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Changing PhD topic after acceptance?


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Hello,

I am in the process of applying to PhD schools for Communication Studies (and other similar programs). I am interested in 2 topics. One is ready as a statement of interest and it is what my current professors who are writing me reference letters know me a bit more through: related to Middle East social media, has one gender aspect. And another that I wrote on previously and is a strong passion of mine but not ready as a statement of intent yet: totally women and gender media focused.

My concern is that I feel more attached to the second topic but I am not quite ready to write a statement of intent about. I feel like I am deceiving the schools when I apply with the first one and I have full intention of changing to the second topic once accepted. Plus, I see now that some of the schools I am applying to have the option of a minor or joint program in gender and I feel I will be loosing a strengethening point in my application. Even though I know I can add that in the firsr or second year later.

I need advice from those who have been there. Would you advice me to keep it this way and apply and change later? or should I try my best to write a new statement of intent with the new topic of passion? Also, I applied to SSHRC using the first topic.

This is sort of venting more than a question, I know. But any advice or similar experience would be appreciated as I did not submit my applications yet.

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Cool research areas!!!

It's actually good to have something on your statement of purpose/interest that you would like to pursue new areas of study, as long as you think the program you are applying to has professors that can support you in that area. Plus, its not like this two areas are completely different, you are clearly interested in media and so you can tie your past research experience with what you would like to continue to do. Plus as a PhD student, you don't want to just study one thing and so you can propose having these two areas of media research.

As for your other question about changing diss topics after acceptance...again will depend on the program. In my program for instance, I am not even allowed to choose my adviser (even though I know who I would like to work with) until the 2nd semester of my first year because they want me to explore new areas and get to know myself as a scholar.

A lot of students change their minds when getting in a program and so this is normal. As long as you don't change your complete area (although this is also not a bad thing either!) you will be fine.

Students that come into programs only wanting to study one thing and come out with that same thing are actually disadvantaged in my opinion =).

good luck!

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Yoshiko,

Thanks a lot for your reply. It is so comforting to hear this. I guess I will hint at my other interest at some point in my intent letter. As to professors, I started communicating with a few and there are ones in both areas almost in all of the schools I am applying to. I agree with you regarding having variety of inetersts, I just was worried and wanted to have confirmation of some sorts ;)

Thank you for your nice words about my research areas too...

Good luck in your studies...

Best,

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