How to Get a PhD - Phillips & Pugh


Just wondering if anyone has read, or is reading 'How to Get a PhD' by Phillips & Pugh, and whether they thought it was any good? And if there are any other books about what a PhD involves that they might recommend?





I bought it before I started my PhD. its an excelent read - well worth buying. I got a good deal off Amazon. Although you may not reference it often, its always good for those awkward moments when you just need to clarify exactly what a phd student should be doing on a day to day basis!


The Bible, in particular the old testament are useful


As others have said ... it is a good book. However, you should also remember a PhD is - put simply - bloomin' hard work!



I bought 'How to write a thesis' by Rowena Murray when I first started a couple of years ago, and it's been really useful throughout my work so far (if a little general, but hey I suppose it has to apply to so many different theses). It's also quite a motivational read for when you're struggling to write, and its good to know a lot of your struggles aren't unique. Haven't read Phillips & Pugh, but I know lots of PhDers who love it.


Philips/Pugh is good, but personally I found "The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research" by Gordon Rugg more helpful. It's written in a less formal way (which admittedly can sometimes be a bit annoying) but is accessible and deals with a broader range of social aspects that accompany the PhD process.

I think P and P are good if you're doing a pretty straightforward, science based doctorate though.


I like "The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research" by Gordon Rugg and Marian Petre. It's informal compared to some others, but very realistic.


Dunleavy: Authoring a PhD


Dunleavy's authoring a PhD is great for providing guidelines on writing a thesis. the nitty gritty of structures etc.


I got "How to Get a PhD" on my first week, read three pages and never opened it again. Then, by the end of the first year, while working on my upgrade report, I made the mistake of buying "How to write a Literature Review". I read two pages and instantly thought "20 quid down the drain". Then, at the end of my third year, in a moment of panic, I bought "Authoring a PhD", and I think it's crap.

Well, everyone's different, but in my view these works are only good if you find any consolation in self-help books.

For me, this very forum had been way more helpful.


I agree, the books are useful...but perhaps not as useful as using the time to read a paper relevant to your PhD field! I'm a big fan of books and bought various 'How to...' type of books (get a PhD/write a paper/write a thesis/read a paper/survive viva). They were helpful for the odd thing but I mainly felt that I'd have been better off spending the time actually doing my research! However, I was pretty clued-up about the whole PhD process before I started (having spent 3 yrs in an academic lab working as a tech alongside PhD students)and perhaps if you are coming into the world of the PhD cold, then they might well be more helpful.