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I know it is strongly advisable to read up on your prospective PhD supervisors' work. However, I find that most of the things are too esoteric and I would need a substantial period to absorb them. I do understand perfectly the overview of the area that they are working. I have some questions:

  1. In writing my research interest/statement for getting into a PhD, how detailed should it be?

  2. Is it okay to mention that you would like to work on a general field (e.g. CFD in multiphase) and not propose an specific direction?

  • This might depend a lot on where you will be studying and the educational system there. It might also depend on the level you are starting at (which degrees you hold already). – Buffy Jan 27 at 16:17
  • I have a MSc (mechaniccal engineering) but still there are things that are very deep and only dealt with in the research community. – Kelvin Loh Jan 27 at 16:19
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At least in the US, I don’t think most research advisors would expect undergraduate students to have the ability to understand everything in their published work. The idea is to be familiar with the general ideas, methods, and “top-level” results. If someone comes in with more than that, it’s a bonus.

In other countries, where the PhD program follows after a master’s degree, the expectations are naturally a bit higher.

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