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What PhD Graduation Gift Should I Get?

What do you get a PhD graduate? What’s a good gift? You could spend hours, days, or weeks trying to figure it out. You’re proud of them and you want your gift to be memorable. You’d also still like to be able to afford your car payment.

That means, it’s time to look into car repossession-proof graduation presents.

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that there are options at Amazon and Etsy. But, before you spend the next hours endlessly scrolling through those options, let me show you another possibility.

I’ve created a series of modern and useful gifts for the PhD in your life. The focus of these items is on your PhD’s name and new degree with an open feel to the design. The design is in white, black, and gray. It gives each item a neutral quality that won’t conflict with anything else in their lives. It also adds a quite dignity to the design that makes each item welcome in more formal business settings or in casual day-to-day life.

Some PhD gift items are more on the humor side of things, sometime more on the blue humor side. This collection of gifts takes the opposite approach. These are the gifts your PhD won’t have to hide when a colleague or small child comes to their home, but will still be able to enjoy on a daily basis.

So, what are these extraordinary pieces of human invention that will revolutionize your PhD gift giving, forever? (I think, I could make that last line a little more grandiose. But, I’ll leave it be. Still, just imagine that I said it with fireworks in the background.)

Introducing the Modern PhD collection. PhD gifts with a mix of timelessness and practicality.

First, the mugs. Mugs are a great gift because they are just so useful. Whether your PhD recipient is powered by coffee, tea, or power drinks that they want to make look more serious, a mug is a welcomed gift. You can choose from these options, based on who your PhD is as a person:

1. Are they the “coffee now, coffee later, coffee coffee coffee” PhD? If so, go with a traditional coffee mug for continual caffeination.

Phd gift coffee mug with gray and black lettering including name

...or go for the extra large version. Because only a big mug can hold that much coffee.

2. Are they the “I like to treat myself to a latte” PhD? One that has elevated their latte game from the standard offering to an extra foam, two pumps of hazelnut, caramel masterpiece that lets baristas everywhere know they are in the presence of greatness? If so, the answer is this beautiful latte mug. No disposable cup can stand up to that feat of coffee engineering...not for long. This latte mug is the perfect gift to take its place.

PhD Latte mug with gray and black lettering personalized with name

3. Are they the “fine coffee beans, ethically-sourced, from a micro-climate that was central to my dissertation” PhD? If they are taking that much time to choose their coffee and study its supply chain, then they should be drinking it out of something that shows respect for the effort. And, that is why this PhD mug exists. Let your PhD drink their coffee out of a bone china, fine porcelain, mug. A practical luxury that will make every sip richer and more appreciated.

Bone China PhD Mug with Customizable Name

4. Or, are they the “got to dash, always on the run” PhD? Are they mostly a blur of speed, books stuffed with papers, and a bag stuffed with the rest? If so, they don’t need a ceramic mug...someone could get hurt. No. They need a thermal tumbler. A sealed vessel that keeps their coffee warm, close at hand, and safe from spilling all over valuable research.

Thermal Tumbler for PhD Graduation with Personalized Name and Gray and Black Lettering

And, if you see that their current research-stuffed bag is looking a bit worse for wear, consider grabbing them this large tote bag as well. If it ever gets lost, no one has to riffle through its books and notes trying to find your PhD’s name to return it.

If you’ve looked at each of these mugs and thought “Maybe, something even more practical?” Right this way...

How many keys do you think your PhD has? House key, car key, lab key, classroom key, filing cabinet, key to the secrets of the universe that only PhDs are allowed to see. They could have any number of locks that need to be opened. So, for the sake of keeping their life in order, get them this stylish and functional keychain.

Name Personalized White Gray Black Design PhD Degree Keychain

It’s not too over-the-top, but it does show clear pride in their accomplishment of obtaining their PhD. It would look right being drawn from the pocket of a white lab coat or being set down across from a stack of economics charts. Your PhD will see it and interact with it everyday. They’ll remember that you gave it to them. Sometimes, it’s the little things...

Or, are you’re thinking “less practical than that...more of a keepsake...”. We’re not done, yet. Let’s go a little further afield and get something that they’ll recognize, but that they weren’t expecting.


A snow globe. What? That’s right, a snow globe. It’s the kind of keepsake that can be put on a high self or a side table. A memory carefully preserved in glass and water. The interactivity of shaking it, and watching its drifting elements gently fall to the bottom, brings a kind of life and focus to that memory. It brings a moment to pause, to reminisce, and know that you can do so again whenever you like.

This snow globe includes your PhD’s name, but also a custom photo of your choosing. And, you can also choose what type of “snow” you want the globe to contain. Go have a look at your options.

Graduation Gift Personalized Photo PhD Snowglobe

Each of these items is a great choice for your gift. Choose your favorite, customize it for your PhD, and give them this special gift for their achievement.

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