Tag Archive for 'Ph.D.'

Top 5 Graduate Programs: Microbiology

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms; microbiology includes the fields of virology, mycology, bacteriology, and immunology among other branches. Microbiology plays an important role in many professions, including but not limited to disease research and prevention, general health care, environmental studies, and sanitation. The demand for microbiologists is expected to increase about 13% through 2020, and the median salary for Ph.D.-level microbiologists is $93,800.

Well-known institutions like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Yale, etc. consistently rank at the top of almost every graduate program they offer, and this is no different for Microbiology Ph. D programs as well. However, the fact of the matter is you do not have to attend one of these schools in order to get a great education out of a Masters or Ph.D. program. At “It’s Not GREek!” we want our readers to be aware of not only the important generalities of the field they are considering, but the multitude of options they have when it comes to picking a graduate school. These are some schools, along with the usual suspects, you may not be aware of, but that experts in your field of study certainly are:

1) Harvard

2) Stanford

3) University of Wisconsin – Madison

Madison’s top priority is research training. Their campus encompasses over 80 faculty trainer labs covering a considerable range of scientific questions and approaches. Nearly all careers that Ph.D. microbiologist students may pursue involve teaching, either as a formal component in academia or in industry, government service, and even private foundations. For this reason, UWD focuses on enmeshing teaching and learning.

4) Johns Hopkins University

4) University of California – San Francisco

In addition to having a 21 full-time faculty members, including a former Nobel-Prize winner, on staff, research at UCSF concentrates mostly on areas related to infectious diseases, immunology, and cancer. PIBS has allowed the creation of interdisciplinary graduate curricula rather than limiting students to studies in conventional departments. While the five Ph.D. programs differ in their emphasis and degree requirements, students admitted to any PIBS program can enroll in course work, attend retreats and carry out their thesis studies in any of the 150 labs affiliated with PIBS.

4) Washington University in St. Louis

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis recently made headlines when they received a $5.3 million dollar grant to explore the way gender and age influence in susceptibility in one of the most common types of bacterial infection, the UTI. This fact might not immediately strike you as a reason to attend WUSL School of Medicine, however there are a more similar stories coming out every year about this program. Check it out here!

7) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

7) University of California – Berkeley

7) Yale University

Honorable Mention:

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University has two different Ph.D. programs in this field of study; the first is in Molecular Biology Microbiology and the second is in Molecular Virology. In the academic school year of 2009-2010, graduate students in the program received full tuition as well as a stipend of $25,000. From 2003-2005, Case Western’s average quantitative GRE score was a 656. There are many appealing aspects to Case Western’s Ph.D. program, like a collaborative and enthusiastic scientific community, an outstanding and promulgate faculty that regularly contributes to national scientific publications, as well a strong commitment to growth and research. Perhaps, though, we should let the Ph.D. Department Chair, Johnathan Karn, speak for himself.

Tufts University

The Sackler School claims collaborative and interdisciplinary research are hallmarks of its program. Their graduate programs emphasize research, teaching, interdisciplinary studies, and an integration with the university’s entire scientific community. Some outstanding facts about the Sackler School include a student/faculty ratio of 2:1, an student age range of 22-55, and that 98% of students receive a stipend. An additional university perk is its location in the heart of Boston, “thee largest city in New England, and one of America’s most stimulating places to live, offering a rich history and an abundance of culture.”

University of Pittsburgh

The Graduate School of Public Health focuses on developing methods for disease prevention and treatment, and places a special emphasis on population-based education and prevention for control of infectious diseases. Among the various degree programs offered by the U. of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health is a Master’s International Program with the Peace Corps. Though the University does not guarantee full funding to its students, last year the Graduate School of Public Health received over 5 million dollars in financial aid.

Doctorate vs. Master’s Degrees: Factors to Consider Part II

In our last post, we discussed the financial and temporal considerations that should be at the forefront of your mind when deciding whether to pursue a Ph.D or a master’s degree.  This week, we will continue this discussion with some more factors you want to consider.

Career Goals

Unlike college, graduate school is not the place to go to figure out what you want to do with your life.  Prospective graduate students should have very clear career goals in mind.  Not only will this help you write a more effective personal statement, this will also help you decide whether a doctorate or master’s degree will be more helpful to you in your field.


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Doctorate vs. Master’s Degrees: Factors to Consider Part I

If you’re visiting this site, you’ve probably already decided that some form of graduate school is the best way to further your career goals, but one critical question remains:  Should you apply for a doctorate or master’s degree program? While only you can ultimately answer that question, here are some important factors to consider while making your decision.


Fact: Graduate school is expensive.

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Funding Graduate School: Where’s the Money and How do I get it?

You don't pull rabbits out of this hat.

Your anxiously awaited graduate school acceptance letter has arrived. Hooray! Assuming that this is the school for you, one of the next steps is to consider the financial implications of choosing this institution. There are huge variations between graduate programs. A “one-size fits all” approach may work when discussing interview tips, but when it comes to funding, it gets seriously complicated! Let’s keep it as simple as possible and just explore what I consider to be the gold standard of graduate education: fully funded Ph.d programs.

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I Want To Go To Graduate School To Study Stuff!

What field do you intend to specialize in? All of it.

Far be it from me to discourage anyone from going to graduate school, but this Xtranormal video, which has been floating around for quite a while, demonstrates exactly the kind of vague and unfocused thinking that is exactly wrong for graduate school.

Watch the video after the jump.

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What Is Grad School Like? A First Year Grad Student’s Reality Check

I'm under there somewhere.

Hello readers! It’s been a few weeks since I last posted. I’m definitely glad to be back to share my latest experiences as a first year grad student. After 6 months in a doctoral program, my perspective on academia has changed quite a bit. It’s not that I have developed a more positive or negative view of academia; rather, I have been brought back to reality.

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Should I Take a Year Off Before Grad School? What a Year Off Did For Me

You wish. Do something useful! This is for when you retire with millions.

A competitive graduate student application should ideally include a high GPA, a competitive GRE score, applied work experience, and professional presentations (e.g. publications). If you are like one of the many applicants that actually had a social life during college, you may be deficient in one or more areas! As a current grad student, I can attest that in my cohort of 10 people, only one person chose this path to grad school.

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Applying to Doctoral Programs: It’s All About the Match!

Not a good match.

My advisor told me today that Ph.D stands for Piled High and Deep. I’m not quite sure how to interpret this but at least I love what the program piles on. For those that are interested in a research doctorate, whether it’s a Ph.d in Biology, Chemistry, History, English, Sociology, or Psychology, there are various commonalities to the graduate school application process.

The first and foremost important thing to know about applying is that it all comes down to the match! In the world of academia, faculty members view their students as colleagues they will be working intimately with for five or more years. If the student and the professor do not share the same passion, those five years could be pretty unpleasant.

For example, suppose Harvard is your top choice and Dr. Smith at Harvard is studying depression in adolescents. You apply with your perfect GRE and GPA, have numerous publications and conference presentations, and feed blind homeless children three meals a day seven days a week.  A letter arrives in the mail and you have been invited to attend interview day! Yayyyy…time to book a flight!

You and Dr. Smith really hit it off during the interview. The two of you have so much in common. You both are hikers, dog lovers, Harry Potter readers, and super-liberal. It’s a match made in heaven with the exception of one thing; you are interested in ADULT depression.  Sorry dude but you won’t be going to Harvard this year. This may seem blunt but it really all comes down to the match.

Finding the Match:

Now you may ask yourself, “How do I decide if I am good match?” I recommend getting into the literature and figuring out who is publishing research that catches your interest. After doing this, Google them and see what institution they are affiliated with. Next, see if they mentor graduate students. Sometimes this information is visible on the department website but if not, contact them directly. Repeat the above steps and you will have a preliminary list of schools. I did this for days straight and eventually created an Excel document that included the faculty member, their university, admissions data, contact information, and hyperlinks to bio pages and application documents.  This made my life so much easier and I recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing a Doctorate.