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A Successful Graduate Student

by

Salih Duffuaa
Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations
Research

Outline

Definition of a successful graduate


student.
Nature of graduate School/ studies
Measures of success
Elements of success as a student
Tips to be successful in research
Concluding remarks.

Successful Graduate Student


Complete his program in time with a high GPA.
Complete his program in time with high GPA and
publish from his thesis.
Complete his program in time with high GPA and
publish from his thesis in first tear journals.
Complete his program in time with high GPA and
publish from his thesis in first tear journals and
conduct his departmental duties very well.
Complete his program in time with high GPA , publish
from his thesis in first tear journals, conduct his
departmental duties very well and help his colleagues
.

Graduate School Versus Undergraduate


The Undergraduate

The Graduate

Student

From apprentice to expert

Breadth over depth

Depth over breadth

Recipient of knowledge

Analyzer and creator of


knowledge

Externally directed

Self-directed

Source of this slide is : University of British Columbia Web Site.

What is the Purpose of


Graduate Study?
The primary purposes of research-oriented,
thesis-based Masters programs (e.g., MS,
MA & MSc) are:

To understand thoroughly and think critically about


what is known in a particular academic field
To learn how to conduct research in that field (and
perhaps prepare for PhD study)

To begin affiliating with the academic community of the


field
Source of this slide is : University of British Columbia Web Site.

What is the Purpose of


Graduate Study?
The primary purposes of professional
Masters programs (e.g., MEd, MEng) are:
To understand thoroughly and think critically about what
is known in a particular professional field
To master skills (including research / experimentation)
that are necessary for advanced practice in a particular
professional field
To enhance affiliation with the professional community of
the field
Source of this slide is : University of British Columbia Web Site.

What is the Purpose of


Graduate Study?
The primary purposes of Doctoral study (e.g.,
PhD) are:
To master the knowledge of a specific academic field
and become prepared to teach that knowledge at the
university level
To make an original contribution, through research, to
the knowledge within a specific field (i.e. create new
knowledge)
To establish oneself as an expert and leader within the
academic community of the field
Source of this slide: University of British Columbia Web Site.

Graduate School (GS)

Different than undergraduate. How? Personnel


characteristics expectation

Maturity
Responsible
Independence
Motivation

Graduate School (GS)

Different than undergraduate. How? Personnel


characteristics expectation

discipline
Enthusiasm
Perseverance
Imagination
Creativity

Graduate School

Different than undergraduate in learning outcomes. How?


Level of learning ( Blooms Taxonomy)
Knowledge: arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize,

name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce state.


Comprehension: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express,
identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review,
select, translate,
Application: apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ,
illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve,
use, write.
Analysis: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare,
contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish,
examine, experiment, question, test.
Synthesis: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct,
create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan,
prepare, propose, set up, write.
Evaluation: appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose compare,
defend estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support,
value, evaluate.

Graduate School

Different than undergraduate. How? Outcomes:


Level of learning ( Blooms Taxonomy)
Knowledge: arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize,

name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce state.


Comprehension: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express,
identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review,
select, translate,
Application: apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ,
illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve,
use, write.
Analysis: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare,
contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish,
examine, experiment, question, test.
Synthesis: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct,
create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan,
prepare, propose, set up, write.
Evaluation: appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose compare,
defend estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support,
value, evaluate.

Graduate School
Different than undergraduate. How?

Research component:
Thesis
Learn the research process.
May contribute to knowledge
Dissertation
Perfect the research process
Contribute to and advance knowledge

Measures of success in GS
For Graduate School
% of graduate students to total student population.
Graduate student per faculty
Success rate
Completion rate
Publication rate
Graduate student satisfaction rate .
For Students
Degree cycle time.
GPA.
Number of publication during study period.
Job opportunities.

Elements of Success in GS
Understand requirements and expectations :

Degree requirements.
Load requirements.
Graduation requirements.
Develop you degree plan early on first semester

Who can help


( Graduate Advisor, chairman, faculty members,
senior colleagues, university web)

Elements of Success in GS

Identify available resources:

Laboratories .
Other departments offering
Library.
Faculty interest.

Who can help


( Graduate Advisor, chairman, faculty members, senior
colleagues)

Elements of Success in GS

Be Visible:
Department seminar .
Department activities.
Be available at and after working hours in the department .

Hard work
Nothing replace this quality.

Read more
Know more
Do assignment on time
Excite your professors ( Below expectation, as expected, more
than expected).

Elements of Success in GS

Be Tolerant:

Be a good team player by tolerating colleagues .


Do not be sensitive to faculty behavior.
Tolerate additional assignment by the department.
Living and office conditions.

Attend seminars and conferences


Departmental and related departments.
Local, regional and international conferences.

Elements of Success in GS

Be proactive:

Identify your area of interest


Seek a professor early as a mentor or advisor .
Seek additional work as a research assistant on projects
Start preparing for your thesis early ( Use summers).
Offer your help to the chairman.
Present your work

Who can help


( Graduate Advisor, chairman, faculty members, senior
colleagues)

Develop Expertise
Take essential courses in the area (most likely core
courses).
Support them by elective courses that develop
your expertise.
Have a coherent program.
Do not take the easy path.

Success in research
The research component in graduate study is the
major difference between graduate and
undergraduate.
It is crucial to click into research by understanding
the research process and bringing your brain power
( imagination intelligence, etc.
At the beginning stages the role of the advisor is
crucial.

Be Observant
Keenly observe department norms and how
people interact and work together for daily
activities, departmental functions, as well as
seminars you participate in.
In your seminars, observe the types of questions
asked and how senior graduate students (and
other faculty that may be attending the seminar)
approach issues.
Note items of special interest that may be good
research topics for that seminar or for later
research projects.

Success in Research

Understanding the research process


Learn it early in graduate courses through term
papers.
Formulation of answerable questions and achievable
extensions.
Perseverance

Start early on:


Second semester or first summer
Learn library and search skills.
Write review papers

Success in Research

Selection of the advisor


Expertise
Chemistry
Interest

Selection of the thesis/dissertation topic


Clear objectives
Realistic objectives : Answerable questions.
See sample proposals
( Who can help: Graduate Advisor, Mentors, etc)

Success in Research: Sources of


Thesis/Proposals
Keep a research/ideas journal
Keep this focused on topics of most interest to you
from seminars, discussions, and readings; the seeds of
your dissertation and further research might be in
here; keep your journal with you wherever you go.
Sources of thesis or dissertation: Review papers,
Extension of term papers in courses, Department
thesis and dissertations.

Managing the Research Process


Managing the process
Know the graduate school rules, regulations, deadlines
and forms
Set weekly/monthly goals/ targets
Meet weekly with the advisor
Get feedback early on by discussing your work with the
advisor and presenting it to the committee early on

Writing and Presentation Skills


Develop your communication skills
Take English writing course.
Have a writing colleague
Sharpen your presentation skills

Success in Research
Bring a professional approach to your studies and
interactions
Take workshops through the college of
Graduate Studies Professional
Development Initiative.
Learn about research ethics and scholarly
integrity
Attend conference

Success in Research
Join a research team group or project. Currently
KFUPM has Research Groups.
Networking: One of the most important skills you
should be learning in graduate school is how to
"network.'' Breaking into the research community
requires attending conferences, meeting established
researchers, and making yourself known.

Success in Research
Seek balance and support in your life:
Remember that you have friends and
family outside grad school
Seek out the many resources at KFUPM
that can help you through the tough times
Remember that this will be among the
most inspiring and satisfying times in
your life
And, because your mother isnt here: Get
enough sleep, make time for physical
exercise, and eat your healthy food.

Further Readings
http://unlmcnair.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/how-tobe-a-successful-graduate-student-by-william-bauer/.
http://www.cs.ucdavis.edu/~martel/293/
http://www.cs.indiana.edu/how.2b/how.2b.html. How
to be a good graduate student byMarie desJardins
e-mail: marie@erg.sri.com.
http://hegis.umn.edu/res.htm
http://hegis.umn.edu/res_gradstudent.htm
http://www.siop.org/tip/april08/13tiptopics.aspx.
http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/publications/toolkit.pdf:
Tools for success.

Discussion and Questions