Why PhD?

Purpose of this Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to encourage you to write down your current goals for getting a Ph.D. Putting your thoughts down on paper will help you think clearly about the “big picture” reasons that you are here. During the course of graduate school, you may want to revist these “macro” goals to see whether you are making progress towards achieving them.


Prepare a short, 3-5 minute oral presentation (without slides) addressing the following questions and topics:

  • Why are you doing the Ph.D.?
  • What researchers do you strive to emulate?
  • What research result(s) do you most admire?
  • What defined “impact” to you?

If this is your first exposure to research, you may have a difficult time answering the latter questions, but now is a very good time to start seeking out examples of research (and researchers) that you value. This process will begin the process of developing research “taste” which you will continue to refine throughout your research career.