Tips on how to finish PhD on time


Hey everyone, just wanted to get a few ideas about how to finish whole PhD project within the funding period. I'm just finishing up first year and I have funding for 3 years and there is no possibility for funding after that so I'm getting my skates on now!

I wanted to know is it possible to do this!? And if so, what does it take? :p


Hi Emmie,

it is possible, just get writing as you go! I'm in same situation, 3 year post with little funding after (boss found funds to pay my bills for 3 extra months). I'm just coming to my last month of funding and would be finishing on time if not for couple of problems in lab.
I have written as i went from 1st year, have all intro done, materials and methods and structure for each chapter, putting in results and analyzing them as I go. I probably could have done more, but you always could I think! However, my lab work is getting completed this month at last and then its a matter of last results and updating references and doing discussions etc!

My boss seems to think i'll be submitted by Christmas, so if it hadnt been for some experimental hiccups I could have been finishing up now basically!

Hope this helps, and just remember it doesnt have to be a master piece, just good sound research well written to pass!

I'm sure you'll do fine, just keep plodding away and you'll get there.

Best of luck, KT


I'm 7 months away from finishing, and would definitely be finishing within the 3 years if it hadn't been for taking on extra work. Be careful with the amount of academic, but non-thesis work you take on - while it's important to write journal articles and give conference papers throughout your candidature, these can take you away from your thesis. And doing TA work just sucks up the time. I taught 2 subjects for one semester, and this was essentially a full time job. I lost 14 weeks of thesis writing. And yep, write as you go and write every day.


Thanks guys, those are really good suggestions! I had in mind that I was going to write a little every day, like two hours every morning, on top of doing all the other work. I've been trying it out, and so far its working, but I wonder if its enough to keep on track and not fall behind deadlines..


Totally agree with Sue, i've taken on loads of extra's too (you can see a previous post for details), generally cos i'm not good at saying no to my bosses! However, these all distract from your time! if you do 2 hours a day on top of your lab work i'm sure you'll have no problem at all. Due to other commitments I have done no where near as much as this a day, sometimes not at all for week or fortnight, but then try and make back a full day/weekend of writing or something!

much of my stresses have been because I have had such high expectations of what I want to get done, and when that doesnt always happen I get stressed and annoyed at myself, which really doesn't help!

For example, since getting back from holiday I seem to have been constantly ill, first with tummy bug, then a week of feeling bit better and now i'm confined to my bed with horrible cold and can hardly breath (thank goodness for iplayer and 4od :) )! I feel like I should be doing work, could be writing stuff up. But I also know that if i dont' just chill it will take me longer to get over this, and the quality of what I do will suffer anyway. oh and when my partner gets home he'll probably go mad at me for not just resting!

My point in this (apart from feeling very sorry for myself right now), is that remember sometimes you cant always work those 2hours a day or whatever, and when you don't then don't chastise yourself for it! just look at what you have done and know that you're achieving something great! Anything you get written over time in the lab is better than nothing at all!!

Best of luck and i'm sure you'll do brilliantly,