Here is a set of posts that I did when I finished my PhD. They cover a range of different topics that are scattered throughout other various posts: pt1, pt2, pt3, pt4, pt5, pt6. My good friend John Goodrich also gives his thoughts.
What I wish I did before starting the PhD. Also check out my friend’s site that gives plenty of detail regarding schools and preparation: Interested in a PhD? Note: Instead of Manton he mentions April Wilson’s German grammar, which is probably the better choice. Also, get on top of the technology (Endnote, Word, unicode fonts, etc.) and definitely start using Dropbox.
German and French:
Since language preparation is the big thing I’d do over, here are a bunch of posts I’ve done on learning German (and French): Translation Resources, German vocab list, German Bible translations, thoughts on my Goethe course in Berlin, and German and French graded readers. Here’s post on learning German online. Another great resource for regular translation practice is the Theological German Blog. See my Languages category for other stuff on Latin and Greek.
Choosing Where to Go:
A couple of posts: US vs UK PhD and US vs UK Redivivus, see also a more detailed post by Mark Goodacre, but also check out the comments. SBL has a helpful Forum about this, as well. Nijay’s Interested in a PhD? is very good on this–he discusses both US and UK programs. I’ve also got a (hopefully) comprehensive list of UK New Testament lecturers.
In the UK it’s standard practice to email potential supervisors and run your potential thesis topic by them. You will get varying levels of response.
General info on a proposal.
Getting a Job After the PhD
Beyond just getting a degree, there are other things that are (almost?) necessary to get a job afterwards.
Getting Accepted to Present a Paper
Nijay asked my supervisor (John M.G. Barclay) about tips on getting an abstract accepted to SBL.
Writing Book Reviews
An easy way to experience writing for the public is through book reviews for journals, plus you get a free book. However, they don’t give you much, if any, capital in the job market. After doing several I’ve decided to cut back to only 1 or 2 a year and put that time into writing/editing potential journal articles since they take up too much time relative to the benefit of peer reviewed articles.
Nijay summarizes potential questions at the viva, or the defense of your thesis. (The “i” in viva is pronouced long like “eye”.)