Getting Started Checklist

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It can be overwhelming when starting your doctorate. A completely new style of working with people you have probably never met before. To help get used to it there is lots of information in the Doctoral College Handbook  but here is a checklist to help you get started.

The first week:

  • Collect your library card.
  • Get out of hours access to your office, labs and cycle showers. This may mean getting your library card activated and/or getting a key for some rooms.
  • Get your project finance code.
  • Get suitable equipment (laptops, notebooks, etc). Some of this may be provided by your department or sponsors but a good source of free pens are conferences and fairs!
  • Ask other students who have your supervisor about their working style. It’s best to find out how to make the most of your contact time as academics are often very busy!
  • Sign up for Doctoral skills and Careers sessions which sound useful or interesting. It’s a good idea to ask other students in your office if they have any suggestions.
  • Sign up for sports clubs and societies mailing lists or go to their taster sessions. Often they will have mailing lists you can join at the society and sports fairs or you can send them an email to be temporarily added.
  • Check out Bath Active’s BathStudent page for free sports activities.
  • Go to the induction and freshers’ events to get to know your fellow postgraduates.
  • If you don’t have permanent accommodation yet visit The Students’ Union Advice and Support Service. They have advice on finding housing and moving in/out.
  • Go to lunch with your new office group.
  • Read about the support available from Student Services (eg. Counselling and Wellbeing, Student Money Advice).
  • Attend a meet your mentor session (faculty-wide for Engineering and HSS, check with your Programme Administrator for details of other schemes).
  • And, of course, meet your supervisor!

The first month:

  • Submit your Candidature form. You should be notified via your SAMIS intray 3 weeks before submission is due – if you do not receive this notification please contact the Doctoral College!
  • Register for the inter-library loans service. Our campus library may not be large but they can get books delivered from other libraries through this service for free.
  • Choose a reference management software and stick with it! We have Endnote and Mendeley commonly used.
  • Find out if you need any more software and how to get it installed. This will involve a request to Computer Services or using the software centre on your computer for standard software already available at the university. For more unusual software it may involve buying new software licences so discuss this with your supervisor before you have to spend any money!
  • Decide whether you want an annual parking permit or to pay as you drive (if you drive)
  • Decide whether you want an annual bus pass or to pay as you go (if you use the bus)
  • Find the best cycle parking for you and the cycle showers (if you cycle)
  • Register with the medical centre and dentist  OR a doctors and dentist in town!
  • Register with Joblink for part-time work. It is important to know if paid work is limited by your visa or funding conditions so please check before you apply for any jobs. Also please pay attention to any training you may need beforehand.

First year:

  • Ask for any departmental guidelines on Confirmation. Your supervisor should know what is required and will arrange examiners for you but you can contact the Doctoral College for more information.
  • Decide which software to use to write your Confirmation report and find other users for help. Word and LATEX are commonly used and there are Doctoral Skills sessions on LATEX available.
  • Register for Agresso as you will need to claim expenses.
  • Create your PURE account to keep track of your successes. This will save you time making a CV later on.
  • And most importantly don’t miss out on Refresh week at the start of semester two!

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