8 Ways to Prepare for Comprehensive Exams

Most doctoral students at UNL have to complete a written comprehensive exam to enter candidacy, and in some departments the written exam may be followed by an oral exam.

What your written exam will look like depends on your department. You may be asked to respond to a series of questions to test your broad knowledge of your field. You may be required to generate a grant proposal or prepare full articles for publication. The key is to talk to your supervisor and find out what is expected. Then prepare!

After Your First Year: What's Next?

You’ve handed in your last paper and graded your students’ final exams. With Spring semester behind you, you’re ready for summer. Three long months stretch ahead of you, full of promise. Take our advice and make your summer as productive as possible.

Tip: Click on a photo to pause the slideshow.

Presenting a Research Poster

You’ve been working hard on your research these last few semesters. The data has been collected, sorted, and analyzed. So what do you do with the findings? Maybe you’ll write an article down the road or present your findings at a disciplinary conference.

A great way to prepare for the next step is to present your research at the Spring 2014 Graduate Poster Session, scheduled for Tuesday, April 15, at 3:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union.

Strengthening Your Leadership Skills

Good news: Leadership skills can be learned! According to a Harvard study of 545 executives who participated in leadership development programs, 96 of the participants were identified as worse than 90% of their peers in at least one of 16 key attributes of leadership effectiveness, including skills such as establishing interpersonal relationships, leading initiatives for change, and character.

Preparing Fellowship Applications: A Step-by-Step Guide

A major fellowship can be a critical funding resource, especially if your research requires money for travel, equipment or supplies, and time to collect data and write. When you consider applying for a fellowship, keep the following in mind:

Negotiating Academic Job Offers

You’ve received a job offer from an academic institution—well done! The final step in securing an academic position, like any job, is negotiating the terms of your contract. In academia, some aspects of negotiating terms will be similar to the private sector, but some aspects are unique to academia. Begin with these guidelines to prepare for negotiating the terms of your first academic contract.

Best Practices for Collaborating on Research

Across the disciplines, collaboration and interdisciplinary work is growing. As teamwork in scholarship increases, it’s important to establish good practices for collaboration. Laying clear ground rules (Howard Gadlin and Kevin Jessar call these a “prenuptial agreement for scientists”) and having an open discussion about expectations helps the collaboration run smoothly. This is equally true if you are collaborating with different labs at other universities, working with private industry, or keeping your mentor up to date on your own research.

Graduate Students as Stewards of the Discipline

When you think of a steward, you might imagine someone in a manor who ensures the household runs smoothly, the tenants are cared for, and the buildings are kept in good repair with an eye toward preserving the enterprise for generations to come. In short, a manager.

Working Effectively with Faculty and Colleagues

Success in graduate school, whether in course work, research, or teaching does not happen in a vacuum. To succeed, you need to collaborate effectively with your professors, mentors, and colleagues so you can improve your own work and provide helpful feedback to others. Working well together and learning to collaborate in graduate school also prepares you for productive working relationships later in your career. While it may seem like you’d get more done if you were to “go it alone,” there are many benefits to learning to collaborate early in your graduate career.

Meet Our Graduate Ambassadors!

This fall, Graduate Studies implemented a new initiative designed to support prospective and current graduate students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: The UNL Graduate Student Ambassadors Program. This exciting new program brings together a diverse cadre of experienced graduate students who support graduate student recruitment and Graduate Studies outreach activities, such as the New Student Welcome, the Campuswide TA Workshops, and the Graduate Student Research Fair, to name just a few.