I'm from Australia

I'm about to start my honours in Computer Science. I aim to do PhD afterwards. My uni does not currently work on the research topic that I'm specifically interested in. Fortunately it allow us to propose our own project ideas.

But past students pointed that supervisors can be very perfunctory if I do not work on their projects. They tend to think that you are fully responsible to what you propose and provide minimal help. This makes me concerned. I'm totally new to research, I don't yet know my idea is really doable. If I'm on my own I might screwed up.

Should I follow my interest, propose my own topic, and aim for PhD in other universities?

Or should I put my interest aside, stick with what's being offered in my uni, so that I can at least get high grades and secure a PhD spot in my current uni? (But will it still be possible to apply for PhD in my dream topic?)

BTW I found that topic seems to be popular in Melbourne: RMIT, Deakin and SIT all focus in this area. Is it a good idea to email these universities to express my interest and ask him for what topic I should do to gain PhD spot in their labs? (But I imagine they have their own students to care about and won't be interested in me.)

BWT I talked to an old professor who worked in the topic of my interest. He has good attitude and will to supervise me. But whatever I say he just nod and respond 'Good, go for it'. I don't know how helpful he will be....

There's also a younger supervisor who is known to be pushy and responsible. But only supervise his own projects.

  • Unfortunately, this question is too broad, because the answer would depend on too many things we don't know: your personality, the personality of the potential supervisors, the projects, the traditions at your uni, etc. Jul 30 '21 at 3:12
  • Choosing a topic is one of the hardest things in research. What will you do if the topic you've chosen turns out to be a dud?
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 30 '21 at 4:04
  • You seem to have laid out the options well, only you can decide. But I will point out that at this stage "you don't know what you don't know", so getting firm guidance from an experienced supervisor may well be worth it. A good research experience will always trump a bad one, regardless of anything else.
    – cag51
    Jul 30 '21 at 6:16

In any academic course, the correct choice is "whatever the professor says is the correct choice."

Therefore, the answer to the question

should I propose something of my interest, or pick from what offered by supervisors?

is almost certainly "pick from what [is] offered by supervisors."

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