Must I have a particular passion before starting a PhD?


Hi all, I'm hoping to start a PhD (or EngD) after I complete my taught Masters. I am certain I want to do a PhD but concerned about expected focus. I am currently interested in all areas of Renewable Energy (my Masters is focused on this) and would be happy to research/work in any sub area of this.

Should I be narrowing my focus/interest BEFORE applying for PhDs or is it OK to have a wide interest and perhaps be seen as an open adaptable "research tool" that is applied to a specific area once I start the PhD?

Any advice gratefully received.


Your focus in your PhD doesn't really matter, you can keep it or you can apply to skills you learnt in it to another topic. I would just apply for things at this stage and wouldn't worry too much about focus, because you never know what you are going to end up getting anyway,


I agree with ToL. It is a good thing to have a wide interest at this stage as it will mean more things are potentially relevant when you are searching for opportunities. As long as you are able to show real enthusiasm for whatever it is you are applying for.

Avatar for Pjlu

The only qualifications I would make to the advice given, is to pass on advice given to me by my past and present supervisors. If you do find you have a genuine passion or strong interest in a specific focus then this absorbing interest can often help sustain you through the difficult periods that come up throughout the PhD. And, while you may begin with the broad outlook, you will need to be thinking about the gaps in the research or an interesting problem or event you wish to explore, so starting to think (even in very sketchy sorts of ways) about this might assist you in finding a focus if you need to write a proposal or application.