Further below:
> Comments from Readers

About PHD Comics

The strip:
"Piled Higher and Deeper" (PhD) is the comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in academia.
The author:
Jorge Cham got his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, and was a full-time Instructor and researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) from 2003-2005.

A list of his research publications on robots and brain-machine interfaces can be found here.

Click here to visit his homepage.

"Piled Higher and Deeper" the comic strip has appeared in The Stanford Daily, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and Caltech newspapers among over 50 others.

The strip has appeared or been featured in the journal Nature, Science Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, IEEE Potentials magazine, Math Horizons magazine, Stanford Magazine and Canada's The Peer Review magazine among others, and has been linked to by USA Today's, The NY Times and The Washington Post's websites.

The PHD Lectures:

Since 2005, Jorge Cham has given invited lectures at nearly 300 universities and research centers worldwide. For a list, click here

The books:

Five collections of the strips have been published: "Piled Higher and Deeper: A Graduate Student Comic Strip Collection" was first published in June 2002, and collects the first five years of the strip; "Life is tough and then you graduate: The second collection of Piled Higher and Deeper comic strips" was published in April 2005, and collects the sixth, seventh and eight years; "Scooped! The Third Piled Higher and Deeper Comic Strip Collection" was published in April 2007. "Academic Stimulus Package was published in 2009. The latest book, "Adventures in Thesisland" was published in April 2012.

The books are available on Amazon.com, on this website, and in bookstores throughout the U.S.

The stats:
Site statistics - April 2014
Annual pageviews 69 Million
Monthly visits 1.7 Million
Unique Visitors per month 1 Million
Total books sold ever + 100,000
Unique Visitors per year 6.5 Million
Powered by Google Analytics - 4/27/13-4/26/14

Readers to the website represent over 800 different fields of study from over 1000 different schools worldwide.

The PHD Movie:

In 2011, a live-action film adaptation of the comics was independently produced and released at over 500 campuses and research centers worldwide. The film was produced with the support of the California Institute of Technlogy (Caltech), and features a cast a crew of real graduate students, postdocs and faculty. In 2015, a sequel was produced ("Piled Higher and Deeper: Still in Grad School"). Nature Journal called it, "Astute, funny" while Nature Physics called it, "Laugh-out-loud... impossible not to relate." More info can be found here.

Notable reviews:

- The Chronicle of Higher Education chronicle.com

"You'll laugh and wince at Jorge Cham's smart comic strip, which feels your pain, your panic, your coffee addition... and your departmental politics."

"Jorge Cham makes the daily grind just a bit more tolerable."
- Stanford Magazine

"Use this comic for procrastination or decompression, as you see fit."
- The Journal Nature

"Creator Jorge Cham knows the graduate world well enough to make fun of everything and everyone in it... but also reminds us of the reasons why grad students chose to study their fields in the first place."
- Washingtonpost.com

For questions, send email to: questions(at)phdcomics.com

1997-2008 Jorge Cham. All rights reserved. The images and artwork found within these hypertext pages contain proprietary information of Jorge Cham. They may not be copied or duplicated in any form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent


Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you guys?
To borrow from "The Matrix": we are everyone, and we are no one.
Piled Higher & Deeper is kept alive and growing by the fans: the legions of grad students who believe there is more to life than research--the vast underground of unsung heroes who support PhD by spreading the word, buying the books, wearing the merchandise. Our hats off to you, dear reader. We are proud to procrastinate with you.

Can I use one of your comics in my thesis/defense/website or graduate student newsletter?
We'll be happy to grant you permission, but you MUST e-mail us at questions(at)phdcomics.com to let us know how and which strips you are using (by sending this email, you obtain official permission to use the images). In all cases, the strips must have the following text printed next to them:

  "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

How do you draw your comic?
I draw the comics directly on the computer using a graphics tablet (an input device that lets you "draw" on the screen). The comics don't actually see paper until they are published in the newspaper.


Reader Comments

Below is a small sampling of some reader comments submitted by email or via our webform. Thanks for writing in!

"Your comics are really life-bringing, soul-rescuing , and totally sanity-preserving." -grad from SUNY Albany.

"A quintessential collection of the ups, downs and dizzying circles of a grad student's life! Your comic is probably responsible for keeping many of us sane! - Archaeology grad from the Australian National U.

"I love Cecilia's character; you nailed down so well what it means to be an overachieving girl in a men's world! You really deserve an honorary geek girl title." -CS grad from U. Montreal

"I break down and cry each time there's a new comic strip." - Film Theory grad from U. Southampton

"Your comic strip makes me feel that I am not alone, and there are others suffering through the penniless ignominy that is grad school! -Chem. Eng. grad from U. Houston

"Your comic is not only hilarious, but very artistic too. I love the expression of each character. I can FEEL the agony of grad life" -Bioengineering grad from MIT

"I absolutely love PhD! I'm only an undergrad but already I can feel myself being drawn into the dark world of procrastination" -Astronomy undergrad from U. Canterbury, New Zealand

"PhD comics are awesome! I'd bet it's better than prozac." -biology grad from Caltech

"I submitted my PhD dissertation yesterday. I dedicated it to Mike Slackenerny 'for showing me the way'." -(ex)grad from U. Western Australia

"I purchased the PhD book. Can I get a receipt that says 'textbooks' so I can get reimbursed by the finance department?" - PhD Geology from U. of Adelaide

"Dear mister comic book writer. I'm in love with Cecilia. Is she modeled on a real person, and if so, can you ask that person if she wants to marry me? Best regards." - CS grad from Stockholm U.

"On your comic, you show what looks like an attractive female talking to the male engineering grad student. How can this be? I think doodling this comic may have caused you to lose touch with 'the real world'" -EE grad from U. Maryland

"Great strip. It makes me feel not alone" -Social psychology grad from U. Mass

"My advisor hates you now. On behalf of the students in the [omitted] lab group, I thank you for providing some humor to our otherwise ignoble existences" -grads from BYU

"Please please don't stop writing your comics. They are what bring us together over our cubicle walls in our mutual suffering. Do you have a Piled Higher and Deeper Fan Club yet? We want to be charter members."

"So, how weird is it to develop profound emotional attachments to fictional characters?" -anonymous

"Just had to write and say that what you do is sick. But damned funny." -Oceanography grad student from UC San Diego

"Dear Jorge, I think your comic book was just amazing, lovely, wonderful" -Public Health grad from U Washington

"Well I don't know if you've published any papers, but I'm sure the book [collection] will have at least a more diverse readership! And thanks for keeping your website free, unlike Science Magazine!" -Neuroscience grad from U. of Southern California

"OH MY GOD! If only I'd known of this strip before I started! Now that I know of it, if only I could wait till I finish (ha!) or am kicked out to read it. But, like a train wreck, I can't stop looking!" -Environmental Eng. grad from University of Western Australia

"Seriously, your comic is the only thing that keeps the Daily worth reading (well, you, Roxy Sass, and the bunnies...). I worship at your shrine of academic hilairity" -Biology grad from Stanford

"Amazing comics, big fan base in IIT Bombay. Keep it up!" -Aerospace Eng. grad from IIT (Indian Inst. of Technology) Bombay

"I am currently trying to write up and submit my PhD thesis and was wondering if there was any chance that I could use some of your comics as humourous inserts between chapters" -Computational Biochemistry grad from U. of York, UK

"I'm terrified... you are telling my life here! Keep it up, I love it anyway. Regards from sunny (not so much now, but let's keep the cliche alive) Spain" -Northamerican Literature grad from Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain

"Oh yes, I am on the edge of my seat. Is she going to get Scott? This is the best comic strip since Dilbert!" -Mech Eng. grad from Michigan Tech

"Hi, After living a life right out of your art works, I am graduating !! Don't tell Cecilia. We all know that it is hard to hear that a fellow student is graduating. I have heard of such a news many times, so I know. Please give her a break and let her graduate soon. I will be following her progress" -Geophysics grad from Stanford

"Oh God, it hurts! It's all so true, and so evil! I can't tell whether I should be laughing or crying in sympathy" -Chemistry grad from Caltech

"Holy cow... here I am, supposed to be studying for an exam tomorrow, and instead i just killed two hours reading Phd, online, in its entirety. Bravo! "PhD" is much cleverer, more artistic, and more original than most of the tired comics in the paper have been for years! -German Studies grad from U. of Arizona

"dammit, [looking through the archives] "oskie" is spelled _oski_. not that i care. go bears. i am so pathetic. i'm sorry" -Physics grad from Caltech (presumably undergrad at UC Berkeley)

"I recently fired my thesis advisor. PhD gave me the strength to do this. I am going anonymous since everyone in my lab/department reads this strip." -Anonymous

"I ADORE your comic strip - I'm giving a talk today at my undergrad school, and I'm going to use some of your wonderful comic strips to illustrate the powerful point that grad school is hell warmed over!" -Bioinformatics grad from Rockefeller U.

"Your comic strip rocks. I've decided not to go to grad school." -Elect. Eng. undergrad from Yale U.

"Hey guys, ist it really as terrible at Stanford grad school as described in your comics? I am applying there, so I really would like to know" -Computer Science undergrad from Munich Univ. of Technology

"Hi Guys, I LOVE your comic strip - it is becoming more and more popular in Oz since the address was sent on our postgrad email list. Keep up the good work - forget about graduating!" -English grad from Adelaide University, Australia

"I became addicted to your cartoons!! So please, feed me more" -Business grad

"Everybody in my lab loves your work. The songs help soothe the hurt when my experiments fail and I think about the next 6 yrs here" -Microbiology grad from NYU

"I can do interpreter between the persian and japanese language also I uesd to be DTP. operator. I can drive the car. I am looking for the job if you can help me please." -Anonymous


All content copyright 1997-2023 Piled Higher and Deeper Publishing, LLC.