I have finished my master's degree in Physics (Radiation and Health Physics Option) with distinction, but I want a PhD in Medical Physics. My university does not offer that pathway and other universities are insisting I do a M.Phil. for a year before they will consider me for PhD candidacy I really do not have the energy and time to concentrate on the M.Phil. right now and I fear I might not make the desired grade.

I have an offer to do a Ph.D. in my area of specialization (Radiation and Health) and I need to make a decision on this. I am thinking of accepting both offers and in case I don't get the desired grade to move over to PhD in medical physics, so I can still have my PhD in Radiation and Health Physics and not lose both ways.

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    Obtaining a PhD is mainly proof that you are capable of doing independent research. There is little to no value in doing two of them, especially in such related fields. Doing 1 PhD with a focus on interdisciplinary collaborations would be much more beneficial. – Marc Claesen Dec 17 '14 at 10:50
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    Erm... What "both offers"? What you wrote literally reads as you cannot enroll into a PhD in Medical Physics unless you pass M.Phil, which you haven't even started yet, so where does this second offer come from? – fedja Dec 17 '14 at 12:54
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    You do realise that doing a PhD is a full-time job, don't you? – Jessica B Dec 17 '14 at 13:33
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    related (not quite a duplicate) Is doing two PHDs a good path? – Cape Code Dec 17 '14 at 15:15
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    "Is it sensible to do two PhD's simultaneously" No, Just no. – Alexandros Dec 17 '14 at 15:56

It sounds like you have offers from two different universities in two slightly different fields. If so, you will need to check with both universities to see if you can be simultaneously enrolled. My guess is that neither university will be happy about that, and especially the one that is providing a studentship. Even if it is allowed, you have to ask yourself what the advantage is.

A PhD is more about the research than the nominal department (or even university) that grants the degree. A PhD is all about gaining the skills needed to do independent research. Sometimes (maybe) a good way (or potentially the only way) of gaining those skills is to do two PhDs. More often a PhD with multiple supervisors will give you the necessary opportunities.

It sounds like for you that you want to start the first PhD and then switch to the second Phd if you do well enough in the MPhil year. While this provides some security, if the first PhD program is such a bad fit (either in terms of reputation or area of study) that you want that type of security, then the program is probably not a good fit for you.

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