Switching field of study at the graduate level - Questions and Answers - The GradCafe Forums
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Switching field of study at the graduate level


Adelaide9216

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I don't mean switching major during the course of a diploma. I mean changing fields from one diploma to another (for i.e having a BSW Bachelor's degree and then switching to Criminology for graduate studies, etc.) 

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Most of the pros would include areas of familiarity- assuming your bachelors is in the same field? The cons would be more associated with the unknown aspect of things. However, if you're going to devote the rest of your life, or a considerable amount of time studying something then you might as well do something you're passionate about; and/or want to study. It can be a risky decision to change at this level; but it might turn out to be rewarding.

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I can't talk from personal experience, but I don't see any major issue in switching for another field (especially social work --> criminology). I met many students pursuing a master in criminology who held a bachelor degree in psychology, social work, chemistry (!), etc. In my opinion, the biggest con is that you might have to take extra classes, which might delay your graduation. But I think that being able to use knowledge/theories from other fields is expected in grad school (especially at the doctoral level, but also at the master level), which could turn out as an asset for someone who studied in another field. 

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Thank you all for your answers.

I was also wondering, when at the graduate level (MA or PhD), how can we chose the best major that fits one's research topic if the subject touches upon many different fields of studies? 

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22 hours ago, Adelaide9216 said:

I was also wondering, when at the graduate level (MA or PhD), how can we chose the best major that fits one's research topic if the subject touches upon many different fields of studies? 

Do you have any idea about the kind of job you would like to have after you graduate ? I think that looking at the usual requirements for these jobs would be a good start.

If you want to stay in the academics/research, I think you should question yourself about what you are really passionated about. What are your principal interests ? What field usually study the questions that you are interested in ? 

(P.S. If you would like to know more about criminology studies, feel free to PM me)

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Yes, I would like to combine mental health recovery, social determinants of mental health, feminism, race studies and criminalization all together in one topic. I have written down a few ideas of topics that could touch upon all these big fields, but am still unsure which program would fit these topics best (sociology? social work? criminology? interdisciplinary applied human sciences?).

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17 hours ago, Adelaide9216 said:

Yes, I would like to combine mental health recovery, social determinants of mental health, feminism, race studies and criminalization all together in one topic. I have written down a few ideas of topics that could touch upon all these big fields, but am still unsure which program would fit these topics best (sociology? social work? criminology? interdisciplinary applied human sciences?).

Research is increasingly multidisciplinary, perhaps especially in applied disciplines. I'll be attending an engineering program even though my academic background is in experimental psychology because my interests are a good fit with my PIs research. Look for professors who's research aligns with your interests and contact them. If you think the connection is a good match and the professor encourages you to apply after reviewing your background, apply regardless of the official degree title or department.

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