Looking Ahead: Goals and milestones

You've enrolled in a PhD ... but what do you want to get out of it? Are you expecting to:

  • gain the professional qualification of PhD within 3 years?
  • answer all your research questions?
  • learn a particular research technique or skill?
  • discover as much as you can about your topic?
  • make an outstanding contribution to your field or discipline?
  • other?

Students enrol in PhDs for many reasons - and sometimes these only become clear along the way.

What's your principal reason at this time for enrolling in a PhD?

Not surprisingly, the main motivation for starting postgraduate research is rarely the desire to write an 80,000 word thesis. Yet this is what it will take to finish a PhD.

Whatever your personal goal/s in undertaking a PhD, then, it's important to remember that there are required elements that must be satisfied before you can successfully complete your candidature. Aligning your personal goals with the University's expectations will help to keep you on track.

Keeping both your own goals and the common milestones of a PhD in mind can help to make the experience of postgraduate research rewarding and relatively stress-free.

You'll have to think about how to achieve your more personal goals - and how you'll know when you have achieved them.