Your Cart is Empty

12 Best PhD Gifts for Doctoral Students (in 2024)

by Derek Miller 6 min read

If you just try searching "PhD Graduation Gifts" on Amazon, you'll get a page full of mugs, shirts and keychains. They deserve better. I’ve been through grad school, got my PhD, and have a good idea of what they would truly appreciate as a thank-you gift. Here’s my hand-picked list below. 

This list is a compilation of my favorites from around the internet. Some are our own Genius Lab Gear inventions and some we’re just jealous we didn’t think of first! Some external links in this page are from affiliates, which means that any purchase of the items after clicking the link will result in a small monetary referral fee paid back to Genius Lab Gear at no cost to you. We appreciate your support which allows us to continue inventing and testing the best tools for scientists on the planet!

1. Academia Word Magnets

Academia is chock full of inside jokes, mannerisms, and cringeworthy habits that grad students and professors love to laugh about. These word magnets are designed specifically to let academics rant about their hardships, relish their big wins, and have a good laugh. These are perfect for the office refrigerator or the magnetic whiteboard, where colleagues can leave passive-aggressive phrases for lab mates to find later. Get them on our site here and bundle them with other field-specific sets based on the graduate's field of study.

professor PhD word magnets

2. The Pocket Scientist pocket ruler and equation reference

Whether they're climbing the academic latter or heading out to the "real world", they can carry this credit card-sized ruler and scientific reference every day. We even laser-engraved the backside full of basic science equations and physical constants. See the product page for a full list of features we've packed in!

Available from our website or from Amazon.

the pocket scientist professor pocket tool

The Pocket Scientist at Genius Lab Gear

The Pocket Scientist on Amazon

How to use The Pocket Scientist – Full Feature Guide

P.S. We also have versions specifically for ChemistsPhysicists and Engineers if those are a better fit for the person you have in mind!

3. Rocketbook Matrix cloud-connected reusable paper notebook

PhD students do a lot of work both on paper and with software. Rocketbook finally solved the problem of merging your hand-written notes into your favorite digital services. You simply use their app to take a photo of your pages of notes and the QR code and marked symbols on each page trigger the app to send the digitized page to any of the 9 pre-set digital destinations you choose. This includes OneNote, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, and even specific emails. Want a shortcut to send notes via email straight to your colleague or boss? This is what you’re looking for.

The Rocketbook Matrix is my personal favorite because it's designed for more technical scientific work. It's got 30 pages of graphing paper and one regular lined page for taking notes, plus a built-in ruler on the inside cover. Did I mention they are reusable? Use their "Pilot Frixion" pens and then wipe the page with a damp cloth after uploading your notes to use it all over again (and win one for the environment!). 

Usually, the best price is on Amazon.




4. Wireless Laser Pointer and PowerPoint Presenter

Laser pointers are one thing you never think about until the moment you don’t have one that works. I personally own this one because it’s got everything you need, from the pen clip to volume buttons and slide control buttons. DinoFire has several tiers with different features, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. 

green laser pointer academic presentation gift

5. rOtring or Staedtler Mechanical Pencil

Mechanical pencils are an essential daily tool for researchers in STEM on the job and in the classroom. But in the new digital age, they often find themselves using touchscreens as well. 

That’s why my new favorite is the rOtring 800 Retractable Mechanical Pencil, (0.5 mm). This one turns from a pencil to a stylus on the fly, and also ensures the tip isn’t poking holes in your pocket all day like most other models. This is truly the top-end mechanical pencil and will make a special gift. 


Check price on Amazon

Staedtler is another brand much-loved by scientists and engineers. This model is cheaper and will last a long time, but just isn’t convertible to a stylus. You can’t go wrong with either one.

6. Oh, the Places You'll Go! By Dr. Seuss

This might seem like it’s only for kids, but Dr. Seuss’ whimsical wisdom is often applied to the biggest moments of our lives. As a graduation gift, it’s perfect. The timeless message focuses on the success that lies within, as your graduate readies for a new phase in life. Plus, it’s a small book they can keep forever to pass the wisdom on to their kids.

dr seuss graduation book

7. Funny Coloring Book for PhD Students and Graduates

These adult coloring books are a hit in many fields, and this one is meant specifically for those who know the struggle of getting a PhD. It’s snarky, fun, and an amazing creative outlet. The satisfaction of just coloring inside the lines versus writing a 300-page thesis is a welcome relief.

funny phd graduate coloring book

8. Scientist Quote Desktop Canvas

We're super proud of our little series of famous scientist quotes on canvas prints. These are 5"x7" and sit up easily on their own or can be mounted to a wall. This one sits next to me as I write, and helps me keep a sense of humility as I explore the unknown! 

Wernher von Braun science research quote canvas

9. Modern Lab Coat Pocket Protector

This is how your PhD grad will know they’ve finally made it. The venerable Pocket Protector became a cultural icon in the 1960's and 1970's, but somewhere along the way the newer generation of STEM researchers forgot about them.

Scientists need these back in their labs to stay organized, stay efficient, protect their lab coats, and finish their experiments without being late to lunch. So we researched and tested every type ever made to methodically solve each problem and come up with this refreshed design.

Available in spruce green, sapphire blue, and faded pink - the top 3 colors voted on by our fans! You can even get it from our Amazon page if that's easier.

pink women's pocket protector for science and STEM lab work

10. PhD Graduation Diploma Frame

They will definitely want to show off their hard work by displaying their newly minted Ph.D. diploma. This frame fits both 8.5”x11” and 11”x14” diplomas, which covers most institutions, and is the highest-rated frame on Amazon with many color choices. If they picked up a Masters degree along the way, you could grab the 2-pack so they can hang them both in their next office. 

 phd graduation diploma frame

11. Amazon.com Gift Card in a Graduation Style Gift Box

If you want them to make their own decision on a graduation gift, the easiest way is to just grab an Amazon gift card in this graduation-themed gift box. Pick any custom amount and they’ll usually get it to you within 2 days.

amazon graduation gift card box

12. PhD Graduation Gift Bundle

If you can't decide by now, I can still help! Consider this decision made. I put together a PhD Graduation Gift Bundle just to make it easy for you. It includes PhD Self-Care and Academia-themed Word Magnets from above, plus a few fun science stickers. You'll save over 20% by bundling them together, so consider this decision made!

phd graduation gift bundle




Getting a bachelor's degree is one thing, but getting a PhD takes a lot of hard work and dedication. PhD students deserve the best gifts and if you're looking for one, you should check out the following.

plus sized woman wearing a white cotton lab coat sketch

Plus-sized and Petite Lab Coats: Fit and Buying Guide

6 min read

Finding a lab coat that fits well can be a real challenge for many women, especially those that would consider themselves curvy, plus-sized, and petite. We surveyed over 800 female scientists. This article will share their most common problems with lab coats and how to solve them.
key differences between science and medical lab coats

7 Differences between Scientist and Doctor's lab coats

7 min read

Are you wearing a lab coat designed for a doctor? Or for a scientist? How can you tell? We surveyed over 1500 scientists to figure out what they want in their perfect lab coat. In this article, I’ll break down the 7 key things you should look for when deciding what you should buy.
long knit cuffs vs straight cuffs on lab coats

Lab Coats with Knit Cuffs vs. Open Cuffs (What’s best for scientists?)

4 min read

We surveyed over 1500 scientists on what makes the best lab coat. Their comments reveal that small upgrades to your lab coat can be LIFE CHANGING (or feel like it). There’s a fierce debate between the knit cuffed sleeve and the straight open cuff camps, but our survey data reveals one clear favorite.
Carbon-neutral shipping with Shopify Planet
Carbon-neutral shipping on all orders
shipping emissions removed
That's like...
miles driven by an average gasoline-powered car
We fund innovations in...
Direct Air Capture
Bio Oil