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UCSD Biomedical Science or Neuroscience Program?


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I applied to two different programs at UCSD (Biomedical Science and Neuroscience) and was fortunate to be admitted to both. I've definitely decided to attend UCSD but I'm having trouble choosing which program. They're the same in terms of stipend/benefits and most of my labs of interest are available with either program. The core courses are slightly different but my options for electives will be pretty much the same. I also got a great vibe from both program's students and faculty. For a bit of background on me, I'm interested in studying neurodegerative diseases (including molecular mechanisms and translational strategies) and most likely will work in pharma or biotech after graduating.

Pros of BMS: Seems a bit more closely-linked to industry, including an internship program. Core courses are more interesting to me (neuro requires some cognitive/behavioral courses that I'm less interested in). Cohort has a broader array of interests. Generally a broader education that includes biology outside of just the brain.

Pros of Neuroscience: Seen as more "prestigious"/more competitive admission. Smaller, more tightly-knit cohort who all seem to be great friends and have lots of social events. Both programs seemed well-funded, but neuro is particularly so (I think they're #1 in the nation for NIH grants). More rotation flexibility (lab doesn't have to be affiliated with the program--this is a requirement for BMS but there seem to be mechanisms to get around this such as co-advisors).

Any insight from others would be very helpful!

Edited by maya123z
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It seems to me like you should choose the neuroscience program because you are interested specifically in neurodegeneration but I value highly having the greatest amount of PI's to choose from (and neuro has no restrictions). I do know also that UCSD Neuro seems to be engaged in a lot of SciComm (Alie Caldwell and others in the dept.) which I think is a plus for you. I do think that the prestige of the department becomes more of a factor when looking at industry positions and so I don't see any real advantage to the BMS as you've described it. You could certainly do an industry post-doc anyways. I would only say go to BMS if you possibly did not want to go into neurodeneration but these are probably questions to ask your mentors esp. if you have any in industry.

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