I’m a first year PhD student at a university in the USA. Still I haven’t finished my first semester. After I come here, I feel right now, I like a different research field (based on job application and doing empirical research). The problem is that, there is only two professors who do that type of research work in my department. One of the professor doesn’t have a good reputation doing research work and another one’s review is not good (I heard his from previous students. He is very rude sometimes, this scared me a lot). He is very furious if his students can’t satisfy his expectations. Therefore I don’t have wish to work under his supervision.

I have two options right now, 1. changing research field and 2. finding another university related to my research interest.

Please note that I have not taken the first qualifying exam and even my first semester core courses haven’t finished yet. The university gives the MS certificate if anyone satisfies the requirement of MS.

I have received suggestion from one of the PhD student which is: I should take the physics GRE to increase my score and apply this upcoming fall. If I get admission, I can inform the International office that I will leave.

This suggestion didn’t seem good to me because my department may take this in negative way, as I will require a recommendation letter.

What’s your suggestions in this case? Should I wait more and talk to the professors after my qualifying exam regarding my research interest.

I’m a first year PhD student at a university in the USA. Still I haven’t finished my first semester. After I come here, I feel right now, I like a different research field (based on job application and doing empirical research). The problem is that, there is only two professors who do that type of research work in my department. One of the professor doesn’t have a good reputation doing research work and another one’s review is not good (I heard his from previous students. He is very rude sometimes, this scared me a lot). He is very furious if his students can’t satisfy his expectations. Therefore I don’t have wish to work under his supervision.

I have two options right now, 1. changing research field and 2. finding another university related to my research interest.

Please note that I have not taken the first qualifying exam and even my first semester core courses haven’t finished yet. The university gives the MS certificate if anyone satisfies the requirement of MS.

I have received suggestion from one of the PhD student which is: I should take the physics GRE to increase my score and apply this upcoming fall. If I get admission, I can inform the International office that I will leave.

This suggestion didn’t seem good to me because my department may take this in negative way, as I will require a recommendation letter.

What’s your suggestions in this case? Should I wait more and talk to the professors after my qualifying exam regarding my research interest.

Quick background: I’ll be applying for PhD programs and most likely want to study theoretical condensed matter (though I’m open to other theoretical and mathematical fields). I find experimental physics alright, but it really doesn’t excite me.

I’ve heard that I should apply as if I’m pursuing an experimental physics track, though, because it’s less competitive, and then transition towards a theory group once admitted. Is this sound advice? It came from a rather respected source. Still, I am wary about misrepresenting myself and also concerned about getting stuck in a path that I don’t intend to be in.

Any insight into how admission committees handle the experimental/theory dichotomy would also be appreciated. Thanks.

Additional Info: I’m applying within the US as a citizen. I’m finishing a MS in physics at the moment.

I’m an undergraduate mechanical engineering student. Last semester I took computational fluid mechanics. I liked it and having prior interest in physics I thought maybe I could continue my studies in Computational Physics. What should I start? How influential Computational Physics?