Changing research area after PhD


I have an interview for a PhD in microbiology soon. I am interested in the topic but I'm not sure that I want to commit to that area of microbiology forever. I was wondering how possible it is to change topic after a PhD if you don't feel it is right for you. No hate please, I'm just feeling a bit stressed at the moment and was looking for some advice from those that have been there. Thanks!

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Yes, it is. You have gained a particular set of skills, skills you have acquired over a long Ph.D. career. Skills that can use to make a large contribution to another lab or research group. Just work out what you have to offer and look around as most postdoc roles are mainly looking for people with the right experience, as to cut down on training time.


Hi Kimberley. What I strongly advise you is to be naturla and very honest in your interview. You can say exactly what you feel. If you like the topic and would like to work for it for 3 years, then go for it. If you just wanna have a PhD to start a career in research, I do not recommend that.


My PhD has moved me into a somewhat different area to what I was working in previously. My intention is to stay working in this new area, however I spoke to many people, including people in industry and academia about whether or not it would affect me returning to my old work area should I a) wish to or b) have to due to job availability. Pretty much everyone said that it wouldn't be an issue because the skills I'd learn would be transferable. I think if after the PhD you decide you want to move areas it wouldn't be a problem.


I found the opposite. My phd was in lcms and I went on to do proteomics but jobs have seemed more limited to this area although to me it's what I want, I would caution that a shift without experience can be difficult.


kikothedog is right that it can be difficult but it is a very common thing to do. People change their research focus all the time.