Professional Resources

Below I've collected some of the best professional advice on matters of reading and writing, especially for graduate students and junior scholars. These resources address psychological and intellectual questions—how to frame a dissertation project with an eye towards publication, for example—as well as nitty-gritty practical tips on working habits.


robert boice, advice for new faculty members: NIHIL NIMUS (pearson, 2000)

A unique and essential guide to the start of a successful academic career, advocating moderation in ways of working. Includes sections on teaching, writing, and service—the first two of which are highly recommended for graduate students.

Karen Kelsky, The professor is in: the essential guide to turning your ph.d. into a job (Three rivers, 2015)

An essential resource for graduate students, especially those going on the academic job market or considering a career switch. Includes detailed instructions for writing job application materials, grant and fellowship applications, and conference paper proposals.

William Germano, From dissertation to book (UChicago, 2nd ed. 2013)

Identifies that main task for those revising doctoral dissertations as book manuscripts—shifting focus from the concerns of a narrow audience to those of a broader scholarly audience that wants writing to be both informative and engaging.

wendy belcher, writing your journal article in 12 weeks (SAGE, 2009)

A week-by-week guide to organizing research, identifying suitable publications venues, and drafting an article manuscript. Includes various printable worksheets and forms, as well as advice on communicating with publishers and editors.

Eric Hayot, The Elements of academic style (Columbia UP, 2014)

Explains the techniques of academic writing from granular concerns such as sentence structure and grammar to big-picture issues like adhering to genre patterns for successful research and publishing, and developing productive and rewarding writing habits.

Gary King, "Dissertation Advice"

Excellent practical, psychological, professional, and intellectual advice for dissertation-writers—including how to conceptualize a prospectus, set goals for writing, imagine an audience beyond the committee, organize evidence, and stick to a schedule.


Below I've collected some of the best professional advice on issues of mentoring and academic life more broadly.  These resources might be especially helpful for those considering or beginning graduate school, and several are geared toward those who might struggle to find footing in the academy due to race, socioeconomic status, gender/sexuality, immigration status, disability, and more.


MLA, "Data on humanities doctorates recipients and faculty members by race and ethnicity"

Report responds to efforts of the MLA Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada to provide systematic national data about humanities doctorate recipients and faculty members of color.

conditionally accepted: a space for scholars on the margins of academia

Blog and series of columns in Inside Higher Ed providing news, information, personal stories, and resources for scholars who are, at best, conditionally accepted in academe—especially women, people of color, and disabled people/people with disabilities.

how to prep for grad school while poor

Crowdsourced wiki with advice and guidance for struggling graduate students— including those from low-income backgrounds, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities—and links to related pages for advisors and teaching assistants.

Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia

Facebook page based on the eponymous collection of essays edited by edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, Angela P. Harris (Utah State UP, 2012).

Daniel heath justice and marissa López, "welcome to wonderland: advice for beginning graduate students of color"

Guidance and resources for graduate students of color, part of an ongoing project by the Modern Language Association's Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada.

Marissa López, "On Mentoring First Generation and Graduate Students of Color"

In collaboration with the MLA's Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada, a nuts-and-bolts outline to working with PhD candidates who are either first generation or students of color.