28 Super Smart Gifts PhD Students Will Love

By Candice Elliott | Updated: March 31, 2024

    Embarking on a PhD journey is an extraordinary endeavor. Finding a gift that resonates with their scholarly journey and provides inspiration or much-needed relaxation can be challenging. Our gift guide delves into a carefully selected collection of gift ideas designed to celebrate their academic milestones, enhance their research experience, or offer them a well-deserved break from their studies.

    From innovative gadgets that streamline their research process to personalized items that reflect their academic passions, this guide is crafted to delight the most discerning scholars, making it easier to select a gift as thoughtful and impressive as their academic pursuits.

  1. Padfolio
  2. gifts-for-phd-students-portfolio

    This gift is so neat and helpful you might want one for yourself! The Padfolio has a wireless charging port, three slots for business cards and ID cards, a pen loop, a smartphone stand, and a lined notebook. The Padfolio is excellent for college students or busy professionals. 

  3. Digital Voice Recorder 
  4. gifts-for-phd-students-recorder

    Functional presents are often the top choices for Ph.D. students, and this voice recorder won’t disappoint! It’s perfect for capturing lectures. With its voice-activated feature, it ensures recordings only when the professor talks. Plus, the noise-canceling microphone ensures the playback is clear, minimizing any background distractions.

  5. Noise Canceling-Headphones
  6. gifts-for-phd-students-headphones

    Outside noise can be distracting when you’re trying to study or listen back to recorded lectures! These noise-canceling headphones will give them the peace they need when hitting the books as they reduce ambient noise by up to 90%! In addition, just five minutes plugged into the charger, fast charging will provide up to four hours of battery life, while a full charge offers 40-60 hours. 

  7. Smart Reusable Notebook
  8. gifts-for-phd-students-notebook

    This notebook features 36 lined pages designed for use with the accompanying pen. And when it’s time to refresh, use the provided microfiber cloth. Moreover, with the Rocketbook app compatible with iOS and Android, notes can be uploaded to cloud services, ensuring they’re preserved even after being erased!

  9. Presentation Clicker
  10. gifts-for-phd-students-clicker

    Ph.D. students give a lot of presentations, and this clicker will make them more professional and smooth. The clicker supports hyperlinks, has volume control, can page up and down, play slides, and insert black screens for PowerPoint presentations. 

  11. Folded Book Art Sculpture
  12. gifts-for-phds-sculpture

    This sculpture is custom-made using second-hand, repurposed hardcover books. The dates are folded from the pages to create a unique 3-D sculpture, and they can choose their graduation date. 

  13. T-Shirt
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    Part of that Ph.D. life explains you’re not that kind of doctor. This funny Ph.D. t-shirt will do the talking for them. The shirt is available in Men’s, Women’s, and Kid’s cuts, several sizes, and five colors. 

  15. PHinished Coffee Mug
  16. gifts-for-phd-students-mug

    One day, after years as a graduate student, they will leave the world of academia behind (unless they become a professor!) and finish their Ph.D. program! This ceramic mug is an excellent gift for those who have completed their doctorate. 

  17. Stainless Steel Tumbler 


  20. College students often run on coffee, so this Yeti tumbler is an excellent option for graduate students and undergraduates. The tumbler holds 30 ounces and has a sliding lid to avoid losing a drop. The Yeti is available in several colors. 

  21. Messenger Bag
  22. gifts-for-phd-students-bag

    Being a doctoral student often means long hours away from home, especially if they’re working and going to school simultaneously. This messenger bag will hold all of their essentials. The bag is made of sturdy canvas material and has nine pockets to help keep everything organized. 

  23. Lunch Tote 
  24. gifts-for-phd-students-tote

    Eating lunch out every day gets expensive fast and is not great for your health either! This lunch tote keeps their packed lunch hot or cold, and it has an expandable outer pocket for a water bottle or tumbler. The tote is available in several colors.

  25. Sunrise Alarm Clock
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    Unless you’re a morning person, there is no easy way to wake up in the morning. But this alarm clock is much more gentle than a screeching cell phone alarm! The alarm clock simulates the sunrise, gradually getting brighter and with natural sounds to help them wake up slowly over a 10, 20, or 30-minute period. 

  27. Business Card Holder 
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    Once that Ph.D. degree is their’s, they’ll need some new business cards with DOCTOR prominently printed! And, of course, they’ll need something to carry those cards in. This stainless steel business card holder is available in rose gold, silver, and black. 

  29. Coffee Maker
  30. gifts-for-phd-students-coffee-maker

    We love this coffee maker because it can hold a large tumbler and brews in 30 seconds, perfect for the grad school kid on the go and in a rush. The maker can also use K-cups or the included filter and the coffee of their choice. The machine brews 14 ounces per cycle. 

  31. Fountain Pen
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    A fountain pen is a classic graduation gift idea. This pen includes two fountain pen ink cartridge refills in black and blue and an ink converter, so it’s easy to refill. The whole set comes in a gift box, given on their big day.


    Cuff links are always an elegant gift. These cuff stainless steel cuff links are a gift box ready for gifting. They’ll be a small reminder of all the hard work they did. 

  33. Compass Necklace
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    A Ph.D. opens many possibilities and new adventures, but this compass necklace will remind her that she can always find her way. The necklace is gold-dipped and on a 16-inch chain with a spring-ring clasp. 

  35. Desktop Organizer 
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    This natural wood organizer will help keep their study area neat. The organizer can be stacked and adjusted to suit their needs. The unit has two racks with five different units and can display and organize everything they need when studying. 

  37. Book Darts 
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    Book darts are so much better than a regular old bookmark! Darts save the exact line in the book you stopped at, so you never have to backtrack. The darts are made of stainless steel, and there is the tin. 

  39. Photo Frame
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    Being a Ph.D. is serious, but there’s always room for humor! This frame provides just that. The frame measures 8×10 and holds a 4×6 photo. You can choose the location of the photo slot and add a name or phrase as welt_item link=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C3HKXIQ/?tag=giftlablist08-20″ price=””]

  41. Dry Erase Calendar Kit
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    Life is busy as a Ph.D. student, especially if you have a job and a family. Help them keep track of things without additional clutter with this dry dry-eraser set. The calendar is magnetic, so it can be posted on the fridge where it’s front and center. The set comes with five markers and an eraser.


    This little box contains one of the most unique gifts ever featured on one of our gift lists! Inside is a little gadget that plugs into the TV and displays 500 priceless paintings and information about them. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a long day or a soothing background to study by. The gallery is an ideal gift for an art lover, too! 


  43. Wall Art 
  44. gifts-for-phd-students-art

    Sometimes, motivation isn’t enough; perseverance is what it takes. That’s especially true of earning a Ph.D.! This canvas wall art can help keep them going when things get tough. The print comes ready to hang and is available in several sizes. 

  45. Spa Collection 
  46. gifts-for-phd-students-spa-set

    A little self-care is in order when on that Ph.D. grind; a Litspa set contains all the relaxation essentials, including a bath bomb, a candle, soap, and bath salts designed to melt away stress. This set is Citrus, and there are other scents available. 

  47. Sleep Kit
  48. gifts-for-phd-students-sleep-kit

    There is a lot of stress when you’re working towards your Ph.D., which means sleep is hard to come by. This kit will help them get the sleep they need. The kit includes a silk eye mask, a gel eye mask, a muslin pouch, dried lavender and chamomile, and a soothing pillow mist. 

  49. Lap Desk
  50. gifts-for-phd-students-desk

    Sitting behind a desk to work or study gets tiresome. This lap desk lets them move around. The desk can be used on the couch, a chair, the floor, and the bed. A change of scenery is lovely! Tlovelyesk accommodates laptops up to 15.6 inches and most tablets and has a slot to hold a cell phone. 

  51. Throw Pillow
  52. gifts-for-phd-students-pillow

    I mean, it’s funny because it’s true! This throw pillow is a cute gag gift for your Ph.D. student. The pillow is available in two sizes, 16×16 inches and 1×18 inches. Note that this is a pillow and not just the pillow cover. 

  53. Ornament
  54. gifts-for-phd-students-ornament

    Almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and getting that Ph.D.! This porcelain Christmas ornament will have a place on their tree long after it’s no longer a matter of almost being a doctor. The image is printed on both sides of the ornament. 

    What are the best gifts for PhD Students?

    Are they looking to put a smile on a Ph.D. student’s face? Start with a cozy, ‘powered by caffeine’ mug for those long nights of study and research – they’ll thank you for it. Or, consider an inspirational book about the journey through academia, offering them a beacon of light in their scholarly quest.

    A comfy and stylish backpack or suitcase could be a lifesaver for toting around all those hefty books and a laptop. A meal prep subscription or a snack box service could be a life-changer when they’re deep in dissertation mode. These thoughtful gifts will help them conquer that Ph.D. journey with a smile!