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I've already completed my first grueling year of the PhD program, and graduation is still a yet to be seen light at the end of the tunnel. I'm very sure that academia is for me, and I really want to obtain a tenure-track position in my field (computational science). I know that universities often look very highly upon doing a post-doc and accumulating plenty of journal publications. Of course, open faculty positions are extremely competitive and I'm sure that everyone applying for them have those qualifications already. I'm curious if there is anything else I do as a graduate student to help maximize my chances of getting a Tenure-Track Faculty position in the future?

1 Answer 1

I don't think there's anything "special" that's unique to applying to academia that a graduate student can do to increase the odds of becoming a professor in the long run, particularly if one is going to do a postdoc later on.

The two areas that might help are:

  1. Gain teaching experience that goes beyond the standard "recitation section" leader—that is, into actual lecturing and other forms of direct interaction with students, as well as formulation of assignments and examinations. This might make a difference at schools which are more teaching-oriented rather than research-oriented.

  2. Formulate a well-defined scope for your future research activities, and also develop the tentative outlines for the first few projects that you'd start in that field. This is an essential part of any professorial application, and the sooner you start working on it, the more polished it will be when you're ready to apply for positions when the time comes.

Beyond that, what makes someone a good candidate for a postdoc are essentially the same qualities that will help in being a good candidate for a professorship later on.