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> need some suggestions, Is it possible for me to become theoretical neuroscientist by going for another Ph.D?
polly
post Jun 07, 2010, 07:58 PM
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Dear all

Currently I am a Ph.D student in Hearing Science, doing research in physiological signal processings related to auditory perception. I have an idea recently about going for another Ph.D after finishing the current one. The second one I'd like to pursue is theoretical neuroscience, which is put under Applied Math division, since it's mainly about computational modelling of neural representations. Though I am not a math major, I personally believe the two research areas match well. However, I heard people say that it's hard to be offered with a second Ph.D because most likely one of them will be wasted. I actually consider the both are useful, because one is more experiment based while the other is theoretical related. Neuroscience itself is very interdisciplinary. What I plan to do is to study the same issue just from different aspects. I am not sure if this argument looks strong enough.

Another concern is that I am not a math major. I was a Biomedical Engineering major in undergrad. I took several math courses in Math&Physics department before. Now plan to take several graduate level math courses including matrix theory and statistics sequence. Also will for sure take the Math subject test. I don't know if this disadvantage would be less weighted if I do well in Subject test to show that I have the necessarily needed math background.

Someone says what matters is the research ability and matching of research areas. On the other hand, they say it's hard to get offered a second Ph.D. I don't mind spending years for another degree. Actually, I would be excited about it since theoretical neuroscience is the area I have dreamed to learn about. And I know lots of researchers change their research areas from what they did in Ph.D.

I am looking forward to hear suggestions! Thanks a lot!

----
I posted for suggestions in another forum...
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GodConsciousness
post Jun 08, 2010, 05:26 AM
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Would it be possible to find a post-grad position more along the lines of theoretical neuroscience?
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polly
post Jun 08, 2010, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE(GodConsciousness @ Jun 08, 2010, 05:26 AM) *

Would it be possible to find a post-grad position more along the lines of theoretical neuroscience?


thanks a lot for your reply. I thought about it before but still seems that my math background is not solid enough. So I thought about having a degree in math...

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Paul King
post Aug 20, 2010, 02:31 PM
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It's my understanding that one PhD is enough.

However having spent some time around theoretical neuroscience for a while, I can say that it is an extraordinarily mathematical field. A lot of the folks in it are former physicists, and the math equations involved are numerous, complex, and abstract. Linear algebra and theoretical statistics are big components. Also, the field of theoretical neuroscience can be a bit competitive and elitist -- moreso than experimental neuroscience -- with a lot of math machismo in the culture.

On the positive side, there is nothing to stop you from incorporating theoretical models into your work, for example by collaborating with a theoretical neuroscience person until enough of it rubs off to do your own theoretical work. The theoretical people love collaborating with experimentalists, since experimental data carries much more publication clout than a theoretical idea. And even in the theory world, the less math oriented people collaborate with the more-math-oriented ones because equations are so important for credibility.

I like the post-doc idea.
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Hey Hey
post Aug 20, 2010, 02:46 PM
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Ahhh, to be a perpetual student .....
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lucid_dream
post Aug 21, 2010, 06:01 AM
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i agree with Paul King. I would strongly advise against a 2nd PhD. Once you have one, then many doors are opened and there's no need to get a 2nd. Just find a postdoc in theoretical neurosci.
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Dennis Sedov
post Jul 22, 2013, 05:17 AM
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I'm currently in undergrad in PSY, however theoretical neuroscience is of a great interest to me as well. I'm doing several classes on linear algebra, algorithms and calculus on Coursera right now and plan study math till I get all the requirements for this field.

What is a usual set of math classes that one needs to take for theoretical neuroscience? I'm thinking graph theory is important, what else?
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