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Possibly changing fields?

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:45 pm
by Goldberry
I've been in the same group for all of undergrad. It's been a wonderful experience, I'll have two 1st name papers in solid journals by the time I apply, and I've loved the environment. The PI is well-known, has connections, and will write me a strong rec letter, etc.
The group is a biophysics theory group, though, and that's where all of my experience is. I definitely want to do theory, BUT how do I apply to graduate school making it clear that while I loved that lab, I'm not sure that I want to be in biophysics? I don't want to weaken my app by not having the conviction and interest to continue in my current paths of investigation, but I also want the freedom to try completely different and separate realms.


Re: Possibly changing fields?

Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 4:49 pm
by funnybunny
I'm in a very similar situation. What did you end up doing and how did it turn out? Your response would be incredibly appreciated.

Re: Possibly changing fields?

Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:48 pm
by neutrinos
I know I am not the original poster, but I was in a similar position in undergrad, and things worked out fine for me.

I am currently a first year student studying particle astrophysics, but the vast majority of my research was in planetary sciences and navigational systems for space craft (with the exception of one REU my junior year). However, the skills I learned in my gap year working on lunar landers, were directly applicable to my field of interest because it gave me a ton of coding experience, scientific communication skills, and some hardware work I will be able to apply to detectors.

It can be helpful to have experience in the field you are looking for but it is not the end all be all. However, if you are wanting to switch fields emphasize what skills you learned in your current research experience that would be applicable to other fields as well. Most necessary research skills are transferable to other fields.

I think it can also be helpful to take some classes in the field you are interested in first, so you are at least a little familiar with the background and language used to describe the research you are interested in doing, even if you don't have first hand experience yet.

Re: Possibly changing fields?

Posted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:07 am
by funnybunny
Thank you. This is super helpful.