What All New Graduate Students Must Know

"Graduate school is the best time of your life. Enjoy it while it lasts!". While these words of signal processing guru Prof. Martin Vetterli are in many ways true, several students fail to bring them to fruition mainly because they are ignorant of what graduate school is about and the problems grad students face. This page lists important issues grad students must be aware of and provides relevant Web references.

1. Differences between undergraduate college and graduate school


Graduate classes are usually much more demanding than undergraduate ones. Typically 9 to 12 credit hours will keep you very busy.
Tips for Managing Coursework


Research differs from the normal undergraduate coursework in many ways.
Research Tips
For more information on doing successful research see:
(i) Research Resources - Prof. Richard Baraniuk
(ii) How to be a good graduate student - Marie desJardins

2. Several relevant practical issues

Time management

Since grad school research is often unstructured, time management is a key issue. A few basic time management tips follow.

Financial pressure

The typically low graduate student stipends coupled with high expenses necessitate financial management. Some obvious ways to deal with the problem are:


The intellectual challenges and enormous workload can take their toll in the form of emotional fatigue and depression that are accentuated by insecurity, anxiety and boredom. The importance of dealing with fatigue and stress cannot be understated. The above topics are discussed in greater depth in articles provided by Graduate Resources.

Last Update: August 17, 2003