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Changing Research Area while in Ph.D program


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Hello all,

If I get into a Ph.D in English Literature program, how important is it for me to keep my original research topic or field of study that I indicate during my applications? Does anyone have experience changing their topics during their program? I feel like I am unsure of myself and worried that changing my research plan will hinder me. Any advice or suggestions? Should I make sure the school in question has other areas of English that might interest me? Is it possible to change interests while doing coursework as well?

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No takes you for what you say in the personal statement. The application is you (usually) coming out from college so it doesn't make sense that you would keep the same questions. I know plenty of people who changed their themes and/or came in with no idea whatsoever. 

However, you mentioned changing "research area," "research topic," and "field of study." Could you clarify?

To me, these are completely different things, so maybe you could clarify what you are referring to? Re: I understand field as "Latin American Studies," research area as "Latin America," and theme "gender and sexuality in Afro-Latin America." See the difference? I think it's ok to change the later and I have even see people glide from African Studies to Afro-Latin America, but I've never seen the first because it would probably mean you need to re-apply to a program. 


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English departments actually fully expect your research interests to change and develop. This is the purpose of dedicating the first few years to coursework. Even if you decide to change literary time periods I don't think this would cause much of an issue tbh? I personally wouldn't worry about it. But it would probably be useful to apply to schools that have various areas of interest for you if this is something you're already concerned about.

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Yes, I guess I mean that I may be free to work around different English Literature time periods or approaches a program offers; for instance, moving from Medieval to say Renaissance or so forth.


Thank you very much, I think that is something to keep in mind; programs that can serve different interests of mine should they change.

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