I have already completed my PhD in Earthquake Engineering with soil dynamics specialization and recently joined as an assistant professor in a state university. In my PhD, although I got couple of publication but I am not satisfied with my work, I could have done way better than what I did in my PhD. So, I want to pursue another PhD in a related field like Geotechnical Engineering. How far it will be effective? And is it possible to apply for another PhD in a related area?Sometimes I feel attracted to change my research direction, I am really fascinated about space and time, would it be a good idea to change my research area to theoretical physics this time, and what are the possibilities to change my research direction into theoretical physics? Please advice.

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    That's what postdocs are for! (not really, but all the same) Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 19:43
  • I agree with @FábioDias - (I'm not sure why you say 'not really') - one of the primary reasons to do a postdoc is to extend your training in a new, usually related, area. Having done one PhD, you should be able to study related fields without doing another formal degree. Especially with the mentorship you would (or should) get as a postdoc.
    – Tyler
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 20:36
  • If you're not satisfied with the publications you already have, make sure your next publications are better. Part of your job as an assistant professor is to write those next publications. You don't need to become a PhD student again to achieve that goal. Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 20:53
  • @Tyler I agree with 'one of the reasons', I just didn't want to convey that it would be the only reason. I always thought of the postdoc deal as a internship. Compared to assistant professor, you get a lot of the regular duties (minus adm, usually), not many of the perks, but with someone watching your back. Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


I'm finalizing my PhD in structural engineering and was thinking about getting an another PhD in mechanical engineering. After I have discussed this with my adviser, I do not think that it was the right move for me (mainly due to age [I'm 29 now, no family yet and number of publication is high in my case]). I know a friend who was getting his PhD in structural engineering while getting an MS in Math. He likes it!

It is a personal decision. If you are doing this to compensate for what do you think is not a "satisfactory work" during you PhD, look at the facts! you graduate, got couple of publications and a faculty position! You can always self-improve, explore a different reach area or engage in interdisciplinary field. If you measuring successes by the number of papers, then, more papers will come with time! You do not need a "degree" to be satisfied. However, if space-time is something that you are very interested in, then the heart wants what the heart wants.

I found this the other day while surfing the internet that might help you; "At least for a while, in your heart of hearts you'll be confident only that the university will soon enough discover its error in awarding you the PhD, and at some point will brand you (in public no doubt) the fraud you know you are. This too will pass as you come to realize that students are extremely gullible and many of your colleagues are even greater frauds than you. That is to say, you know more than you think you do, and students and the people you work with will appreciate the range and depth of your knowledge and abilities if you let them." The Transition from Graduate Student to Assistant Professor

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