The goal of doctoral programs is to train students in the methods, tools, and techniques of scholarly inquiry in the chosen field. Typically, this involves conducting an ambitious research project and/or developing innovative creative works, and publishing articles and books about them. While the goal might be clear, the path to get there often is not. In this breakout session we will discuss, at a high level, some strategies for starting out on the right foot in your doctoral program. While every program has a different emphasis, we will try to discuss general approaches to completing coursework, finding a research advisor/mentor, balancing coursework and creative work, and focusing in on a suitable dissertation topic.