I was talking about a probable research topic that I got in mind for following a Phd in Computer Science to one of my past Lecturers. This professor told me that I should make a research proposal and see what happens with the evaluating committee. The research proposal was made and it got finally accepted. Now the issue is that this university, in which they accepted my proposal is not so well known worldwide. So I would like to apply to another more renewed university with the same topic, I think that could help me better in my academic career. What should I do? It is unethically to move to another university with my research idea? maybe my past professor could feel like betrayed?


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    It is not so important, how well-known your university is, it is important whether you can do good research there (and have funding for travelling, etc.). It might be good to have some supporters. But of course, if the university is regarded as low-quality (BTW: never trust rankings!), I understand your intentions to leave.
    – OBu
    Feb 1, 2014 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


You are free to take your idea wherever you would like. You cannot take your professor's project proposal to another university without her permission.

The professor at your school seeing this as a "betrayal" is a separate issue. A good advisor will of course want a good student to stick around. A good mentor will want what's best for the student—regardless of what's in the mentor's best interests as a potential advisor.

So, my advice is just to talk to the professor and let him know that you'd like to apply at other universities as well. (It's your right to do so, of course.) Ask if the professor would be willing to write letters supporting you. If the professor isn't supportive of this, you'll have your answer. (And if the professor is not supportive, then do not get letters of recommendation from that professor!)

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