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Posts tagged ‘doctoral degree’

The Most Important Trait a Doctoral Student Needs to Have

If you are a doctoral student, you know what a rigorous journey earning your doctorate can be.

Doctoral degree programs are a very different world from undergraduate and master’s degree programs, and require different skills in order to be successful. With each milestone, you are challenged in new ways as you work to create information that informs your discipline while maintaining high levels of academic thought and scholarly writing.

The hard truth is that only about 50 percent of students who enroll in any doctoral program actually finish their degrees. Some get stuck on the comprehensive exam (COMPS); others struggle with identifying a gap in research or filling that gap during the dissertation process. So how do people get through it? When some crash and burn or simply stop swimming, what is it about others that enables them rise above and live to synthesize another day?

To answer these questions, we turned to some of Northcentral University’s best and brightest minds. If you didn’t already know, all of NCU’s faculty members hold doctoral degrees. They’ve been in the doctoral race and they know what it takes to finish. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Honestly, two of the most important characteristics a successful doctoral candidate needs to have are tenacity and flexibility. In a doctoral program, you must select and complete a long-term research agenda. This means you have to learn how to do research and all that entails, including working closely with your chair, communicating results, finding your way around obstacles, dealing with some anxiety, and sometimes navigating academic politics. The hard truth is that a dissertation usually takes a few years to complete and often requires candidates to work through problems that arise, change their plans, and stick with it when things get tough. If you are not tenacious about working on the dissertation and overcoming unexpected challenges and obstacles, or flexible when it comes to making changes that are designed to increase the academic quality of your dissertation, you won’t finish.”      

Dr. Greg Bradley, Dean, The Graduate School

One needs to be driven, relentless, tenacious, and have a passion for research. Research should be viewed as necessary vs. a necessary evil to get a PhD for the sake of getting a PhD. If you don’t like research, then you will not enjoy the journey.”  

Dr. Greg Hickman, Full-Time Dissertation Chair

“I believe the most important trait is humility. Simply put—the ability to accept criticism and then learn and grow from it.”  

Dr. Heather Frederick, Vice President of Academic Affairs

No matter where you are in your doctoral journey, you’ve probably already faced a challenge or two. But remember, if earning a doctorate was easy—everyone would have one! Your level of responsibility and accountability will only continue to increase throughout your career, and the dissertation process is your opportunity to begin that transition to scholarly independence.

In your experience, what trait has been or was the most important for you during your doctoral journey? Share with your fellow candidates, alumni and prospective doctoral students in the comments section! 

Attack Your Day! Time Management Tips for Working Professionals and Students

Welcome to the first post of our new blog series devoted to Attack Your Day! Before it Attacks You. We are very proud to partner with Attack Your Day to help provide important time and activity management tips to our busy Northcentral University students. If you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines, are easily distracted, or easily overwhelmed when you have a lot to do, we encourage you to take a few minutes to read these posts, watch the videos,  and discover how developing time management skills can help you become a more efficient worker and/or student.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you were supposed to be doing something important, such as working on your dissertation for your NCU doctoral program, but found yourself getting distracted by social media browsing or answering and sending emails, texts and phone calls,  that an alarm would go off reminding you to stay on task?

Imagine that alarm is actually a police siren warning you that if you don’t stop now, you might find yourself in Email Jail!

Time management expert Mark Woods of Attack Your Day describes Email Jail as a person’s habitual tendency to sit in front of a computer pretending to be engaged in work when he or she is really “chit-chatting” over email and wasting time.

While it’s no secret that we are a social society and thrive on interaction and communication, a condition exacerbated by the development of smartphones (Those pint-sized personal computers always seem to be conveniently sitting within arm’s reach, don’t they!?), the truth is our tendency to get distracted can take time away from more important things.

Let’s look at of some recent statistics concerning social distractions:

  • A May 2011 study in the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing  (Pers Ubiquit Comput) journal reports that on average, people check their smartphones 34 times a day.
  • A 2011 survey by email management expert Dr. Monica Seeley found that 25 percent of us expect a reply to our emails within an hour.
  • In December 2011, ComScore reported that nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online is on a social network. In addition, for every 4 minutes spent on a social networking site, 3 of those minutes are spent on Facebook.
  • A 2011 infographic by Search Engine Journal reports that 1 in 4 Americans watches a YouTube video online every day.

Does that sounds like a distracted society to you? So how can you avoid the Email Jail threat and tone down the social distractions that can keep you from getting things done and meeting your deadlines? Check out the video below for some helpful tips.

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