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Advice from Sinja K Küppers

Küppers

Ph.D. Student
Classical Studies

How do you start researching PhD programs? 

Browse the departmental websites of different universities. You may want to apply to a university that offers the resources and experts you are interested in and that allows you to build the professional profile you are seeking. You can also reach out to graduate students and faculty in universities before applying to find out more about how the program and the faculty’s research intersects with your interests. 

What should you look for in a PhD program? 

For a US PhD program check whether the program and faculty reflect your interests, but make sure that the program also allows you to broaden your expertise, in particular in the humanities and social sciences.

What questions should you ask in your campus visits? 

The most important questions in your campus visits are the ones you ask yourself: whom can you imagine working with? A good advisor – student relationship is sometimes more valuable than sticking to a topic idea. Consider, too, how much guidance in your research you are looking for. The amount and kind of support an advisor can offer may differ depending on how busy your advisor is. Also important: Do you appreciate the graduate community among whom you will spend the next years? 

What are some common pitfalls to avoid in the application process? 

Make sure to personalize your application. Address the questions how you fit into the department and how you can benefit from the resources provided. You may also want to include in your application what fascinates you about the research you have done so far or you are interested in.