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Can you do a PhD subject unrelatd to your Masters' field

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    Hi all,

    Lately, I am getting warmed up to the idea of doing a PhD in African History, particularly Horn of Africa. However, the problem is, I have completed my BSc in Computer Science and enrolled to do MSc in Network Security this coming October. So as you can see you, there is no direct relation between my MSc subject and the PhD subject that I am interested in doing.

    The main reason for my enthusiasm to do a PhD in East African History is that it has always been a passion of mine for quite some time. I have recently released a book that I have writen about the history of Somalia and have published dozen articles on East African history online.

    So back to the query, would many universities reject my application for this particular subject considering the discrepancy between my Bachelors/Masters and PhD subject.

    Thanks in advance.
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    Well, the best thing to do would be to find some PhD supervisors who would be offering an African History place and send them an e-mail to find out.
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    (Original post by Jubbas12)
    Hi all,

    Lately, I am getting warmed up to the idea of doing a PhD in African History, particularly Horn of Africa. However, the problem is, I have completed my BSc in Computer Science and enrolled to do MSc in Network Security this coming October. So as you can see you, there is no direct relation between my MSc subject and the PhD subject that I am interested in doing.

    The main reason for my enthusiasm to do a PhD in East African History is that it has always been a passion of mine for quite some time. I have recently released a book that I have writen about the history of Somalia and have published dozen articles on East African history online.

    So back to the query, would many universities reject my application for this particular subject considering the discrepancy between my Bachelors/Masters and PhD subject.

    Thanks in advance.
    I suppose there's nothing technically stopping you, but you've got to convince the supervisor that you would be capable of performing the necessary research in a humanities field rather than a strict science, which requires a pretty different skill set.

    The other problem would be the application itself. They will probably want a 2:1+ in a "related" field to the PhD, so you might be dismissed with your Comp. Sci. degree before they read any of your personal statements etc.

    It might be worth emailing relevant supervisors first asking about it. Mention that you have published work in the field (your book and articles) and see what they say. If they think you can cut it, then they might ask you to formally apply and they can bare in mind your previous degree and not immediately chuck it out.
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    (Original post by Jubbas12)
    Hi all,

    Lately, I am getting warmed up to the idea of doing a PhD in African History, particularly Horn of Africa. However, the problem is, I have completed my BSc in Computer Science and enrolled to do MSc in Network Security this coming October. So as you can see you, there is no direct relation between my MSc subject and the PhD subject that I am interested in doing.

    The main reason for my enthusiasm to do a PhD in East African History is that it has always been a passion of mine for quite some time. I have recently released a book that I have writen about the history of Somalia and have published dozen articles on East African history online.

    So back to the query, would many universities reject my application for this particular subject considering the discrepancy between my Bachelors/Masters and PhD subject.

    Thanks in advance.
    In principle there is no reason why not although it will depend entirely on the precise situation, how close the disciplines are and the extent of the transfer of skills and knowledge potential etc.

    In your case, it would seem that the two subjects are quite disparate but then I don't know the type of methodologies you would use for your research and the type of methodology you used for your masters work so their maybe some common ground there?

    The fact that you have independently undertaken what I assume to be a pretty serious study of the subject is obviously going to be a massive mitigating factor so it is definately worht approaching some academics and showing them your book and articles.
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    (Original post by Jubbas12)
    Hi all,

    Lately, I am getting warmed up to the idea of doing a PhD in African History, particularly Horn of Africa. However, the problem is, I have completed my BSc in Computer Science and enrolled to do MSc in Network Security this coming October. So as you can see you, there is no direct relation between my MSc subject and the PhD subject that I am interested in doing.

    The main reason for my enthusiasm to do a PhD in East African History is that it has always been a passion of mine for quite some time. I have recently released a book that I have writen about the history of Somalia and have published dozen articles on East African history online.

    So back to the query, would many universities reject my application for this particular subject considering the discrepancy between my Bachelors/Masters and PhD subject.

    Thanks in advance.
    I'd imagine most PhD programs require, as standard, an undergraduate or preferably a masters degree in history or a related subject.

    If your articles were peer reviewed and your book was taken up by a publisher, perhaps somewhere would be willing to take you on the basis that these demonstrate equivalent potential, but only potential supervisors could really tell you that.

    In any case I'd imagine you would need to at least do a masters in history first.
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    Why are you about to enroll on a MSc in computer security? If youre really serious about the Africa PhD then it would make more sense to do a related Masters. However afaik the funding for humanities PhDs isnt great so its going to be extremely competitive unless you're prepared to self-finance and I'm not sure what your career options would be afterwards (probably none). I'm not saying you shouldn't follow your dream, just make sure you know what you're getting into.
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    (Original post by gumball)
    I suppose there's nothing technically stopping you, but you've got to convince the supervisor that you would be capable of performing the necessary research in a humanities field rather than a strict science, which requires a pretty different skill set.

    The other problem would be the application itself. They will probably want a 2:1+ in a "related" field to the PhD, so you might be dismissed with your Comp. Sci. degree before they read any of your personal statements etc.

    It might be worth emailing relevant supervisors first asking about it. Mention that you have published work in the field (your book and articles) and see what they say. If they think you can cut it, then they might ask you to formally apply and they can bare in mind your previous degree and not immediately chuck it out.
    This.


    (Original post by Jake22)
    The fact that you have independently undertaken what I assume to be a pretty serious study of the subject is obviously going to be a massive mitigating factor so it is definately worht approaching some academics and showing them your book and articles.

    (Original post by Mbob)
    If your articles were peer reviewed and your book was taken up by a publisher, perhaps somewhere would be willing to take you on the basis that these demonstrate equivalent potential, but only potential supervisors could really tell you that.
    These as well.

    To be honest, I'm impressed that you were able to write a book and published those articles you mentioned. If they are from a leading publisher or have a good degree of credibility, I'm sure you can use that to convince a potential supervisor to supervise you.

    Worst come to worst, they might offer you a place for the PhD but they might ask you to join some of the MA classes. No biggy
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    (Original post by Jubbas12)
    Hi all,

    Lately, I am getting warmed up to the idea of doing a PhD in African History, particularly Horn of Africa. However, the problem is, I have completed my BSc in Computer Science and enrolled to do MSc in Network Security this coming October. So as you can see you, there is no direct relation between my MSc subject and the PhD subject that I am interested in doing.

    The main reason for my enthusiasm to do a PhD in East African History is that it has always been a passion of mine for quite some time. I have recently released a book that I have writen about the history of Somalia and have published dozen articles on East African history online.

    So back to the query, would many universities reject my application for this particular subject considering the discrepancy between my Bachelors/Masters and PhD subject.

    Thanks in advance.
    kka25 hit the nail on the head: the strength of your previous work will determine everything. If you have already produced strong work then your computing background is completely irrelevant. If you are aiming to secure funding then seek out a supervisor and seek out guidance from them about how best to submit an application. It might be the case that they suggest doing, for example, a research masters so that you are eligible for doctoral funding. You have to think of the positives: it would give you a masters degree in the field and it would give you the chance to write another journal article basically.
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    You could do a master's somewhere in between with a thesis paper on something related to your intended PhD area. For instance a master's in quantitative methods for social sciences or applied statistics. It shouldn't be too hard to be admitted with a CS background.

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