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I graduated with a Ph.D. in Physics (specialized in studying protein dynamics via laser light and coherent X-rays) from a U.S. university in May 2014. However, could not continue with research/post-doc due to a medical condition with my infant child. We had to move to a different state for his medical treatment. Over there I did not have any contacts to secure even a post-doc position and ended up as a part-time community college instructor for more than two years.

Now my child is okay, and I want to continue my research, but when I submit my CV to research positions, no one seems to care about it. My Ph.D. supervisor has no funding, so no hope there. As a result, I was thinking of doing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering specializing in biophotonics and/or optical radiology. Is this possible ? Will graduate schools in U.S. accept my application since I already have a Ph.D. in Physics ?

Hopefully, someone can shed some light on my concern.

Thank you in advance!

  • Also consider that you still will look for job once you finish your second phd. So by any mean you have to find the job now or later – Shahensha Khan Aug 27 '16 at 8:38
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    Curiously, how many publications resulted from the research and at what impact factor? – Nikey Mike Aug 27 '16 at 9:19
  • Yes, and being admitted into a second PhD and finding funding for it will be an uphill battle. – la femme cosmique Aug 27 '16 at 9:22
  • @Mikey Mike: My previous research ended up in two peer-reviewed journals where I was the 2nd author. Both, low impact factor and only a handful of independent citations. The project was not a successful one. – PhysicsProf Aug 28 '16 at 16:11
  • @Shahensha Khan, you might be surprised to hear this but a job is not an important factor in my situation! – PhysicsProf Aug 28 '16 at 16:13
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A second Ph.D. is generally a bad idea, as noted elsewhere in other answers.

Instead, there are several other paths that you can pursue to get back into research, depending on your goals. The main ones that I would think of are: getting a postdoc, joining a lab as research staff, or joining an industrial lab. All of these will lead you back into research in some form or other, thought probably not your same line of research that you were working on in your Ph.D.

You've got a gap on your CV, but not an unusually large one, so I don't think that needs to be a major barrier. More concerning is the fact that you don't seem to have a professional network: the thing that you want from your old advisor is not for them to hire you, but for them to connect you with other different professors or industrial folks who might be interested in hiring you. Going to conferences in your field is another good opportunity for networking, but it will be more effective if you can get help from your advisor or other professors who you have gotten to know during your doctoral program.

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    To add to this answer (which I second), there are opportunities of post-docs that explicitly take into account interruptions in research. For example, the European "Marie Sklodowska Curie" fellowship have as a target people who want to reintegrate research after a leave (e.g. parental leave). – Benoît Kloeckner Aug 27 '16 at 12:17
  • This is a good answer. Also write to any of your committee members and ask them if they know of a good postdoc position. And reconnect with old lab members (especially former postdocs) and ask them if there are any postdoc positions open where they are. I think you need to not only submit your CV for these positions, you also need to have someone put in a good word for you. – Dawn Aug 28 '16 at 1:52
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The time you will spend in second phd will be far much greater then finding a job. Phd will require your 3 more years minimum while job hunting might not take much time.if not in states try dubai, oman or other gulf countries where you can have your free medicle, free accomodation, free air travel and other facilities along woth awesome salaries. In my opinion second phd doesnt add any experience to your skills as you have done one already you know the research work. Just pay attention to job hunting.

  • Thank you for the reply! Frankly at this point I am not that concerned about finding a job after the second Ph.D. – PhysicsProf Aug 28 '16 at 16:17

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