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?