This is my first semester in graduate school and I have been looking diligently for a professor to work with. Recently, I came across a very unique opportunity and I would like to seek help from other PhD Students and/or Professors: This evening, I was talking to a professor about research prospects. The topic he is researching is very new (<20 years old) and virtually the exact topic/subject I have wanted to explore for years as a undergraduate. The professor I spoke to also mentioned that he just opened up a new slot for 1 PhD student pertaining to this topic. So far, everything sounded great, but here comes the catch(es): 1) The professor just acquired an administrator position. Consequentially he only takes on 3 PhD students and his priority is not teaching/publishing. 2) He mentioned that all his students are self-funded. He has had them write their own proposals to ensure that their topic is funded. I did not have a chance to ask him what the "success" rate of proposal acceptances were because I had to leave to TA a class. He mentioned that all three of his current students received funding from their grants. I feel like this is a situation with great risk/reward. If funding does not come through, I am totally screwed. If, on the other hand, things do work out funding wise, since this research is very new I am worried about the prospects of obtaining a job since the field is virtually unestablished (An employer may ask: "what the hell is this???"). The professor actually mentioned the reason why he did not have a student work on this subject earlier is because the theory/field was too new to yield a good PhD experience. He believes it has evolved enough so this notion is no longer true. On the reward side, this is an opportunity to do something I have loved and thought about for the past 3 years of my life. I remember sitting through my boring classes running through thought-experiments in my notebook that pertain to this subject. It is also an amazing opportunity to initiate an entirely new subject in engineering. I can't help but daydream about being one of the founding scientists of a new field! That has been my dream since I was a child! It makes me very excited, perhaps too excited, so I need someone with more experience to "bring me back down to earth". My biggest fear is that this is some kind of scam and I may be a guinea pig or a sucker if I don't tread this path carefully. The child inside me is saying "do it, take a chance", the experienced adult is telling me "be suspicious". Thoughts?