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Supervisor or Program?!


nushi
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Hey everybody,,,

While searching for universities & PhD programs to apply to - I search 1st for professors & then check up their universities -; I found a professor whose really like my dream supervisors, because his interests & papers exactly match the topic I want to research (which is interdisciplinary & I find very few professors with similar interests! :huh: ).

But the university only offers PhD programs in specializations not much relevant to what I want (family science & human development, counseling, teacher education & development) - while I want to specialize in big history & cliodynamics, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, human evolution...

So what's more important the supervisor or the program I apply to?!!

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You need academic knowledge and professional training in any field you need to work in. If the program is nonsensical to your goals, that's a problem. Maybe set up a meeting with the school to discuss your concern and see what their options are.

I know a lot of students who went to the program of their dreams but had an lead or co-advisor at a different institution. You may want to look into that as well.  

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You may want to consider reaching out to the potential advisor as well. I reached out last year to an advisor whose interests closely matched my own and is well-known in my field. They told me they'd love to work with me, but no one else in the program does our kind of stuff so there was no point applying there. Then they gave me a list of programs to check out that were more embracing of my research interests and goals (note: I did not request that they do this, but thanked them after they did). Bottom line, the professor will be able to tell you if it's a waste of time applying or if their program is a good fit despite what the (potentially outdated) website might say. 

Also look at the dissertations from recent graduates of the program. See if any of them are doing research that aligns with your interests. 

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Thank you Kita & GreenEyedTrombonist :-) Your advice are very valuable. Yes, I have to ask the program if it is possible to seek an advisor with similar research interests from another faculty. Besides, contacting the advisor himself, of course, & hoping he might provide me with more detailed information about whether it's a waste of time to apply to the program where he's appointed or not...

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