30 Best Gifts For PhD Students (Buying Guide)

Last Updated on December 9, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Studying is never an easy journey. From enrolling to purchasing school needs. From adjusting with a different environment all over again as you enter other heights to having surprise quizzes and more.

Studying guarantees years of breakdown sessions, but it helps you build your confidence and gives you a realization that this can help you succeed in life. 

It is one thing to get a bachelor’s degree but it takes a lot of dedication and striving hard to really get a PhD. In between stress, tears, and requirements, PhD students deserve the best gifts and if you are looking for one, you should score one of the following. 

best gifts for phd students buying guid

30 Best Gifts for PhD Students 

Let us dive right into the best gifts for PhD students out there. From the simplest, DIY one to the most elaborate and high-end, you can have different choices when it comes to this gift list category. 

1. Statement Shirts

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Though very common, it is still one of the most selected gifts to give to PhD students. It is a standout gift, especially if it is related to their PhD degree. You can also have pun statement shirts to make it more interesting.

Statement shirts are not just adorable but also affordable and easy to find. Spruce up those usual plain shirts of PhD students by these statement shirts. 

2. Journals

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College life is not easy at all then suddenly going up another ladder? Journals help PhD students cope with stress, pressure. They can write anything and everything in their journals including new concepts or arguments that they gain along the way.

With the many designs that journals have, you can always find one that would best fit the personality of your PhD student.  

3. Laptop table

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This one is such a thoughtful gift for PhD students. Laptop tables are very useful to protect your laptops from falling and it can also make you more comfortable when using your home works, write ups, or online classes.

This one is a little bit pricey, given the so many students you probably would give but this one is also a nice idea. 

4. Phone banjees

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For PhD students who love multitasking or because they have no choice but to multi-task, phone banjees are very useful.

You can use it while having your daily routine of exercising in the morning while attending your classes online or you can use it when you are cooking and you need to review for a long exam. 

5. Padfolio with USB Port

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Another one of the expensive ones but has a lot of benefits to give to PhD students would be this gift. Since it is portable and very handy, you can bring it anywhere you are possibly at.

So, when there are surprise quizzes or times that you did not review, it is always safe to bring this with you. A very helpful gift, not to mention its wireless phone charging and USB Port feature. We all need that!

6. Pop sockets

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This one is very handy especially for PhD students who are frequenting coffee shops. Do not go for the ordinary ones since there are pocket sockets which feature motivational quotes at the back of your phone.

This is not just useful but also motivational which is perfect for PhD students.

7. Tool box kit

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It is essential that PhD students have a diversion during down times. One of these would be repairing or tinkering using tool box kits.

Just because the academe is about writing, researching, and studying would mean that a PhD student cannot be a jack of all trades.  

8. Throw Pillows

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When you need some comfort in times of stress and pressure, this one is a perfect gift for any student. It is huggable and at times can be your cuddle too. It can also be an alternative laptop table to ease the heat in your legs and more.

Throw pillows are a nice gift but having motivational quotes embroidered in it is another way to elevate the throw pillow and to give it a more intimate and personal feel.  

9. Bracelets

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This is one of the go-to gifts during graduations. It is such a thoughtful way to give a PhD student especially when you have their names engraved in the bracelet.

It is very sentimental, affirming that it does not need to be golden to be valuable. It is very affordable and something that can be treasured forever. 

10. Earphones

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Music is a very vital aspect of studying because it stimulates brain cells and releases stress. It can even soothe wounded feelings after a frustrating exam and changes your perspective when writing your dissertation.

Earphones can be affordable or pricey depending on the brand and features. So, when you are giving away earphones as a gift to PhD students, make sure that they are durable and fit their personality. 

11. Coloring Books

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Mandala coloring books have become very popular at the onset of the pandemic because of its calming effect. Generally, there is a significant relationship between coloring, calmness and brain stimulation too. 

To reduce stress and anxiety among PhD students, it would be a thoughtful gift to give one a mandala coloring book. They are very affordable and ingenious so get a hold of this one for your favorite PhD student. 

12. Coffee Mug

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Coffee and students, especially PhD students are mutually exclusive. One just cannot exist without the other. In this case, a coffee mug is very indispensable to the lives of PhD students.

Well, you can give any coffee mug but to make it a standout piece, you may want to engrave their names on it, the initials of their names, or any statement or pun associated with student life or their PhD degrees. 

13. Customized Apron

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Another hobby that would help destress PhD students would be cooking. Some PhD students are also inherently good cooks. If you know one, there should be no reason not to give them a customized apron.

This is a cheap gift to give but making them know that you are aware of their cooking skills aside from being just good PhD students is something that they would not forget. 

14. Key Chains

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Key chains are also one of the common ones but hold a special place to a person when given. Key chains are somewhat a symbol of love.

Giving this as a gift to a PhD student is something endearing especially if it has a customized encouraging statement to push through and hurdle all the struggles that comes with going for what you want. It might be simple, but it surely is very sentimental. 

15. Creative Calendar Board

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When you have a lot of deadlines, it is best to put on key notes on the date of your due dates including what to pass on that date or even note some special occasion.

Even when you are busy studying, always give some importance to celebrations among your friends and family to keep you studying and family and friends’ relationship, balance. So, a calendar sounds like a great idea too!

16. Framed messages

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Framed messages are also a simple idea but motivational quotes and a little confidence booster message penned by family, friends or even a simple message from your favorite professor framed beautifully just gives this gift another hype.

As simple and cheap as it may seem, PhD students would appreciate any effort of encouragement from their loved ones at any stage of their studies. 

17. Fountain Pen

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Fountain pens have always been associated with grandiose endeavors, making them a popular gift item especially in the academe. While built specifically for signatures, it has become the ultimate symbol for excellence.

Hence, giving it to PhD students would have beyond material meaning. It sure is expensive, but its function, aesthetics, and symbolism are beyond comparison, making it worth every penny when given as a gift. 

18. Wishbone pendant

Although this one is really expensive, a wishbone pendant carries with it the symbol of luck and perseverance. You might think that this would just be relevant for medical courses but their significance is also relatable even for PhD students.

It is, however, more commonly given to women. Nonetheless, it speaks of dedication and willingness so overall, it is a perfect gift for PhD students. 

19. Steamer for Clothes

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When staying in a dorm or living by yourself, a great gift would be a steamer for clothes. When studying, it is always best to look clean and beautiful even if the topics are getting more challenging and the sleepless nights have set in. 

Convenience-wise, having one shall save you a lot of time and even money since you no longer have to avail this extra service in the laundry shop. Overall, this is a very thoughtful gift to give to our busy PhD students. 

20. Hand Carry tote bag

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If you are a PhD student, books and papers are more important than cosmetics and other default items found in student tote bags. This one is quite essential especially for PhD degrees that require you to travel a lot for research purposes. 

Choose one that is spacious enough and that is durable to withstand the whole PhD journey. You can organize all your PhD essentials here such as books, readings, pens, and highlighters, among others, while still being stylish. 

21. Desk Organizer Set

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Having a clean place to study is very ideal for PhD students, hence, the gift idea of a desk organizer set is a very helpful one. With the things that are needed including pens, extra papers, books, folders and all the things that matter, you can save a lot of space with this gift.

It clears your desks and provides ample space for your laptop as well. A decluttered desk offers a structured and serene space perfect for organizing thoughts and in focusing on reviews and conceptual thinking. 

22. Alarm Clock

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Clocks are also indispensable aspects of being a student, especially in the PhD phase. This keeps you grounded and in pace especially during sleepless nights and deadlines. 

Fortunately, there are different models and specifications for alarm clocks nowadays. You can go for the cheaper, standard ones or you could also give them more high-end alarm clocks like those that can be connected wirelessly to multimedia.

23. Business Card Holder

After graduating, this gift is perfect for PhD graduates especially in elevating their career path.

They shall surely establish a lot of viable connections while in the university and so they need a handy way to introduce themselves and that is through the use of business or calling cards.

Giving them a card holder which they can take in their pockets anytime sure is a sweet gesture that PhD students shall appreciate. 

24. Briefcase Bag

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When reaching your graduation ceremony, it is best to hand in gifts that can be useful for your students when getting a job. A briefcase bag is a classic and adds a level of professionalism and formality to anyone who is holding it. 

Function-wise, it is very spacious and comes with different compartments so it is basically a one bag, fits all items. This is a good gift to give to PhD students who are always on the go and those who love classifying or organizing their papers. 

25. Personalized Engraved Business Desk Plate

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This gift is probably the best you could receive coming from your PhD studies and going into full professorship.

It is also a fun pre-empting of what would come next after submitting that dissertation so in a way, it is also encouraging at best for PhD students.

It is not the most expensive gift but projecting the brightness of a post-PhD future is always something that could keep PhD students abreast with their academic journey. 

26. Whiskey

After all the sleepless nights and crazy dealings with everyday quizzes and assignments, it does not make you less of a PhD student if you give in to a little fun.

To balance the rigors of PhD life and some needed socializing, giving a PhD student a whiskey set is a must. Complete with a whiskey glass, a fine bottle of whiskey, and some friends to come over, this gift is the ultimate treat. 

27. Whiteboard

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In most cases, whiteboards are very helpful to every student where they mark all the important things that must be done during the week and the days to come. This will keep you in pace with all your activities and would show you free time to juggle social and extracurricular activities. 

Whiteboard sometimes is where you write motivational quotes too. Some, put in their family picture of the ones that inspire them for a better view when reviewing. Whiteboards have a lot of uses and it is for you to find out what it would be for you. 

28. Printer with Scanner

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With the many readings and book requirements of PhD students, it would be convenient to have your own printer with scanner so you can spend less. 

As a gift, this is something that a PhD student shall always remember. While this is in the more high-end category, it still should be given enough consideration as a PhD gift because it is a study essential. 

29. Wireless Keyboard

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This one is becoming trendier by the day especially for careers and endeavors that are into lots of paper works and researching. PhD students fit this category and giving one to a PhD student would really make them beam with happiness.

There would be no more hassle when it comes to chords, plus it makes the typing experience techier and more stylish. The convenience that wireless keyboards provide make it a perfect gift for PhD students. 

30. Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

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Having no time for other things like cleaning the room is quite understandable for busy students like those that are on PhD.

The clutter in the space has an effect on the thinking process so giving a PhD student a robotic vacuum cleaner would be very handy. While this one is very expensive, it is a thoughtful gift that would really be functional for very busy PhD students. 

How to choose the gifts for PhD students

Given the range of what you can give to PhD students, it would still be essential to at least know some pointers when it comes to choosing one. To give you a heads-up of what to consider when buying one, these are some tips to remember when shopping for PhD student gifts. 

1. Know what it is that the student really needs

Before coming up with a decision about the gift you plan to give, make sure that it is what he or she really needs.

Giving gifts that are highly functional in their studies can be a very good help and something they are most thankful of. So, make it a habit to observe the student before buying and giving a gift. 

2. Make it a gift to remember

As a PhD student, you probably cannot think of other things especially when put under pressure. So as a gift giver, you should give a gift to remember just like the ones that can be sentimental or motivational which can make them keep up the daily challenges of studying or which they can use after graduating and so on.  

3. Be practical

A gift need not be pricey as long as you put in a lot of thinking giving the gift. As a PhD student, receiving a gift from your teacher is already a dream come true, what more for the material thing that comes after, right? When giving a gift, the monetary value does not matter as long as it came from the heart.

4. Do-It-Yourself

A customized gift that is handmade is much appreciated thank the ones bought. It means that you put in so much effort to the gift you are giving and that the person means a lot to you. Making it a Do-It-Yourself gift can be a lot of fun too (on the side of the giver).

5. Personalizing the gift

It is always good to have gifts personalized. A shirt, mug, umbrella, or anything that can help them cope with the daily stress studying in PhD gives. But make it a point that the things you put into the object will help them gain confidence and give a lot more dedication into their chosen path. 

Print in motivational quotes, bible verses, memorable pictures. Anything that can make them happy while using or just merely looking at it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What other unique gifts can be given to PhD students? 

If you are still not satisfied with this list of gifts which we covered here, we still have an alternative list for unique PhD gifts on our sleeves. Here is a list of unique gifts that you should consider giving PhD students: 

  • Gift of relaxation (massagers, book them a spa day, etc.)
  • Gift certificates
  • Electronic gadgets
  • Online creative shops where you can purchase customized PhD gifts
  • Homemade gifts (parties, soirees, baked goods, etc.)

What gifts can professors give their PhD students? 

PhD classes are inherently small in number so professors can easily be thoughtful at the end of the semester by giving parting gifts without breaking the bank. Here are some gifts that professors could give their PhD students: 

  • Water bottle/tumbler
  • Word cloud
  • Book
  • Journal
  • Simple keepsakes
  • Customized pens
  • Monogrammed pen cases

Other gift ideas:


As have been mentioned a PhD degree is something that must be celebrated every time because it is indeed, a hard feat. When giving a PhD student a gift, it must be given thought, it has to be functional at best and it must be within the need and preference of the PhD student to whom this gift will be given. 

Choosing the gift is not a complicated matter. All you have to do is to know the person, know the degree, and find the most appropriate gift to give to the PhD student.