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Programs Short PhD question

  1. May 8, 2008 #1
    Can you do two PhDs in two different subjects? I am hoping that i can do a PhD in both theoretical/mathematical physics AND pure mathematics, is that possible?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2008 #2

    However, it relies on the consent of both departments.

    Also, there's usually not much point to it...
  4. May 8, 2008 #3
    Why not just choose a research area that lets you do both? Symplectic geometry and algebraic topology both have lots of applications in theoretical physics.
  5. May 9, 2008 #4
    Why is it you want to do both.
  6. May 9, 2008 #5
    Do you really want to graduate from school when you are 32 years old, making 40k with two relatively useless degrees (outside of academia)?
  7. May 9, 2008 #6


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    You could but why would want to?
  8. May 9, 2008 #7

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    Many universities - perhaps most - do not allow two PhDs, even sequentially. Which includes being accepted to PhD candidacy when one already has one.

    Ignoring that for the moment, there's no point in two. One's next step is a postdoc, which only takes one. The step beyond that is based on what you've accomplished during your postdoc, not how many degrees you have racked up.
  9. May 9, 2008 #8
    Once you have a Ph.D, there's not much damn point to another...they already know you know how to do (somewhat supervised) independent research. If you want to change or broaden your area of expertise after that, you have to do it like a professional academic, not like a student.
  10. May 9, 2008 #9


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    not too many departments will want to support you after you have finished your phd.

    a phd is preparation to do research. so to pursue a second one may be taken as evidence you actually do not intend to do any research and they are wasting their time on you.
  11. May 10, 2008 #10


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    Chances are you can find a project that involves both areas. Lots of departments are open to interdepartmental work. When choosing a program make sure that you can get credit for courses taken from other departments (which in my experience is the norm rather than the exception). That way you can study what you're interested in.

    You can always apply for a post-doc position that's at arm's length from your PhD field.
  12. May 10, 2008 #11
    Are there any people with two PhDs in completely unrelated fields?

    for example a middle-aged mathematician decides he wants to change fields completely and goes back and gets a PhD in History. Does this ever happen?
  13. May 11, 2008 #12
    Very, *very* rarely. Getting one Ph.D. is crazy, getting two is a sign of serious mental illness.

    And I say that as a middlle-aged computer scientist planning on applying to physics programs in the fall... :smile:
  14. May 11, 2008 #13
    Wow, I guess you are partly an example of what I was talking about, as Physics and Computer Science don't overlap much. However, I wonder if there is anyone who has two PhDs, one in a scientific subject and one in an artistic or literary subject.
  15. May 11, 2008 #14
    Someone researching with me in my department already has a PhD and is doing a 2nd PhD here in amorphous silicon (possibly changing topic soon however).
    I'll try get some details for you this week and put them on here, but this obviously wasn't seen as a problem or was a reason to not accept his application here (at an Australian uni).
  16. May 11, 2008 #15
    IMO if you did two, you'd suck at both fields. Specialize!
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