20 Productivity Apps for Grad School

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

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: November 14, 2023, Reading time: 12 minutes

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Pursuing a graduate degree can be quite taxing. You will need to balance your time for school with your career, family life, and other responsibilities. It’s extremely important to take advantage of all the available tools you can get your hands on to stay on top of your game!

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The digital age offers graduate students a wealth of resources that will help them not only ace their exams but also accomplish everything they set their minds and hearts on. For one, hundreds of online applications can help boost graduate students’ productivity and lead them to success. 

20 of the Best Productivity Apps for Graduate Students


Mendeley Logo

Mendeley Ltd., Elsevier
August 2008

Mendeley is a useful reference manager software that is designed by Ph.D. students for graduate students simply because it makes managing and sharing research papers easier. 

This platform lets you store all your references in one app to ensure you will be able to easily organize, read, and search all references for your research papers. The app also features a notebook that lets you collect various PDF notes. What’s more, it has a cite feature that allows for easy referencing on Microsoft Word seamlessly. 


Slack Technologies, Salesforce Inc.
August 2013

Graduate students are required to conduct academic research, which is an in-depth analysis of literature, case studies, theories, statistics, and observations related to their professional interests and career goals, to complete the degree. This can take a minimum of one year to complete, depending on the field of study. 

With Slack, grad students will be able to collaborate and communicate with their research groupmates because it is better than email. This cross-platform instant messaging service was originally developed for professional and organizational communications, helping organizations communicate, monitor, and update one another about the progress of various projects. 


Todoist Logo

Doist Inc.

When you have so much to do in grad school, which includes coursework, research papers, work, and family life, it can’t be difficult to feel overwhelmed and lose control of the situation. That is why you need a tool that helps you organize your work and plan so you can have more focus, be more organized, and remain calm all at the same time. 

This is what Todoist was designed to do! It’s one of the top task manager and to-do list apps that will make life in grad school easier for you. 

With Todoist, you can type in your tasks on the task field, and the app’s natural language recognition will fill your list. Then, everything on your to-do list will be sorted into Today, Upcoming, and customized filter views so you can prioritize what needs to be done first. 

Clockify Inc.

What makes Clockify one of the most popular time-tracking software on the market today is that it is absolutely free. While it has been used widely in the corporate world, graduate students who need help with time management can also take advantage of this amazing app.

Keep track of your time while doing research or other school-related activities easily with Clockify. All you need to do is add the time manually and click on the stop button once you’ve finished with a task. You can also enable the auto tracker so you don’t forget to start and stop the timer. 

The app has a timesheet where you can monitor your log times by day or activity, helping you prioritize what needs to be done first so you can stay on schedule. It is ideal if you’re trying to beat a deadline for a particular project. 


Focus-to-Do Logo

SuperElement Soft
April 2020

A lot of students who pursue a master’s or doctoral degree also work full-time to fund their education. Because of this, they need all the help they can get to manage their time effectively. 

The Focus-to-Do app is a time and task management app that helps grad students easily manage their time, especially when trying to beat a deadline. This app will motivate you to stay focused so you can get things done within schedule.

The app is based on the Pomodoro Technique, which is a time management technique that helps you focus on the work at hand for 25 minutes and have 5-minute breaks in between. To be able to complete a task, you will need to finish an interval of 4 consecutive 25-minute focused work and then take 15 to 30-minute breaks afterward. 


Evernote Corporation, Bending Spoons
March 2022 (Stable release date)

Graduate students need to take a lot of notes, especially with their research work. To help manage all their notes, they need the Evernote app so they can create notes with photos, web content, and audio. 

The app has virtual notebooks that can be edited, exported, tagged, searched, and annotated, which is quite useful for graduate students who need to always be on top of their coursework and research. 

The Evernote app can be downloaded to any Android, iOS, Chrome OS, Microsoft Windows, or macOS device.


Penultimate Logo

Evernote Corporation
November 2013

Aside from Evernote, Evernote Corporation has developed Penultimate, an award-winning digital handwriting app that harnesses the power of taking notes the traditional way, which is using a pen and paper. This platform combines the natural experience of taking notes using your handwriting with the power of Evernote’s sync and search features. 

Aside from writing notes, you can also sketch, markup images, and more. You can also share your handwritten notes and drawings with your peers as PDF files or through links. 

Penultimate is only available on iPad.

iStudiez PRO

iStudiez Team
May 2018

With iStudiez PRO, you won’t have to miss another lecture, lab work, task, or deadline because this app lets you plan your homework and assignments in one convenient place. This is an award-winning student planner that helps you manage the dizzying mix of grad school activities and other responsibilities.

The app has a real-time mode that displays everything you need to do within the day in an orderly manner to ensure a clean view. You can also quickly edit the details of your schedule so you don’t miss anything. The app also lets you calculate your GPA based on your input. What’s more, it can be integrated with Google Calendar, which means that you can share your schedule with your peers. 



Focusmate Inc.

As a graduate student, you need to manage your time well to be able to accomplish all your goals. Because of other commitments, it can be not easy to allocate enough time to do everything. Thankfully, there is Focusmate.

Focusmate connects you with other professionals or accountability partners for a virtual coworking session that lets you finish all your deliverables. The app uses an evidence-based approach to productivity wherein regular human connections can minimize procrastination and distraction. Through the app, you can get a hold of leadership coaches to help ensure that you are on the right track, especially when you are doing your research.


Grammarly Inc.
July 2009

Grammarly is a cloud-based app that evaluates the many components of writing, including grammar, clarity, delivery mistakes, spelling, and punctuation in English text. It also suggests replacements for the errors it identifies and detects plagiarism. What’s more, it lets you customize your context-specific language, tone, and style to make your research paper more polished. 


Otter Logo

January 2018

Otter uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to translate speech to text. It shows captions for live speakers and provides transcriptions of speeches. It can also write notes and summarize meetings, which is quite useful for grad students who need to interview a lot of industry leaders for their research papers. 

With automated meeting notes, users can easily save time and ensure they won’t miss anything, even with all the tasks they need to accomplish every day.


Corporation for Digital Scholarships

Zotero is like a personal research assistant that helps you collect, collate, cite, annotate, and share research with your colleagues. This makes collaboration easier and less time-consuming. 

What’s unique about this app is that it automatically senses research while you browse the web, whether you’re reading a news story, a book, or an article related to your research. It also lets you sort research items and tag them with keywords so you can easily find them when you need them. Plus, it allows you to sync your data across multiple devices to ensure you’ll be able to access them anywhere, anytime. 


Anki Logo

Damien Elmes
October 2006

With everything that you need to do during your time in grad school, it can be easy for you to forget some details. With Anki, you can remember things without a problem, minimizing the time you need to spend on studying while increasing the volume of lessons you learn. 

Anki is a mobile and web-based program that lets you create digital flashcards to help you remember things more quickly. The app uses a system called “Spaced Repetition” that assesses how quickly you can remember each flash card and tells you if you need to review it again. The flashcards can have text, images, videos, and audio to make remembering things more efficient.


November 2021

When you have so many things to do when attending grad school while also working full time, time can pass by so quickly. You can be left wondering what you did the whole day and wishing you had more time to finish what you were set to do. 

With RescueTime, you can now take back control of your time and spend it on more important things. Using this app, you can make data-informed decisions. This program tracks your internet, phone, and computer usage and has a dashboard that tells you where you have spent your time.

It has a blocking feature that stops you from browsing other websites to ensure you’ll stay focused on important tasks. This works well with grad students who need to concentrate on their assignments or research work. 

Self Control

Self Control Logo

Charlie Stigler

As the name suggests, this program is what you need if you want to regain focus and self-control. This app has an app blocker, website blocker, study timer, app time limit, and offtime to help you stay on track with your goals. This will help you keep distractions at bay and improve your productivity. 

To take advantage of the Self Control app features, all you need to do is add certain sites to your blocked list.



If you need constant reminders about certain tasks, you need the Beeminder app.

This app can be your best friend when it comes to tracking your goals. It can be integrated into the RescueTime app to boost your productivity. It is a combination of self-tracking and commitment contracts that offers flexible self-control. 

To use the app, you need to set a graphable goal. You pledge a set amount for each goal to force you to keep track of your progress. Once the app asks you, you answer with your number or connect a device that reports data automatically to Beeminder. Should you derail, the goal is reset at a higher pledge amount. 


Dropbox Logo

Dropbox, Inc.
September 2008

As a file hosting service, it offers cloud storage, personal cloud, client software, and file synchronization. This allows you to easily and securely collaborate on any content anywhere, anytime. Dropbox also offers a full suite of tools that lets you create, manage, track, and share content. 

Dropbox is one of the fastest and most secure ways of sharing files, thanks to its security features, including password protection, file recovery, viewer history, and watermarking. Each file has a trackable link that tells you when someone has opened the file you shared. It also lets you turn off access for anyone you want to stop sharing the files with.


FullContact Inc.

Use FullContact to manage your contacts conveniently. If you have a lot of business cards that you have collected at business events, you can take a picture of them and then upload them to the app. The program will transcribe the information and add it to your contacts list, allowing you to keep track of all of them. It can definitely help make your life easier if you need to interview industry leaders for your research paper in grad school. 


Yesware Logo

September 2011

Initially released in September 2011, Yesware, a sales productivity platform, can be useful for grad students because it lets you monitor the internship applications you have sent to organizations. It’s easy to use because it’s a Gmail extension that returns emails to your inbox if the recipients are not able to respond for some time. 

The app will also tell you if someone opened your emails and if they clicked on the attachments. That way, you will know whether you have a good chance of being accepted for an internship, which will give you an advantage while pursuing a master’s degree. 

Calm, Inc.
December 2016

Because pursuing a graduate degree can be a nerve-wracking experience, you may not be able to sleep well, causing stress and anxiety. The makers of the Calm app released an initial range of sleep stories in 2016. This was to help adult listeners sleep more easily and, ultimately, improve their health, mood, and focus.

Calm was awarded Apple App of the Year in 2017 and Google Play’s Editors’ Choice in 2018. With 1.5 million 5-star reviews, the developers of this app have surely reached their goal of making the world a happier and healthier place. 

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Key Takeaways

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