Advice for undergraduate students

As a young student, Jean Yang paid attention to herself and those around her and learned a lot about how to have a good undergraduate experience.

Stuart Shieber has written about office hours. He's in favor.

If you're applying for graduate school and you want a letter of recommendation, I need some things from you.

Resources for Students interested in the PhD

I hope these links may be useful for research students. If you find something I might like to add to this page, please let me know.

What is the PhD all about, anyway?

What Am I Doing Here? A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Grad School in the Sciences by Cory Kerens, Ph.D.
Some idea of what you're getting into, by an ex-professor.

For anyone considering a Ph.D. in Computer Science, by Doug Comer
What the PhD represents and why you might want one

Getting in

How to get admitted to a PhD program, by Norman Ramsey.
Tips and tricks, with an emphasis on top research programs.

A Five-Minute Guide to Ph.D. Program Applications, by Philip Guo.

I will not respond to any email asking me to assess your chances of getting admitted to a graduate program. Applications are always assessed by a committee. The only way to get the committee to assess your application is to apply. If application constitutes a financial hardship, you may write and ask that the application fee be waived.



I have a
separate page on resources for writers.

The thesis

Your thesis and your dissertation are not quite the same thing. Shivers explains the difference.

Olin Shivers has written an excellent squib on what a thesis is all about.

How to write a Ph.D. dissertation, by Doug Comer
Tips and tricks

Margo's Tips on Writing a Thesis from Margo Seltzer. I recommend the advice on handling related work.

How to give a talk

The best advice I've ever seen about giving a talk was in a talk entitled ``Making the most of your presentation'' by Jean-Luc Doumont. This talk itself is not available, but there is other material on Doumont's web site. In 2009, Dr Doumont published a wonderful book about structuring scientific presentations; it includes many ideas about giving talks.

I haven't found a lot of other material, but here are a few good references. You will eventually develop your own style, but reading some of these papers can help give you some ideas and can certainly keep you from making rookie mistakes.

If you can read just one of these, read Simon's. If you can read just two, also read my tips and tricks.

The Job Hunt

Getting an academic job by Michael Ernst.
Unusually good because it has lots of specific's from Ernst's experiences as a candidate.

After working with a few students, I have a little of my own advice about looking for a faculty or research position.

Working with NR

The Guide to working with Norman Ramsey lays out my view of my expectations and obligations as an advisor.

More advice

There's some nice stuff on the ProperTreatment Wiki.

How to structure your unstructured days.

The ever-thoughtful Jean Yang has written a lot about PhD study; you might start with her Small Reading List for New PhD Students.

Professor Matt Might has scads of useful stuff, including special stuff for students interested in programming languages or compilers. (Professor Might's advisor got the good remote from me.)

Professor Michael Ernst has assembled an impressive collection of advice, including how to apply for fellowships.

I liked some modest advice from Dorsa Amir

Mental shifts about the PhD.

Back to Norman Ramsey's home page.