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harish.hn

Requirements for Graduate program in US (Urgent)

6 posts in this topic

I'm currently doing my Bachelor's (BTech. - Final year) in Biotechnology in Manipal Institute of Technology, India. I'm quite keen on applying for graduate programs later this year, colleges like UCB, UPenn, Columbia, UCSD, Cornell and also considering Yale, MIT, Stanford and the works.
 
I will be giving my GRE exam shortly and also have completed a 2 month internships in a pharmaceutical company and a premier university (Indian Institute of Tech) in India. I will also be interning from January 2017 at the Centre of Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB, Hyderabad), another renowned lab. I had previously briefly worked on a project in college to devise a diagnostic kit and am currently working on another (in collaboration with the Department of Virus Research, Manipal). I am hopeful of publishing a paper on the latter, sometime later this year.
 
Being from India, I'm severely lost with regards to the requirements expected from top universities as mentioned above in terms of GRE scores, GPA requirements and lab experience & LoRs in general. Given my lab experience and a 8.5 CGPA (Indian standard) without publications, am I being realistic in considering these colleges for my master's? Would working in few more well-established labs and applying next year improve my chances? 
 

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Do the schools you've listed have faculty doing research that you're interested in or did you pick them because they're the big names? FWIW, master's programs in biology aren't popular or common and typically require applicants to self-fund the expenses. I guess I'm wondering what it is you hope to gain from graduate study and what specific aspects of biology you want to study in depth at the graduate level. Without having clear responses to that, it'll be more difficult to get in anywhere.

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A quick glance of google shows there are actually many masters degree programs in Biology. They are by no means rare or uncommon. There are actually a lot I have found directed towards biotechnology and industry if that is what you are looking for. However not all biology programs grant masters degree so its important to check.

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@lemondrop825, yes, they exist but many are "cash cow" programs used to support the PhD students. And since most of the master's programs are at PhD-granting institutions, it's unclear in many cases how much attention/experience master's students acquire during their degree program. Either way, it seems like the OP has picked schools based on their name and without considering other factors like research fit, funding, availability of lab space/mentors, coursework, etc.

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Maybe it's different for Cell/Molecular Bio programs specifically, assuming that's OP's interest, but many programs in my area of Biology (EEB/Organismal Bio) fund their thesis-based MS students for two or three years. I graduated from a broad Integrative Biology department that funded all of its MS students, including non-thesis students when enough TAships were available. Getting an MS is actually pretty common for people in my area who want to work for government and NGO research agencies or for consulting firms. Again, could be different for people that end up in the more biomedical industries, but either way I wouldn't say an MS in Biology itself or some of the Biology-related life science fields is uncommon. 

The main issue, as also mentioned, is whether OP knows why he wants an MS and whether he is just picking the first brand-name schools he could think of. It's not clear what specific programs OP has actually considered.

Edited by Pitangus

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On 7/15/2017 at 7:41 PM, rising_star said:

@lemondrop825, yes, they exist but many are "cash cow" programs used to support the PhD students. And since most of the master's programs are at PhD-granting institutions, it's unclear in many cases how much attention/experience master's students acquire during their degree program. Either way, it seems like the OP has picked schools based on their name and without considering other factors like research fit, funding, availability of lab space/mentors, coursework, etc.

I said nothing about the quality of theses programs. All I said is that they exist. Depending on his career goals it might be better if he wants to get into industry. You are really making sweeping statements about these programs without any evidence to back up your claims. 

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