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I'm almost 28. I have two bachelors degrees, all from the UK. One in Computing and the other in Electrical & Electronics Engineering. My area of interest is nonlinear dynamics/chaos and complex systems. I have an offer to start my PhD now and I expect to finish by the time I'm 31. (This is at a top 10-15 uni, depending on which ranking). Does this make me too old?

Also I feel like I will really benefit from an Masters in mathematics which could lengthen this by 1-2 years (32-33). My supervisor thinks I should just take the PhD but I am leaning towards the maths masters. My research area will involve fractal measure theory and algebraic topology (group homology), and I feel I need a more solid background than diving into 3 years of research.


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closed as off topic by Andrés E. Caicedo, Andy Putman, S. Carnahan Jun 29 '11 at 3:19

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If you die when you're 32, then 33 is too old to get a Ph.D. Otherwise, no problem. – Michael Hardy Jun 29 '11 at 1:01
That's fairly hilarious. If I were 25 I wouldn't think twice. But I'm nearly 28! – Me we Jun 29 '11 at 1:19
This should be community-wiki. – Joel Reyes Noche Jun 29 '11 at 2:41
We've already had plenty of questions about age and PhDs here. This one doesn't look substantially different, except that you aren't looking for a math PhD. This makes us even less qualified to answer your question. – S. Carnahan Jun 29 '11 at 3:23

Just based on your current degrees, even if you took a lot of mathematics classes at the undergraduate level, I can't imagine jumping straight into the PhD research process to be a good plan. Two years of graduate math (in the form of a masters) would do you a world of good.

However, this is based on my own experience, which all takes place in the US. Education might be extremely different in the UK. I do find it difficult to believe that, even if your degrees were in Mathematics, you would be ready, right now, to jump into doctoral research.

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Hi Richard. Thanks for the reply. I guess I should've mentioned my PhD would have been in the Engineering department rather than maths. For my engineering project/dissertation I worked on an area of original research in evolutionary optimization and in self-assembly. As these areas benefit greatly from background in mathematics, and as my core interest is in Complex Systems I felt it will be useful to build the background through a masters in mathematics before turning to a phd in complex systems. I have considered but don't intend to do a PhD in mathematics as I think that is too difficult. – Me we Jun 29 '11 at 1:15
"PhD in mathematics" in this case refers to pure maths. I intend to find some happy medium between mathematics and the physical. – Me we Jun 29 '11 at 1:21
@Me we, please edit your question above to explicitly state that your planned PhD is not in mathematics. – Joel Reyes Noche Jun 29 '11 at 2:40

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