The Finish Line

Here are some good strategies for completing your graduate program.


Keep your eye on the finish line and maintain momentum

Senior graduate students often have multiple opportunities to become involved in additional research or professional activities. Faculty members will approach them to help with various interesting projects. As well, students have typically developed a circle of friends. The graduate lifestyle - tackling new projects and socializing- can become a pleasant habit. As a result, however, some students begin to drift away from their planned timeline as they move through their graduate programs.

As you move into the latter years of graduate studies, it is important to keep your eye on the finish line. This means that you make completing your degree your top priority and begin planning the next step in your life. Graduate school should be a time-limited phase in your life, not a substitute for life.

Review your original timeline for degree completion. Are you on schedule?

Examine your plans for completing your degree. Are you on schedule?

Make a firm commitment to finish as soon as possible.

If you've encountered any obstacles or stumbling blocks to your degree completion plans, build a strategy for regaining your momentum. Strengthen your time management skills to maximize your productivity.

Check university deadlines and schedules for submitting your thesis/dissertation

UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Thesis Submission Deadlines

UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: Note the Quick Link to Deadlines in the top right hand corner of this web page. It is a permanent link on every Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies web page, along with the Quick Link to Forms.

Work with your supervisor to stay on track

Maintain close contact with your research supervisor and committee members. If you are having difficulty sustaining momentum, seek your supervisor's advice on strategies for finishing your work.

Build a support system to help you complete

Develop a support network with others who will encourage you to finish your graduate degree.

Meet with graduate students from your program who have reached a similar stage and establish ways to support each other in completing.

Discuss completion with your family and enlist their support in finishing up.

Attend and present at academic and professional conferences

Present scholarly papers about your thesis or dissertation research at academic conferences. Contact with other scholars will motivate you to complete your work.

Use the opportunity to widen your professional networks, identify post-graduation career opportunities, and get feedback on ideas developing from your research. This will fix your eyes on your future.

Anticipate decisions you need to make about post-graduation career steps

Keep your graduate degree in perspective by recognizing that it is but a step in your broader career development strategy.

Identify the steps you need to take before you graduate in order to ensure a smooth transition from graduate school to the professional world of work.

Begin to target job or postdoctoral opportunities. There is nothing like a job offer to motivate you to finish up!