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Before long, the research interests of the faculty members at the university I am at will be expressed to us with regards to MSc dissertation ideas. (I am in the computer science department at a British university.) At this point it will be up to us students to get in touch with those who interest us the most and most likely send them our CVs. The staff will then decide which students they like the most, and invite them to join the team.

This is how it works at my university, and I think most others too.

Of course, I want to maximise two things:

  1. How interesting I find the topic, and

  2. How esteemed the professor is, and how good he/she is in their field, and

  3. How good a supervisor they are.

It is likely that a topic I find most interesting will also be the favoured topic by most other students - that's just basic probability and statistics.

My issue

My CV, as it stands, makes it quite clear that my career interests lie outside of the field of computer science due to the experience that I have in this external field.

Will this make me less likely to get what I want with regards to my MSc dissertation?

The faculty members are all research staff, and would likely be interested in offering exceptional students PhD opportunities. This is probably in fact their goal.

Would they be less likely to accept me onto their team if it is clear that my career interests lie elsewhere, or if it is clear that I will not be doing a PhD afterwards?

Would you suggest that I omit experience such as this from my CV, and instead include further details of my academic experience, which is physics?

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    Peripheral to your question, but you might consider a third criterion there: how good the professor is as a supervisor. Highly-esteemed professors who are legendary in their fields can still be terrible supervisors if they're spread too thin to give adequate contact time, or if they don't have the patience for mere mortals. – Geoffrey Brent Nov 7 '17 at 8:46
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    This will depend on the individual prof, probably. Some like interdisciplinary work and some don't. Some will be really invested in finding PhD students, some are fine getting people for shorter projects. – nengel Nov 7 '17 at 9:46
  • @GeoffreyBrent good point! Edited to reflect my new change in attitude! – ODP Nov 7 '17 at 10:13
  • @nengel Do you think that there is likely to be a supervisor who actively prefers a student who is unlikely to want to do a PhD and go into an unrelated industry? – ODP Nov 7 '17 at 10:14
  • Why do you assume that they will offer you a PhD position? – hh32 Nov 7 '17 at 10:17

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