35+ Critical PhD Resources for Today’s Doctoral Students

Earning a PhD or doctorate is the highest level of achievement during your student academic career. These 35+ online resources will help you prepare for your degree, thrive during the journey and find “The Job” afterward. 

Written by

Michael Hoffman

Last updated

Jun 06, 2022

Only a select and dedicated few pursue a PhD or doctoral degree to become experts in their fields because of the rigors involved in the admission process and the programs themselves. Fortunately, many resources are available to help them reach their personal and academic goals.  

This guide helps you prepare for your PhD, make the most out of your program, fund your education, and find a job after earning your degree. It gives you more than 35 online resources to help you thrive during your final chapter as a student and beyond it. 

Preparing for Your PhD 

Preparing for your PhD or doctoral degree program involves finding the right program, getting accepted into that program, and preparing for your transition into doctoral life. Below are descriptions and links to several online resources to help you accomplish all of these essential steps 

A Guide to PhD Success to Help You Thrive in Doctoral Studies

Your chances to succeed in any PhD or doctoral degree program increase when you are prepared from the inquiry stage to life after. These tips will help you survive—and even thrive—in graduate school.

Getting into Grad School: 5 Steps to Admission 

This guide helps you research, plan, and stay organized throughout the admission process, increasing your odds of getting accepted into your top-choice program. 

How Many Years is a Doctorate Degree? 

Learn about the doctoral degree timeline and determine how much time you’ll need to complete a doctorate in several popular academic fields. 

Online PhD and Doctoral Programs 

This guide introduces you to online doctoral degrees and provides valuable advice on what to look for when choosing an online degree program. 

PhDs that Pay: Top-Earning Doctoral Degrees 

Money isn’t everything when choosing a professional career but knowing what you can expect to make once you’ve got your doctorate is important. The doctoral degrees in this guide have the most earning power. 

Academic Institution Profiles 

The National Science Federation profiles and ranks information for individual academic institutions in terms of earned doctorates, grad students, expenditures and funding. 

Advice from Admissions Directors: Applying to Graduate School 

This video by the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Intramural Training & Education showcases a panel of college admissions directors answering FAQs about the graduate school application and admission process. 

Doctoral Program Preparation: Getting Your Mind Ready 

This brief but informative article explores a series of questions to ask yourself when deciding if you’re ready to take on the rigors of a doctoral degree program. 

Getting into a PhD Program in the Biosciences 

This virtual panel discussion on the PhD admissions process details what you can do to improve your chances of being accepted into the PhD program you want. It’s geared toward bioscience majors, but the information and advice work regardless of your academic field. 

Start Your Doctoral Journey 

This series of articles from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania provides information and advice on the many steps to becoming a successful PhD candidate. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Doctoral Program for You 

Franklin University offers six elements to look for when choosing the doctoral degree program that best suits your personal needs and your academic and professional goals. 

Making the Most of Your PhD or Doctorate

Whether you’re working on a professional doctorate requiring completion of a doctoral study or a PhD that culminates in a dissertation, you’ll need some highly specialized academic skills with research and writing at the top of the list. The following resources will you identify and develop the many practical skills you’ll need.  

The PhD Student’s Guide to Fellowships 

This guide explains the various types of fellowships, how they work, and what you can do to improve your chances of landing the one you want.   

Achieving Excellence in Graduate Research: A Guide for New Graduate Students 

This article details the elements of quality and reputable graduate-level academic research. It also looks at the importance of publishing and presenting graduate research. 

APA Style 

Developed by the American Psychological Association, APA Style is the go-to resource for writing style and format for academic documents. 

Connected Papers 

This free online visual tool allows applied scientists and researchers to quickly locate and explore academic papers relevant to their field of study.  

Dissertations 

Created by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center, this resource is a comprehensive discussion of tips and tools for completing your dissertation. 

Index of Library of Congress Research Guides 

This index provides access to more than 1,200 research guides to the Library of Congress’s general collections of books and articles, as well as general subject guides prepared by LOC librarians. 

PhD Survival Guide 

This article helps you identify and avoid many of the common mistakes students make in conducting their first doctoral-level research. 

Purdue Online Writing Lab 

You don’t need to be a Purdue student to take advantage of the wealth of excellent resources offered online by Purdue OWL. Among the dozens of resources for all writers are several specific to graduate writing and dissertations. 

A Guide to Completing the Dissertation Phase of Doctoral Studies 

Cornell University offers this comprehensive manual for navigating the entire dissertation writing process “from conceptualization to final revision.”   

Funding Your Doctoral Degree

Paying for college is a major concern no matter the degree level. Fortunately, various funding resources are available to help, including a few exclusively for prospective doctoral students. Here are some of the very best of those financial aid sources.  

Financial Aid for Doctoral Students 

This guide takes a comprehensive look at the many types of funding resources you can tap into to fund your doctoral studies. 

Scholarships & Grants for Doctoral Students 

This guide helps you find, apply for, and land doctoral-level scholarships and grants.  

What’s the Cost of an Online Doctorate? 

Examine the many elements impacting the total cost of doctoral degree education and a few ways to reduce that cost with this guide. 

Financial Aid for Graduate or Professional Students 

This brochure from the U.S. Department of Education outlines all federal student aid programs and options available to help fund your doctoral degree program. 

GI Bill Education Benefits 

If you’re a veteran, this United States Department of Veterans’ website shows you how to take advantage of GI Bill education benefits. 

How The FAFSA Differs For Grad School 

For most types of graduate-level financial aid, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This article explains how the FAFSA differs for grad students compared to undergrad applicants. 

How to Fund Your Doctoral Degree: Advice from a Financing Coach 

Written by a financing coach from the Financial Support Team at Capella University, this article provides a step-by-step plan for funding your doctoral degree program. 

How to Pay for Graduate School: 8 Ways 

Coursera provides an overview of several of the most common options for paying for master’s, doctoral, and professional degree programs. 

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) 

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the GRFP provides three years of financial support over a five-year fellowship period to master and doctoral students demonstrating the potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. 

Finding the Job After a PhD

You’ve studied for years, have your hard-earned doctoral degree, and are ready to put that degree to work. Whether you’re headed into academia, government work, or the nonprofit or private sectors, the resources below will help you establish a satisfying and lucrative professional career. 

HigherEdJobs 

A major resource for higher education career information and job recruitment in academia, this listing from thousands of colleges and universities shows hundreds of thousands of open positions annually. 

Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) 

A nonprofit consortium of more than 700 colleges and universities, hospitals, research labs, government agencies, and for-profit and nonprofit agencies, HERC provides various resources for recruiting and maintaining faculty and staff in academia. 

Imagine PhD 

This is a free online career exploration and planning tool for PhD students and doctoral graduates in the social sciences and the humanities. Users can create self-defined goals, create professional development and career paths, access related skills, values, interests, and more. 

myIDP Science Careers Individual Development Plan 

This free career-planning tool designed primarily for PhD students and graduates in STEM-related fields features exercises that help users pinpoint their skills, values, and interests. It also has a list of career paths with predictions on which ones best fit your skills and interests.  

PhD Student Career Planning Timeline 

Designed for PhD students at the University of California at Santa Cruz, this comprehensive career planning timeline is available for use by doctoral students everywhere. 

Postdoc Jobs 

This niche recruiting resource is used by more than 1,000 employers (e.g., companies, universities, governmental agencies, research institutions, etc.) to connect recent doctoral graduates with great jobs worldwide. 

Resumes & CVs for Graduate Students and Postdocs 

Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, provides this guide to writing effective resumes and CVs for graduate and doctoral students and graduates.  

USAJobs 

The federal government’s official employment website allows job seekers to search for and connect with civil service job opportunities at hundreds of federal organizations and agencies. 

The Versatile PhD 

Providing information and advice on non-academic careers for PhDs, ABDs, and other graduate students and degree-holders, this resource includes job analytics, networks, and readiness tools. 

A Well-Kept Secret for Finding a Job post-PhD 

This article provides strategies and advice for finding part-time and consulting work after graduation to hold you over until you figure out your move into a full-time non-academic career.