Is it possible to pursue a PhD in an unrelated field?

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cloningsheep
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Hi all,

As the title says, is this at all feasible? I'm studying a science at the moment but am thinking about possibly doing a PhD in linguistics. Do you think this is possible? Or do you think the difference is too large to be able to cope?


Also, how does the funding for linguistics compare to the STEM subjects?
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c2uk
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(Original post by cloningsheep)
Hi all,

As the title says, is this at all feasible? I'm studying a science at the moment but am thinking about possibly doing a PhD in linguistics. Do you think this is possible? Or do you think the difference is too large to be able to cope?


Also, how does the funding for linguistics compare to the STEM subjects?
Straight from a UG degree in a STEM subject to Linguistics PhD is pretty much impossible. You wouldn't only have not sufficient subject knowledge, but also lack knowledge about how research in this area is conducted.

You may have a chance at getting into a masters, best is if you approach a university directly about this and find out.

With regards to funding, generally speaking STEM > arts. For STEM you're looking at a lot more potential funding sources (not you but the university) that they can then feed through to PhD. Also, in STEM you're looking at well defined projects from a supervisor, in linguistics you've got to come up with your own research project, writing a research proposal (ca. 3000 words that include literature review, identification of knowledge gap, methodology)
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poohat
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You will almost certainly have to do an (unfunded) Masters first but no, it isnt impossible.
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punctuation
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As someone from a science (psychology) that did three weeks of a linguistics course, I can tell you it will be quite difficult unless you've had prior classes. I'm not sure if you mean theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics or actually modern languages. In the case of theoretical linguistics you definitely need some prior teaching to be able to understand phd-level problems. If you're really keen on going into linguistics as an academic career, you should train up as others have said on an unfunded master's - that way you have the knowledge to pick and land a really interesting PhD project.

Instead, if you jump into linguistics with no prior knowledge, you might get in at an average university with a really simple problem, but where's that going to get you after that? Kind of harsh but true.

As for funding, linguistics I'm guessing is much worse, although again I don't know which linguistics you mean. If it's closer to the sciences (psycholinguistics, speech pathology, etc.) you might have a better chance than modern languages.
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returnmigrant
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Linguistics is a highly specialist area. Its isnt something you can 'switch into' without any previous experience of that or even a related area. To do research in an area you need HIGH LEVEL knowledge that area not just a passing interest. And you certainly won't be able to do a Linguistics PhD without a relevant Masters.

There are also various different 'sorts' of linguistics - Clinical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Forensic Linguistics, Linguistics and Education etc etc - this another reason for doing a Masters, so that you actually work out precisely what you want to research and WHY.

What sort of job are you aiming at here?
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