One of my life mantras is “beginnings matter. But endings matter more.” In doctoral education, the endings are often determined by the first year, the first month, the first week. Or – indeed – the first day.

To ensure that my commencing students commence with energy and propulsion, I use a ‘set up document.’ I have used this interactive documents with students for 20 years. With a new student starting next week, I have given the document its annual revision. I have posted this new version on this page if you would like to review it and use it.

Assumptions often kill a PhD, whether they are held by the student or the supervisor/advisor. This document attempts to reveal those assumptions, alongside the strengths and the areas for professional development.

I hope it is of use to you. And if you are starting your PhD journey – great luck. You’ve got this.