1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Doing a PhD in the same topic as masters?

  1. Apr 3, 2015 #1
    I have the choice between doing a PhD in a topic which is very similar to my masters or starting on something slightly different, I find the topic very interesting at the moment but after doing something for one year already do you think it is a bad idea to do the same thing for another 3/4 years? Does anyone have experience or advice for this?

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Shouldn't you be discussing this with your advisor?

    There's no one answer that fits all here. Your advisor would know if there are more to be done in your area of study. That is why you should direct this question to him/her.

  4. Apr 3, 2015 #3


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    ZapperZ pretty gave my advice. I'll just add that I am currently doing basically the same thing as my masters. I did my Master's Thesis on some application of hidden markov models, and currently working full time and doing a PhD on scaling said HMM to large data sets. I should note that my Masters was in Stats and PhD in progress is in compsci. So perhaps slightly different focus.
  5. Apr 4, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Why would it be a bad idea to keep working on the same thing for your PhD?

    The advantages of continuing on the same project are that you've already done a lot of the background reading, you already understand the project, you've developed some project-specific skills already, and you likely have a good feeling for where else you can go with the project.

    If you switch projects you'll have to do all that legwork again, minus any overlap. The advantage is that the project will be fresh.

    What it would come down to for me is whether I enjoyed the current project or not. The thing is, trading something that's going well, that you like, for something you might like may not be a great choice. Trading something that's not working for something that might be better could be a lot better.
  6. Apr 7, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I kept working on essentially the same project after I finished my MS. What it meant was I finished grad school in 6 years instead of 7 or 8 like some of my contemporaries who went another way after the MS.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook