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Admissions Go back for PhD?

  1. Aug 2, 2017 #1
    Hi all, I'm writing this post because my current situation appears to be allowing me the possibility to go back to graduate school. Where, I'm not sure but we'll have to see. A brief background is that when I was admitted to graduate school, I was set to work with a professor regarding fluid dynamics and possibly turbulent flows. That's been my passion for many years and was excited to have found someone to do research in the field and not be an engineering PhD. Long story short, said professor left during the summer of my admittance and so I carried the cross of doing my studies without a preferred direction in various fields. I was able to graduate with a Masters since the available research opportunities did not suit me. No disrespect for the fields I engaged with but they just weren't my cups of tea. Since then I have taken up teaching and have regained my composure after such a turbulent time, no pun intended.

    Now for the crux of this post. As the years continue to pass I am wondering if I should attempt graduate school again, in the hopes of finally accomplishing one of my life's dreams? My main issue is letters of reference since the main ones I had used were from 4 years ago and don't know how to go about doing these applications since my heydays (especially at REUs) have passed. Should I aspire to develop something pre-finished like a theoretical structure or experiment? I'm hoping to reapply sometime this year but also don't know where along with redoing GRE tests. My field of interests is really a platypus of Fluid dynamics, differential geometry, and dynamical systems with renewed interest in relativity and quantum/qft. Thanks ahead of time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2017 #2


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    Below I will only comment on those issues about which I figure I can say something sensible.
    It could help if you would send an accompanying letter where you explain your history. Four years is not such a long time, your talents and capabilities did not just disappear. Perhaps you could also ask your former professor to write a new letter of reference, even if just for it to be recent.
    You could aim to write a succinct research proposal, also if it is not strictly required for your application. This shows focus (see below), overview and the ability to think ahead. It need not contain final results. (Do include any relevant work that you have done, though.) If possible, have it "butchered" (constructively) by some of your former and/or prospective professors and use their criticism for improvements.
    While I could certainly imagine that there are fields (such as relativistic fluid dynamics) where multiple of these areas meet, I would make sure not to lose focus. Look for (a class of) problem(s) that is reasonably well-defined (or that you could define well, yourself) and where you feel you could make a contribution at some point.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  4. Aug 2, 2017 #3
    Thank you so much for your response! I feel more optimistic at what needs to be done now.
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