Psychological association technique (APA):

Chauhan, T. N., Patel, R. K., Suthar, J. V. (2018). Genetic status of Eunuchs- A review. Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology, 2(5), 472-484. 

Modern language association (MLA)   

Chauhan T, Patel R and Suthar J. “Genetic status of Eunuch -A review.” Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology , vol. 2, no 5, 2018, pp. 472-484. 

Chicago style Bibliography: 

Chauhan T, Patel R and Suthar J. “Genetic status of Eunuch -A review.” Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology 2(2018): 472-484. 

An article citation style also varies that you can learn on the internet. Apart from the citation and referencing style, writing style (one-column or two-column), font style, font size, placement of image and other things also vary. 

You can read the policy page or rules of publishing the article page on the official website of the publisher or journal. It’s an easy thing to follow their style. 

Note that a sample article editable article style is also there on their website, you can download it and use it to start writing. 

Publishers or journals are also taken into consideration, the structure of the article, means, how you have bifurcated your article. A common thumb rule is to use abstract, introduction, material and methods, results and interpretation in the article, along with bibliography at the end. 

This structure is widely accepted by almost all journals, however, it may differ as per the requirement of the journal and your article as well. 

For example, if your article is review- literature, probably material method or interpretation section can’t be there. If you are publishing a case study, you need to include a case history too. 

Article’s structure is crucial to be accepted, unstructured research articles can’t create an impact on the reviewer to publish. You need to fragment every bit of information as per the topic headings. 

For example, some common information is included in the introduction, which technique or chemicals you have used, should be there in the material method section, other related review or literature should be there in the discussion section. 

To learn more on how to structure your article, read the related published articles in a journal you wish to publish. 

As I said, the Abstract, introduction, material & methods, results & discussion, conclusion and references must be there in a research article. In addition to this, Acknowledge others who helped you. Add funding information too. 

Acknowledgment and funding information should be inserted at the end of the article, after the bibliography. 

The common formats for various type of article are as followed;

Research article: Abstract, introduction, material & methods, results & discussion, interpretation, references and acknowledgment. 

Case study: Abstract, background, case history, material & methods, results & discussion, interpretation, references and acknowledgment. 

Review article: Abstract, Introduction or background, Applications, future prospective, final remark, references and acknowledgment. 

Note that the structure may vary for book chapters, conference papers, presentations or magazine articles. 

The abstract is an uncited, 250 to 400 words long writeup or a brief summary of the article. Usually, students avoid structuring an abstract, even though everything is excellent, their article can’t be accepted, the reason is inappropriate or poorly written abstract. 

The abstract is a portion or preface explaining ‘what you have done’ in your research and article. Again the style of abstract may fairly vary depending upon the journal you choose. 

A direct, single paragraph and shorter abstract having results included is a common choice for many, nonetheless, some prefer sectioning such as background, material & methods, results & discussion and conclusion in short. 

Note: your abstract shouldn’t be longer than 400 words. 

Huge information the internet possesses, some are correct, rest isn’t! Making information correct, trustworthy and liable is crucial. Academicians and researchers trust those data, which are cited. 

Citing a sentence, article, information or data means you are providing authenticity and a source from where you have taken it. However, that doesn’t mean copying that portion directly from others. 

Citation makes the article free of plagiarism and authenticates information. Moreover, citation methods vary from publisher to publisher depending upon which technique they generally use. 

Citation is added at the end of the sentence, after the end of the page or after the end of the paragraph by mentioning the first name of the author and year of publication. 

Related article: How to Check Plagiarism for PhD Thesis?- Top 10 Plagiarism Checkers

Referencing is crucial to publish an article, much like the references. It fairly shows from where you have taken information, readers can use to verify. 

Various formats of references we already have discussed somewhere in the article. 

Follow rules, instructions and style of the journal to elevate acceptance chances. Usually, references are enlisted at the end of the article, chronologically- as per the citation provided or alphabetically. 

Again it depends on the writing style of the journal. Common reference text includes name or names of researchers, year of publication, the title of the article, name of the journal, volume number, section or portion number and page numbers. 

If the journal articles are available online, DOI is also indicated at the end of the reference. 

You can list references, alphabetically, numerically and chronologically as per the citations. Most journals prefer the last method in which bibliography is enlisted in chronology as per citations. 

Mendeley an online citation and references management system helps you to do so. You can read about it here: Mendeley- an online citation platform.

If you wish, common below, we will cover a separate article on Mednely, how to use Mendeley MS word extension and other options. 

Your research, findings, discoveries only matter when you compare it with others. The discussion part of the article is so important that comprises recent reviews, research or findings related to your work. 

Comprehensively, the researcher shows the positives and negatives of their research in accordance with other findings. This section provides data showing relative comparison with your findings with others. The discussion section strengthens and authenticates your findings. 

In addition, it shows loopholes, scopes of improvements and limitations of yours as well as other associated work. The objective to do so is to apprise other researchers and give them future direction for research, especially, in your field. 

Write your final interpretations at the terminal of the article (before references) as a conclusion. It shows what you have done during your research and what your final findings are. 

As a writing technicality, the conclusion is of a few liners or a single paragraph shows the final remarks of the researcher or PhD student. Don’t mention any citation in the conclusion. It is the only original write-up of a PhD student’s own. 

Let us take an example of this article only, 

Conclusively, to write a research paper, PhD students have to know the writing style of a journal, their requirements and criteria. In addition, an article should have common sections like abstract, introduction, material & methods, results & discussion, conclusion and references in which the abstract- a preface of the article is very important. 

Students need to read other articles related to this topic and take professional advice to publish a research paper. 

Note that do not forget to give future indications, as I have explained in the last sentence. 

Less expected from PhD candidates, common writing mistakes, such as spelling, grammar or punctuation, though happens, can be avoided. Thoroughly read the article and cross-check with your PhD supervisor or guide. 

You can use other AI like Grammarly to do so. Grammarly is an online platform to check grammar, spelling, plagiarism and common punctuation mistakes from an article. Also, suggest corrections and synonyms as well. 

You can read related articles from here: 

  • Grammarly- your PhD writing assistant
  • Is Grammarly premium worth it? 

The overview of writing a research paper

Here in this section, I will explain, step-by-step guide from beginning to publishing your research article in peer-reviewed journals. 

The very first step when you start writing a research article is to decide on a working thesis statement which is something concise and one-liner. It should show the overall idea behind doing research. 

For example, 

“Evaluation of COMT gene polymorphism using PCR.”

  • Here the thesis statement indicates the researcher’s work area that is the COMT gene, purpose (studying polymorphism) and methodology (using PCR technique). 

After deciding a thesis statement do not forget to verify it to your guide or PhD supervisor. 

Next, collect the information from your thesis or other research that you would like to include in your article. 

After that, make an outline of your research paper by structurizing it in different headings, 

  • A title page- having a thesis statement
  • An abstract- 250 words overview of the whole research 
  • Introduction- general introductory information of the topic 
  • Methodology- materials, methods, techniques and chemicals used 
  • Results and discussion- final results of PhD study supporting other relevant documents, research or findings in the form of arguments or discussion. 
  • Conclusion- a one-liner to show your final interpretations. 
  • References- sources you utilized to write this article. 

Try to write an article in the section given in the outline for research paper writing above. 

The outline for the article explained above; 

Working thesis title- “Evaluation of COMT gene polymorphism using PCR.”

Outline of research article: 

  • Thesis title
  • Abstract 
  • Definition of COMT gene 
  • Location and polymorphisms related to COMT 
  • Chemical and utilities 
  • PCR primer sets for COMT gene
  • Preparation of mastermix 
  • Performing PCR reaction 
  • Agarose gel electrophoresis 
  • Results and discussion
  • Conclusion 
  • References 

To make your writing more precise you can use grammar checkers like Grammarly or/ and can manually check it to your guide. 

Once you are done writing, refurbished your article as per the guidelines or style of the publisher or journal. 

Now make more than 3 copies of your article as per different journals and send it to them. Don’t rely on a single source. Try to send it to many publishers as per their formats. 

If you think that converting articles in different formats is a tougher task try Mendely to our MS word (we will cover articles on it soon) , it automatically adds citations and references to your writing and can convert between different styles. 

Recent articles of our blog:

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I think the information that I have given is so important for a beginner in order to write a research article because for beginners it is very hard to decide from where to start. Even sometimes, their guide can’t help them correctly. 

Writing a research paper especially in a peer-reviewed journal isn’t an easy task, one has to write precisely and in a structure. 

I hope this article help you. 

Dr Tushar Chauhan

Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.

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  • Graduate School

Personal Statement for PhD Scholarship Sample

Personal Statement for PhD Scholarship Sample

A personal statement for PhD scholarship sample can only help so much, as doctorate-level scholarships have varying, non-universal application requirements. Some scholarships may not even ask for a personal statement, while others will ask you to write a statement based on a very particular prompt or topic that goes beyond the standard “ why do you want to do a PhD? ”. The variety and diversity of scholarships available to PhD applicants mean that your creativity, writing skills, and self-reflection ability matter more than your academic background or achievements.

This article presents a personal statement for PhD scholarship sample, written based on a specific scholarship, the Rhodes Scholarship, along with a few general tips that you should follow to make your own personal statement stand out.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

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Article Contents 9 min read

Note: The following personal statement was written according to the requirements of the Rhodes Trust, which awards the internationally renowned Rhodes Scholarship. This scholarship was chosen because it has global reach, and applicants from anywhere entering a program (undergraduate and graduate) at the University of Oxford can apply. It was also chosen because the personal statement is a crucial component of your application. All applicants must write a 750-word personal statement that addresses all three of the following specific prompts:

  • 'Which Rhodes Scholar quality do you display most strongly, and how are other contexts and people helping you to develop the others?'
  • 'What would you like to learn from the Rhodes and wider community in Oxford?'
  • 'From your place in the world, what is humanity’s greatest need?'

Still uncertain about grad school? Check out this video:

Personal Statement for PhD Scholarship Sample  

V.S. Naipaul hated Oxford. 'I hate those degrees and I hate all those ideas of universities', he said in an interview with The Paris Review. Naipaul graduated with a bachelor’s degree – Upper Second Class Honours, not the First Class Honours he wanted – but I don’t believe his ire can be explained by his failing the oral exam to complete the B.Litt. post-graduate degree he was seeking.

While his words are unambiguous and forceful, I think Naipaul’s work, and actions, betray a more complicated relationship with his alma mater and the overarching culture and identity of Britishness Oxford represents. Let’s not forget that Naipaul, born in Trinidad, took the extraordinary step of leaving his home to study in England, and in that remarkable action, I think we can infer a deep-rooted, visceral and intense desire to belong.

I was also born in Trinidad, not far from Naipaul’s birthplace. And, like Naipaul, my grandparents were transplants from another sector of the British Empire, Hong Kong. I too grew up in an environment never feeling like I belonged. I struggled for a long time to create an idea of myself that represented all the aspects of my past and present. I believe the rootlessness and alienation I felt ultimately led me to become post-national.

Writing a personal statement for a PhD scholarship is different from writing a research interest statement , a grad school career goals statement , or a school or program specific personal statement, like the Harvard graduate school personal statement . The main difference, of course, is the reason for writing the statement, which is to win a scholarship to pay for graduate school, not entry into a program or university. This difference matters because you may be asked to write about something totally unrelated to your academic achievements or research plans, which may be difficult at first.

As you can see from the prompts given above, scholarship selection committees look for very specific answers on topics that are the opposite of what you would write in a typical Oxford personal statement , graduate school cover letter or PhD motivation letter . Scholarship selection committees are also bound by the stipulations set forth by the founder or benefactor of the scholarship since they are the ones funding the award. The people who establish academic and non-academic scholarships do so for a variety of reasons.

In the case of Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the Rhodes Scholarship, it was to 'promote unity among English-speaking nations'. The original motivation for the scholarship, which was founded at the turn of the 20 th century, has evolved to be more inclusive of international students, but its core mission to reward scholars who show essential qualities, like an instinct to lead and devotion to duty is unchanged.

The scope of many scholarships means it is difficult to recommend what exactly to write and what to mention since it is the scholarship administrators who determine that, and it can be different for every scholarship. The requirements can be either open-ended, or, in the case of the Rhodes Scholarships, quite precise.

For an example of an open-ended personal statement for PhD scholarship, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program, administered by the Canadian government, asks for a two-page Personal Leadership Statement, with the main requirement being that you 'outline how you have gone above and beyond the expected norms' in a leadership capacity. Yet another example of how tricky it can be to navigate all the different requirements scholarships ask for is that the Vanier CGS program also asks for you to expound on much more than your leadership. You are encouraged to write about any personal obstacles you overcame to pursue your studies, what led you to pursue this particular field of study and how you will achieve your particular goals at the institution which has nominated you for the scholarship (you must be nominated; you cannot apply yourself). Therefore, the Vanier CGS resembles a typical personal statement in some ways (writing about overcoming obstacles, answering the 'tell me about yourself' PhD interview question ), but there is much more you need to write about, as it is a PhD-level scholarship which has a myriad of opportunities attached to it.

What Should I Include in my Personal Statement for a PhD Scholarship?

What you include in your personal statement for a PhD scholarship depends on the scholarship you are applying to. Fortunately, many of these scholarships tell you directly what you need to include, whether it be, like the Rhodes Scholarship, how you exemplify certain characteristics, or what you would do to address a certain problem, or how the school or program you want to enter can help you in achieving your academic and career goals.

There are thousands of different scholarship opportunities out there for eligible students, and their eligibility requirements also differ. The scholarship could be academically based, meaning you must meet certain academic requirements. It could be based around your program and only available to students within that program.

Other scholarships are specifically for a certain demographic, such as students who identify as Black, Indigenous or another ethnicity. These students may be asked to write a totally different personal statement than someone who applies for an academic or merit-based scholarship. Other funding opportunities may be based solely on financial need and do not require you to submit any supporting documentation other than financial records.

But there are a few general tips that you can modify accordingly, so that you have some idea of what you need to write about.

1. Don’t Stray from the Requirements

Writing a personal statement for a PhD scholarship is, in some ways, a bit easier than learning how to write a CV for grad school , mainly because (in some cases, not all) you are given a specific set of requirements that can help you formulate and structure your statement, rather than having to do it yourself. The Rhodes Scholarship is only one example of this, but there are many others.

Since these scholarships are explicit about their requirements, you must adhere to them faithfully. These requirements apply not only to the content of your statement, but to the formatting as well. The Vanier GSC program has very strict formatting requirements which, if not followed, will reflect poorly on your overall application: maximum of 2 pages (2.5 pages for essays written in French), 12-point font size, six lines per inch.

Should you pursue a master’s or PhD , you should know that doctorate programs have fluctuating costs, but they usually enter the six-figure range, so figuring out how to fund your education is essential. If you are unsure about how to find a job after grad school , then applying for a full scholarship like the Rhodes or Vanier can help you shoulder the costs so that you are not burdened with student debt.

The Rhodes and Vanier scholarships are only two examples of scholarships that cover all costs associated with a PhD, but not all of them do. Some have limited funds to disburse, and availability depends on various factors, so you should research which scholarships apply to your particular program or whether you fit the eligibility requirements.

Many scholarship programs regardless of the school, program of study or discipline, ask applicants to submit a short essay or statement about either a specific topic or something more general. Usually, but not always, the topic or prompt is based around the reasons the scholarship was created in the first place (to promote a specific ideal or discipline, to help underprivileged students get into graduate school, etc.). But it could also be a general letter about why you want to pursue your PhD. 

Whether or not you write a personal statement for a PhD scholarship depends on what scholarship you are applying for, as they do not all require them. You should check the requirements carefully to find out for sure.  

The differences are that a personal statement for a PhD scholarship may require you to write in response to a very specific topic, whereas a regular personal statement usually does not. A regular personal statement is where you outline various autobiographical details and how they relate to your overall academic and professional goals. A personal statement for a PhD scholarship may or may not ask for those same details. They may ask you to write about something else, which is the main difference between the two. 

What you include in your personal statement for a PhD scholarship depends on the stipulations of the scholarship founder and committee.

Yes, it very well might. Writing an excellent personal statement (if you are asked to write one) is an important part of winning a scholarship, and it can tip the scales in your favour if it helps you stand out in a field of similarly bright and capable applicants. You should put as much time and effort into writing it as you would for any personal statement requirement. 

It depends on the scholarship which you are applying to. The examples given above, Rhodes and Vanier, have many different requirements and ask you to submit other documentation like your research resume , statement of purpose and grad school letters of recommendation . You may have to meet other academic and non-academic requirements, like having a master’s degree or a specific GPA score. 

Scholarships are not specific to PhDs or graduate students, as they can be used by anyone who needs the appropriate funding and resources to complete their education, regardless of the level. A PhD scholarship is a bit different in that it can afford you other opportunities besides money for tuition and living expenses. Winning a Rhodes Scholarship grants you access to several professional development opportunities, an international alumni network and entrance into a hallowed legacy. But other PhD scholarships' benefits may not be as far-reaching and involve only helping you pay for your education. 

Award amounts vary between different scholarships and are not always made public since the prize can be disbursed over several years or all at once, depending on the scholarship. Other scholarships are one-time, non-renewable prizes which cover only one year of study or one semester, and you are told upfront how much money is available. But, again, even those amounts can change, depending on how many applicants apply and how many scholarships are awarded. 

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how to write phd scholar


  • Apr 15, 2021

7 Secrets to Write a PhD Literature Review The Right Way

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

A literature review gives your readers an idea about your scholarly understanding of the previous work in your research domain. It requires you to justify your work and demonstrate the importance of your research work with respect to the current state of knowledge. It is a great opportunity for you to examine the previous work and fill any gaps in it which may help you to make it a foundation for your own research.

The role of a literature review and its importance in your thesis can also be seen from here:

Role of a Literature Review|Walden University

Writing a literature review requires gathering loads of information by reading many articles, books, and papers related to your Ph.D. topic. And once you are done with the initial stage, you have to organize the important data collected and discuss it according to your learning. Now, all of this seems quite tedious.

how to write phd scholar

You may have seen many people ranting when they have to write a literature review, and it is totally fine. But, does it help in writing a review? Obviously, no. You have to make this process interesting for yourself to remain focused.

Here are some secrets which can help you to enjoy writing an amazing literature review.

1. Make a Well-Structured Outline:

A literature review is exhaustive research on the topic under investigation so that you can become an expert on that topic. Therefore, it is important for you to make a well-structured outline before you start writing otherwise you won’t understand where to end as you’ll be having a lot of information. For example, a literature review must include an introduction and conclusion section, you should avoid direct quotations and use paraphrasing instead. Your literature review should be organized according to the theme and should be divided into various headings to shift from one topic to another. You can use comparative terms to agree or disagree with the author and provide your own opinion.

Check out this literature review template to have a more clear understanding of creating a well-structured outline for your literature review: Literature Review Template|Thompson Rivers University

2. Use Synthesis Matrix:

When you are gathering information from a lot of resources, and you have to ultimately gather them in one place then using a synthesis matrix could be very helpful for this purpose. A synthesis matrix is an outline that permits a researcher to sort and arrange the various contentions introduced on an issue. Across the highest point of the chart are the spaces to record sources, and at the edge of the chart are the spaces to record the primary concerns of contention on the current theme.

how to write phd scholar

You can outline your whole literature review and keep a check and balance of which things you have covered and what is left. It simplifies your work greatly and helps in writing a literature review in a very organized manner.

See more on the use of synthesis matrix at Literature Review using synthesis Matrix and Synthesizing various sources

3. Change Your Perspective:

Another important thing that you must do before you start writing a literature review is to change your writing perspective. You don’t have to take it as a burden that Why am I even doing this? Yes, we know it is quite a dull task, but why not enjoy it if you have to do it after all?

Write it for yourself. Question yourself from time to time. Like what information would you like to extract from it while you are reading this review? Would it sound interesting to your self? Would you remain focused while reading this writing style? Will you love this review as a third person? Will this be an interesting thing to read?

When you become your critique you have high chances of improvement. You start writing a review such that you would like to read it yourself, and gradually you can write one interesting literature review for your thesis.

how to write phd scholar

4. Read and Write Simultaneously:

A common mistake that many people make while writing a literature review is that they do all the readings and information gathering first and leave the writing at last. What happens is that they utilize all their energy and focus in the reading phase and when it's time to start the actual writing they feel exhausted and over-worked. Moreover, when they see a blank page in front of them after reading piles of paperwork they get demotivated and feel anxious that how they will manage to write such a long review.

How to avoid this anxiety?

One simple way is to start writing parallel to reading. When you are reading an article or paper, make notes of it or short bullet points. It will help you to keep a track of both what you have read and what you need to add to your literature review. And when you finally start compiling the review you will have your guideline instead of a blank paper which makes it quite easy for you to jot it all down on a paper.

5. Make a Proper Timeline and Stick To It:

Making a proper timeline to write a literature review is crucial. You don’t want to get stuck in it and end up completing your review in a year instead of weeks. To avoid this, take a day or two off, search through the internet or other resources that what helping material you would require reading, and then make a proper timeline of completing them and making notes simultaneously.

It will help you a lot to stay on track.

Here is a sample timeline you could follow: Research Sample Timeline

6. Go Easy On Yourself:

Yes, you heard it. Don’t be so harsh on yourself. Keep days off in your schedule and relax fully on those days. You don’t have to keep reading and writing 24/7, all days a week. Our mind needs to be relaxed on and off to remain functional. If you over-burden yourself you will eventually end up doing absolutely nothing because of over-work.

how to write phd scholar

If you get stuck somewhere, seek help from your supervisor, friends or other resources, Don’t let your shyness or shame keep you away from achieving your target. We are all humans, and we do need help at some point in our lives so don’t discourage yourself to do so.

7. Interpret Your Understanding Comprehensively:

When writing a review you need to portray what you have truly learned from the already published work of other scholars. What many people do is they start cramming information to write a review and end up writing only a summary of that data, They don’t learn and understand anything from it. They just take it as a formality that has to be fulfilled. That is wrong.

how to write phd scholar

You need to have clear concepts and must be able to demonstrate to others what you learned from the previous work and how your work would contribute towards it. This is the true essence of writing a literature review, and it will benefit you the most for your research process.

If you are having any difficulty in writing or editing your thesis Literature Review you can visit our website to seek help and guidance by the following link:

Scholars Doctoral Editing and Consulting

Scholars Professional Editing Group LLC :

Website: https://www.thescholarsediting.com/

Email Us: [email protected]

Contact Us: (302) 295-4953


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How to Write a PhD Motivation Letter

  • Applying to a PhD

A PhD motivation letter is a document that describes your personal motivation and competence for a particular research project. It is usually submitted together with your academic CV to provide admissions staff with more information about you as an individual, to help them decide whether or not you are the ideal candidate for a research project.

A motivation letter has many similarities to a cover letter and a personal statement, and institutions will not ask you to submit all of these. However, it is a unique document and you should treat it as such. In the context of supporting a PhD application, the difference is nuanced; all three documents outline your suitability for PhD study. However, compared to a cover letter and personal statement, a motivation letter places more emphasis on your motivation for wanting to pursue the particular PhD position you are applying for.

Academic cover letters are more common in UK universities, while motivation letters are more common abroad.

A motivation letter can play a key part in the application process . It allows the admission committee to review a group of PhD applicants with similar academic backgrounds and select the ideal candidate based on their motivations for applying.

For admission staff, academic qualifications alone are not enough to indicate whether a student will be successful in their doctorate. In this sense, a motivational letter will allow them to judge your passion for the field of study, commitment to research and suitability for the programme, all of which better enables them to evaluate your potential.

How Should I Structure My Motivation Letter?

A strong motivation letter for PhD applications will include:

  • A concise introduction stating which programme you are applying for,
  • Your academic background and professional work experience,
  • Any key skills you possess and what makes you the ideal candidate,
  • Your interest and motivation for applying,
  • Concluding remarks and thanks.

This is a simplistic breakdown of what can be a very complicated document.

However, writing to the above structure will ensure you keep your letter of motivation concise and relevant to the position you are applying for. Remember, the aim of your letter is to show your enthusiasm and that you’re committed and well suited for the programme.

To help you write a motivation letter for a PhD application, we have outlined what to include in the start, main body, and closing sections.

How to Start a Motivation Letter

Introduction: Start with a brief introduction in which you clearly state your intention to apply for a particular programme. Think of this as describing what the document is to a stranger.

Education: State what you have studied and where. Your higher education will be your most important educational experience, so focus on this. Highlight any relevant modules you undertook as part of your studies that are relevant to the programme you are applying for. You should also mention how your studies have influenced your decision to pursue a PhD project, especially if it is in the same field you are currently applying to.

Work experience: Next summarise your professional work experience. Remember, you will likely be asked to submit your academic CV along with your motivation letter, so keep this section brief to avoid any unnecessary repetition. Include any other relevant experiences, such as teaching roles, non-academic experience, or charity work which demonstrates skills or shows your suitability for the research project and in becoming a PhD student.

Key skills: Outline your key skills. Remember the admissions committee is considering your suitability for the specific programme you are applying for, so mention skills relevant to the PhD course.

Motivation for applying: Show your enthusiasm and passion for the subject, and describe your long-term aspirations. Start with how you first became interested in the field, and how your interest has grown since. You should also mention anything else you have done which helps demonstrate your interest in your proposed research topic, for example:

  • Have you attended any workshops or seminars?
  • Do you have any research experience?
  • Have you taught yourself any aspects of the subject?
  • Have you read any literature within the research area?

Finally, describe what has convinced you to dedicate the next 3-4 years (assuming you are to study full time) of your life to research.

How to End a Motivation Letter

Concluding the motivation letter is where most people struggle. Typically, people can easily describe their academic background and why they want to study, but convincing the reader they are the best candidate for the PhD programme is often more challenging.

The concluding remarks of your motivation letter should highlight the impacts of your proposed research, in particular: the new contributions it will make to your field, the benefits it will have on society and how it fits in with your aspirations.

With this, conclude with your career goals. For example, do you want to pursue an academic career or become a researcher for a private organisation? Doing so will show you have put a lot of thought into your decision.

Remember, admissions into a PhD degree is very competitive, and supervisors invest a lot of time into mentoring their students. Therefore, supervisors naturally favour those who show the most dedication. Your conclusion should remind the reader that you are not only passionate about the research project, but that the university will benefit from having you.

Finally, thank the reader for considering your application.

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Motivation Letter Format

There are some basic rules to follow when writing a successful motivation letter. These will mimic the standard format for report writing that the supervisor will be familiar with:

  • Use a sans serif font (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman),
  • Use a standard font size (e.g. 12pt) and black font colour,
  • Keep your writing professional throughout and avoid the use of informal language,
  • Write in the first person,
  • Address your motivation letter to a named person such as the project supervisor, however, this could also be the person in charge of research admissions,
  • Structure your letter into paragraphs using the guidance above, such as introduction, academic history, motivation for research, and concluding remarks.

How Long Should a Motivation Letter Be?

A good rule of thumb for PhD motivation letters is to keep it to around one side of A4. A little longer than one page is acceptable, but two pages is generally considered too long. This equates to approximately 400-600 words.

Things to Avoid when Writing Your Motivational Letter

Your motivational letter will only be one of the several documents you’ll be asked to submit as part of your PhD application. You will almost certainly be asked to submit an Academic CV as well. Therefore, be careful not to duplicate any of the information.

It is acceptable to repeat the key points, such as what and where you have studied. However, while your CV should outline your academic background, your motivation letter should bring context to it by explaining why you have studied what you have, and where you hope to go with it. The simplest way to do this is to refer to the information in your CV and explain how it has led you to become interested in research.

Don’t try to include everything. A motivation letter should be short, so focus on the information most relevant to the programme and which best illustrates your passion for it. Remember, the academic committee will need to be critical in order to do their jobs effectively , so they will likely interpret an unnecessarily long letter as in indication that you have poor written skills and cannot communicate effectively.

You must be able to back up all of your statements with evidence, so don’t fabricate experiences or overstate your skills. This isn’t only unethical but is likely to be picked up by your proposed PhD supervisor or the admissions committee.

Whilst it is good to show you have an understanding of the field, don’t try to impress the reader with excessive use of technical terms or abbreviations.

PhD Motivation Letter Samples – A Word of Caution

There are many templates and samples of motivation letters for PhDs available online. A word of caution regarding these – although they can prove to be a great source of inspiration, you should refrain from using them as a template for your own motivation letter.

While there are no rules against them, supervisors will likely have seen a similar letter submitted to them in the past. This will not only prevent your application from standing out, but it will also reflect poorly on you by suggesting that you have put minimal effort into your application.

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StandOut CV

CV for PhD application example

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You’ve wrapped up your degree and are keen to embark on your PhD journey.

But before you can get stuck in, you’ll need to secure your place by putting forward a compelling PhD application and CV.

If you’ve never written an academic-style CV before, the process can be daunting. That’s why I’ve created this step-by-step guide to writing a CV for a PhD application.

I’ve also included a PhD CV example, to give you a better idea of what you need to include. Here’s what I’ll cover in the guide:

Guide contents

PhD application CV example

  • Structuring and formatting your CV
  • Writing your CV profile
  • Detailing your education
  • Detailing your relevant experience

CV templates 

PHD Applicant CV-1

As you can see from the CV example above, a PhD CV is structured differently to a traditional CV. Instead of focusing on work experience, academic experience and accomplishments are prioritised.

However, the fundamental CV writing  rules stay the same. Therefore, the candidate has put forward their information in a way which is clear, concise and formatted for easy reading.

CV builder

PhD application CV structure & format

PhD programmes receive thousands of applications, meaning the university admissions teams are generally very time-strapped.

As such, you need to  structure and format  your CV to make it as easy as possible for them to review.

First impressions count and a cluttered or disorganised application won’t do you any favours.

Instead, you should aim for a clean, well-organised and professional appearance throughout.

Formatting Tips

  • Length: While academic CVs are generally longer than standard CVs, it’s still best to aim for a short, relevant and concise document. For PhD applications, a length of one or two A4 pages is ideal. This is more than enough space to highlight your suitability without  overwhelming the reader with irrelevant information or excessive detail.
  • Readability: The information on your CV should be laid out logically, with clear section headings for easy navigation. Break up large chunks of text into small, snappy paragraphs and include bullet points where appropriate.
  • Design:  Opt for a clear, legible font and stick to it throughout – consistency is important. Ensure your headings are formatted for attention by using bold text or a slightly larger font size.
  • Things to avoid:  Steer clear of elaborate designs, fancy fonts, images or logos – they’re simply not needed and might distract from the all-important written content.
  • Things to consider: CVs ‘rules’ differ from country to country, so if you’re applying to an international university, take some time to research what’s expected of you.

Structuring your CV

Organise your content into the following sections for ease-of-reading:

  • Contact details – These should always be at the very top of your CV.
  • Personal statement  – A brief introductory summary of your qualifications, skills and experience in relation to the PhD.
  • Core skills – A short and snappy list of your most relevant skills, tailored to the PhD.
  • Education –  A detailed breakdown of your relevant qualifications, especially your undergraduate and postgraduate degree(s).
  • Career summary/research   experience – An overview of any relevant work or research experience, angled towards your chosen field of study.
  • Additional information –   A space to detail any other relevant information which may boost your application.

Quick tip:  While the simple CV format above is usually ideal, academic institutions often have their own preferred structure. Double-check their guidelines before you start writing – their preferences should be prioritised – and use a CV template if you want to speed things up without sacrificing quality.

CV Contact Details

Contact details

Commence your CV by sharing your basic contact details

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Location  – Rather than listing your full address, your town or city, such as ‘Manchester’ or ‘Exeter’, is enough.
  • If you have one, add a link to your LinkedIn profile or a portfolio of work.

CV for PhD Personal Statement

Your profile / personal statement  is essentially your first impression on the reader and is a great way to hook their attention.

It should provide a snappy summary of who you are and why your qualifications, skills and ambitions make you a perfect candidate for the PhD.

CV profile

Tips to consider when creating your personal statement:

  • Tailor to the PhD:  Every PhD programme should have a description available, which you can use to tailor your personal statement ( and your CV as a whole). Focus on proving you have the appropriate educational background, skillset and knowledge to carry out the project.
  • Prove your enthusiasm: It’s important to put forward your drive and motivation for your field and explain why the specific PhD is so well-matched to your wider interests and ambitions.
  • Avoid clichés:  Clichés and generic phrases like “I’m a motivated team player”  and  “gives 110%”  won’t impress the admissions team.
  • Keep it short:  A paragraph length of around 8-15 lines is perfect. This is only an introduction – the detail can come later on in your CV.

What to include in your CV for PhD personal statement?

  • Your academic background  – Give a brief overview of your undergraduate degree and/or masters and how they’ve brought you towards this PhD.
  • Impressive results  – PhD students are normally academically extraordinary, so make sure to point out any impressive results or feedback – whether that’s your degree as a whole or a particularly relevant assignment/project grade.
  • Relevant skills  – Use the PhD project description to find out what the university is looking for in candidates. Then, try to incorporate the core skills into your profile.
  • Relevant experience – Not everyone will have any relevant research or work experience to their name at this stage, but if you do, make sure to briefly highlight it here.
  • Interests, goals & motivations  – Give a brief insight into your motivation for taking on a PhD, why you’re so committed to your specific research topics(s) and what you think you can add. It’s also helpful to summarise how the course will fit into your wider career ambitions/goals.

Core skills section

Next, create a punchy list of core skills, organised into 2 or 3 columns of bullet points.

Use the project description to identify the required skills and knowledge, then use your findings to inform your list.

CV core skills

This will help the busy admissions team to see that the PhD is right for you at a glance.

Education & Qualifications

A PhD CV is  all about academic achievements and qualifications, so this section should make up the bulk of your CV.

Working in reverse chronological order, provide a detailed breakdown of your undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications.

If you have any GCSEs, A-Levels or other academic qualifications that are particularly relevant to the PhD subject, they might be worth listing, too.

Structuring your education

By working to a considered structure, you can ensure your education is easy to navigate and that your key achievements stand out.

For each of your relevant qualifications, break up information into the following sections.

Start by detailing the type of qualification, the title, the achieved grade, the academic institution at which you studied and the year you graduated.

MSc – Environmental Engineering (Distinction)

Middlesex University (2018)

Course content

Next, discuss your thesis or dissertation title (if applicable), the modules you studied and any relevant projects you were involved in.

What you choose to write here should be tailored to the PhD you’re applying for – focus the detail on the most relevant aspects of the qualification.

Thesis: “Identification of the Bacterial Profusion and Variety in Nuclear Waste Disposal”.

Modules: System Analysis in Urban Water Management; Process Engineering in Urban Water Management; Air Quality Control; Waste Management; Ecological Systems Design, and Remote Sensing and Earth Observation.

Project: “Research Study for Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment”

Key achievements (optional)

Finish up with a snappy list of key results,  accomplishments or learning outcomes you achieved.

This might be an impressive grade for a highly relevant assignment, an award you won or a quote of exemplary feedback from a tutor.

Career & Research Experience

Next up is your career & research summary, which should be tailored to the PhD in question.

You could include  relevant research experience here, as well as any related employment (even if temporary or voluntary).

Make sure to be selective with the type of employment you list, though. For example, a part-time waiting on job isn’t worth including, but a laboratory or tutoring job might be. Ultimately, it should be related to your field or have helped you develop relevant skills or knowledge.

When discussing your research roles, make sure to detail the techniques you used, the skills developed and any interesting findings.

Structuring your experience section

Ensure your career & research section is clear, scannable and easy to read by working to the following structure:

Outline the dates of employment/contract, the role title and the organisation or institution you worked for.

Aug 2018 – Sep 2019 Research Intern Hydro Continental, London

Give a brief overview of the position or research project as a whole, discussing the team you worked with (or lead), who you reported to and what the goal of the project was.

“Undertook a short-term assignment pertaining to the Economics of climate change in order to research and drive improvements in energy consumption and emissions; reported to the Executive Engineer.” 

Key responsibilities 

Then use bullet points to pinpoint your duties and responsibilities within the role, making sure to mention any relevant techniques or skills used that could benefit your candidacy. E.g.

  • Employed the Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) curve tool to present carbon emissions abatement options.
  • Built partnerships and participated in open discussions with other country modellers and research associates.
  • Amassed and processed varied data from multiple sources.

Writing your CV for PhD

Applying for a PhD is a daunting yet exciting time, but a flawless CV can help you achieve your goals.

Remember to tailor your CV to the specific PhD you’re applying for and aim to make a compelling case for your suitability and aligned goals.

Before you send off your CV, try to get a second opinion from a current or previous tutor, trusted family member or friend.

It’s also worth checking the finished document with our quick-and-easy CV Builder , to eliminate the risk of overlooking mistakes.

Best of luck with your PhD application!

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Cover Letter for PhD Application: Guide for Writing One & Example From a Real PhD Student

  • Klara Cervenanska , 
  • Updated March 27, 2023 9 min read

When applying for a PhD research position, you usually need to submit certain documents, including an academic CV and a cover letter for PhD application .

A PhD cover letter, also referred to as an academic cover letter, should be carefully crafted, well-formatted, and contain specific sections.

We'll show you how to do exactly that, along with a sample of an academic cover letter from a real person admitted to a PhD program at Lyon University in France.

And if you're not sure how to go about writing your PhD CV, check out this article: CV for PhD Application: How to Write One Like a True Scholar (+CV Example) .

Table of Contents

Click on a section to skip

What is an academic cover letter?

What to include in a cover letter for phd application, how to write a cover letter for phd application, how to format an academic cover letter, phd cover letter sample.

An academic cover letter is a document that PhD candidates submit alongside their academic CV when applying for a PhD. 

Essentially, it's a cover letter for a PhD application.

It's not exactly the same as your regular business cover letter. Nor is it the same as a personal statement or a motivation letter .

The purpose of a cover letter for PhD application is to explain to the reader, who's likely a researcher or a professor, what you can contribute to their institution and/or field.

Moreover, in a PhD application cover letter, you should explain why you're a good match for the research position on the program.

Differences between academic cover letter and business cover letter

Both these documents serve different purposes and people use them in different settings:

  • Academic cover letter is used when applying for positions in academia — most often for a PhD. More emphasis should be on education, research background and scholarly accomplishments. Moreover, it should explain what your contribution to the institution or field could be. It should also point the reader to your academic CV.
  • Regular (business) cover letter is normally used when applying for any kind of job . Hence, more emphasis should be on skills and past experience while being tailored to a specific job position. You should also explain why you're a good fit for the position at the given company. It should point the reader to your resume.

There are also other documents people often mistake for an academic cover letter. These include:

  • Motivation letter is especially relevant for fresh graduates when applying to a university, a non-profit organization, or voluntary work. A motivation letter focuses more on your interests and motives for applying.
  • Personal statement. Also used in an academic setting. It's always written by an applicant, often a prospective student, applying to college, university, or graduate school. You explain why you've chosen a particular course and why you'd be good at it. Other names include a statement of purpose or a letter of intent .

Like every cover letter, an academic one also needs to include specific elements and content sections. These are:

  • Header. Here, provide your contact information, such as your name, address, phone number, and email in the header of the document.
  • Formal salutation. In an official letter like this one, you should address the reader in a professional and formal way. If you know who'll be reading your cover letter, go with Dear Dr. [Surname] or Dear Professor [Surname] . If you don't, go with Dear Sir/Madam .
  • The specific PhD program or position. Clearly state in your letter which research position you're applying for or the name of the PhD program. A cover letter is usually read before a CV, so you need to make sure everything is clear.
  • Your motivation. Explain why you're interested in the specific PhD position — it's one of the key elements you should include.
  • Your academic background. Now, we don't mean you should list in detail every single university course you ever took. Instead, focus on the most relevant course for the PhD and describe in detail what you learned, any projects you worked on, why it was interesting (and optionally, what knowledge gap you identified). In this way, you also show a certain level of understanding of the field.
  • Your ambition. Briefly mention what your ambitions, intentions, and plans are regarding your contribution to the field when securing your PhD position. How is your research going to enrich the field? How will the institution benefit from it?
  • Conclusion. Keep the conclusion short. Contrary to a regular cover letter ending , there's no place for reiterating everything here. Simply thank the reader for your consideration and prompt them to read your academic CV.
  • Formal sign-off. Just pick from the usual: Sincerely, Respectfully, Regards... Then throw in your full name in the following line.

And that's all you need to include!

Now, let's take a look at how to write your cover letter step-by-step.

Applying for a PhD will be a lot less stressful if you follow these tips on how to write a cover letter for a research position:

Consider researching the background of the organization, department, ongoing research projects, and their past and current projects. All that before you start writing your cover letter. Knowing these things will help you tailor your letter to the specific PhD opening.

Before you actually start writing, try to sit down and take a moment to think first. Assess how your past experiences helped you prepare for the PhD position and scribble down those that are most relevant and significant for the specific program. These include any research experiences, research projects, courses, or internships.

In the first few sentences of your letter, you need to convey some basic information about yourself and what specific position you're applying for. The opening should also state firmly why you're a strong candidate for the position/program, by using a persuasive and convincing wording. Here's an example: "As an MChem Chemistry graduate with a narrow focus on the sustainable synthesis of biologically active molecules from the University of Dundee, I am excited to apply to a "Synthesis Of Small Molecule Inhibitors Using Enzymes" PhD programme at an institution with such a strong foundation and numerous research groups in this field."

This is the place where you may explore more extensively on the educational journey that brought you here. Set the foundation for demonstrating how your Master's degree and research experience seamlessly translate into the next phase — the PhD program. Emphasize how your thesis contributes to the field's body of knowledge. Mention any other publications that support your thesis. And, if you can, identify any knowledge gaps or topics that can be explored further.

This paragraph provides the opportunity to neatly tie in together everything the reader has learned about you so far. You can show how your previous experience, coupled with what you'll learn during the PhD program, will come together to produce something novel to enrich the field. First, identify the courses or topics within the PhD program that interest you the most and how they relate to you developing your research further. Second, introduce your future research aspirations and goals. Third, point out how this future work will enrich the field and what will the intellectual merit be.

When ending your PhD cover letter, briefly refer your reader to your academic CV and encourage them to examine all of the remaining projects, courses, publications, or references . Finally, thank the reader for their time and consideration and let them know you look forward to hearing from them. Sign off.

Put the letter in a drawer and don't think about it for a day or two. Then, when you read it again, you'll have a fresh pair of eyes to see the cover letter in a new light. Maybe you decide some things are redundant, or you think of something that's more relevant. Or you know, find a typo here and there.

Just like an academic cover letter needs to contain certain content components, the formatting should also align with the structural expectations for this type of document.

How long should a cover letter be? How to finish a cover letter? And what about the cover letter font and spacing?

Here's a recommended academic cover letter format:

  • Length. While STEM PhD candidates should aim for half a page to one page, humanities candidates can do 1–2 pages.
  • Font. Use one of the classics: Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial. Just no Comic Sans, we beg you. Keep the size between 10–12 points. Also remember to keep the text clean — no underlining, no bolding, and no color. However, you can use italics if appropriate.
  • Spacing. Cover letter spacing isn't complicated. Just single-space your text, make sure there's a space between each paragraph, and leave a space between the concluding paragraph and your formal sign-off.
  • Margins. The only rule here is that the margins on your cover letter should match those on your CV.
  • Consistence with your CV. Your academic cover letter should match your academic CV in all formatting aspects — including the cover letter font and spacing. For example, Kickresume lets you choose a matching template for your CV and your cover letter, so no need to worry about this.

If the institution provided any instructions for formatting your academic cover letter, don’t get creative and follow their guidelines.

Finally, to help you tie everything we talked about together, here's a cover letter sample from a real person admitted to a PhD program at Lyon University in France.

These things ensured Herrera's cover letter was successful:

  • She clearly states her motivation in the opening. In the first two paragraphs, Herrera introduces herself and her motivation to apply for the given PhD program.
  • She describes educational and research background thoroughly. The main body of the letter is dedicated to describing Herrera's educational background, research projects, internships, and skills acquired throughout the way.
  • She presents research aspirations in the letter. Herrera writes: "I have a history of proven results and profound findings. Given opportunity, I’m confident in my abilities to earn similar ground-breaking results while being part of your team."

Even though this example lacks some of the key elements, such as mentioning the specific PhD program or identifying the topics within the PhD program that interest her the most, this PhD cover letter still managed to impress the University of Lyon.

Lyon University PhD Student Cover Letter Sample

Klara graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After having written resumes for many of her fellow students, she began writing full-time for Kickresume. Klara is our go-to person for all things related to student or 'no experience resumes'. At the same time, she has written some of the most popular resume advice articles on this blog. Her pieces were featured in multiple CNBC articles. When she's not writing, you'll probably find her chasing dogs or people-watching while sipping on a cup of coffee.

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9 Note-Taking Tips For PhD Research

Effective note taking

Taking notes when writing a PhD dissertation or thesis is one of the most important yet daunting tasks for any PhD student.

How you take notes can either make or break your PhD experience.

Luckily, there are some useful tips from previous PhD students that can make this task easier and simpler and make the writing of the PhD dissertation or thesis less tiresome.

This post is a collection of top 9 note-taking tips that have proved to be most useful and effective for majority of PhD students.

1. Choose a note-taking medium that works best for you

Some people work best with the good old paper and pen, while others are more comfortable with digital apps.

The medium doesn’t matter as long as it works for you.

2. Take notes as you read

Every time you read a material, take notes simultaneously. Do not wait to take notes afterwards as the human mind is bound to forget important points.

The reading should be active rather than passive. Active reading ensures that you critically analyse what you are reading and place it in the larger context of your own research and the research done by others.

Ask yourself questions such as:

How does this material support my own research? How relevant is it to what I am doing? Where does it fit in my own paper (does it support my background to the study or fits better in the research methodology)? How does the material relate to what others have written on the same topic? Do the findings support others’ findings or do they contradict them? If the findings contradict previous research, what could explain the contradiction?

For a PhD student, active reading and note-taking is a necessity because you are expected to contribute to the body of knowledge in your field of study.

3. Include full references in your notes

The notes for each material read should start with the reference in the reference style recommended by your school or department.

Referencing your notes cannot be overemphasised.

This will save you lots of time when you start inserting in-text citations and compiling reference lists or bibliographies in your dissertation. You won’t have to worry about where certain notes came from and will save you the headache of going back to look for the correct reference.

4. Include some direct quotes

Direct quotes are useful in some cases as long as they stand out and are not just mere general knowledge. They may include: statistics or data that are relevant to your own research, some interesting findings from the research or the author’s unique interpretation of an issue, etc.

Always include the page number of the material where the quote was borrowed from. Direct quotes have to be referenced together with the page number.

5. Have a system for differentiating your own thoughts from the author’s writings

This is useful for avoiding plagiarism.

It is advisable to write the notes in your own words as much as possible. But sometimes it is impossible to avoid noting down exactly what is in the material even if it will not be used as a direct quote. This is especially the case if you want to remember some points the author made in the material for future reference without having to re-read the material again.

In this case, you need to put a system in place that helps you differentiate your own notes from the writings of the authors. You can use for instance a colour coding system where your own notes are marked by a colour of your choice, the author’s writings are marked by a different colour and the direct quotes are marked by a separate colour.

If you go by a colour coding system, then having key for the different colours used in your notes will be useful to avoid confusion as you go along.

An example of key for colour codes would be:

Red = own notes Blue = author’s writings Yellow = direct quotes

6. Make sure to digitise manual notes

Both pen-and-paper methods and digital methods have their pros and cons.

One advantage of using the pen-and-paper method is that it makes it easier to have clarity of thought. You can also easily add your own comments or insights to the notes.

“Plan in Analog — spend time in analog before jumping to digital” ―  Carmine Gallo,  The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

The downside to pen-and-paper method is that the notes can easily get lost or rendered useless, for instance, by spillage.

The other downside to pen-and-paper method is the inability to find something easily. It is time-consuming to peruse through hundreds of pages looking for specific things. Whereas in digital media you can easily use the control F function to find whatever you are looking for.

It is therefore important to digitise manual notes using Microsoft Word or note-taking apps

7. Organise your notes by topics and sub-topics

Instead of organising your notes by authors (like we do in annotated bibliographies ) or by dates, it is best to organise them by topics and sub-topics.

For instance, have a folder for the introduction chapter and create separate files for each sub-topic under the introduction chapter such as: the background to the study, the problem statement, research gap etc.

Do the same for each of your proposal’s or dissertation’s chapters including literature review, research methodology, results and discussion, and lastly the conclusion chapter.

This kind of notes’ organisation will come in handy when writing the proposal or the full dissertation. It will save you time spent going through the notes looking for notes that fit in each of the chapter and their sub-topics.

8. Integrate note-taking with dissertation writing

What I mean is: do not spend a whole year reading materials and taking notes only without writing drafts of the dissertation (or the proposal).

Always write something towards your dissertation on a regular basis.

As an example, you may decide that every Friday you will write 500 words of your dissertation to start with, and then increase the number of words you write as you progress along. So every Friday make use of the notes that you have made at that point and write a sub-topic of your dissertation.

If in the first year you write at least 500 words per week, you will have written at least 26,000 words of your dissertation at the end of the first year. You will then realise that after a while you are able to write 1,000 words and even more in one sitting. The more you write, the easier the writing task becomes.

Keep in mind though, that whatever you write at the beginning is just a draft that you will revise a number of times before it becomes PhD-standard material.

Another important thing to do when writing the drafts of your dissertation is to build the bibliographies or reference list simultaneously, rather than waiting to do this task at the end of your PhD program. Not only will this strategy save you time and headache but it will help you avoid many mistakes in the referencing at the end.

While building your bibliography or reference list be mindful of the required referencing style and always refer to the referencing style manual, even if you are building it with digital softwares such as Zotero. The digital softwares are not always accurate therefore the human eye is a necessity.

9. Build mind maps as you take notes

Mind maps are visual illustrations of the relationships between various concepts. While building the mind maps, include the sources in the notes for easy referencing.

Sample of a mind map

You can build mind maps manually (using pen and paper) or digitally using available mind mapping tools for the different operating systems (such as SimpleMind Pro for MacOS).

Final thoughts on Note-Taking for PhD Students

Effective note-taking habits and strategies form the foundation for an A-graded PhD dissertation. While some students prefer the good old manual tools, more have embraced the digital world. However, each of these platforms has its pros and cons. The best thing would be to have a blended system that incorporates both worlds. This post provides useful tips for taking notes that feed into PhD research thereby making the writing task less daunting.

Related post

How to Take Notes Effectively using OneNote (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Grace Njeri-Otieno

Grace Njeri-Otieno is a Kenyan, a wife, a mom, and currently a PhD student, among many other balls she juggles. She holds a Bachelors' and Masters' degrees in Economics and has more than 7 years' experience with an INGO. She was inspired to start this site so as to share the lessons learned throughout her PhD journey with other PhD students. Her vision for this site is "to become a go-to resource center for PhD students in all their spheres of learning."

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How to Write a Study Plan for a Scholarship

Last Updated: October 25, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. . Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 235,112 times.

If you are asked to write a study plan for a scholarship, you may not know where to begin. Basically, a study plan describes what you'll be studying and why. One common scholarship committee that asks for study plans is the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Start by establishing your main educational goals, and then talk about how you plan to achieve them. Conclude your study plan, and spend time refining your writing.

What to Write About

Step 1 Explain your main educational goals.

  • For instance, maybe your main goals for studying in China are to gain a bachelor's degree in business and learn Chinese because it's becoming a global language. You could write, "My main two educational objectives are to gain a bachelor's degree in business and to learn to speak Chinese. Chinese is becoming a global language, so I feel it's necessary to learn it."

Step 2 Explain why you chose a particular school or program.

  • For instance, you might write, "I was born in the United States, but my grandparents on both sides are Chinese. I chose this business program because I want to connect with my heritage, improve my Chinese, and eventually, help establish better relations between China and the U.S. by improving trade relations."

Step 3 Discuss your future research if you're a postgraduate student.

  • For example, you might say, "As a PhD candidate, I plan to conduct research on how ancient tradition and ritual influence contemporary Chinese culture, which will include a literature review and extensive interviews with historians and a small sampling of the Chinese population."

Step 4 Narrow your research to show you're serious.

  • It can help to draw a conceptual model. Start with the antecedents (the causes) and the mediators (the processes that change the antecedents). Finish with the outcomes. Draw lines between them to help you see which variables are more central to your problem.
  • Consider asking peers or professors to look at your research proposal. They may be able to help you narrow.

Step 5 Talk about how your studies will help your long-term goals.

  • For instance, you might say, "One of my long-term goals is to open an import business from China to the United States, and learning about business in China will be essential to making my endeavors a success."

Explaining Your Plans

Step 1 Establish how you plan to meet each goal.

  • For instance, if you plan on doing a PhD where you'll need participants, discuss how you'll find people for your study. You might say, "I plan to put out an ad to gain participants for a focus group, as well as contact historians by phone and email for interviews."

Step 2 Talk about how you plan to overcome obstacles.

  • For example, you might write, "I anticipate the language barrier will be an issue at first. However, I plan to work hard early on to learn the language, and I am already taking intensive classes now."

Step 3 Establish the methodology you plan to use.

  • To help you choose, do a thorough literature review. Look at the research that has been done in the area you plan to study. Note the primary methods used to do the research and the pros and cons of each. Choose a method based on what you think will work best for your research. [6] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source

Step 4 Establish your sampling strategy if you plan on using one.

  • For instance, you might use simple random sampling or systematic sampling when the whole population is similar based on the variables for your study. On the other hand, a stratified random sample is often used when you have people who are different from each other based on your variables.

Concluding and Refining Your Writing

Step 1 Wrap up your study plan with a short summary.

  • For example, you might write, "Thank you for considering me for this scholarship. If I receive this award, I can focus solely on my studies. I will work hard to implement my goals of learning Chinese and gaining a business degree at a Chinese university, and your trust in me will not be wasted."

Step 2 Write plainly and eliminate jargon.

  • You don't need to write as if you're talking to a child. However, you should write so someone outside of your discipline can easily understand your plan.

Step 3 Be as detailed as possible.

  • The space for the study plan on the CSC application is only a couple of lines. However, the application suggests you attach more paper as needed.

Step 4 Have someone proofread the study plan after you.

Scholarship Study Plan Template

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  • ↑ https://www.ecpi.edu/blog/how-to-set-educational-goals-and-meet-them
  • ↑ https://bangalorestudy.com/blog/factors-to-consider-while-choosing-a-school
  • ↑ Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.. Educational Consultant. Expert Interview. 18 June 2020.
  • ↑ http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2005/03/methods.aspx
  • ↑ https://www.collegedata.com/resources/money-matters/10-ways-to-stand-out-when-applying-for-scholarships
  • ↑ http://www.natco1.org/research/files/SamplingStrategies.pdf

About This Article

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

If you’re unsure how to go about writing a study plan for a scholarship, focus on explaining your educational goals and discussing how you’ll achieve them. Begin by briefly stating what you want to study and why. For example, you might say you want to study business management in China so you can learn Chinese, because it will soon be a global language. Then, provide some personalized reasons as to why you chose the school you want to go to, such as research interests or long-term goals. After laying out your goals, show the scholarship committee how you’ll achieve them. If you’ll be carrying out research, for instance, write about how you’ll find participants for your study. You should also try to mention possible obstacles and how you’ll overcome them, since the committee will be impressed to see you’re thinking ahead. For tips on how to proofread your study plan before sending it off, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to write a ph.d. resume (cv), published by dr. courtney watson on june 3, 2022 june 3, 2022.

Last Updated on: 3rd June 2022, 11:19 am

The resume is perhaps the most important tool in every professional’s arsenal. Crisp, clear, and up-to-date, a well-written resume is a vital document for anyone intent on scaling the corporate ladder. 

But what about scholars and those with graduate degrees? When it comes to professional documents (and everything else), academia has a different set of rules. Before you pursue a career in academia or research, there are a few essential things you need to know about crafting a Ph.D. resume, better known as a CV. 

These are a few frequently asked questions about putting together a Ph.D. resume, or CV:

What is a CV?

  • What topics are included on a CV?
  • How do I write a good CV?

woman going through cvs while talking on the phone

A curriculum vitae (CV) is basically a resume for Ph.D.s and other academics and researchers. Like a resume, a CV is a complete record of an individual’s education and employment history. It shows where that person has been and the basics about their responsibilities in each position they’ve held. However, that’s where the similarities end. 

Rather than just hitting the highlights, a CV is an exercise in depth and scope. It tells the whole story of your education and where you’ve been so far in your career, offering deep insight into your experiences and expertise. A good CV takes a narrative approach that adds nuance and context, taking the reader on a journey through your research and the professional development opportunities that have shaped you. 

What Topics Are Included on a CV?

Good question! A CV starts off in the same way as a traditional resume, with contact information, education, and employment history. While that information comprises the bulk of a resume, in a CV, you’re just getting started . In the education section, in addition to listing your major degrees and the titles of your master’s thesis and dissertation (as well as committee chairs ), you will also list any other institutional affiliations you have. These may include places where you’ve done research, held fellowships, or been awarded certificates. 

women shaking hands and going through a phd cv resume

Other sections of your CV may include: 

  • Leadership Experience 
  • Publications (Peer-reviewed or otherwise)
  • Presentations (Conference panels, invited talks, and the like)
  • Honors, grants, nominations, and awards
  • Service (departmental, college, university, professional field)
  • Volunteering
  • Professional memberships and affiliations

These are some of the most common sections found on CVs. It’s okay if you don’t have entries for all of these fields; it’s a good idea to be aware of them and add them to your CV as they become relevant. There may also be categories not listed above that you will want to include on your CV. For instance, scholars in the healthcare fields often have licenses and boards to list on their CVs, and people in education typically list courses they’ve developed and taught. For this reason, CVs are lengthier than traditional resumes. Instead of 1-2 succinct pages, CVs can be 10+ pages. 

Writing a Good CV

The key to writing a good CV is to be thorough and update it regularly. Experiences add up quickly, and it’s a beneficial practice to scour your calendar every quarter or so and add significant entries to your CV . Clarity is also highly-prized by people reading a CV; use a clean, easy to read font (I like Times New Roman, 12-point-font), and avoid graphics or other designs. Remember, your CV tells the whole story about where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Make it a good one. 

how to write phd scholar

Dr. Courtney Watson

Dr. Courtney Watson has research, professional, and dissertation committee experience in the humanities and social sciences, health sciences, education, and liberal arts. With a background in peer-reviewed qualitative research and scholarship, she is skilled at coaching clients through the developmental phases of dissertation research, writing, revision, feedback analysis, and citation. She also offers thoughtful and thorough academic job market preparation, guidance through the dissertation process, and higher education career advice. Book a Free Consultation with Courtney Watson

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  • 12 March 2024

Bring PhD assessment into the twenty-first century

You have full access to this article via your institution.

A woman holding a cup and saucer stands in front of posters presenting medical research

Innovation in PhD education has not reached how doctoral degrees are assessed. Credit: Dan Dunkley/Science Photo Library

Research and teaching in today’s universities are unrecognizable compared with what they were in the early nineteenth century, when Germany and later France gave the world the modern research doctorate. And yet significant aspects of the process of acquiring and assessing a doctorate have remained remarkably constant. A minimum of three years of independent study mentored by a single individual culminates in the production of the doctoral thesis — often a magisterial, book-length piece of work that is assessed in an oral examination by a few senior academic researchers. In an age in which there is much research-informed innovation in teaching and learning, the assessment of the doctoral thesis represents a curious throwback that is seemingly impervious to meaningful reform.

But reform is needed. Some doctoral candidates perceive the current assessment system to lack transparency, and examiners report concerns of falling standards ( G. Houston A Study of the PhD Examination: Process, Attributes and Outcomes . PhD thesis, Oxford Univ.; 2018 ). Making the qualification more structured would help — and, equally importantly, would bring the assessment of PhD education in line with education across the board. PhD candidates with experience of modern assessment methods will become better researchers, wherever they work. Indeed, most will not be working in universities: the majority of PhD holders find employment outside academia.

how to write phd scholar

Collection: Career resources for PhD students

It’s not that PhD training is completely stuck in the nineteenth century. Today’s doctoral candidates can choose from a range of pathways. Professional doctorates, often used in engineering, are jointly supervised by an employer and an academic, and are aimed at solving industry-based problems. Another innovation is PhD by publication, in which, instead of a final thesis on one or more research questions, the criterion for an award is a minimum number of papers published or accepted for publication. In some countries, doctoral students are increasingly being trained in cohorts, with the aim of providing a less isolating experience than that offered by the conventional supervisor–student relationship. PhD candidates are also encouraged to acquire transferable skills — for example, in data analysis, public engagement, project management or business, economics and finance. The value of such training would be even greater if these skills were to be formally assessed alongside a dissertation rather than seen as optional.

And yet, most PhDs are still assessed after the production of a final dissertation, according to a format that, at its core, has not changed for at least half a century, as speakers and delegates noted at an event in London last month on PhD assessment, organized by the Society for Research in Higher Educatio n. Innovations in assessment that are common at other levels of education are struggling to find their way into the conventional doctoral programme.

Take the concept of learning objectives. Intended to aid consistency, fairness and transparency, learning objectives are a summary of what a student is expected to know and how they will be assessed, and are given at the start of a course of study. Part of the ambition is also to help tutors to keep track of their students’ learning and take remedial action before it is too late.

how to write phd scholar

PhD training is no longer fit for purpose — it needs reform now

Formative assessment is another practice that has yet to find its way into PhD assessment consistently. Here, a tutor evaluates a student’s progress at the mid-point of a course and gives feedback or guidance on what students need to do to improve ahead of their final, or summative, assessment. It is not that these methods are absent from modern PhDs; a conscientious supervisor will not leave candidates to sink or swim until the last day. But at many institutions, such approaches are not required of PhD supervisors.

Part of the difficulty is that PhD training is carried out in research departments by people who do not need to have teaching qualifications or awareness of innovations based on education research. Supervisors shouldn’t just be experts in their field, they should also know how best to convey that subject knowledge — along with knowledge of research methods — to their students.

It is probably not possible for universities to require all doctoral supervisors to have teaching qualifications. But there are smaller changes that can be made. At a minimum, doctoral supervisors should take the time to engage with the research that exists in the field of PhD education, and how it can apply to their interactions with students.

There can be no one-size-fits-all solution to improving how a PhD is assessed, because different subjects often have bespoke needs and practices ( P. Denicolo Qual. Assur. Educ. 11 , 84–91; 2003 ). But supervisors and representatives of individual subject communities must continue to discuss what is most appropriate for their disciplines.

All things considered, there is benefit to adopting a more structured approach to PhD assessment. It is high time that PhD education caught up with changes that are now mainstream at most other levels of education. That must start with a closer partnership between education researchers, PhD supervisors and organizers of doctoral-training programmes in universities. This partnership will benefit everyone — PhD supervisors and doctoral students coming into the research workforce, whether in universities or elsewhere.

Education and training in research has entered many secondary schools, along with undergraduate teaching, which is a good thing. In the spirit of mutual learning, research doctoral supervisors, too, will benefit by going back to school.

Nature 627 , 244 (2024)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-024-00718-0

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  1. How to Write a Great PhD Research Proposal

    You'll need to write a research proposal if you're submitting your own project plan as part of a PhD application. A good PhD proposal outlines the scope and significance of your topic and explains how you plan to research it. It's helpful to think about the proposal like this: if the rest of your application explains your ability to do a PhD ...

  2. PDF A Guide to Writing your PhD Proposal

    Therefore, in a good research proposal you will need to demonstrate two main things: 1. that you are capable of independent critical thinking and analysis. 2. that you are capable of communicating your ideas clearly. Applying for a PhD is like applying for a job, you are not applying for a taught programme.

  3. How To Write a PhD Researcher Resume (With Template)

    Here's a step-by-step guide to writing a Ph.D. researcher resume: 1. Create sections throughout your resume's format. First, format the outline of your resume by creating a few primary sections. Include a section for your education, professional experience, leadership or volunteer experience, skills, awards or scholarships and any publications ...

  4. CV for PhD Application: How to Write One Like a True Scholar

    First, let's have a look at the resume sections you should include in a CV for PhD application: Contact information. Include your full name, email, phone number, and location. (Research) objective. A concise, brief paragraph outlining your research plans and strategies. Education.

  5. Tips for writing a PhD dissertation: FAQs answered

    Embarking on a PhD is "probably the most challenging task that a young scholar attempts to do", write Mark Stephan Felix and Ian Smith in their practical guide to dissertation and thesis writing. After years of reading and research to answer a specific question or proposition, the candidate will submit about 80,000 words that explain their methods and results and demonstrate their unique ...

  6. 10 tips for writing a PhD thesis

    Writing up a PhD can often take place in a frenzy of activity in the last few months of your degree study, after years of hard work. But there are some steps that you can take to increase your chances of success. ... Scholar Siân Lindsay's research on doctoral completion has yielded valuable insights and practical advice. By John Elmes. 12 June.

  7. How to write a PhD in a hundred steps (or more)

    First time to the site? Start here The blog now has a podcast attached! For now this is audio of some of the posts, but more interactive conversations with other scholars and writers are in development! Stay tuned... From the blog If you want new posts straight to your inbox, sign up here: About Me…

  8. CV for PhD Application

    Summary. The purpose of an academic CV for a PhD application is to provide a summary of your educational background and demonstrate the research skills and relevant experience you have that make you capable of undertaking a PhD.; It should be divided into nine sections: (1) contact information, (2) research interests, (3) education, (4) research and work experience, (5) teaching experience, (6 ...

  9. PDF PhD Thesis Writing Process: A Systematic Approach—How to Write ...

    1) Make an assertion about your style of interpretation. 2) Capture the attention of your reader. 3) Know what your readers anticipate and provide them with answers. 4) Challenge your peers about the severity of the research problem and put for-ward your proposal for a solution.

  10. How to write a Research Paper for PhD?- 10 Things to know

    In this article, I will explain to you some proven ways, you can say it "tips" that may help you to publish a research paper. Try from beginning. The writing style of a journal. Structurize your article. Things must be there. Importance of abstract. Cite every bit of information. List references.

  11. Personal Statement for PhD Scholarship Sample

    The variety and diversity of scholarships available to PhD applicants mean that your creativity, writing skills, and self-reflection ability matter more than your academic background or achievements. This article presents a personal statement for PhD scholarship sample, written based on a specific scholarship, the Rhodes Scholarship, along with ...

  12. 7 Secrets to Write a PhD Literature Review The Right Way

    You have to make this process interesting for yourself to remain focused. Here are some secrets which can help you to enjoy writing an amazing literature review. 1. Make a Well-Structured Outline: A literature review is exhaustive research on the topic under investigation so that you can become an expert on that topic.

  13. How to Write a PhD Motivation Letter

    A strong motivation letter for PhD applications will include: A concise introduction stating which programme you are applying for, Your academic background and professional work experience, Any key skills you possess and what makes you the ideal candidate, Your interest and motivation for applying, Concluding remarks and thanks.

  14. CV for PhD application example + guide [Secure your place]

    I've also included a PhD CV example, to give you a better idea of what you need to include. Here's what I'll cover in the guide: Guide contents. PhD application CV example. Structuring and formatting your CV. Writing your CV profile. Detailing your education. Detailing your relevant experience.

  15. Cover Letter for PhD Application: Example From a PhD Student

    Formal salutation. In an official letter like this one, you should address the reader in a professional and formal way. If you know who'll be reading your cover letter, go with Dear Dr. [Surname] or Dear Professor [Surname]. If you don't, go with Dear Sir/Madam. The specific PhD program or position.

  16. 9 Note-Taking Tips For PhD Research

    This post is a collection of top 9 note-taking tips that have proved to be most useful and effective for majority of PhD students. 1. Choose a note-taking medium that works best for you. Some people work best with the good old paper and pen, while others are more comfortable with digital apps. The medium doesn't matter as long as it works for ...

  17. How to Write a Study Plan for a Scholarship: 13 Steps

    1. Wrap up your study plan with a short summary. At the end of the plan, reiterate why you want to study at your chosen program, and repeat why it is important for meeting your goals. Also, add a few words about how the scholarship can help you achieve your goals.

  18. How to Write a Ph.D. Resume (CV)

    Writing a Good CV. The key to writing a good CV is to be thorough and update it regularly. Experiences add up quickly, and it's a beneficial practice to scour your calendar every quarter or so and add significant entries to your CV. Clarity is also highly-prized by people reading a CV; use a clean, easy to read font (I like Times New Roman ...

  19. PhD Resume: Example & Writing Tips

    1. Customize your PhD resume to the job. In general, consulting firms, government agencies, and higher education administration place greater weight on your leadership skills and other soft skills. Sectors such as industry labs or tech companies look for problem-solving and research skills on your resume.

  20. Bring PhD assessment into the twenty-first century

    PhD candidates are also encouraged to acquire transferable skills — for example, in data analysis, public engagement, project management or business, economics and finance.

  21. How To Write a PhD Cover Letter (With Template)

    How to write a cover letter for your Ph.D. application. Follow these steps to write your academic cover letter: 1. Review the program and organization information. Before crafting your academic cover letter, review the information you have about the program you're applying for. Avoid using the same cover letter for each organization, as they ...