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Potential of starting a PhD program in 2020 in neuroscience/biomedical engineering


xicor
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Hi GradCafe,
 
I’m interesting in pursuing further graduate studies in neuroscience starting next year but am uncertain if it would be worth my time to start applications for this year. I have a background in Physics from undergrad, obtained a M.S in biomedical engineering from Drexel University in 2016, and currently have been in a quality control position for two years reviewing data for a pharmaceutical company that is involved in contract based research. While I had opportunities in working with research groups over the summer in my undergraduate studies and specialized in the subject of neural engineering in graduate school, the research experiences didn’t lead to publications and there was no thesis in my graduate studies because the department wasn’t looking for new students to fund within my specialization.
 
My question is what limitations would this put on me with my motivation to pursue further education? I did an independent study with a professor at the end of my graduate studies who was asking me about pursuing a PhD at another university such as Temple University or the University of Pennsylvania where she said I would be able to get funding but am uncertain about being accepted or getting funding given the lack of publications and thesis work. In 2017 I started applications focused on biomedical engineering programs but decided on delaying further graduate studies because I needed to reduce my student loans and build up my critical thinking skills. My advisor told me to stay in my current job because work experience will count in my graduate applications but I’m questioning this since I’m in an unrelated area to neuroscience.
 
If I do have chances of getting into a PhD program with funding or a SUNY school (I currently live in upstate New York), I would like to start researching different areas of computational neuroscience and neurotechnology in order to decide on a specific area for thesis work, practicing for the GREs to get a decent score, looking for outside sources of financial aid such as for people with disabilities, and thinking about potential Universities. I think neuroscience programs would be a better fit for my research interests but will also be looking into research groups in biomedical engineering departments.
 
Would it be a waste of time to start this process for the year or do the problems I mention only impact my chances at specific top tier schools? Would it be a better choice to look for Masters level research positions by contacting Professors in my specific field before pursuing a PhD to see if I can get more experience or is the only way to get initial research experience through further education? I have had a lot of turns in my education so it can be confusing and if any questions come up please ask.
 
Edited by xicor
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Publications aren't necessary but it certainly helps to have them. I've had friends get into every top school you could think of without any. To assess whether or not you'd get in, you need to post more stats (GPA, anticipated GRE, anticipated quality of letters, research items, research experiences etc) and also what sorts of schools you want to apply to. I was accepted to SUNY Stony Brook with an additional fellowship for computational students; Stony Brook is a great school for comp. neuro. and probably the best for it in the state after NYU, Columbia, and Rochester (maybe Rockefeller or Albert Einstein). I can give you whatever details of my app that you'd like, just let me know.

I will end by saying that neuroscience programs now are incredibly incredibly competitive so no ones odds are good for top programs except a select few. You sound like you are still very unsure of programs and your interests so I think it might be a good idea to work in an academic lab for a year or, better, two.

Edited by HawaiiLee808
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@HawaiiLee808 You seem pretty knowledgeable about comp neuro programs. Is there any sort of list out there about the top 10 comp neuro programs? I know UCL, NYU, and Columbia are all pretty good but other than that I have no clue. Are any of the other Ivies good in comp neuro? I'm trying to make a list of different tiers of programs to apply to.

Also, what are some other good comp neuro programs on the East Coast in general?  

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1 hour ago, biol123 said:

@HawaiiLee808 You seem pretty knowledgeable about comp neuro programs. Is there any sort of list out there about the top 10 comp neuro programs? I know UCL, NYU, and Columbia are all pretty good but other than that I have no clue. Are any of the other Ivies good in comp neuro? I'm trying to make a list of different tiers of programs to apply to.

Also, what are some other good comp neuro programs on the East Coast in general?  

I hate lists because it is so much more nuanced than that. I focused my applications based on particular papers and research collaborations that stood out to me (which is what you should do as well). I'm about to tell you a list (in no particular order) of places that do great work in comp. neuro. but this shouldn't be taken as comprehensive and know that I am biased by groups doing systems work as well in what's called "latent space inference" or "manifold learning" in the United States. Look at who is presenting at Cosyne/CNS/CCN for a good idea of comp. neuro. I don't really make a distinction between many computational and systems neuro since they're so tightly integrated. Adam Calhoun has a great blog post on this and the network graph shows you the current who's whom of the field and their main collaborators. I've starred the "top five schools" imo. I'm intentionally making a long-list so that you can decide who are the top ones in your desired subfield. If I didn't give PIs, it's because I'm lazy.

Here's my top ten list

  • Stanford* (Surya Ganguli, Krishna Shenoy, Dan Yamins, Scott Linderman, EJ Chichilnisky, Google guys like David Sussillo and Jon Shlens)
  • Princeton* (Jonathan Pillow, William Bialek, Carlos Brody, David Tank, Sebastian Seung)
  • NYU (Wei Ji Ma, Xiao-Jing Wang, Dmitri Chklovskii, Eero Simoncelli, Dora Angelaki)
  • Columbia* (John P. Cunningham, Mark Churchland, Liam Paninski, Stefano Fusi, Ken Miller, Randy Bruno, Niko Kriegskorte, Larry Abbott)
  • UCL* (Gatsby Unit and Sainsbury-Wellcome) (Matteo Carandini, Ken Harris, Maneesh Sahani) 
  • MIT (Mehrdad Jazayeri, James DiCarlo, Joshua Tenenbaum, Michale Fee, Mriganka Sur, Mark Bear, Haim Sompolinsky [half-time in Haifa, Israel])
  • University of Washington (Adrienne Fairhall, Rajesh Rao, Eric Shea-Brown, [many Allen Institute scientists])
  • UC Berkeley (Hillel Adesnik, Jack Gallant, Bruno Olshausen, Fritz Sommer, Linda Wilbrecht)
  • Carnegie Mellon/Pittsburgh* (CNBC) (Brent Doiron, Rob Kass, Bard Ermentrout, Byron Yu)
  • University of Chicago (John Maunsell, Jack Cowan, David Freedman)

And an extended list including many systems people

  • UC San Diego (Tatyana Sharpee, Terry Sejnowski, Thomas Albright, Bradley Voytek)
  • Harvard University (Sam Gershman, Chris Harvey, Cengiz Pehlevan, Mackenzie Mathis, many others)
  • Caltech (Markus Meister, Doris Tsao)
  • Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown (Christian Machens, Zach Mainen, Leopoldo Petreanu)
  • UCLA (Jonathan Kao, Dario Ringach, Josh Trachtenberg)
  • UCSF (Massimo Scanziani, Vikas Sohaal)
  • ETH Zurich (Ben Grewe, Valerio Mante)
  • Oxford (Tim Behrens, Tim Vogels)
  • HHMI/Johns Hopkins (Janelia Farm) (Marius Pachitariu, Vivek Jayaraman, Davi Bock, Karel Svoboda, Reza Shadmehr)
  • Cold Spring Harbor Labs (shared students with SUNY Stony Brook sometimes) (Anne Churchland, Anthony Zador, Tatiana Engel, Adam Kepecs)
  • Boston University (Chandramouli Chandrasekaran, Ben Scott, Nancy Kopell, Mark Kramer, Uri Eden)
  • Toronto (Joel Zylberberg [affiliated through York])
  • Penn (Diego Contreras, Josh Gold, Konrad Kording)
  • University of Rochester (Adam Snyder, Thomas Howard, Greg DeAngelis)
  • Baylor (Andreas Tolias, Jacob Reimer)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (Keith Hengen, 
  • Northwestern (Daniel Dombeck, Andrew Miri, Sara Solla)
  • Brandeis (Eve Marder, Gina Turrigiano)
  • Brown (Jerome Sanes, David Sheinberg, Wilson Truccolo)
  • UT Austin (Alex Huk, Dana Ballard)
  • Tons of Germans that I have no idea what universities they are at
  • EPFL

An extended extended list of places that still do this work and are up-and-coming or may be more systems oriented or I know less about but are worth applying to

  • Georgia Tech (Chethan Padarinath, Eva Dyer, Chris Rozell)
  • University of Oregon (Cris Niell, David McCormick, Yashar Ahmadian, Luca Mazzucato)
  • SUNY Stony Brook (shares with CSHL) (Memming Park, Giancarlo La Camera, Alfredo Fontanini, Braden Brinkman)
  • UC Davis
  • University of Southern California
  • Duke
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • Yale
  • UT Houston
  • Rice
  • UCSB

Let me know if you have any questions. If you have a specific set of interests, I can try to think of some faculty!

Edited by HawaiiLee808
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@HawaiiLee808   

Using the parts of the template from Bayesian1701 make my stats look like this:

 
Grad Institution: Drexel University (2014-2016)
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Concentration: Neural Engineering
GPA: 3.76

 

Undergrad Institution: Clarkson University (2011-2013)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics
Concentration: Biology
GPA: 3.14
 

GREs: Haven't taken them yet this year, if it is practical to apply to a PhD this year I'm going to try taking them in May and possibly will take them a couple more times if I have a problem getting 160+ in my quantitative reasoning. In 2017 I wasn't able to achieve that goal but only had the chance to take it once. 


Research Experience: In the summer of 2010 I had a research internship at SUNY Albany's nanotech center in testing neural implants in hydrogel constructs, in the summer of 2012 I had a REU with CSTEP where I performed data analysis on a medical device used for psychophysics where it measured the level of detection of patients that were blindfolded
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Since 2016 I have been working as a quality control analyst where I review raw data from experiments and compare it to the scientific method used for the purpose of risk mitigation. (ELISA and Mass Spectrometry experiments, methodology is not related to neuroscience)

Letters of Recommendation: I will need to ask again but previously when I was applying for PhDs I was using the previous department chair from my graduate department who is said to have strong connections, the Professor that taught most of the courses in the neural engineering track who has been an assistant teaching professor for 5 years, and the professor I did the REU with in 2012 who chairs the rehabilitative center at Clarkson and is well connected in engineering focused on medical devices. If one of those doesn't work out I'm contacing the professor from my 2010 research experience who retired shortly after my experience but is still associated with an University in Australia.
Math/Statistics Grades:  In undergrad I took courses up to Differential Equations and Linear Algebra at a community college, in graduate school there was a sequence of Biostimulation I & II which applied differential equations to biological problems in the first course, solved the problems with MatLab in the second course)
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: My graduate coursework included an independent study in neuromodulation/neurofeedback, a lab course where we tested an EGG based BCI, an neural engineering sequence where the first course on computational techniques and experiments methods, the second in observing presentations and giving research presentations for a design proposal, a biomedical focused Signals & Systems course, experimental design coursework for creating a design proposal and understanding statistics and research quality, and other courses that gave experience in research presentations.
 
I'm interested in any departments that can fund me in further academic research, the question is are there any universities willing to do this? I'm not that interested in the ranking of the school, just who can give me the research experience without putting me in massive debt.
 
At the moment the PhD is just a thought based on my circumstances because it looks like this may be the only chance I could get in pursuing a PhD related to neuroscience instead of just advancing through industry in a field that is more public health oriented. If I were to start right now I could start structuring the information from my education on courses I took in neuroscience and doing literature review to find interesting research questions that would justify pursuing thesis work. I wasn't sure how specific University programs would like me to be beyond having a specific focus on quantitative areas in neuroscience. I would have to look at research papers and research groups to decide on a more specific interest but currently the topics would be computational neuroscience, neuroimaging, signal processing applications in neuroscience, data science applications in neuroscience, or neuromodulation/neurofeedback with the motivation of solving problems in psychiatric and neurological disorders. I could come up with something more specific but I would need time to contemplate on these different areas and asking why particular sub fields are important and if they are meaningful to the problems I'm interested in solving. At the moment I have no one to talk to about these issues where I'm living so it is unclear where to start. I should clarify that I'm open to going anywhere in the nation including the west coast but when being put on a stipend I would prefer campuses that have apartments situated so I don't need a car since I'm disabled and plan on making payments to student loans.
 
I would consider joining a research lab but am uncertain how I would go about doing that and my constraint may make it impossible for me to join a research group. The first obstacle I'm dealing with are student loans where if I were to join a research lab I would need a minimum salary of 45000 to tackle my problems and be able to reduce my principal; if I were to pursue a PhD I could remain in my present job into next year and dedicate all my money towards my loans and reduce them to a level where I would feel comfortable deferring the reduced amount. If research positions only give me the same amount of money as a stipend during my PhD studies I would prefer to start the PhD as soon as possible so I could get positions that can handle my debt. Also since I have no publications or thesis work how would I go about joining a research group? The research positions I have applied for so far are looking for applicants with skills in a specific experimental technique or technology which I didn't get in my graduate studies. I'm in the middle of nowhere so I can't talk in person to Professors; is the process of asking for research positions similar to finding a research group for a PhD where you start up a conversation with the Professor on their research but instead ask about staffing positions? I'm working with a vocational agent who is helping me find jobs but all she is doing is finding jobs on the internet to apply to but isn't mentioning anything about networking whereas someone that works at an University in Philadelphia says I will have no chance of getting these positions unless I network.  This sounds like a catch 20/20 unless I can find an University that give me research experience through further education.  These constraints may make some routes impossible and make me more open to other opportunities but can find a focus at a specific level if that is necessary.   
 
Edited by xicor
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10 minutes ago, xicor said:

@HawaiiLee808   

Using the parts of the template from Bayesian1701 make my stats look like this:

 
Grad Institution: Drexel University (2014-2016)
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Concentration: Neural Engineering
GPA: 3.76

 

Undergrad Institution: Clarkson University (2011-2013)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics
Concentration: Biology
GPA: 314
 

GREs: Haven't taken them yet this year, if it is practical to apply to a PhD this year I'm going to try taking them in May and possibly will take them a couple more times if I have a problem getting 160+ in my quantitative reasoning. In 2017 I wasn't able to achieve that goal but only had the chance to take it once. 


Research Experience: In the summer of 2010 I had a research internship at SUNY Albany's nanotech center in testing neural implants in hydrogel constructs, in the summer of 2012 I had a REU with CSTEP where I performed data analysis on a medical device used for psychophysics where it measured level of detection of patients that were blindfolded
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Since 2016 I have been working as a quality control analyst where I review raw data from experiments and compare it to the method for the purpose of risk mitigation. (ELISA and Mass Spectrometry experiments, methodology is not related to neuroscience)

Letters of Recommendation: I will need to ask again but previously when I was applying for PhDs I was using the previous department chair from my graduate department who is said to have strong connections, the Professor that taught most of the courses in the neural engineering track who has been an assistant teaching professor for 5 fives, and the professor I did the REU with in 2012 who chairs the rehabilitative center at Clarkson and is well connected in engineering focused on medical devices. If one of those doesn't work out I'm contacing the professor from my 2010 research experience who retired shortly after my experience but is still associated with an University in Australia.
Math/Statistics Grades:  In undergrad I took courses up to Differential Equations and Linear Algebra at a community college, in graduate school there was a sequence of Biostimulation I & II which applied differential equations to biological problems in the first course, solved the problems with MatLab in the second course)
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: My graduate coursework included an independent study in neuromodulation/neurofeedback, a lab course where we tested an EGG based BCI, an neural engineering sequence where the first course on computational techniques and experiments methods, the second in observing presentations and giving research presentations for a design proposal, a biomedical focused Signals & Systems course, experimental design coursework for creating a design proposal and understanding statistics and research quality, and other courses that gave experience in research presentations.
 
 
At the moment the PhD is just a thought based on my circumstances because it looks like this may be the only chance I could get in pursuing a PhD related to neuroscience instead of just advancing through industry in a field that more public health oriented. If I were to start right now I could start structuring the information from my education on course I took in neuroscience and doing literature review to find interesting research questions that would justify pursuing through thesis work. I wasn't sure how specific University programs would like me to be beyond having an specific focus on quantitative areas in neuroscience. I would have to look at research papers and research groups to decide on a more specific interest but currently the topics would be computational neuroscience, neuroimaging, signal processing applications in neuroscience, data science applications in neuroscience, or neuromodulation/neurofeedback with the motivation of solving problems in psychiatric and neurological disorders. I could come up with something more specific but I would need time to contemplate on these different areas and asking why particular sub fields are important and if they are meaningful to the problems I'm interested in solving. At the moment I have no one to talk to about these issues where I'm living so it is unclear where to start. I should clarify that I'm open to going anywhere in the nation including the west coast but when being put on a stipend I would prefer campuses that have apartments situated so I don't need a car since I'm disabled and plan on making payments to student loans.
 
I would consider joining a research lab but am uncertain how I would go about doing that and my constraint may make it impossible for me to join a research group. The first obstacle I'm dealing with are student loans where if I were to join a research lab I would need a minimum salary of 45000 to tackle my problems and be able to reduce my principal; if I were to pursue a PhD I could remain in my present job into next year and dedicate all my money towards my loans and reduce them to a level where I would feel comfortable deferring the reduced amount. If research positions only give me the same amount of money as a stipend during my PhD studies I would prefer to start the PhD as soon as possible so I could get positions that can handle my debt. Also since I have no publications or thesis work how would I go about joining a research group? The research positions I have applied for so far are looking for applicants with skills in a specific experimental technique or technology which I didn't get in my graduate studies. I'm in the middle of nowhere so I can't talk in person to Professors; is the process of asking for research positions similar to finding a research group for a PhD where you start up a conversation with the Professor on their research but instead ask about staffing positions? I'm working with a vocational agent who is helping me find jobs but all she is doing is finding jobs on the internet to apply to but isn't mentioning anything about networking whereas someone that works at an University in Philadelphia says I will have no chance of getting these positions unless I network.  This sounds like a catch 20/20 unless I can find an University that give me research experience through further education.  These constraints may make some routes impossible and make me more open to other opportunities but can find a focus at a specific level if that is necessary.   
 

That's a lot to unpack there but before I go further, you should know that a PhD should not just be stumbled into or as "just a thought", it's a serious endeavor you need commit the next six years of your life to. I can say assuredly you will never find a stipend above $38,000 and those will be in high CoL areas like San Francisco, the South Bay Area, New York City, and Boston. You have good experiences but I think you still need to do a ton of thinking on whether a PhD is right for you and how to take care of your student loans.

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48 minutes ago, HawaiiLee808 said:

That's a lot to unpack there but before I go further, you should know that a PhD should not just be stumbled into or as "just a thought", it's a serious endeavor you need commit the next six years of your life to. I can say assuredly you will never find a stipend above $38,000 and those will be in high CoL areas like San Francisco, the South Bay Area, New York City, and Boston. You have good experiences but I think you still need to do a ton of thinking on whether a PhD is right for you and how to take care of your student loans.

In order for it to be more than a thought I'm first going to have to know what is realistic. I know the seriousness of making this decision since I was in the process in 2017 and will have to dig through many layers of the meaning of applying for the PhD. Considering the nature of the decision I may opt for my initial plan which is more spread out where I would start questioning this in June and making preparations starting next year for starting a PhD in 2021 depending on how my job search went this year.  The option of doing the PhD in 2021 seemed too theoretical since it meant dedicating the majority of my salary of another year all to my student loans which I'm uncertain I could mentally tolerate with the added problem of remaining in my current environment. I probably could make that scenario more realistic with some modifications if that would be a better choice in my pursuit for further education. In order to answer the question of whether I could handle a PhD will depend on the structure I create for my understanding of neuroscience and if that justifies dedicating the amount of energy necessary for thesis work through the PhD which is a process I haven't started yet.

As far as stipends go, I wouldn't be expecting the amount I'm requiring from research positions I'm currently looking for as advancement from my current job, my understanding is that PhD stipends are around the range 15,000-25,000 and there is the potential for work study like some PhD students were doing during my studies at Drexel University. I bring up the option of the PhD now because in my job search I'm most likely going to find positions that are research oriented or involve data analysis but will be divergent from the field of neuroscience where it is unlikely I could get a position that meets my goals and helps me towards pursuing a PhD. This brings up two questions where the first deals with my previous post where I was asking if I need to be contacting Professors for finding research positions or if that is improper and I put myself in a catch 22 since I needed to make networking connections while in my graduate studies at Drexel University. The second question would be if I remained in my current position would that be detrimental to applying for PhD programs in neuroscience in 2021 considering the fact that my present position has nothing to do with neuroscience?

What do you think is good about my experience? Does this amount of experience justify sufficiency for applying for PhD programs and what types of schools should I be thinking about if I were to apply?

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2 hours ago, xicor said:

As far as stipends go, I wouldn't be expecting the amount I'm requiring from research positions I'm currently looking for as advancement from my current job, my understanding is that PhD stipends are around the range 15,000-25,000 and there is the potential for work study like some PhD students were doing during my studies at Drexel University.

Let me clear this up for you: stipends for neuroscience are never that low and there is no potential to work study while in a PhD program. Stipends are typically between $24k and $38k pre-tax for neuroscience but to receive this you must commit to a TAship or RAship but as to which it will be for when is dependent on the program and often the amount your adviser is able to fund you. Many programs will pay your first year so that you can complete your rotations but after that, the adviser pays and that adviser can say you need to TA to help out with funds but ones with more money can just say keep on doing research. I think there are some exceptionally well-funded programs out there in which the program pays and you never need to TA. Others will require you to TA. Boston University GPN has zero teaching requirement while Carnegie Mellon Biological Sciences asks you do a 5 hour/week for one semester a year your entire time as a grad student. Of course you can get a fellowship that removes you from any TA duties and those stipends are usually around $36k to $40k for 4-5 years sometimes less (they come with some strings attached). When you sign your contract to be a grad student, you agree to take on no other jobs so you're entirely dependent on your stipend. Of course, many students will take up side jobs like tutoring or nannying to supplement their income and it depends on your PI as to whether or not they will get pissed. 

 

2 hours ago, xicor said:

This brings up two questions where the first deals with my previous post where I was asking if I need to be contacting Professors for finding research positions or if that is improper and I put myself in a catch 22 since I needed to make networking connections while in my graduate studies at Drexel University.

What is the catch-22 here? Yes, you should be reaching out to professors for potential positions but just know that most get filled internally before they make it out but there are a few computational neuroscientists that will post job postings on SfN's NeuroJobs, Twitter, comp-neuro mailing lists, departmental emails, etc. Some big-time comp. neuro. people I've seen hiring entry-level RA's in the last month or so are Sam Gershman (Harvard), Dora Angelaki (NYU), and SueYeon Chung (postdoc at MIT with Haim Sompolinsky). Unless you're a very good fit, it can be very hard to get a position. I work at the Allen Institute for Brain Science and we typically have 50-200 applicants for a single RA opening but that's very dependent on if its close to graduation time or not (and it's getting there). 

 

2 hours ago, xicor said:

The second question would be if I remained in my current position would that be detrimental to applying for PhD programs in neuroscience in 2021 considering the fact that my present position has nothing to do with neuroscience?

Your research situation is not ideal and I believe that although it isn't expressly a negative, I've noticed that admissions committees seem to want to see people past undergrad doing serious research in academic labs as RA's or in postbacc programs like the NIH PREP that have the possibility of putting out papers. I think your current position is detrimental and doubly so because it is not neuroscience. 

Edited by HawaiiLee808
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Thank you for the information, considering all these issues I’m not going to be able to solve all these problems in time for the 2020 academic year. I will look into incorporating contacting Professors into my job search for neuroscience related positions although the most likely scenario will be an internal transfer within my company to Philadelphia for positions relating to risk mitigation in procedures of clinical development testing. I’m thinking it is hard to be objective about the idea of a PhD in my current position and will need further research experience in neuroscience before I could construct solid reasons for pursuing a PhD. When I talk with Professors from my previous department they gave me no criticism in wanting to pursue a PhD so haven’t gotten any context of potential problems that may occurr if I were to go through with this plan.

Edited by xicor
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2 hours ago, xicor said:

Thank you for the information, considering all these issues I’m not going to be able to solve all these problems in time for the 2020 academic year. I will look into incorporating contacting Professors into my job search for neuroscience related positions although the most likely scenario will be an internal transfer within my company to Philadelphia for positions relating to risk mitigation in procedures of clinical development testing. I’m thinking it is hard to be objective about the idea of a PhD in my current position and will need further research experience in neuroscience before I could construct solid reasons for pursuing a PhD. When I talk with Professors from my previous department they gave me no criticism in wanting to pursue a PhD so haven’t gotten any context of potential problems that may occurr if I were to go through with this plan.

I will say though, you probably have an okay shot at the middle-tier of schools with your current experience (those in the 2nd and 3rd lists). I just think it would be beneficial to take a bit more time but now is still early enough that you can take a few months to decide before prepping for the next cycle. The application process is incredibly expensive (I spent $1,500 on apps; $500 on GRE stuff; $800 to send myself to network at a conference; $900 leave without pay to interview) so remember to apply for every fee waiver you can if you decide to apply.

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