My statement of purpose from a successful graduate school application

In this post, I am sharing my statement of purpose from a successful graduate school application.

I wrote it over 5 years ago, so I definitely cringe at a few things now, but hey, it got the job done and I am still rather proud of it. 


oindree banerjee at her college graduation at nc state on blog how to phd write a statement of purpose for graduate school
The author of the example SOP in this post, that is, me 5 years ago ;)

How much do graduate students get paid as stipend?

Question from an undergraduate student:


How much do graduate students get paid as a stipend?


at my desk during my PhD oindree banerjee how to phd blog how much do graduate students get paid as stipend?
Just a day in grad school - I was cold!

Should I stay longer and make sure the paper gets published?

Question from a PhD student:


I want to transition to industry as a research scientist. 

I have one protocol paper accepted, one second-author paper, and one first-author paper that is not yet submitted.

I am worried as my advisor wants to add more data to the first-author paper before submitting, and it keeps getting delayed. 

Now he wants me to stay as a postdoc to finish it.

My advisor knows I want to transition to industry.

Should I stay longer and make sure the first-author paper gets published?


oindree banerjee at phd graduation pic for blog how to phd should I stay longer and make sure the paper gets published
This is at my graduation, but I think I could pass as an agony aunt here

Free food in graduate school and what I learned from it

In graduate school, my office was on the third floor of the physics research building.

There was a big atrium in the middle of the building on the ground floor. 

There was a seminar room adjacent to it - this was where many events took place.

Events that generated FREE FOOD.


picture of plate of food by oindree banerjee for blog how to phd free food in graduate school and what I learned from it
No, this is NOT free food, just a pic I took and decided to use for this post

What happened when I joined the Cheeky Scientist Association

I sat in the dark in my bathroom.

It was late one night in November of 2017.

I was worried about my future.

What was my future?


what happened when I joined cheeky scientist association blog how to phd oindree banerjee
Photo credit: Linda Cremonesi, a postdoc at University College London

How to finish your PhD and graduate in a timely manner

So you started a Ph.D. Great!

You are doing lots of research, or maybe you are burned out. Either is understandable.

Maybe your advisor loves you and wants you around forever.

Or maybe they hate you and don't want to support you in any way. 

Or maybe they ignore you... a lot. 

Whatever the situation, it is in YOUR best interest to finish your Ph.D. in an (at least somewhat) timely manner.

But how?


picture of me Oindree Banerjee at my graduation ceremony used on blog post how to finish your phd and graduate on blog how to phd
At my graduation!

What next list compiled for summer science camp graduates

Interested in community outreach?

In this post, I share materials from an outreach effort that I have been part of for some years.

ASPIRE is a science workshop for high school women.

At the end of the camp, we like to address the question:

What next?
picture of recommended books including particle physics by griffiths and others for blog how to phd

How to thesis: Free LaTeX template and note on Overleaf

While writing your Ph.D. thesis, the last thing you want to worry about is - the writing part! 

You are doing a million things - finishing your projects, training the new grad student(s), looking for a job, maybe teaching..!

You are not about to lose your mind. You have lost it a while ago. 

Fighting with LaTeX cannot be your problem right now. 

I more than understand. So, I share in this post my LaTeX thesis template for you to grab and start using.

An example of text using LaTeX showing Chapter 1 Exciting astrophysics happen far, far away

Summary of my PhD thesis and link to the full text

I am happy to report that I finished my Ph.D. a few days ago! My defense is done and the thesis submitted. 

So now I have a final draft of the thesis and share the short version/conclusions as well as a link to the full text in this post. 

Picture of Ob Hill in McMurdo, Antarctica. Taken during hikes in Antarctica where I was working on the experiment for my PhD.
I climbed Ob Hill (Antarctica) a few times during my Ph.D. so here is a glimpse of that

How to successfully defend your PhD thesis

A Ph.D. defense is one of those things that one can never feel prepared enough for because usually, it is the first time one is doing it! 
I go over mine here, having successfully defended my doctoral thesis in particle astrophysics a little over 48 hours ago.


Title slide of my defense talk. It says Studies in particle astrophysics with the ANITA experiment. Shows my name Oindree Banerjee, school name Ohio State University, the date July 12 2018


Establishing a diverse and inclusive workplace

I attended the panel discussion on "Best Practices for Establishing a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace" at the American Physical Society's April Meeting this year.

I felt that it was important that the discussion we had reaches a wider audience, hence this post!


picture showing a diversity of flowers, taken in London, UK by Oindree Banerjee

4 ways to help you decide which graduate school to choose

Got into multiple graduate schools and can't decide which one to go to? 

Congratulations!! That's a great problem to have.

Here are 4 ways to help you choose a grad school!


picture by oindree banerjee taken at windsor palace, used in blog how to phd, 4 ways to help you decide which graduate school to choose

Answers to 8 FAQs about doing graduate school applications

Determined to go to graduate school, but not looking forward to all those graduate school applications you have to work on?

Here are answers to 8 FAQs about doing grad school applications, plus an example SOP!


university college london oindree banerjee photo, how to phd blog, answers to 8 faqs about doing graduate school applications

7 reasons why TA-ing is good for you

Worried that TA-ing will set you back in classes and/or research? Disappointed about not getting that department fellowship? 

Don't worry, be happy! 

TA-ing will make you a BETTER, not worse, graduate student. You will be MORE successful, not less. 

Here are 7 reasons why: 


reasons why TA-ing or teaching is good for you, ohio state university picture by oindree banerjee

10 tips on giving a great talk

Getting ready to give your first talk? Or just looking to improve your game a bit? I have compiled 10 tips in this post :)


london stage st martins theater performance photo by oindree banerjee, used in blog how to phd, tips on giving a great talk

31 things to pack for your Antarctic expedition

Does your Ph.D. involve an expedition to Antarctica? Mine did. Or, maybe you are just curious. 

I share 31 items to pack if you have to take a trip to the bottom of the planet, along with tips on the essentials for the trip and a very important note on hikes that could save your life!


On an Antarctic expedition to launch physics balloon mission ANITA for PhD, picture of oindree banerjee, used in blog how to phd, things to pack for your antarctic expedition

How to break up with your advisor

Feeling unhappy and lost? It might be time to break up with your advisor and go back to dating! 

A Ph.D. is a long-term commitment (longer than many marriages), you might need to date for a bit to understand what works for you. 

Which is totally fine, I promise, as long as you follow ONE golden rule:


Photo taken in Bath, UK during collaborative research visit during my PhD, used in blog how to break up with your advisor, shows a bridge


How to succeed in the PhD candidacy exam

Worrying about your Ph.D. candidacy exam (prelim)? 

Been there, and here to help! 

I will cover everything from what is candidacy and what a first-year grad student should focus on, to what to do on the day of your oral exam.


My son Fuji who happens to be a cat, studying from my lab notebook during my PhD, pictures used in blog how to phd, How to succeed in the PhD candidacy exam


How to finish your PhD and graduate in a timely manner

So you started a Ph.D. Great! You are doing lots of research, or maybe you are burned out. Either is understandable. Maybe your a...