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What should I tell to POI


niketon
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I got admission for phd in civil engineering (environmental engineering concentration) in a university that ranked around 30 in my field. i have contacted my POI before applying and he encouraged me to apply saying that he is looking for students. I contacted him again after getting admission. Two weeks later he emailed me back and told me that he is considering me for a project and asked about my interest on the project. The professor also wrote that he has other projects but the funding decision is pending. I am now confused about what to tell him. Although i am very much interested to attend the university, the project topic is about computational biology which is not related with my research interest (water treatment). Now if i tell him that i am interested to work on the project, does it mean that i have to work on this topic for my phd dissertation? 

Edited by niketon
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Yes, if you tell him you are interested in this project, then he will expect you to want to work on it.

 

Basically, your POI is asking if you want to work on this funded project. If you say yes, then you get the security of knowing your project has the funding necessary to succeed. As you said, there are other projects in mind but they are not yet funded--you can ask him to tell you about these projects and decide if it's worth the risk.

 

It's common for students to have one research interest when applying to schools and then get offers to work on projects that are not the same. It's up to you if you want to change your research interest or go to another school/POI that matches your interest better. 

 

You can also talk to your POI saying that you would prefer working on water treatment and if there are any opportunities in that as well? Or you can decide to switch to computational biology.

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Thank you for your reply. I am actually tensed about job opportunity if i change my research interest into computational biology. I have found that most academic and non academic jobs in environmental engineering requires knowledge on water treatment, water quality etc. I am tensed that if i work on computational biology, it may reduce my possibility to get job in environmental engineering...

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