Is it normal to be bored of my research at the second year stage of a physics PhD? Or is this a sign that I should be looking elsewhere? I currently find my work (in theoretical physics) too much removed from real-world applications, and I have been thinking of making a switch to electrical engineering, which at least at the moment really excites me. The switch I am thinking about is not just within my university (which is certainly another possibility) but to a entirely new program at a new school where I will start over, take classes again, and be tortured by another set of qualifying exams. Some complications to consider: -1. I have no direct experience with research in electrical engineering, nor I have ever taken any courses in the subject. I don't worry whether I can "do it", but whether I have enough experience with it to know if I actually like it. In other words, I don't want to be posting here two years from now complaining about being bored with EE. 0. Will an engineering PhD program take me seriously? I am worried about coming off as flaky -- not really knowing what I want, changing my mind constantly, no determination to stick to the plan. I don't view it this way, but I can see that someone else might. I view it as a genuine shift in my research interests, but perhaps partially motivated by the fact that... 1. My school is very far away from home, family, friends and significant other -- I see them about twice a year. I have friends here, but it's not the same. Could something like this *cause* me to become bored of my research -- something along the lines of "why I am sitting all alone working on this mundane and esoteric problem when I could be with my friends and family and working on this mundane and esoteric problem?". Is it common for people to make career changes like this for geography? 2. My current school is very prestigious, but at this point I feel that a main reason to stay is for this label. The quality of education is not obviously better than anywhere else. The school I am considering is well known -- at least locally -- but not necessarily one of the biggest and best engineering schools. I will be trading down, but will this really matter for my career in the long run? One thing that really worries me is having it look like I "failed out" at this school. Thank you so much for any insight you can give me.