Mentioning professors in other departments

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SamBam77
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:03 pm

Mentioning professors in other departments

Postby SamBam77 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:26 pm

I am looking over the lists of faculty and their research projects at potential graduate schools which I am considering applying to. I wish to mention a few of these professors, whose projects interest me the most, in my personal statement.

How does it sound if some of these professors I mention are in different departments than the one I am applying to? For example, I am applying to the Physics department at most schools, but some of the professors I most want to work with are in Applied Physics, but I cannot apply to both departments.

Will the application evaluation committee care about this? Or will they think to themselves, “If this applicant wants to work with Prof. X so badly, why do they not just apply to the other department instead of ours?” – thus thinking that I am not the best fit for their department.

How much do closely related departments, such as physics applied physics, mix-and-match professors and graduate students? Will expressing interest in other department’s professors hinder one’s application, or perhaps enhance it (?) by showing that one has a good idea of the type of research one wishes to conduct already?

abeboparebop
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:26 am

Re: Mentioning professors in other departments

Postby abeboparebop » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:18 pm

I think it would probably be a good idea if you contacted people in the department directly to see how porous the boundaries between PhD programs are. It's also a good reason to contact the school apart from the application... a way to suck up with a legitimate purpose.

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zxcv
Posts: 402
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:08 pm

Re: Mentioning professors in other departments

Postby zxcv » Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:18 am

I think it depends highly on the school. At Berkeley, for instance, department boundaries are very porous and it is common for grad students to have advisers in other departments (I didn't realize the extent of this when I applied). I mentioned several Berkeley professors whose work I had used as in my research in my statement of purpose who weren't in the physics department and I got in, so clearly it can work sometimes.

SamBam77
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:03 pm

Re: Mentioning professors in other departments

Postby SamBam77 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:01 am

That makes sense that it would highly dependent on department. My best bet would be to contact the department and ask.




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