Suppose you have done work in two subfields of a main field, and have a keen interest in both of them. Some examples might be,

  1. Main field: Physics, Subfields: Experimental Quantum Optics and Condensed Matter Theory
  2. Main field: English, Subfields: American Literature and Medieval Studies/Literature
  3. Main field: Mathematics, Subfields: Topology and Numerical Analysis

Is it a bad idea to apply to some programs in one subfield and some programs in the other subfield? I’m faced with this dilemma, and my hope is to choose which subfield to go into based on my acceptance offers.

Or is it better to just buckle down and only apply for programs in one subfield? Certainly that would make you more focused, and thus more desirable as a candidate (and also more focused as a researcher).

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