I recently graduated from my Master's program in theoretical physics. Throughout the program I did most of my coursework in high energy physics and did my thesis in the same. However, I also did courses on condensed matter physics. Right now I am considering to apply for PhD positions. But I am faced with intense fear of missing out as in, I have been interested in many areas of theoretical physics along with interdisciplinary areas such as biological physics, complex systems and modelling (did few projects while I was doing my Master's along with few colleagues/friends) and application of physics to areas like economics. My problem is that if I were to choose the hardcore theoretical physics side (which I will enjoy, no doubt) then I would be just a spectator on the research that goes on in the interdisciplinary side (I would like to be an active contributor). And vice-versa if I were to specialize my PhD in interdisciplinary fields such as complex systems, physics of biological systems etc. Has anyone gone through such a phase? If so how would you take care of this irrational fear, if I can say that?

  • 2
    I think you answer your own question. Think of writing your Master's thesis. There was probably a time in there where you focused on this and little else, but from what you where writing, you never considered this as giving up on the other areas. Your PhD will be the same. At a certain point in there you will need temporarily focus on your chosen topic to establish yourself as a competent researcher. But there is nothing stopping you from considering other topics whenever you find the time. A PhD in X does not disqualify you from doing research in Y.
    – mlk
    Nov 25 at 12:12

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