Take the 2-minute tour ×
MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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.

Cheers

share|improve this question
5  
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
    
See the answers at mathoverflow.net/questions/59999/starting-phd-at-the-age-of-25. –  Henry Cohn Jun 29 '11 at 1:03
    
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
2  
This should be community-wiki. –  Joel Reyes Noche Jun 29 '11 at 2:41
5  
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
show 1 more comment

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

Questions on MathOverflow are expected to relate to research level mathematics within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

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.

share|improve this answer
    
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
1  
@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
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.