A PhD Is Not Enough

A Guide to Survival in Science

Revised Edition

By Peter J. Feibelman

Basic Books, 2011

First published in 1993 and revised for 2011, A PhD Is Not Enough has become a well-known guide for PhD graduates in the sciences, and for good reason. Short but carefully worded, it provides pointed advice on topics ranging from giving effective talks and interviews to applying for funding and choosing research and career paths. Even if it deals with some of the hard realities of pursuing a career in science, it does so in a way that is meant to encourage PhDs to professionalize and think about the choices they must make.

In his preface, Feibelman notes that finding a good mentor is one of the keys to success, but he also recognizes that not all graduate students or PhDs will find mentors that can help guide their future careers. In many ways, this book is a highly-condensed treasury of the wisdom that one might glean from an astute mentor. Feibelman writes, “This book is meant for those who will not be lucky enough to find a mentor early, for those who naively suppose that getting through graduate school, doing a postdoc, etc., are enough to guarantee a scientific career. I want you to see what stands between you and a career, to help you prepare for the inevitable obstacles before they overwhelm you.”

Much of the advice in this book is specific to the context of careers in science, and it doesn’t venture into science-related careers that aren’t research-focused. Still, the advice he provides about topics like preparing presentations or handling job interviews is applicable to a range of careers, particularly those in academia.

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