78

As most of the comments already say, doing a second PhD is probably not a good use of your time and not very helpful. From an industry perspective you have a math PhD, that means you are very smart and can learn anything, especially any maths very quickly. Learning some statistics or machine learning can be very helpful for an industry career but there is no ...


48

Your professors are in essence, trying to help. They think that their letters would not carry enough weight to help you. They may be thinking about if they'd admit a student from a different field whose letter-writers said nothing about their chemistry experience (and apparently deciding they would not). Professor's time is valuable, and they don't want to ...


45

A major part of doing a PhD is learning how to do research and handle working on problems which sit on the edge of what is known. You've done that already. Doing it a second time is unnecessary, expensive and time consuming. If you've been doing aerospace engineering then you almost certainly have the necessary calculus under your belt already. And if you ...


30

I would not tell anyone anything until you have accepted the position (ideally with a signed contract). Leaving a position on short notice leaves your colleagues in a bind to cover your teaching and leaves your graduate students (and possibly lab personnel) at risk. If you are given an offer, you may be able to negotiate solutions to these problems (or the ...


28

Graduate programs care far more about your background and preparation than about which field is listed on your degree. Even if the application requirements list a degree in X as a prerequisite, the department will very likely make an exception if you have a degree in another field but can demonstrate that your background is equivalent. How likely this is ...


28

I think it's quite misleading to hold up examples of very talented mathematicians or mathematicians from the distant past. The answer depends heavily on the field you want to switch into, hold closely related it is to the field you wrote your dissertation in, and how talented and hard-working you are. In the most classical, long-established subfields of ...


27

If you want to do the doctorate, then just do it. Never mind about the rest. While a few people might question the time, I think most realize that there are a lot of reasons that it can take longer than expected. Everything from funding to supervisor issues, to health reasons. Changing universities or programs. It is what it is. There are so many more ...


26

Difficult times occur. This is normal. Unless you did something foolish that caused your failure (and nothing indicates you did), there is no reason to feel regret. You cannot control everything in your life. Whoever does not attempt anything, does not fail; people of action fail regularly. Failure is a central part of life, and there is no reason to ...


24

There is one piece of advice that seems particularly important to give: do whatever is needed to enjoy working on your PhD. You won't go very far if stress and pressure is all that gets you going, and the probability of getting an academic job after even a very good PhD is too thin to go into PhD without enjoying the PhD years by themselves. Of course you ...


20

No formal credential is required for scientific publication in any discipline. What is required is good work, presented well in a context in which the reviewers can understand your results and their significance to the community with which you are communicating. That often strongly correlates with having a Ph.D. in the discipline in which you are ...


18

Unfortunately, no, it's not so easy to change PhD programs. It isn't like changing your undergrad major, where you just have to fill out some forms and get your advisors to sign off. At the graduate level, each department does its own admissions. So if you are in a mechanical engineering program and want to switch to applied math, you have to submit an ...


16

In mathematics in particular, the question that search committees will have about you is your willingness and ability to teach a variety of undergraduate mathematics courses. If you have significant experience teaching main stream undergraduate mathematics courses, then you should make sure to highlight this in your application. If you have no such ...


16

I would like to add to the other answers the fact that the ease with which you can jump to a different field in graduate school depends on the nature of your new field. One factor to consider is how interdisciplinary your new field is. Some traditional fields, such as mathematics, physics, and to a lesser extent chemistry, have a fairly strict hierarchy in ...


16

With programming you can make a contribution to virtually any industry. There's always a need for better, faster, smarter software that allows industry workers to get ahead of competitors and make the work day more efficient. There's also always a need for open domain software which, if created well, almost always gets a huge community such as GIMP. As ...


15

It depends on the country. In the US, it is frequent that students go from undergrad right into their PhD. While there, some do get a Master's, but as a side effect of coursework for the Ph.D. Though, I myself did get a Master's first. I believe it is more common in Europe to get a Master's first due to the shortened Ph.D. process there.


15

Maybe you do not know what an undergraduate degree at an American university means. You do not study, say, philosophy, you "major" in it. Depending on the university and your own choices, you may take anywhere between 1/3 and 2/3 of your courses in the area. You will also be taking basic courses on writing, social sciences, very broad courses in the ...


14

My advice is the same as Nate Eldredge's, but let me make a few points. I am certain about my desire to pursue advanced studies. However, I have serious doubts in what I want to pursue my studies on. To be very honest, for me the second sentence largely nullifies the first. Wanting to pursue a PhD in the abstract is a poor idea. In order to get any ...


14

Do not say: "I did engineering undergraduate because my parents made me." Why? Because you are applying for graduate school. The admissions committee wants to see adults. Referring to your parents (at all) makes it seem like you are not independent -- that your parents run your life. Whether or not they do, it does not benefit you to give such an ...


13

Yes, definitely Of course you can! The specific subfield is mostly limited by (a) your interests; (b) availability of a suitable supervisor who knows that field, and possibly (c) availability of funding/equipment/etc for that research direction. It may be that a particular university/department doesn't accept your chosen direction (e.g. they don't have the ...


13

In my experience, nonstandard paths like what you propose are initially viewed with surprise, and with varying degrees of suspicion. That includes admission committees, potential supervisors, fellow students, etc. However, that comes from uncertainty and unfamiliarity and can be shaped by the narrative you supply, and how you follow through. Basically, ...


12

I believe that career changes and "reinventions" are a regular part of modern careers in highly specialized fields. Very few people will be able to work in a single domain for their entire careers, and the ability to move laterally between "adjacent" fields will be a critical skill enabling one to have greater chances and opportunities for success. Now, ...


12

Take a look at Is it easy to change your major after starting your PhD or masters, if it is necessary?, which is somewhat similar. In particular, unfortunately, it sounds like your current mathematics background is very far from what would be needed to enter a math PhD program - it's maybe 1/4 of the coursework that would be expected. You would need to ...


12

The two fields are very close together. (Both are essentially different types of applied psychology.) There isn't really even a point in going back to school for this. Just learn the stuff and practice it. Once you have a Ph.D. in one field you can practice others. Even ones that are more different like biology and physics.


12

My background for context: BSc Mathematics, MSc Applied Mathematics, PhD Mathematical Modelling in Electrophysiology, Postdoc Biomedical statistician in gastroenterology but I avoided statistics like the plague right up to the end of my PhD. I found switching fields overall a hugely beneficial experience, although not without its drawbacks. Pros: You learn ...


12

From your question and comments it seems that there are two distinct issues: Finding a good industry job with your profile: since you mention statistics I assume that you are looking at jobs in the area of data science. There is so much demand in this area that you don't even need a formal diploma, you could just teach yourself and acquire some experience ...


11

There are students with math major (and other major) go to physics graduate school, but I think all of them have taken physics courses. The first question you should ask yourself is that why you are interested in theoretical physics. If you were the admission committee and see an applicant said that they are interested in physics but taken no physics courses,...


11

You can definitely apply in a different field than your undergraduate. Some major fields of research don't even exist as undergraduate majors in most colleges (e.g., neuroscience), so it's understood that many students will come from different backgrounds. The more similar your major is to the new topic, the easier the learning curve. If your major is ...


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