I have accepted a PhD offer from a very good university to do a project very close to my interests. I have told the project supervisor I accept it. In the meanwhile I have managed to secure a PhD offer from another 2 universities much better in world rankings and with better research groups and better faculty. Additionally these 2 universities do research exactly on what I want to devote my PhD research.
My only commitment to the first university is a mail confirming I accept. Nothing else. I understand declining the offer after already having accepted it is quite dishonest but it is a huge decision that will affect my future in a very significant level.
I would like your opinion and I would also like to ask for possible consequences of such an action. As far a postdocs concerned, in the first university there is no chance I ever get a postdoc since they do not actually do research on my area (except for the prospective supervisor and even he not as much).
UPDATE I have decided to do as I was afraid to. I have decided to choose a different university than the first one that I have already accepted the offer. My offer acceptance included:
- An online "I accept" statement.
- An e-mail I sent stating "I accept the scholarship and this University is my first option"
I do not have any legal commitments since I have not signed anything. The supervisor of the first university though is really nice to me and continuously was sending me mails. How do I very nicely tell her I will not be joining in the end? Additionally the place I will go in the end will be for research in Mathematics and not Physics. Can I use this as a part of a sensical excuse?
WHAT I HAVE CHOSEN AND WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES WERE
I think that I should let people, especially other beginning grad students know what happened with my case. I have chosen to nicely tell the first university I got accepted that I will not be attending and will not be pursuing a PhD there since I decided I have different research interests (which is true). I had applied there in the first place since I was not sure what I wanted to do and because it was a nice program. Despite that, I got an offer from a World top university to work on 100% my research interests. I explained this to them, the first uni, and they happily let me go and wished me good luck, especially the supervisor who faught a lot secure me funding. I was lucky.