I have decided to apply for PhD in cybersecurity even though my research during my graduate time period is totally of a different topic, which is neuroscience. My CV is majorly focused on research in neuroscience and data science and it doesn't contain any previous experience even though I have been learning a lot in cybersecurity and getting trained in the area.

What are my chances of getting into the program(in US, Sweden, UK) even thought I don't have a research experience in Cyber security nor have worked on a project?

  • Where do you hope to study - the country? The answer is probably dependent on that.
    – Buffy
    Nov 28, 2019 at 12:05

2 Answers 2


Completely possible!

You only need to argument your research as multi-field with an holistic approach, base your methods or the relation on technology and how it impacts the new field, or propose some innovative way to apply or relate computational sciences to biological systems (neural networks or Ai to learn how X works are always a good hit.)

As as example, my first career was in 'environmental improvement and diagnostics', then I went into 'informatique sciences' , specialization MBA into 'economy', then MBA into ' Computational Systems' but PHD in 'Organizations direction/Management'. It all comes down on how you relate everything.

As for how easy it would be to enter, well, you need to see which universities you want, go into their website's and see their requirements for candidates. You can then tailor your proposal to them and contact the admissions department to say what they want. Even within the same country there are variants among the universities, more so between public and private ones.

  • Thank you so much, I appreciate your help.
    – arjunv
    Nov 29, 2019 at 16:01
  • 1
    @arjunv No need to thank. It could also help to check on the published works on the university you want and perhaps tailor some possible paper/essay to their style and try to send an article or just publish something more on cyber security + data science elsewhere to start widening your background. Good luck.
    – deags
    Nov 29, 2019 at 16:45

In the US this might be possible. Probably more so than the other countries you name because the educational systems differ. In the US, one can enter a doctoral program with only a bachelors degree and little, if any, research experience. So, in the US, your research background would be neither much of an advantage or any disadvantage.

However, you would need quite a lot of things in your background to make it possible. These would be things drawn primarily from maths and CS. You need some programming skills, but also the deeper ideas of CS such as data structures and algorithms (and more). If you have that, along with appropriate grades and good letters of recommendation you would likely be considered.

Your doctoral education would almost certainly begin with a lot of coursework, where the advanced courses prepare you for comprehensive exams (qualifiers).

In many other countries, however, a starting doctoral student is expected to begin with much more in the specific background.

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