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Research and PHD advice

  1. Oct 21, 2014 #1


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    Gold Member

    Hey PF!

    If any of you have experience as a graduate student or a professor please help me out here. I'm a Master's student in mechanical engineering doing research for a professor now and I really don't like what I'm working on. I've told the professor this and he said this is temporary and that we will find something more interesting for my thesis. However, this is my last year.

    There is another professor who seems to have research that is much more interesting. Should I try to switch? It seems as though both professors are taking interest in me. I'm not sure if I'm doing a PHD or not.

    What makes this tough is that the professor who I am currently working with has helped me secure a great fellowship. Even though he is not paying me for my time, I feel he has really helped me get where I am now. This is not to say I wouldn't have gotten it without him, as I have very high grades and good research, but he definitely helped.

    Bottom line: should I switch professors in the Masters or out of respect do I stay with my current professor?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2014 #2
    I don't have experience with grad school (yet), but this seems to be more of an interpersonal issue. In my opinion you should:

    Be friendly but assertive on the matter. If you're sure you want to change your research focus, then make sure you communicate that to your professor in no uncertain terms. Present him with a timeline and/or deadline for making a decision, and give him an idea of how you'd like to change your focus. If he won't follow through with this in the time frame you've provided, switch professors. If you're as direct and honest about your intentions as you can it will get things rolling. No one is as concerned about how you spend your time as you are, but your professor also has an interest in making sure you feel passionate and engaged with your research. Clear, direct communication and expectations will benefit you both. I hope that helps!
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