PhD Graduation Gift Ideas

Let’s face it, few achievements in life are more impressive than earning a PhD. Help that special someone celebrate their achievement by giving them something extra special — something that shows how very proud you are of their accomplishment. Here are some of our favorite graduation gift ideas.

Special Note

Have you heard the graduate talk about a favorite teacher or professor, a mentor who meant a great deal? If not, ask their family if they recall anyone who might have made a special impact. Given that pretty much anyone can be found via the Internet, contact that person and ask if they would be willing to write a personal note of congratulations and encouragement. Offer to provide the greeting card. All they need to do is provide the good wishes.

Textbook Keeper

Every graduate can tell you there are a few textbooks they simply can’t part with, either because they’re meaningful or because they provide information that will be valuable in post-graduate life. One of the best graduation gifts for a PhD candidate involves creating a way to store those books. It’s as simple as getting a nice wooden box and painting it in the grad’s school colors.

It will remain a practical and a warm reminder of your pride in them for years down the road.

Homemade Snacks

It’s likely that the graduate is both excited by what’s around the next corner and exhausted by their long journey. Few things are more thoughtful than providing them with a basket full of homemade goodies, whether cookies, muffins, or healthier fare like granola bars or small bags of baked sweet potato chips. They can grab something when they’re on the run or simply relax and enjoy your considerate gift.

Personalized Donation

Getting through a PhD program requires a passion for something. Consider a donation to a charity that aligns with that passion. For example, if the doctorate’s field is social work, make a donation to No Kid Hungry. If it’s in the medical field, give to FamilyWize, an organization dedicated to helping people save money on prescription drug costs. The best gifts for grads should be about them, and few things feel better than knowing good work is being done in your name.

Take Over For a Weekend

Give the grad a break by offering to stop by to water plants, feed the cat, walk the dog, shop for groceries — whatever needs to be done. Your challenge may be convincing them to sit back and let someone else carry the load for a couple of days. If it helps, suggest they visit a friend or family member while you take care of the home front.

Conduct a Scavenger Hunt

Nothing’s more fun that feeling like a kid again, even if they’re about to acquire a PhD. Send the graduate a note and ask them to meet you for a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop. As they sit at the table, hand them a note that reads, “Go to the counter and find The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” (You should set up a spot on the counter ahead of time with permission.) A note in that book might read, “Check your back porch.” There, leave a small wrapped gift. Sometimes, the adventure really is about the journey.

Year-round Gift

If it looks as though the graduate is going to be working long hours in the near future, consider a gift of a meal delivered to their door once a month. You can either order it from a meal service or promise to drop one of your own homemade creations off each month for the next 12 months.

Trip Down Memory Lane

Think about when your PhD candidate was happiest. Was it when they were a kid? Throughout their undergrad years? Or just more recently? Do something that will remind them of those days. For instance, say their happiest days were spent in their college town. Plan a trip back, complete with a visit to their old campus and favorite pizza shop. It’s all about reminding them of how important it is to keep each and every special memory alive. You might want to include pictures of where you’ll be going or what you’ll be doing in their graduation card, to get the excitement going.

Whether you throw a party or a have an intimate gathering of just the two of you, acknowledging the grad’s hard work and commitment will mean so much to them, and it will stand out even more knowing you cared enough to come up with a thoughtful and meaningful gift to celebrate them.

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