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juilletmercredi last won the day on October 22 2016

juilletmercredi had the most liked content!


About juilletmercredi

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    Cup o' Joe
  • Birthday 07/09/1986

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    Pacific Northwest
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    Working in industry
  1. I don't think it is. I don't think attending a PhD program without funding is ever a good idea. From a purely financial perspective, borrowing for 5 years of a PhD program is likely to cost you $160,000 to $200,000. Even if you only have to borrow for two years, that's still $80K to $120K depending on the total program costs. Even engineers don't make enough to very comfortably repay that. That's leaving aside the fact that if it's customary to offer PhDs full funding in your field, your department not offering one to you is a show of a lack of confidence in you as a candidate, and that may follow you through the department. If you do decide to consider it, though, it will be important for you to ask the faculty what the likelihood of you getting funded in later years is.
  2. Depends on how much debt "a ton" is, but generally, I'd say you probably should not bite the bullet and add more debt. If you already had $60K in debt, for example, and you borrowed an additional $60K of debt to attend one of these programs - then let's say 2-7 years later you get a job that pays you $80K. Well, that's great, except that now you have $120K of debt to repay, which is kind of an untenable position to be in. And based on the way the coming administration is going, there's no telling how long loan relief programs like IBR or loan forgiveness will last. Your debt load needs to be manageable relative to a solid average salary you can expect to make coming out of the MS program (or your eventual goal).
  3. Departmental rankings matter more in some fields than others, particularly in fields without a strong lab/PI culture (think humanities and some social sciences). That's not to say they don't matter in STEM fields and other social science fields - they do. But your advisor has more prominence in the latter kinds of fields. If you have a great mentor at a 40-60 type school that can make all the difference. I attended an interdisciplinary PhD program that was nominally housed in one department but took place equally across two departments. My experience is that both matter, but the one that matters more is the one that you're planning to go into more. For example, let's say that you're doing an interdisciplinary biology and engineering PhD with your research focused on biomedical engineering, but your eventual goal is to teach in a biology department. Then the biology department's ranking and your PI in biology are going to matter more for your future career goals than the engineering department - although both may be important. Keep in mind that your goals and priorities also may change.
  4. I would go smart casual for a visit day - dark jeans and a nice top (blouse would be good). Slacks and a blazer could be fine, too. You don't need to dye your hair or wear makeup, but I wouldn't wear leggings (unless they're under a dress).
  5. Congratulations to all of the awardees and Honorable Mentions! Sure, that's true. But you could say that about any application process - NIH and NSF grants, applications to graduate school, other fellowships, etc. In any process where the applications are based on qualitative components, there are going to be difficulties defining and quantifying what's or worthy of a fellowship. It will always come down to intangibles, and that will be true throughout a science career, both in and outside of academia. The other thing to remember is that there are so many high-quality, talented applicants. So many!
  6. One thing you can do, OP, is take a look at job ads in your area/field - not just from the institution you'd potentially be interested in working at, but at a variety of institutions of different types, sizes, locations, etc. Start looking at them early. Job ads can tell you a lot about the individual desires of certain departments as well as which way the wind's blowing in your field. For example, by examining ads in my field I noticed that advanced quantitative skills and the ability to teach research methods and statistics were high-value skills that didn't seem to be going away; job ads over the course of several years exemplified that this was an area of sustained interest. I already had an interest in these areas, so I decided to spend some extra time and energy developing them even more as a strength of mine. For another, I learned that cultural/multicultural research and diversity initiatives were also important in my field, and lots of departments asked for applicants/candidates who had specialties in those areas AND could demonstrate experience with students from diverse groups. Again, this was already a passion of mine, so I made sure I pursued it in ways that would show up on my CV, so I could show and not tell when it came time to write cover letters. Note that the goal of the exercise is to help shape the way that you develop yourself and present yourself. I'm not suggesting that you look at job ads and decide your research interests and the skills you want to develop on that basis. Rather, take a look at ads and see what they are asking for, and then ask yourself what your own interests are and how you can develop yourself in specific areas to be marketable across positions. It may also simply be a wake-up call or a signaling device. For example, if you're an Americanist and you're finding that the number of ads for Americanists is equivalent to the number for comparative scholars, even though there are ten times as many Americanists, you know that you're facing steep competition. That may make you more inclined to publish earlier and more often; it may impel you to engage in some other professionalization activities like networking and organizing symposia; it may make you develop a secondary specialty in a comparative area, if possible; it may make you develop some portable skills you can take outside of academia. What you do with the information is up to you.
  7. They are very unlikely to revoke their offer of admission because you asked for relocation expenses. Very, very unlikely. The much more likely and realistic response is for them to simply tell you no, they can't do that. There's no harm in asking.
  8. Both of these are excellent schools in public affairs/administration, with great post-graduation outcomes, networking, and career opportunities. The differences between the academics and skills training are probably more nuanced and would only be able to be adequately addressed by someone who attended both, which is unlikely to happen. I'm willing to bet that given their similar standing in the public admin world the differences probably don't matter that much. Can you get contact information for some current students at both and talk with them?
  9. If you know that a PhD is your eventual end goal, then I'd lean towards the PhD. Duke has a top program in CS. If the MS is unfunded, I would definitely go with Duke and not look back. If both programs are funded, then here's the question. If you want to do research in ML - can you do that research at Duke? In other words, what is making you not want to go to Duke? For someone who knows they want a PhD, why would you choose to do an MS (particularly if you have to pay for it) rather than take a (presumably funded) offer at a top program in computer science?
  10. No, you won't be able to live on $10,000 alone in San Diego. You'll have to find ways to supplement that stipend, either through part-time work or by borrowing some money. That may be okay to you. But quite frankly, I'd choose the fully funded and guaranteed stipend. Independence is not a bad thing, and learning to a hustle a bit can be invaluable for later on when you'll basically be required to do that anyway.
  11. Some of the cons at School 2 make it sound like not a great choice at all. Here's the question: What are some things you can do to mitigate the cons at School 1? It sounds like a great choice and, quite frankly, it sounds like you prefer it. Your PI doesn't have to work on what you want to work on exactly. In fact, if he does, that's not a great thing since it means someone is already filling the niche you aim to occupy with your research agenda. The important part is the second part of your statement - they seem willing to work with you and help you realize what you want to do. How much does your research differ from your PI's? Is it close enough that they could adequately advise you? Do they have connections and networks to scholars at other schools who you may co-author papers with, or who may serve on your dissertation committee? Or more importantly, do you have the kind of personality that would seek out those kinds of connections if need be? Same kinds of questions for con #2. It sounds like School 2 is maybe where you went to undergrad or an MS program. If so, that means you have relationships with those professors, presumably some of the ones who do the modeling you want to do. Can you maintain professional relationships with them and potentially co-author in the future on modeling projects/papers? You could even maintain a relationship with your current PI and continue to work on papers together. There's no reason you can't collaborate just because you're not at the same university. One question, though - is $18,000 enough to live on in Location 1? That seems like a quite low stipend, and in the U.S. it would be taxed.
  12. I'll send you a PM, @SDOHEpi!
  13. How can an entire continent be horrible? You love your potential advisors and the work that you are going to be doing at your upcoming program. That's great news! This sounds like a GOOD choice for you.
  14. I would not attend any PhD program without funding, no matter how phenomenal it is. That said, I think it's fairly common to go programs/cities where you don't know anyone. You'll meet and get to know people. Do faculty members at School 2 already do research on sex? If so, then you can ask them what the political climate is like for getting that work done. In public health, some of the top schools in my field for researching sex and sexual behavior are in red states. I don't think it necessarily matters much.