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does it matter which department to do PhD?

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does it matter which department to do PhD?

Postby YAG » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:52 am

My professor is in chemical engineering, but can also take students from materials or chemistry. I got in through chemistry, even though i did my undergrad in chem eng. the research will be the same, and I already have an engineering BS, and have worked as an engineer. Is it worthwhile to try to switch to an engineering PhD department, to help with job seeking later on?
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Re: does it matter which department to do PhD?

Postby Ana » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:24 am

The specific topic of your PhD and your results (publications, patents) will be much more important than then name of your department. Your PhD PI will be one of the people with most impact on your career so choose wisely.
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Re: does it matter which department to do PhD?

Postby Rich Lemert » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:20 am

To echo Ana, the nature of your research will be more important than which department 'sponsored' it. If you look at who's on the faculty at most large chemical engineering departments, you'll see many professors with a chemistry degree.

The only place where this might be a problem is if you were to apply for a faculty position at a smaller chemical engineering department. These need everyone to be able to teach the core undergraduate curriculum, but since you already have the engineering background this will not be a problem for you.
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Re: does it matter which department to do PhD?

Postby YAG » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:49 pm

thanks for the tip.

one other reason to switch is my current PI is the only one in that department doing research in my desired field of research. In the materials department, there are many. I've contemplated getting coadvised, in order to get access to more expertise and potential collaborations. My PI is pretty easy going, so I don't think PI power conflicts would be an issue. It's just a thought. I might reach out to some of these PI's to see what their take is on co-advising.
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