For a research paper in my course we had to come up with a topic proposal. When I talked with my professor about my topic he did not seem interested in my proposal and only talked about a topic of his interest, in which I am totally inexperienced and not really interested in. He didn´t even comment on my research proposal.

The problem is, that my professor is really into this topic. How could I politely ask him to discuss my proposal instead of only his proposal?

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    What level is that? PhD? MSc? Something else? Answers depend. Generally, it is not a good idea to have a strong opinion about what topic to pursue with a prof that has a strong opinion preferring a different direction. Better to seek another prof. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 14:55
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    I don't understand the question. Are you basically asking us if can ask discuss with a sort of supervisor / teacher etc? Of course you can. The rest is obscure.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 16:18
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    Usually, when students who are just starting propose something, it is either old, too easy or not interesting or/and way too hard to an experienced researcher. So I'm not surprised by your professor's reaction. My advice is to ask him/her what is wrong with your proposal. Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 20:47

2 Answers 2


Yes, of course you can ask. And, depending on his personality and yours, you might be successful or not. Be prepared for the "not", I guess. But you would be wise to give some deep thought to his suggestions, since he likely has more experience at this stuff than you do.

And one of the things you can ask about is why the professor doesn't advise you to follow up on your own plan. There might be some unstated reasons - though such things should be made plain. I think he owes you that much, at least.

But the best you can probably hope for is to be allowed to follow up on your own idea but with little help or guidance. If you are really new at this, then that guidance might be invaluable.

And fighting with professors seldom leads to successful outcomes.


Try and arm yourself with arguments how your topic would be beneficial for the group. Perhaps you could say that working on a certain topic would produce results and papers a lot faster than the Prof's prefered topic and hence could potentially lead to a larger number of and higher quality publications. Also listen to what the professor is saying too. They tend to know what is and is not a good topic. Perhaps a compromise where both topics are persued, if time permits. If your topic is more fruitful then perhaps you could win the Prof over.

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