Does doing multidisciplinary research enhance one's employment opportunities compared to doing a degree in "basic" sciences?

For example, is a Ph.D. in Nano-science/Nano-technology in any way better than a Ph.D. in Physics or Chemistry, considering employment in India or in Asia? Would like to hear perspectives from other regions as well.

(In India, the basic qualification for employment in universities or affiliated colleges, as Assistant Professor is M.Sc. with UGC-NET or a Ph.D. in the relevant subject. Multidisciplinary research is available only in major research institutes and a limited number of universities.)

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    I suspect that this may be an overly broad question. Multidisciplinarity versus "basic" sciences is a huge question that would need a books to answer it.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 13:25
  • @EnergyNumbers The question details also suggest that? Thought, I cannot go specific than this. I am not seeking a detailed exposition of each and every multidisciplinary research arenas or all benefits/demerits of multidisciplinary research. My specific query is about employment opportunities; Am I sounding otherwise? Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


This does not fully answer your question, but it is certainly one consideration.

Multidisciplinary theses are often examined by multidisciplinary committees. Examining such theses is difficult, especially if the committee has no experience examining multidisciplinary theses. A consequence is that you will often be forced to conform to the conventions of different communities. In addition, the chemistry committee member may not see the thesis as a chemistry thesis and the sociology committee member may not see the thesis as a sociology thesis, because it lies somewhere in between the two fields and cannot be a complete thesis in both fields.


I am a PhD student in Computational Science, which is an interdisciplinary major spanning mathematics, computer science, and engineerning. We are often pegged with the label "jack of all trades, but master of none" because we are a relatively new major with out well-established guidelines or rules judging the merit of work. Often, we are required to accept a "home department" whose quality judgment rules dominate. I'm not sure if this is the case for all interdisciplinary programs, but it helps alleviate the grey area and ensures that the work is evaluated according to a well-established criterion.

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