I'm a student applying for the 2023 fall Ph.D. program.
While doing my master's degree in 2022, I transferred to A University from B University.

The reason was that I wanted to learn both bioinformatics and biological experiments when I was applying to graduate schools for a master's degree. The previous PI at B University told me he is doing both in his lab, so I decided to get in. However, it turned out that the main focus in his lab was something else, which is different from bioinformatics. Also, I was able to learn only basic experimental skills, such as cell subculture and transfection. I decided to move to A University where I can learn advanced experiments and corroborate with bioinformaticians at other universities.

Now I'm worried about that the admission reviewers would consider it a bad decision, thinking 'this student will easily quit the Ph.D. program if he is not satisfied'. What words should I use when I defend myself from this situation?

  • 3
    You are far from the first person to transfer, particularly in the Covid years. Not clear that you would need to ‘defend’ yourself. If asked, explaining that A offered greater exposure to bioinformatics seems reasonable.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 2:44

1 Answer 1


There is no "defense" necessary. What you have done is reasonable and reasonable people will accept it. Moreover, you haven't quit a program, just moved to another that better met your needs.

But if you are careful in selecting a doctoral program then the same situation is unlikely to recur. There is nothing wrong with high standards, nor a clear view of your future.

In a way you may have been misled at the first place. "We do both" doesn't mean that "We focus on both", of course.

What you write here is all you should need if asked about the switch. Good luck.

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