Changing my physics subfield between Master's and PhD

In summary, the conversation discusses the speaker's educational background and journey in physics, as well as their current goal of obtaining a PhD in particle physics/cosmology. They express concern about being able to switch from their current topic of study (space plasma physics) to their desired field, and the conversation provides reassurance that this is possible and that having a broad interest can lead to diverse opportunities in the future. The speaker also mentions their location (Hungary) and their plan to pursue their PhD there.
  • #1
dinoguy
9
0
Hello, dear all. Currently I'm studying MSc in physics hoping to do PhD soon after my graduation. I did my bachelor in Quantum Electrodynamics, and before starting my MSc in physics, I was working as a research assistant in experimental HEP lab, and I thought I wanted to explore other subfields in physics because I liked QFT theory more than experimental HEP at least I thought at the moment.

So my dislike of experimental HEP led me to explore other subfields of physics that are more practical etc. You see there was some escapist mentality. So finding another subfield that reignite my interest in physics was my sole goal. So I'm doing my master's as an explorative instrument to taste different fields, and by doing so I've taken many subfield subjects from biophysics, astrophysics, particle physics, condensed matter and so on. And I thought something related space is fruitful because of recent trends of Mars missions etc.

So I have been aimlessly wandering around till I decided to write my thesis on space plasma physics. This field is not that bad, but right after choosing my thesis I've finally accepted and embraced that I like the fundamental physics and I can spend rest of my life on particle physics/cosmology.

So my question is: is it possible/realistic for me to go back to PhD QFT/Particle physics, even experimental HEP from space plasma physics MSc?
 
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  • #2
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Short answer: yes ! By all means.
dinoguy said:
i want to be a scientist.
So you want to make sure you get a PhD. It makes everything a lot easier. You have a broad interest which is good. For a PhD you have to prove you can a) learn new things b) focus to reach cutting edge and c) do independent research. From a PhD you get more options: you can continue in the same direction (often it takes twice as long as a PhD to actually be a specialist), or you can diversify in many ways: a little (from HEP to QFT or astrophysics or IT or nanotechnology, electronics, or whatever). Or diversify a lot (teaching, management, Greenpeace).

You don't have to like HEP to benefit from it! And it seems to me you are well equipped to flourish in some field. Don't stifle your options by planning too much.

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  • #3
OP: What country are you in now, and in what countries do you plan to apply for your PhD? From your Post #1, my guess is you're not in the US. I think the answer to your question will vary with the university system; so more info will lead to better answers.
 
  • #4
CrysPhys said:
OP: What country are you in now, and in what countries do you plan to apply for your PhD? From your Post #1, my guess is you're not in the US. I think the answer to your question will vary with the university system; so more info will lead to better answers.
Hello, I'm studying in an European country and planning to do my PhD here.
 
  • #5
dinoguy said:
Hello, I'm studying in an European country and planning to do my PhD here.
You'll get answers of better value if you identify which European country. From previous threads, there are certain policies applicable to multiple European countries, and certain policies specific to individual European countries. You want advice that is relevant to your specific instance.
 
  • #6
CrysPhys said:
You'll get answers of better value if you identify which European country. From previous threads, there are certain policies applicable to multiple European countries, and certain policies specific to individual European countries. You want advice that is relevant to your specific instance.
It's Hungary
 

Related to Changing my physics subfield between Master's and PhD

1. Can I change my physics subfield between my Master's and PhD?

Yes, it is possible to change your physics subfield between your Master's and PhD programs. However, it is important to consider the potential challenges and implications before making such a decision.

2. What are the potential challenges of changing my physics subfield?

Changing your physics subfield can be challenging because it often requires a significant amount of additional coursework and research to catch up on the new subfield. Additionally, you may face difficulties in finding a research advisor and funding opportunities in the new subfield.

3. Will changing my physics subfield affect my career prospects?

Changing your physics subfield can have an impact on your career prospects, as it may limit your job opportunities to the new subfield. However, if you have a strong research background and skills in both subfields, you may have a competitive advantage in certain industries or research positions.

4. How can I prepare for changing my physics subfield?

To prepare for changing your physics subfield, it is important to research the requirements and coursework for the new subfield and start building your knowledge and skills in that area. Additionally, networking with professors and researchers in the new subfield can help you gain insights and potential opportunities.

5. Is it common for students to change their physics subfield between their Master's and PhD?

It is not uncommon for students to change their physics subfield between their Master's and PhD, especially if they have a strong interest in a different subfield or if they want to broaden their research experience. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential challenges and implications before making such a decision.

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