How to Start a PhD in a Different Field

Yes, you can start your PhD in a different field. Interests keep changing with time and experience. You can find your true passion over years. Don’t think that you can’t do a PhD in a background that is different from your specialisation at master’s level. However, you should consider some factors before taking a decision to start a PhD in an entirely different field. Here are the tips that can help you successfully start your PhD in an entirely different field. 

Discuss your interests with your supervisors

If you are looking forward to pursuing your interests in a field outside your specialisation, you should consult your supervisors. Tell them your interests and why you want to switch to another field. This will help them know whether or not switching a field is beneficial for you. So don’t miss conversations about your interests with your PhD professors or supervisors. You will be up on new ways to explore the field of your interests. 

Initiate other professors in the new target field

Now is the time to establish your network as you are not aware of a new field. Your current professors can help you in building up networking with new professors and supervisors. However, you have already done an extensive research to determine whether you are suitable for the new domain. This will help you have an idea whom you should contact in future for your project. Study research papers of those professors. Comment on their recent paper of theses. Show them your interest in working with them over emails. This step will initiate a conversation between you and them. 

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

Once you have entered your new field, you will find lots of things that will not be familiar to you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have ability to learn. Whenever you stumble across any problem, you should ask immediately. Don’t hesitate to admit that you could not understand technicality; just ask your queries from anyone in your group to know. 

Learn jargons

You should learn a new language relevant to your new field if you want to participate in day to day conversation. The only way to learn the new language is reading. The more you read, the more you know about it. You should also use software applications such as Mendeley and Evernotes to arrange all papers at one place so that you can read them anytime. You should also add notes to remember the meaning of technical words and jargons. 

Switching fields can also benefit you

Your unique background will help you elaborate your knowledge and establish a connection between both domains. For instance, if you have received a master degree in anthropology followed by a PhD in neuroendocrinology. You will be able to find out how human behaviour impacts on brain cells. If you have received your master degree in literature, and then switched to a science-oriented field. This will help you in writing your thesis excellently. Though you have chosen an entirely different field for your PhD, you will still get some benefits from your previous specialisation. 

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