Blog Archives

A postgrad survival guide

Quite a few of you are either current, former, or even future postgrad students (Th.M. or Ph.D.). For those of you who have been down at least part of that road, what do wish wish would have been included in a “postgrad survival guide” that someone just handed to you before you started your program?

I was looking back over the posts that I’ve written in the last year in my Tips for the Th.M. series, and I ran across quite a few others that revolved around the idea of how to succeed/survive in a postgrad program. So, I’ve started to wonder if it would be worth supplementing those with some other posts on the subject and eventually compiling a free resource on how to survive your ThM/PhD program.

I’d love to hear what you think. What would you add/delete? Would something like this be useful?

Here’s what I have based on what I’ve already written, grouped into a few logical categories.

Part 1: Introductory Issues

  • Are you sure that you want a postgraduate program?
  • Is academic Bible/theology a waste of time?
  • Should pastors pursue postgraduate work?
  • How to choose a postgraduate program.
  • How do you apply to a postgraduate program?

Part 2: Surviving Your Classes

  • How to succeed in a postgrad seminar
  • How to read well

Part 3: Surviving the Research Process

  • Why you should use journal articles
  • How to use journal articles well
  • The danger of over-research-itis
  • Using Google Scholar in research

Part 4: Surviving the Writing Process

  • Constructing strong arguments
  • The importance of clear and concise writing
  • Writing research proposals
  • Understanding the research proposal process
  • Finding good thesis/dissertation topics
  • Picking a thesis/dissertation topic
  • How to tackle something the size of a thesis/dissertation
  • How to use quotations
  • Common errors in research writing
  • How to take criticism

Part 5: Surviving Your Oral Examination

  • Answering concisely
  • Saying “I don’t know”
  • Summarizing your research

Part 6: Surviving after You Graduate

  • Writing the perfect resume
  • Advice on applying for a teaching position
  • What to do when you don’t get a teaching position