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Getting a Ph.D. in a subject unrelated to undergraduate projects?

  • Thread starter jeebs
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am attempting to write applications for physics Ph.D. positions right now and I feel as if I am hitting a brick wall. I have "narrowed" it down to wanting to do a Ph.D. either related to inertial confinement fusion, particle or nuclear physics. I know I'm supposed to be advertising my skills and interest to potential project supervisors but aside from having good grades in the undergraduate modules covering the basics of these topics, I have nothing.

My masters year project I am doing now is based on semiconductors, which is clearly irrelevant to those Ph.D. topics. I have pretty much zero interest in condensed matter physics but just got stuck doing this semiconductor one because of a lottery due to there being too many students and not enough projects.

Am I severly disadvantaged here in trying to apply for some Ph.D. that I have no real experience in? Am I wasting my time?
Is this going to have massive implications for me, given that under no circumstances will I apply for a Ph.D. that I am not 100% enthusiastic about?
Literally the only things I have going for me are good exam grades and English being my first language.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Vanadium 50
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Happens all the time. Don't sweat it.
 
  • #3
Ygggdrasil
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People do their PhD research on different topics than their undergraduate research all of the time. One of my friends did theoretical particle physics as an undergrad and is now doing experimental neurobiology for his PhD. It can often be very fruitful to move into a new research area as you will have skills that many of your peers do not have (for example, my physicist friend can build a new, complicated microscope to do his experiments, a task that many neurobiologists would find daunting).

An important thing about doing research as an undergrad is learning how research is done and how to think about research. These skills are transferable to whichever field you'd like to study.
 
  • #4
Doesn't matter in the slightest.
 
  • #5
Literally the only things I have going for me are good exam grades and English being my first language.
And you'll have a physics degree. Any experience with research projects is valuable - at undergraduate it isn't so much about the things you know as it is about how you learn them.
 

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