I have contacted a professor and he accepted to be my PhD supervisor, but he want me to finish the application procedure by September. The institution that I am applying for is not in my home country, therefore I still have papers and tests to prepare (GRE, TOEFL) ... the process may take at least two months.

Is it ethical to send my research proposal to another professor (from the same university)? Knowing that I contacted him before and he only replied now asking me to send it to him.

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    What did you tell the first professor that accepted you? Did he make you an offer of a position, and if so, did you accept that? The ethics of this hinges somewhat on the precise expectations expressed based on the communications between you. – Bill Barth Jul 10 '15 at 18:30
  • To add to what Bill is asking, are you hoping that the other professor will delay your start date? – Dave Kanter Jul 10 '15 at 18:31
  • If you are shopping for the best supervisor and institution, I would say it is better to do best for yourself now rather than sacrifice your options for politeness – Calchas Jul 10 '15 at 22:20
  • @BillBarth He accepted to be my supervisor and he gave me a graduate assistantship position, but he insisted on finishing my procedure asap. I am afraid I won’t be able to finish it on time, and lose this opportunity, therefore I need a plan B. The problem is the professors are from the same university but different labs, so there is a chance they know each other’s! Anyway I just wanted to send my proposal to the other professor since he asked for it, & see if he will offer me a better position & have more time to finish my papers, If the first professor know about it will that be a problem? – Azizachom Jul 11 '15 at 13:20
  • And yes I accepted the position @BillBarth – Azizachom Jul 11 '15 at 13:21

Any person could change his mind about everything: universities, supervisors, jobs, etc... The important thing is to be clear, honest and understand the possible consequences.

I'm supposing that, at this moment, you didn't formally signed any document indicating the first professor as your supervisor. In this case, you could tell what is going on and indicate that will continue your conversations with both and make your final decision in the next days as they are very qualified and would be great supervisors. And reassure that you are doing your best to be ready for September, tests and all paperwork, as probably both have the same deadlines.

Personally, I talked with three professors till I made my decision. I asked about possible projects and how I could fit in their research groups; read papers on their current work and talked with other PhD students about supervising styles, lab facilities, etc... to make an informed decision.

If you already formally indicated one professor as your supervisor then check the rules.

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    This isn't just about formal rules, contracts, and the like. If OP said he'd take the first position, then going back on his word is often considered unethical. The first professor may have turned away other good candidates now that he thinks he's got OP. – Bill Barth Jul 11 '15 at 15:33

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