Preview Now Available: Strategies for Navigating Graduate School and Beyond

Edited by Julia Marin Hellwege, Kevin Lorentz, Dan Mallinson, Davin Phoenix and Cherie Strachan

“What is a comprehensive exam?” “How long is a dissertation?” “Who is the Dean of Graduate Studies?” “What does ‘probationary status’ mean?” Graduate school is often a new and daunting venture for students. Not everyone comes to graduate school with the same academic cultural capital. Many of us are just plain lost. Some of the lost find their way, through supportive peers and faculty. Others wreck on the shoals of neglect, contempt, or more. Those with greater academic cultural capital – particularly white, male students who have at least one parent with a graduate degree – begin better equipped to deal with the challenges of graduate school. Those with little to no capital – first generation and minoritized students – must overcome greater odds to succeed. A major advantage of this cultural capital is a greater awareness of the vast hidden curriculum in graduate school. Ironically, the same students with the most access to cultural capital are also least likely to experience implicit bias, discrimination, or harassment.

The purpose of this text is to make resources freely available for any graduate student to uncover and navigate the hidden curriculum and to handle difficult experiences. It owes gratitude to Jessica McCrory Calarco’s book A Field Guide to Grad School, which has a similar aim. This project actually began with a review of her book for the Journal of Political Science Education. Two of the co-editors, Dan Mallinson and Cherie Strachan, discussed how a more focused and in-depth treatment of the hidden curriculum in political science could be of great benefit to the discipline. Yet Calarco’s book is meant to generalize across all types of graduate programs and it provides only brief treatments for the really tough stuff, like sexual harassment and bullying. So, along with Julia Marin Hellwege, Kevin Lorentz, and Davin Phoenix they worked with APSA to develop a call for the kind of resource they all envisioned—and collectively wished they had access to in graduate school.

The result is the forthcoming edited collection Strategies for Navigating Graduate School and Beyond. This book, with advice from 150+ diverse political scientists at various points in their career, has 70 chapters with in-depth advice for every stage of graduate school — from admissions processes to first job negotiations — and all of the advice needed in between — from time management to differing-ability accommodations and from conference participation to mental health and well-being. The goal is to further lay bare the “hidden curriculum” of graduate school to create a less-stressful and more inclusive educational experience for all those who aspire to earn graduate degrees in political science.

A preview of more than 25 of the submitted chapters is available now on APSA Preprints and we encourage comments and feedback from the community.  The book will be published in late summer 2022 and will be available free online from APSA and in print from wherever you get books.