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Switching Fields

  1. Nov 2, 2008 #1

    I'm currently a ChemE senior, and I'm applying to grad schools. I have a very good GPA, research, extracurrics, etc. So I would have little worry about getting into a top PhD program in ChemE.

    But I want a PhD in Electrical Engineering.

    There are many reasons behind this motivation (which I won't go into now). Currently, I'm most interested in micro/nanofabrication. I've taken some courses in this subject, especially related to biotechnology. I also plan to minor in EE before graduation. But does anyone know how competitive I really am? I understand that nanotech. is a multidisciplinary field but am I still at a big disadvantage when compared to other EE students? Am I wasting my time by applying to the top schools?

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2008 #2
    Look on the school's website you may wish to apply to. Often you can be admitted into another program because for example if you are a chemE major you have demonstrated you can handle the type of work. If you are inadiquately prepared relative to incoming EE majors you may have to begin your coursework with lower level EE classes but this is definitely possible and has been done before.
  4. Nov 3, 2008 #3
    Yes, of course. Not having the usual expected preliminary credential is a huge disadvantage, especially when it comes to the top schools. Are you *that* much better than the other candidates for admission that they'll let you in without the usual background?

    If you really want to switch fields, I would encourage you to keep trying... but realize how much harder you are making it for yourself. Your choices are either to back up and get a BS or MS in your desired field, or be *much* better than the competition.
  5. Nov 3, 2008 #4
    only the degree names are different. if u really demonstrate strong motivation to pursue phd in EE, you might be in the same league as other EE background ppl.
    also, i think, you should precisely explain in ur SOPurpose/SOInterest, why you're switching fields and how that makes you an eligible contender.
    nanotech is quite interdisciplinary, so i think chemical engg background should not be too much of a problem/disadvantage, as long as you're open and willing to learn new stuff.
  6. Nov 7, 2008 #5
    I think graduate schools are less interested in your background and more interested in your ability to do research. If you have a ChemE degree I think that shows you have the quantitative background to make up any EE courses you are missing. You can probably also find a project in nanotech that has people in both EE and ChemE departments working on it.
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