I am a 2nd year international PhD student in a mid-tier US university. 1 year ago I would have stayed in my undergrad uni and do an MPhil before applying for a PhD but I chose this uni because it had a good number of choices of HEP-th/-ph faculty.
In the past summer I worked on a pheno project, which was my first project in grad school (was taking courses in first year). I enjoyed working with my adviser, but partly because it is programming-based, so are many research in pheno in general, I feel a mismatch of project nature and my ability. (Programming is always my worst part, and I never enjoy coding.)
I have a strong sense that I want to switch to theory and do more analytic work. So I approached the theory faculty I was interested in working when I applied 2 years ago but was told that he was leaving the dept permanently. There is a good chance that other theory groups are not taking new students, so I may not be able to switch to theory and end up continuing to do pheno
I am considering transferring to another uni (of slightly higher ranking) with more theory people available, but not sure if the above will constitute legitimate reasons for this. I took QFT1&2 and did well and am reading string theory, if only these help...
Sounds like a joke trying to transfer to the most competitive field in physics... Really puzzled right now. Needing advice Thanks!
P.S. My dept offers terminal MS. I didn't publish (I just had my first project in grad school in summer, didn't go very well).