You are now a Ph.D. student at the University of St.Gallen. Roughly half of all Ph.D. students are employed at one of the University’s institutes, chairs and centres, usually with a workload of between 35% and 70%.
According to the European Commission’s classification, you are now a First Stage Researcher. First Stage Researchers carry out research under the supervision of an experienced academic, thus developing expertise and methodological know-how in their field. The primary objective of this phase is to successfully complete your thesis. According to the OECD international comparison, Switzerland has the highest graduation rate at doctoral level (SBFI 2014), meaning that Ph.D. studies can be viewed as advanced training that leads into the world of academia or applied research.
In Germany, fewer than 6% of Ph.D. graduates move into permanent academic positions (Cyranoski 2011). The figure is likely to be similar in Switzerland. When it comes to opportunities on the job market, a Ph.D. in humanities or social sciences has a positive impact (SWIR 2015)
This stage of your career typically involves:
- Settling into the new environment and understanding the unspoken rules of the academic system
- Getting lost every now and then while writing your Ph.D. thesis
- Building an academic network
- Developing expertise in research and methodology
- Gaining self-confidence while discussing and presenting
Keen to find out what your peers recommend? Watch their video statements!
And this is what your to-do list might look like:
1. Reflect on your decision to pursue a Ph.D.
2. Build your community at HSG
3. Find a mentor
4. Develop your speaking and presentation skills
5. Build an international network
6. Train in creative and visual thinking
7. Check your resources (under DOWNLOADS on the right-hand side)
Cyranoski, D. et al (2011): The PhD factory. Nature 472, 276-279.
Schweizerischer Wissenschafts- und Innovationsrat (SWIR) (2015): Dr. Arbeitslos?. Document CSSI 6/2015
Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation (SBFI) (2014): Massnahmen zur Förderung des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses in der Schweiz. Bericht des Bundesrats in Erfüllung des Postulats WBK-SR (12.3343).