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Continue with my AM PhD program or go into patent law?

  1. Nov 15, 2012 #1
    I'm beginning my second year in my PhD program. I had to fight very hard to make it to the second year, as my program condenses the normal two year masters sequence that would make up the beginning of other programs into one year. They were also very eager to cut students using prelims, so the bottom line is that getting to this point was tough. That said, I don't want to fall into the sunk cost fallacy here.

    My PhD program is in applied math. Because of last year, I have an MS in that field already. The trouble is that last year sapped a lot of my appreciation for the subject. I already know that I don't want to go into research; I'd rather go into industry. I'm looking around for a research adviser right now, and have a few on the line, but every time I talk with them, I find myself not really attracted to the thought of conducting research with them. It'd be a means to the end of getting the degree. The whole reason I've stayed is that I've convinced myself it couldn't hurt to give it, say, a quarter to see if it's something I'll enjoy or not (assuming I can get out of whatever funding contract I have). I am not very optimistic about this happening, but it's really all I've set myself up to do. I don't have any kind of outside experience in anything, including this field, so my hope was that some extra time in school would make up for this deficiency.

    In contrast, IP/patent law issues are things that I'm extremely passionate about. I come from a legal background, family-wise, so that's kind of in my blood. I have a science background and would qualify for the patent bar.

    So I guess what I'm looking for, aside from general comments, are:

    1.) Does it sound like I should quit grad school now, or give it a shot? Would I be able to get out of it before too long without suffering some sort of penalty from the funding contract?
    2.) Is patent law even a more viable option than grad school?
    3.) Even if I weren't to go into patent law, from what I've said, does it make sense to stay in grad school?

    Thank you so much! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2012 #2
    I'm still in limbo, sort of spinning my wheels. I have contact with a professor who seems interested in me, and I think I can get it to work... but I really just don't want to
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