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BME PhD  

11 members have voted

  1. 1. Boston or Columbia?

    • Boston
      4
    • Columbia
      7


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Hey guys,

I am trying to decide between Columbia and Boston University for BME PhD and I would appreciate any input from other BME grads or prospective students! For reference, the stipends are pretty comparable, but Columbia has direct match whereas Boston has a rotations program. Does anyone know which place has better success for academic vs industry employment and what the reputation is at both locations?

Edited by BME grad

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@BME grad My two cents on this is it all depends on where you'd like to live in the future. I'm from NYC and lived in Boston for a few years, if you want to stay in academia or industry I think Boston (the city as a whole) would be best for you. The plethora of companies and PIs working in the Cambridge/Boston area alone is amazing. Even if you go to Boston U, the biotech community is a very tight-knit group, and most of the big universities share opportunities with each other for internships/jobs/research. Best of luck! Happy to answer any other questions!

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I was admitted to BU and Columbia BME MS program. And I'm concerned about the same thing.

I think Boston is a fantastic city, with many great biomed research institutes and companies.

and I also hope that MIT/Harvard could share some resources with BU but I am not sure about it.

However, the Columbia has great overall reputation and the NYC is also an international city. And that is what makes me hard to decide.

Do you have any idea yet?

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@polyxcrunner Hi, congratulation! Columbia BME is prestigious, but what makes me feel hesitant is the duration and the research opportunity in that program. MS students in Columbia BME generally take 2-3 semesters, and students need to take 8-10 courses in their first 2 semesters, which means there may be not sufficient time for me to attend a lab and implement some research. As I hope to seek for a PhD degree, I hope to attend research in my MS stage. 

And in BU, MS students with thesis will have at least one year of full-time work on the research project. That is attractive to me.

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@XuzheZhang Thank you! Congratulations on both Columbia and BU!

I haven't looked into the BU program. But for Columbia's MS program you can easily tackle on 1 year of full research by substituting for 2 courses (6 credits). It's on the website, check it out.

 

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@polyxcrunner Thanks for note! yep I see, here is the official answer in their FAQ page.

Students in the MS program are not required to complete a thesis. However, if you are interested, there is a Master’s Thesis option. You should register for BMEN E9100 and consult with your BME faculty advisor.

nStudents who chose the Master’s Thesis option typically complete their degree and dissertation in 3-4 semesters.

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@polyxcrunner Thank you for your response! I think that I prefer Boston as a whole, but I'm wondering if going to Columbia might be better for me if I decide to stay in academia. Do you know if Boston University has a good reputation amongst biotech people in terms of their BME PhD program (compared to Columbia)? I'm not so keen on comparing universities based on their prestige, but since getting an academia job relies on other people's perspectives on program/school reputation, I thought I'd ask to give myself peace of mind that I'm making the right decision. 

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@XuzheZhang Hey, something to keep in mind since you plan to pursue your PhD-- Columbia doesn't have a rotations program so you'd have to match with a professor immediately, but I've met a couple of students who worked as Master's student in a professor's lab and applied for PhD to work with the same professor. In BU, there is a one-year rotation program that allows you to try out 2-3 different professors. 

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@BME grad From my time in Boston, I've met a handful of people from BU's PhD program, in terms of what people view as better? I would say it depends on your PI/Advisor relevance to the type of research you want to do. People will understand if you had some wonderful training if they know the type of work your PI's lab develops. Now, if you decide to go on the other end with a younger PI, it might be a bit harder since you will be explaining a bit more but still not impossible as long as you show that you've had a sense on of contribution.  Industry and academia definitely see Boston as a biotech hub and amazing training ground.

- Just my two cents

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@XuzheZhang If you're set on doing research, perhaps Boston might be the best option, simply because of all the different types of research. I am currently working and don't see myself going back to research so hence why that component doesn't really apply to me and I might be a bit oblivious to the research opportunities. However, if you decide on Columbia, we might be classmates!

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