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Poking Fun at the Perils of Postgraduate Work

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Have you heard of Dr. Jorge Cham’s comic, “Piled High and Deeper – Life (or the Lack Thereof)?”

There’s a good chance you haven’t, but perhaps someday you will. Dr. Cham began the comic (more commonly known as the Ph.D. Comics) as a graduate student studying mechanical engineering at Stanford University. The comic primarily dedicates itself to poking fun at the sleep-deprived stupor of doctoral candidates, including their mostly absent social lives and perils dealing with academic advisors.

Dr. Cham has no artistic training whatsoever. Rather, he started the comic in 1997 as a form of self-realized therapy. Dr. Cham’s comic has been so successful that he now makes a living on comic books, speaking engagements and selling merchandise. Cham’s website,, garners around 7 million viewers a year.

For Dr. Cham, it gets better. This year he’ll be working with a theater group from the California Institute of Technology to turn the Ph.D. Comics into a film. He’s writing the script and intends to feature graduate students both in front of and behind the camera. It just goes to show how far a hobby can go!

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