Jump to content

Ecology/Conservation: Picking a topic


Recommended Posts

Hi there,

I'm planning to apply to PhD programs in ecology/conservation for Fall 2012. I've done research (jobs, MSc, undergrad) involving a VERY broad group of organisms and topics, and enjoyed it all. The problem I'm hoping for some advice/input on is therefore how to decide what to do the PhD on. I'm acutely aware that what I pick will be a long-term commitment, though not a "forever" set-in-stone topic for all of eternity.

I could continue/extend what I did for the MSc but that seems like it would limit my opportunity to broaden who and what I know, or I could start fresh.

Who out there, particularly folks in ecology/environmental programs, switched fields or sub-fields between Masters and PhD programs? How much did you know about the PhD field when you applied (i.e., enough to form concrete research questions in the application, or just enough to know it was interesting to you)?

Many thanks for sharing, I'm struggling quite a bit with this.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would go with what's interesting to you. I think that ecology and conservation are by definition broad and interdisciplinary topics. It's hard to really focus completely as there are a variety of organisms and environments at hand for any particular problem.

So I say go! Explore! Learn something new and broaden your horizons! Your PhD will take a long time so make sure that you're studying something that you are very passionate about.

I am a fungal ecology person (or so I like to think) and although I'll be sticking with fungi, I'm moving to a cool new system for my PhD. I still have no idea what my research question will be but I find the general topic that I will working on totally fascinating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on my experience, I would say don't stray too far from your current research experience. I tried to do something different in grad school from my undergrad research and failed- no advisor would accept me. I ended up finding an advisor whose work was more similar to my undergrad work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.