Penn State Ecology Graduate Student Organization



General Advice

For most students, graduate school, especially a Ph.D. program, will be very different from their previous experiences. Undergraduates are expected to learn certain facts which are presented to them through lectures and reading material. Graduate students are expected to find the facts that interest them and assess them critically. In many cases, the graduate advisor will be hands-off, and expect his students to find their own way. Ronald Azuma (So Long and Thanks for the PhD) describes graduate school


. . . like teaching swimming by tossing students into the deep end of the pool and seeing who makes it to the other end alive and who drowns. It's like training clock designers by locking students inside a clock factory with some working clocks and lots of clock parts and machines for building clocks. However, the instructions are at best incomplete and even the masters themselves don't know exactly how to build next year's models.


While not (always) this grim, there are times that nearly every graduate student will feel set adrift. The following pages are designed to help you through those times and to point you in directions that will help minimize some of the stress and uncertainty:

 Getting Through

 Hurdles to Jump

Recommended Books and Citations

 Feibelman, Peter J. (1993) A Ph.D. is Not Enough!: A Guide to Survival in Science. Addison-Wesley, Philadelphia, PA.

 Green, Roger Harrison (1979) Sampling Design and Statistical Methods for Environmental Biologists. Wiley and Sons, New York.

 Hairston, Nelson G. (1989) Ecological Experiments : Purpose, Design, and Execution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

 Madsen, David (1992) Successful Dissertations and Theses: A Guide to Graduate Student Research from Proposal to Completion. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.

 McCuen, Jo Ray and Anthony C. Winkler (1987) Rewriting Writing: A Rhetoric. Harcourt and Brace Jovanovich, New York

 Peters, Robert (1992) Getting What you Came for: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning a Master's or Ph.D. The Noonday Press, New York.

 Pickett, Steward T.A., Jurek Kolasa, and Clive G. Jones (1994) Ecological Understanding. Academic Press, San Diego.

 Resetarits, Jr., William J. and Joseph Bernardo [Eds.] (1998) Experimental ecology : Issues and Perspectives. Oxford University Press, New York.

 Sheiner, and Gurevitch (1993) Design and Analysis of Ecological Experiments. Chapman and Hall.

 Shrader-Frechette, K.S. and E.D. McCoy (1995) Method in Ecology: Strategies for Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

 Sternberg, David (1981) How to Complete and Survive a Doctoral Dissertation. St. Martin's Press, New York.