20 of the Best Note-Taking Apps for Grad School Students

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Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: February 28, 2024, Reading time: 22 minutes

Best Note-Taking Apps for Grad School Students - featured image

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The time has come when technology is playing a large deal in everyone’s lives. This is true especially for grad school students who need to attend classes and discussions, partake in research, complete a thesis, and so on.

A significant portion of all the tasks required in these activities is to take down notes. Fortunately, the tech industry is fully aware of these needs as they start developing and launching basic to advanced note-taking apps.

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Over the years, grad students have adopted different methods and techniques for taking down notes. While nothing beats the classic manual way of writing, bringing a handy tablet or laptop is practical and wise. Here, you can download any app that will allow you to seamlessly and productively organize and store your notes.

Grad students such as yourself can consider this list of the best note-taking apps. A good note-taking tool can make all the difference when it comes to streamlining your research papers, collaborating with others, and managing projects with precision.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.



A popular choice among grad students is the Evernote note-taking app. Not only is it used commonly in schools and learning institutions, but even professionals use it in work settings. It has been rising in popularity since its invention in 2004. Besides taking notes and organizing them, it offers a lot more promises for master’s degree or PhD students.

Check out the best features of the Evernote app:


Slite is intended for group work. As a grad student, you will go through opportunities to work as a group in research, dissertations, and many instances. Slite serves as a knowledge repository, bringing all of the team’s expertise under one roof, which is why it’s very useful in the research setting.

Grad students need to work and collaborate with their classmates often. As they meet together, exchange ideas, and share information and commentaries on research articles, it’s best to consolidate all the data on Slite. As a digital notepad, Slite supports this teamwork setting. It enables real-time note-taking collaboration, research organization, and note-making.

This note-taking app is particularly effective at onboarding procedures, making it easier for new team members to get started on existing tasks. Users may quickly search through their team’s knowledge base by using the command bar. They also have the Projects feature, where researchers might arrange their notes in an organized way, honing certain procedures that are essential to their daily work. Everyone can see how the research is coming to fruition as each task is being fulfilled. 

Roam Research

Roam Research

Compared to typical note-taking apps, Roam Research uniquely organizes notes. Because you can instantly link notes to create a network of information, there is no need for categories or folders. 

Here are some pros of this app that appeals to graduate students users:

Microsoft OneNote

Within the ever-changing realm of digital tools, Microsoft OneNote stands out as a potent note-taking application. Widely regarded as the finest note-taking application for users of several platforms, OneNote is a digital notebook that provides smooth syncing for anyone out there who uses different operation systems on their gadgets.

Adaptability is one of OneNote’s strongest features. Unlike a simple digital notebook, OneNote is a comprehensive tool for taking notes for researchers. They have a feature that is quite helpful for people who are writing research papers. Its function that automates citation formatting and lets users extract data from reliable sources simplifies the process of producing academic papers. 

OneNote’s ability to import PDFs, export notes, and interact with others is impressive when compared to other note-taking options. The fact that it can compete with stand-alone programs like Evernote and Apple Notes indicates Microsoft’s dedication to improving this virtual notepad. 



If you need to often collaborate with others, Notion is a great note-taking app for graduate students. This enables a group to dynamically and collaboratively customize their notes. Users have numerous templates to choose from. Thanks to these templates, the notes become organized automatically without taking too long to sort them out. 

One great point about Notion is that it facilitates productivity by integrating with other applications, such as Slack and Gmail. While the app is not free, it does come with a free trial version, but a team plan will have to subscribe in order to have unlimited file uploads. Notion’s Personal version is free if you intend to use it alone and can handle files up to 5 MB.


While Windows may not offer this, many Apple users who are graduate students can find the Bear note-taking app handy and helpful. Bear is an easy-to-use Markdown app for capturing, writing, and organizing your life. For your personal life use, you can use it to create a journal, make lists and tasks, sketch ideas, write a diary, or plan events.

As for graduate students, you can use it to take down notes. They come with a hybrid markdown editor. Your notes will be formatted as you type, so there’s no need to imagine what it will look like once you’ve written it. You may also use hashtags so you can easily locate your notes by typing in the hashtags. 

It comes with an archive feature, which allows you to save for later use. A note can be archived without being deleted, so it is no longer available in search and organization. Bear is a breeze to use since their lettering is clear, uncomplicated, and legible. You may download six more free themes that look much better with the Premium version.

Bear’s markdown format is ideal for researchers who want to take notes without interruptions. It also offers the benefit of sophisticated markup choices, like inline code blocks. This digital notepad makes sure the user has all they need for efficient research without making the process too complicated.

GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes 5

Some graduate students love writing notes using their handstrokes. If this is you, you can download the GoodNotes 5. Whether you’re using a tablet or a mobile phone, this app can help you take down notes while scribbling freestyle. 

It offers great customizability, where the cover, templates, writing area, stickers, and texts can all be customized. In the premium edition, OCR handwriting recognition is also included, enabling you to type your handwriting into text. You can also search your handwritten notes because of the OCR capability. Additionally, PDFs may be directly imported into GoodNotes 5, allowing you to annotate and highlight as much as you like.

For students who are fresh from bachelor’s and who have done a great deal of writing by hand, you won’t have a problem with GoodNotes 5. Many college students love this app. 

Here are some more things to look out for in this app:

Apple Freeform

Apple’s Freeform is a great choice if you want a flexible yet cost-free note-taking tool. For college graduate students who prefer taking notes in an infinite-canvas manner, this free program provides the greatest note-taking capabilities. This may also be used for brainstorming and mind mapping.

Some of the app’s advantages that appeal to grad students are:

Google Keep

Google Keep

With so many of their competitors taking the reign for developing note-taking apps, they have finally launched an innovative app called Google Keep. This app comes with a quick idea-capture feature that is crucial for researchers who frequently need to scribble down unexpected findings.

Its simplicity, which focuses on swiftly taking notes and making them available across devices, is one of its main advantages. It easily connects with the larger Google environment, so your notes are always accessible from the sidebar while using Gmail or Google Docs. 

Google Keep is more than simply a digital journal for those who are unaware. Researchers find the voice memo function particularly useful since it allows them to instantly convert audio recordings into text, which is useful for conducting interviews or verbalizing ideas.

One of its best features that attracts graduate students is its collaboration features. This enables them to collaborate in real-time on notes. Whenever you are working on a joint research paper or group project, this is extremely useful. Google Keep isn’t as good at storing a ton of notes or arranging them into complex notebook layouts as the well-known note-taking tool Evernote is. Rather, it uses labels for classification, which may not be enough for the comprehensive organizing of research notes. 


For those graduate students who want a note-taking app with a Markdown editor feature, it’s good to choose the Obsidian app. It is a delight to use and provides customizable knowledge organization features.

Here are some features to look out for in this app:



Glasp has risen to prominence as a distinctive web app made especially for scholars and voracious online readers in the vast field of note-taking applications. Users may easily highlight and record content from web sources with the app’s Chrome extension.

Many graduate students love Glasp because it comes with highlighting features. This tool highlights and shares web content, which makes it unique. Similar to social networks like Facebook, users can create profiles using the web content they clip.

This social element of note-taking enables collaboration and sharing. One major benefit of Glasp is that it works with other well-known note-taking applications. Users may export their highlights or clips to different note-taking applications, which guarantees flexibility and makes it easy to arrange their study across many apps.

An intriguing addition is the heatmap function, which allows users to see how their note-taking patterns change over time. This can help with remaining organized, finding areas of interest, and refining the research process. Users who utilize many devices or platforms for work must have access to the cross-platform note-taking capability. It increases convenience and productivity by ensuring that notes and clippings are synced and accessible from any location. 


Writing lengthy essays or articles and keeping notes are two excellent uses of Ulysses. This note-taking app is good for Apple users and requires a subscription fee. Graduate students who need to publish dissertations and research projects can find this app helpful from writing to publication.

There is a Dark Mode in the Ulysses app. Users can also choose from different publishing formats and flexible markup styles. This note-taking app is useful not only for graduate or research students but also for would-be authors. 

This app can be pretty useful for those writing and publishing research papers. In Ulysses, you can write, edit, and format any blog post without having to log in to your WordPress dashboard. You can publish and find your blog in Ulysses. You can also format the texts, tags, and every detail in the app. 

Google Docs and Sheets

Google Docs and Sheets

This note-taking app may be common for everyone, not only for graduate students. It’s a common tool being used in offices and workspaces. Creating documents and spreadsheets with Google Docs and Sheets is a breeze. You may have used it during your bachelor’s degree years, but it will continue to be helpful as you partake in graduate studies. 

As long as you have an internet connection and are logged into your account, you may see your documents using this app on any web browser or device. Furthermore, you may provide your colleagues access to the files so they can cooperate or work on collaborative projects. You can collaborate in real-time on a group paper by using a single Google Docs Word file. The document can also be restricted from being edited or read by others.


Supernotes is another note-taking app that is good for graduate students who are working with teams on a thesis or research. Supernotes is a collaborative note-taking tool, after all. It is easy to use, offers strong search capabilities, and stores notes safely. Anyone who has access can be able to edit and make changes and additions in real time without disrupting the work of others. 

Everyone on the same team can work at the same time with their notes. Students must use productivity tools such as these. It is simple to use and makes editing simple, too, which helps students maintain their notes current and organized. Supernotes also offer an excellent search function that helps students locate the notes they need quickly. Lastly, Supernotes has an intuitive design that makes it simple to use and swiftly retrieve notes.

It is a very effective productivity tool that may assist users in remaining efficient, productive, and on top of their activities because of its adaptable organizing tools, collaboration capabilities, and tool integration. 



Logseq serves note-taking and knowledge management purposes. It assists users in organizing their thoughts and data. While this is very useful for graduate students, its advanced features make it great for tech and more complex work settings. An open-source note-taking program with a privacy focus, Logseq aims to keep your thoughts private and hidden from prying eyes. Privacy and security are always in their minds. 

It’s simple to construct a network of related concepts and ideas when you use Logseq to generate information blocks. You can maximize using the notes library to generate tags that function as objects and improve the connections between notes.

Here are some features that make Logseq stand out from the rest:


With Amplenote, users can easily organize their thoughts, actions, and ideas with a sophisticated note-taking and task-management application. Users may record ideas, make notes, save documents, and work with others on projects when they use Amplenote. It has several features, including tools for project and task management and the ability to tag, search, and filter data.

Amplenote offers an integrated information management solution by integrating with other well-known programs like Dropbox and Slack. This can be pretty useful for teams in graduate school when collaborating on dissertations and research. Amplenote’s user-friendly layout makes maintaining organization simpler than ever. For those who prefer a simplified note-taking experience, Amplenote is a suitable option because of its basic style and emphasis on simplicity.

Here are some points to consider for Amplenote:

NotePlan 3

NotePlan 3

Perfect for an all-around graduate student who has enrolled in many courses, the NotePlan 3 is a perfect addition to your apps. NotePlan 3, an advancement over the NotePlan programs, provides a special tool for storing your notes, tasks, and calendar. Overall, NotePlan 3 has changed from NotePlan 2 with stronger and larger note visions. Many are considering it as a markdown-based substitute for Agenda Notes as well as a means of centralizing everything in one location.

NotePlan 3 is excellent for taking notes every day, keeping notes, capturing tasks, and keeping track of upcoming events on your calendar. Many find that NotePlan 3 offers a convenient way to have everything in one place. Since it is limited to iOS and macOS, it is best suited for Apple enthusiasts, but it is also a good option for individuals who want date-based note-taking.

Here are some plugin features of the NotePlan 3:


Some graduate students are looking for a note-taking app that ensures the security and safety of data. The good news is that Notesnook is focused on that feature. Since the introduction of Notesnook, individuals have been concerned about note security.

Users may write end-to-end notes using Notesnook, a secure note-taking software that encrypts notes from within the app to whatever location you transmit or store them. This app has a good, simple note-taking structure but lacks the major features of Evernote’s home or even Obsidian’s hyperlinks.

With some security in mind, you may post notes publicly with the use of a tool called Monographs. Important notes inside Notesnook may also be password-protected, so when you send notes to someone else, they will require a password to view the data.

Its note-taking functionality was straightforward, user-friendly, and effective; also, the availability of a variety of devices increases accessibility. The ideal user of Notesnook is someone who frequently writes notes that contain critical or sensitive information. Very good stuff.

Text formatting, attention modes, and beta reminders were all useful features. Very good for anyone looking for a simple, safe note-taking tool.

Apple Notes

Apple Notes

Apple Notes remains an integral tool on Apple devices despite the plethora of note-taking apps available. In fact, if you’re the conventional type of Apple user, you may stick to Apple Notes for all your dissertations and lecture notes. This note-taking app has matured over time, introducing new features that have made it one of the best note-taking apps around.

Apple Notes has a folder structure to differentiate between normal and smart folders, and this is indeed a smart feature that automatically arranges notes according to tags. Scholars, who frequently handle copious amounts of data, will value its sophisticated search features. 

What makes it easy to pull out a note is the search function that Apple Notes offers. They may search for phrases in handwritten notes or scanned documents using the optical character recognition capability, making sure that no important research notes are overlooked. Another way to search the storage is through the date you edited or made the note.

Researchers may easily collaborate on notes and modify permissions to view or amend data. Because of AppleNotes’ unique feature, jotting down ideas or research paper insights is quick and easy. Even if you update gadgets, you can sync all your notes in your Apple account and still be able to access them in your new Apple gadget. 


Graduate students will find this note-taking software, Twos, worthwhile. This note-taking app can help you remain productive and organized. You can easily take and keep notes with twos, as well as monitor tasks and mark calendars. You can treat this app as a multiple-in-one tool that manages everything in your school tasks. Some people may compare this with Google Keep, but this might be simpler to use. 

Anyone who wishes to manage their notes, tasks, and to-do list in a straightforward workspace will find significant value in the Twos app.  Twos may seem overwhelming to some since it offers a lot of features all in one session. Although there is a learning curve, many users in the community highly recommend this application as an alternative to Evernote, which is more focused on multimedia.

Here are some standout features for Twos:

Best Note-Taking Apps for Grad School Students - fact

Every note-taking software has its own advantages and disadvantages as the market for these apps keeps changing. The best note-taking software for you will ultimately rely on your own requirements, tastes, and working methods. It could take some trial and error to determine which note-taking software is ideal for college. Before you find an app you enjoy, you might have to download and try a few. The good news is that selecting the ideal one will simplify your life considerably when taking notes for assignments.

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.