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!

Relevance of past research during PhD admission

Tags:
  1. Apr 6, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone,
    I'm a physics student and have got a matter that has been bothering me, therefore I would like to hear your opinion and perhaps your experiences.
    So now I have been doing my master thesis and I plan to find a PhD position after graduation. The problem is I want to take a topic for my PhD research which is different from my current master thesis topic. They are actually not far apart though, they are still under the same branch of physics. The thing is, it's not that I suddenly wanted to change research subject, when I decided to undertake my current research topic I thought that it will have some relevance with the topic of my desired future research in PhD. But after a while working in my current research, I realized that it doesn't have a very strong connection with the one I aimed for in the PhD.
    So what I want to hear from you is that is it common for a student to change research topics between the one in master and that in PhD? Will the difference in the research area become part of the judgement process by the admission committee when I apply for a PhD later in the future?
    In addition in case you have similar experience as mine during your graduate time, was it though in your PhD research when your previous research subjects were different? In my case I guess the problem would be only in the areas of research skills, because I have taken courses strongly related to the subject I aim for in PhD but I will surely lack experimental skill by the time I start my PhD.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2015 #2

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Let's say it is not uncommon. For a more detailed answer it would be interesting to know the fields you are talking about.
    That helps.
    "Experimental skill" is very transferable - how to adjust specific components of a setup (as an example) is easy to learn, learning how to do that in a systematic way is the important part and mainly independent of the topic.
    Sometimes the subfield of physics contains so many different things that you switch between completely different tasks even within a PhD project.
     
  4. Apr 6, 2015 #3
    I'm interested in the area of the study of electron dynamics in an atom. While now I'm working on diffraction imaging, one thing that connects them is that they both use photons in the same frequency region to study the dynamics (former) or illuminate the sample (latter), in other words the same source of photons. But you know that the similarity is just in the tool they use to study the main object. I'm not sure there have been many people in the same position as me, that is want to change between research areas I mentioned above. But what about the influence on the admission decision, any idea?
     
  5. Apr 6, 2015 #4

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know how that decision would be done at the places where you consider an application. Sometimes you just have to convince the potential supervisor, sometimes a larger group. Either way, there are many different aspects that influence the decision, including "do we think we can work together with this person?" (and that is an important part).
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Relevance of past research during PhD admission
Loading...