PhD Bad First Month- Thinking About Quitting

  • As many already know, studying for the physics GRE and getting accepted into a graduate program is not the final hurdle in your physics career.
  • There are many issues current physics graduate students face such as studying for their qualifier, deciding upon a field of research, choosing an advisor, being an effective teaching assistant, trying to have a social life, navigating department politics, dealing with stress, utilizing financial aid, etc.

delbaham
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:33 pm

PhD Bad First Month- Thinking About Quitting

Postby delbaham » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:05 pm

Hello, I am a student in a top 10 engineering Ph.D program (Undergrad in Physics). After arriving at my current program a month ago, All of my professors of interest were not willing to take me in and I was given the option to work with someone else whose research area does not interest me. Right now I am the only PhD student in the program without an advisor and feeling left-out which is really depressing and demotivating. Given the bad introductory and the self-dought I had before starting the program, I am thinking about switching to a thesis-based masters program and see if Ph.D is really for me. Therefore, I was wondering if I quit right now and apply to the thesis masters program somewhere else will having quitted a PhD program hurt my chances into getting in a Masters program? My undergrad GPA is solid (>3.8 )and I have done undergraduate research (though a second recommendation from UG research advisor is not likely). My transcript in the current program will indicate that I have withdrawn from the program but will only show 0 credits.

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Nishikata
Posts: 131
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:37 am

Re: PhD Bad First Month- Thinking About Quitting

Postby Nishikata » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:05 pm

I feel you, man.

I would suggest a different path, though.
Rather than applying to another institution, how about quitting your PhD program at your current institution with a master's degree?

I thought in the US, there are many programs that offer MS/MA en route to PhD, i.e. after you get all your credits from courses. Usually in 1-2 years.
Since the objective is now to get a Masters, who your supervisor is for these two years won't be as significant as if you're aiming for a doctorate.
You still need to write a MS thesis under the lab's research area and this new area might not excite you, but I think it is an acceptable way out.

Who knows, after 2 years, the new area might be your favorite area and then you can just continue on. If it doesn't work out, you quit with your masters.

delbaham
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: PhD Bad First Month- Thinking About Quitting

Postby delbaham » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:09 pm

I have disclosed my intentions with the program and was only offered a self-funded none-thesis master which I believe will harm my chances if I decided to do PhD in good programs in the future.

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Nishikata
Posts: 131
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:37 am

Re: PhD Bad First Month- Thinking About Quitting

Postby Nishikata » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:35 pm

Oh, so is it too late?

Can you still talk with the professors outside of your interest, to somehow try it out for 2 years thesis and continue if it goes well?




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