Soft skills to be happy and productive in science / academia

What does it take to succeed in academia? There's more to it than just hard work, perseverance, and luck. Come find out!
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (264 ratings)
9,590 students
1hr 55min of on-demand video
English [Auto]

Overview of "soft skills" in academia
Tips for success and happiness in academic positions


  • Interest in or curiosity about working in academia


Is being a successful academic just about working hard and getting publications? Nope! Well, a good work ethic and publication output are important. But there’s so much more to surviving and thriving in academia than just having a good CV.

I’ve been an academic for over 20 years, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why some academics thrive while others struggle. I don’t claim to have all the answers (actually, in true academic form: I mostly just have questions), but I wanted to share my thoughts and observations with you.

Therefore, the purpose of this course is to provide an overview of "soft skills" that are important for a successful and satisfying career in academia. You don’t have to take this course as an Absolute Truth; instead I hope that you find the discussions to be inspiring and thought-provoking. Many decisions in academia are lifestyle choices, and therefore I hope that this course will help you reflect on your own choices, preferences, and goals.

In addition to the video lectures, the course comes with an 80-page ebook (pdf format) that provides additional details about each topic.

If you are in academia or are considering a career in academia, then I hope you find this short course informative and useful!

Who this course is for:

  • Students
  • Postdocs
  • Junior faculty
  • Anyone curious about working in academia


Neuroscientist, writer, professor
Mike X Cohen
  • 4.6 Instructor Rating
  • 37,748 Reviews
  • 197,749 Students
  • 23 Courses

I am a neuroscientist (brain scientist) and associate professor at the Radboud University in the Netherlands. I have an active research lab that has been funded by the US, German, and Dutch governments, European Union, hospitals, and private organizations.

But you're here because of my teaching, so let me tell you about that: 

I have 20 years of experience teaching programming, data analysis, signal processing, statistics, linear algebra, and experiment design. I've taught undergraduate students, PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and full professors. I teach in "traditional" university courses, special week-long intensive courses, and Nobel prize-winning research labs. I have >80 hours of online lectures on neuroscience data analysis that you can find on my website and youtube channel. And I've written several technical books about these topics with a few more on the way.

I'm not trying to show off -- I'm trying to convince you that you've come to the right place to maximize your learning from an instructor who has spent two decades refining and perfecting his teaching style.

Over 120,000 students have watched over 7,500,000 minutes of my courses. Come find out why!

I have several free courses that you can enroll in. Try them out! You got nothing to lose ;)


By popular request, here are suggested course progressions for various educational goals:

MATLAB programming: MATLAB onramp; Master MATLAB; Image Processing

Python programming: Master Python programming by solving scientific projects; Master Math by Coding in Python

Applied linear algebra: Complete Linear Algebra; Dimension Reduction

Signal processing: Understand the Fourier Transform; Generate and visualize data; Signal Processing; Neural signal processing

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