Former and current doctoral students provide useful suggestions and perceptions of the dissertation process when discussing their expectations and experiences in doctoral programs. The range of experiences is potentially uncharted in this high-stakes endeavor, in part because people are aware that their experiences are unique, and partially because people are often ambivalent. Students and graduates offer suggestions in hopes of guiding you - to avoid problems other students have encountered, or at the very least, to help you prepare for the problems you may encounter in the future. These suggestions are grouped according to 4 issues:

      Dissertation topic selection

      Committee for dissertations



Some suggestions are reassuring, some are intimidating. You'll probably identify with the range of perspectives represented even if some don't seem to make sense now.

Dissertation Topic Selection 

      With your first course, you can start thinking about your dissertation topic.

      When you're taking your courses, read multiple dissertations.

      Get into a topic you love. This could take a long time.

      You should pick a Dissertation topic that means something to you when you're done.

      Pick a subject you're genuinely passionate about.

The Dissertation Committee

       Professors who have a track record of graduating students should be sought out.

      Try to find someone you can work well with, someone you respect.

      Don't forget to look at your chair as an ally.

      You should work on Chapter 4 while your committee has Chapters 1 - 3. Give them the next chapter when they return their chapters.

      Take responsibility for your dissertation.

      Professors will assume all is fine if you don't ask for their time. Don't be shy!

      Do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand. To ensure your understanding is accurate, state what you understand.

      You should work with people you trust and enjoy.

      Decide on your program and advisor carefully. Your performance depends on them.

      Get a professor who wants to help you.


      You'll have to do some research. Make sure you start early. Get involved in the appropriate professional organizations. Check out journals. Learn how to research.

      You should put everything in a file or notebook right away.

      So you don't have to look up references later, make sure all references are complete.

      Don't let tiredness stop you from writing every day.

      You are responsible for setting and meeting your deadlines.

      Every step should be documented.

      Nothing should be thrown away.

      Take advantage of the library's resources.

      Set your plan, ask questions as you progress, and tell us what you want feedback on.

      Make your way through as quickly as possible.

      Organize yourself again and again.

      There may be unexpected detours. Give yourself a little wiggle room.

      Get out and smell the roses!


      It's okay if you need help working through your dissertation; some professionals like ​uk dissertation writing services can help. If you're having trouble getting feedback from your committee, these people are great.

      Organize your writing by sections and chapters.

      Accepting ABD status is never a good idea. You have invested a lot of time and money into this project, and your future employment depends on it. It opens up opportunities for you.

      Dissertation writing can be tedious.

      You are capable of completing the task. Do not be intimidated by anyone who tells you that you cannot succeed. Be patient and persevere. Don't let the rest of your life get between you and your dreams. Put your priorities in order and make it happen.

      Working hard and dedicating yourself to anything worthwhile is essential.

      Word processing is a good choice.

      Each day, schedule uninterrupted time to work on your dissertation. Perhaps the best time is from 4:00 am to 6:00 am.

      Learn the appropriate software programs for formatting your dissertation (e.g., MLA, APA), including those that format according to a particular style.

      You can streamline the process by getting a flatbed scanner.

      Make sure you have your computer. Avoid sharing.
Make sure you know how the formatting works.

      Even revised text will be constantly revised.

      Continually work towards being a better writer and completing something each day.

      Hire a critic to read your work critically.

      Keeping your computer records safe and backed up cannot be overemphasized.

      Make sure to have several copies of your files (hard drives and diskettes).