Can you get 2 phds?

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  • #26
Mapes
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Hippo, ice109 isn't proposing a double major, but rather two consecutive PhDs .
 
  • #27
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Once you have a PhD I think that where you did it counts for much less than what you do next. You'll eventually be expected to stand or fall on your own merits and an extra three years with a more esteemed supervisor probably won't do as much to develop those merits as a postdoc would.

I think the question of how similar two fields have to be to move sideways from one to another before having to do a second PhD is an interesting one though. So say you have a PhD in theoretical nuclear physics. Would it be easier to move sideways into some other theoretical discipline (say string theory, if you had the advanced undergraduate background) or to experimental nuclear physics (say with a view to working on medical imaging)? How about moving from string theory to experimental nuclear??
 
  • #28
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After I finished my Ph.D., my dissertation advisor switched from experimental high energy particle physics to biophysics. However, his situation was different from ice109's in that he had been working in HEP for over 20 years and had tenure. He simply started learning about biophysics on the side and working with one of the profs who was working in biophysics at the same university, while easing out of the HEP group.
 
  • #29
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Why don't you just get a masters at a moderate school, and then go on to a PhD at a better one? A friend of mine went to a small school in Missouri for his masters and then went off to a top 10 school (world) for his PhD and now is a professor at a pretty good school.

Trying to get a second PhD is pretty impractical. A lot of schools simply say no, others say you better give a damn good reason, and I would be wary of ones that say they don't care.
 
  • #30
Redbelly98
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... what if i do have the stamina to keep working at that level?

Have you started on your first Ph.D. yet? If not, then you don't know what "that level" is.

... there is no education like the kind you'll get working directly under an expert in the field - something you can only get by being their student.

You can get that education by being a post-doc for an expert, or a junior colleague (assistant prof) collaborating with that expert. And that expert will respect you more.
 
  • #31
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you are easily one of the more immature posters on these boards. you'd be furious because someone more qualified than you got a job? i didn't ask for anyone's empathy, anyone to care, i asked if it was feasible. you need to learn how to read comprehensively and respond on topic because i made it fairly transparent in the first post my reasoning for getting two phds.

Well I apologize if I came off as immature.

However, I am really wondering if you aren't better off just getting a postdoc. Here is why: Let's say you get a PhD from a certain place and you want to get a PhD at a better place. Ok, so more than likely, you won't have to take any masters courses since you already have a PhD. So really you would be jumping into the research phase. So you'd be working with professors and taking overview seminar courses while also being a TA.

Now let's contrast this to being a postdoc. Ok, you teach more than a TA, but you get paid a bit more and you also get to research, attend overview courses at your leisure and you have full access to the faculty.

The research phase lasts roughly 2-3 years and I believe postdocs also last 2-3 years. I think doing a good postdoc is more important to your career as a mathematician than getting a 2nd PhD. Again, just my opinion. I could be totally wrong.

I'm just trying to present a different view of the situation.

However, I can also see the difference between doing a postdoc at a not so great institution and doing a PhD at Harvard or Princeton and getting to work with those faculty members.

All in all, I think the only people that can answer this are the individual math departments. However it seems that you might have a tougher time getting this done just judging from everyone else's response.
 
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  • #32
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Let's say you get a PhD from a certain place and you want to get a PhD at a better place. Ok, so more than likely, you won't have to take any masters courses since you already have a PhD.

Whoa, whoa, whoa... are we talking about two Ph.D.s in different fields, or two Ph.D.s in the same field? The first is possible, albeit incredibly difficult. Two Ph.D.s in the *same* subject? No, not gonna happen.

If you *do* manage to get two Ph.D.s, you'll almost certainly have to do extra course work. The only way that it would be allowed in the first place is if the fields are sufficiently different, and if they are sufficiently different, you'll need extra course work.
 
  • #33
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After I finished my Ph.D., my dissertation advisor switched from experimental high energy particle physics to biophysics. However, his situation was different from ice109's in that he had been working in HEP for over 20 years and had tenure. He simply started learning about biophysics on the side and working with one of the profs who was working in biophysics at the same university, while easing out of the HEP group.
So he earned a PhD in biophysics later?
 
  • #34
George Jones
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So he earned a PhD in biophysics later?

No, jtbell is saying the opposite of this.
jtbell said:
He simply started learning about biophysics on the side and working with one of the profs who was working in biophysics at the same university, while easing out of the HEP group.

Since his advisor already had tenure, he was able to switch fields completely without going through the formal education process. Roughly, he started by doing an informal postdoc, with the university paying his salary instead of a faculty member's grant.
 
  • #35
Redbelly98
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In other words, one Ph.D. degree was all that was required.

A friend of mine, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, told me that after getting his degree he had the confidence that he could learn anything else he wanted on his own.
 
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  • #36
f95toli
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Many people switch fields, usually because a method/technique they learned how to use in one field turns out to be useful in another. In some cases people simply "drift" gradually over to the new areas, i.e. they are not really following a plan of any sort.
Money is also important: if you can find money to do research in your "own" field you might have to switch.
I know several people that have moved from superconducting devices (SQUIDs, qubits etc) to quantum optics and vice versa. I also have a collegue to moved from from femtosecond lasers to biophysics (initially because her lasers where useful in that field and so on).
 
  • #37
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I don't think anyone would argue that gradually switching research areas is not unusual: in fact, it's vital in order to survive in some fields! However, that is an entirely different matter from the one in the OP, namely a student planning to study one area, then take a PhD in a different one immediately.
 
  • #38
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Switching between one field of physics and another is a little difference than deciding you want to teach History at a University instead of Chemistry.
 
  • #39
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My supervisor (Prof. of Mathematics) did got his MD while doing a post-doc (in mathematics). I'm not entirely sure why he did this, but I *think* it was because Gelfand got him interested in protein folding.
 
  • #40
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Instead of a second PhD, what if you just got a masters? Then you'd have the doctorate in one field which shows you can do research and masters in another field which shows you have taken graduate level courses.

Is it possible to get a PhD in chemical engineering and then afterwards a masters in Mechanical Engineering?
 
  • #41
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Is it possible to get a PhD in chemical engineering and then afterwards a masters in Mechanical Engineering?

The problem is: what have you done in chemical engineering that qualifies you to take graduate courses in mechanical engineering? You'll almost certainly have to take some of the undergraduate mechanical engineering courses in order to be prepared.

That said, sure, it's possible.
 
  • #42
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Yes its possible. Over here most of our Engineering staff members and Professors have dual PhD from their homeland and another one obtained over here in the States. We got Turkish, Chinese, Indian and Iranian professors with dual PhD here in California.

There is a Chinese Professor that has a degree in Physics in Beijing Normal University and another here in Berkley and is doing just fine in teaching here in Southern California. Another guy over here is Indian but he doesn't have a degree from the states, he graduated from India Institute of Technology and is teaching courses in the department in Electrical Engineering in San Diego right now, as long as you can do the job effectively and professionally no one really cares in what kinda institution you'd studied from.
Dear Hippo ,will you please let me know the name and web address of the chinese Prof.in Physics who is having two Ph.Ds one from Beijing Normal university and one from Berkely working in Southern California ? as you have mentioned.
Thanks.
 
  • #43
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I returned from industry (after 8 years of work) to do my masters. because I was away from school I was forced to enter a medium university (a top university in a medium country i.e. Malaysia).

As one of the professors in the school said my masters thesis was among the only 2 thesis which were given the "excellent" mark in the history of the school.

However, after that I could not secure a scholarship from a reputable university (partly because of political issues , partly because I had done in not a top university). However my current university provided me with a full scholarship.

Anyway, I was forced to start my PhD here (since 8 months ago). I am sure I'll regret remaining in this university in future. I wish I had money to go to Europe or Japan at least.

You know what is a difference? In a medium university, an excellent student will at most become a medium researcher. In a better environment, under better supervision, a good student becomes a good researcher.

Because we have British system here (research only), there is no postgraduate course you mat attend. I need some courses (math, physics and even computer) but the only way is to study for yourself and considering our limited time, this is sometimes impossible.

I was also thinking about doing a second PhD is a better place.

What do you advise?
 
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  • #44
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Personally I'd be thrilled if you did a second PhD. It would mean less competition for post doc positions.
 
  • #45
Ice109's posted nothing but vague+inflammatory comments and while the thread's premise has engendered some interesting discourse, I call troll.

*edited in the correct name, apologies to ice109*
 
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  • #46
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Iceman? Do you mean ice109?
 
  • #47
Choppy
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Ice109's posted nothing but vague+inflammatory comments and while the thread's premise has engendered some interesting discourse, I call troll.

*edited in the correct name, apologies to ice109*

I think there's a statute of limitations on troll calling.
 
  • #48
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and anyway this is a weird topic to troll on don't you think?
 

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