1.   Get to know your Department

Your department has lot's of useful information, advice and contacts. Find out who your PhD programme administrator is and what induction events you can attend. Most departments have formal induction sessions and welcome events.

2.   Think like a researcher

Undertaking a research degree is part of a training, professional and personal development process. The aim is to carry out original research that furthers knowledge in your chosen subject field.

3.    Connect and network

Try to take advantage of learning and development opportunities beyond your programme. Say yes to events and look out for opportunities to make links with staff, fellow students, and professionals beyond Imperial.

4.    PhD study is about independence

You'll be encouraged to take responsibility for driving your research forward. A PhD involves becoming increasingly independent in your approach to the research topic, tasks, experimental design, presentation and writing.

5.    Establish a relationship with your supervisor 

Your supervisor should work with you to develop an appropriate project and ensure that you have clear strategic aims and objectives. They should ensure you receive appropriate research skills training, understand the expectations of the programme and provide you with regular constructive feedback. Further guidance on working with your supervisor can be found here.

6.    Engage with your Academic Reps

Use feedback channels, engage in student-staff liaison and consider becoming an Academic Rep to help shape your programme and the wider PhD experience and community at Imperial. 

7.    Use your Graduate School

You are automatically a member, so make sure to get the most out of this valuable resource. The School provides a suite of professional and personal development courses, coaching and 1:1 support, plus a host of lectures and social events.

8.    Look after yourself

Find space in your life for recharging and staying healthy. Play a sport, do some exercise, or join one of the many Imperial clubs and societies. Make use of the Chaplaincy or join a choir or instrumental group. Go to an art gallery or walk in Hyde Park. Or simply have interesting conversations with new people.

9.    If you need help, ask

Life has its ups and downs and if you’re struggling on any level, Imperial has a range of support services and systems in place. Don’t struggle on alone – speak to someone, perhaps a friend, your supervisor, your Senior Tutor Postgraduate, someone from your PhD programme team or any of the College's student support services.

10.  Everyone's PhD journey is different 

The PhD journey is unique for everyone. Try not to compare your progress with others and wondering if you’re on the ‘right path’. There’s no one set way of completing this journey.