What is PhD.

PhD is the abbreviation of Doctor of Philosophy. Doctor originates from a Latin verb, docēre, ‘to Teach’, and Philosophy is originated from Greek, ‘to Love Wisdom’. Hence a PhD is a person who is able to investigate the reality and principle from nature based on logical reasoning.

To pursue a PhD degree is not to refer to the academic advisor for the details of the research, but to learn the method, and cultivate the capability to know how to initialize and create a direction independently.  The research could be left out forever once completed.

Then what are the requirements for a qualified PhD?

  • Independent work
    • To do research and to find the direction independently
  • Systematical method to do scientific research
    • How to find/read the literature, how to tell which is the promising direction, how to schedule the tasks
  • Work solidly STEP BY STEP
    • To propose academic conjecture based on preliminary research, verification, validification.

To summarize,  the point for a qualified PhD is to cultivate the ability to independently lead a group, to find the direction, and to implement. These features distinguish a PhD from an engineer.

What has been mentioned previously is still only focused on the definition of PhD, here some details are provided.

The responsibilities of the advisor do NOT include to provide the direction for research, or to tell the student the primary level knowledge. The professor is to present resource to the PhD student for Professional discussion. Hence the PhD student needs to have a very clear mind, to do whatever he/she can complete by self, to provid the directions and hypothesis, then to try to persuade the academic advisor for the points.

The correct methodology is critical, of FIRST IMPORTANCE, and the FIRST STEP to do research.

The methodology is very important to do research.

Do not waste time worrying about problems still not coming. Do the job step by step, and then the result comes out.

Do not do the same work twice, for example, try to write some automatic script to complete some tasks when utilizing Matlab, instead of repeating the same tasks manually. Otherwise, the life is shortened as many times as that for repeated work completed.

Communicate efficiently.  Think in the place of the person you need to communicate with.

BE VERY CLEAR about where you are, and what you need to do.

Do not be foolish. If you are, try not let others know.

If the mistake referring to previous discussions has been made, do not let it happen twice. One solution to extend the memory for a mistake is to WRITE DOWN what the problem and lesson are.

Some other skills may be useful for the PhD students,

  • Be responsible
    • Do not rely on the academic advisor for everything encountered, take the own responsibility.
  • Treasure the time for meeting
    • The time for meeting with the advisor is to be treasured, hence the student needs to complete whatever can be investigated by self.
  • Treasure the time
    • The time is a limited resource, a normal human being needs to be sleeping from 0:00am-8:00am each day, and the time for work is specifically limited
  • Sleep well and regularly
    • People have no chance to win when taking their bodies as enemies, and to sleep well and regularly is one required condition for people to make friends with themselves
  • Do exercise
    • For me, to do exercise is helpful to prevent from feeling frustrated, and get up early
  • Mental focus
    • Focus on one thing at one time. People can only tackle two tasks at most in the same time
  • State of mind
    • Maintain a good state of mind and morale. People cannot control their own lust, and can only induct it, or utilize another stronger lust to overcome this one.

Next time I will write something about how to be an engineer.


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