I got my Bachelors of science degree in Computers and Systems Engineering from a top university in my country 2 years ago. I am now having a fully funded opportunity (as a research assistant) for a Masters in computing science (Thesis option) at one of the top 50 worldwide computing schools, located in Canada. My work will mainly be in the area of industrial automation as a cloud service. This topic is related to my capabilities and interests. However, I am more passionate with the field of robotics in general and specially the autonomous vehicles field (which still lays in the area of computer science). My main goal is to have a Phd in this field from a university like MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon after having my masters degree.

My main question is; is it O.K. to make such a change in the research topic after having my Masters? Or Should my masters research work be in the same specific area?

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    Are you 100% sure that after working on "the area of industrial automation as a cloud service" you will still be interested in robotics. People change research directions all the time.
    – Alexandros
    Dec 1, 2014 at 16:43
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    I have no idea what the specific differences are between your thesis and your actual topic. In fact, the two fields seem inter-related, so the relationship between the two is relatively high. If you were to say you liked computing but your real passion was potato cultivation, then there might be a conflict of studies.
    – Compass
    Dec 1, 2014 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


The most important detail that you need to check is if those Universities that you want for your PhD will accept an IT MSc as entrance for an Engineering PhD. As long as they do, you can continue your research now, get the MSc then move on. If they don’t however, then you’d have a lot more thinking to do about your direction. It's excellent that now you actually do know what you are indeed passionate about. Research interests change all the time and be assured that it's completely natural.

Source: My fiancé has an MSc in Mechanical Engineering but now is keen on doing his PhD in Theoretical Physics and has also approached potential supervisors and so far the response has been positive.

Good Luck!

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