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Going outside supervisor's field of expertise

  1. Nov 22, 2012 #1
    So I've started a doctorate in corrosion and through the last 2 months of reading and experimenting I've become interested in a type of corrosion (scc) that my supervisor has no interest in (they mainly look at atmospheric corrosion).

    I went into the PhD being told that the project would develop depending on findings, so I'd be "allowed" to do it, but I'm not sure it is wise. Has anyone here done this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2012 #2


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    Usually at some point in your PhD you *should* get to a point where you are working beyond your supervisor's experience. It is supposed to be novel work after all. But you also want to be able to rely on him or her as a mentor.

    What would sticks out as a flag to me is the phrase "no interest in." If your supervisor has an interest in the area, but just happens to be more experienced in a slightly different area, it should be okay to pursue the new area. But if he or she does not want anything to do with that new area, you're likely going to have problems because your supervior won't be reading up on that material and won't be able to identify if what you've done has been done before.
  4. Nov 22, 2012 #3


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    Actually it really doesn't matter if the supervisor has no interest in it. What is important here is whether the supervisor APPROVES that line of research for you to do. That is the part that you never indicated. If you are going rogue on him/her without that person's knowledge and approval, you are risking irking him/her and more importantly, you may not receive an approval for your project. If that happens, you are stuck up a creek without a paddle.

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