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GECIgecko

Boston University vs. Mount Sinai for Neuroscience?

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I'm lucky enough to have to make a choice between both programs (BU vs. Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine for Neuroscience). I would appreciate any help in making this decision. Both programs have great advisors I could work with, the money is about the same, and both are amazing cities (for different reasons). I'm having a lot of trouble deciding. 

 

If anyone can offer any advice, anecdotes, or opinions, it would be greatly appreciated. Which school is better for neuroscience? Which school have you heard has a better graduate environment? I'll just choose whatever y'all tell me.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, GECIgecko said:

I'm lucky enough to have to make a choice between both programs (BU vs. Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine for Neuroscience). I would appreciate any help in making this decision. Both programs have great advisors I could work with, the money is about the same, and both are amazing cities (for different reasons). I'm having a lot of trouble deciding. 

 

If anyone can offer any advice, anecdotes, or opinions, it would be greatly appreciated. Which school is better for neuroscience? Which school have you heard has a better graduate environment? I'll just choose whatever y'all tell me.

Congrats on the offer at BU GPN! I interviewed but haven’t heard any unofficial/official offer yet. I can’t help you directly with your decision since I know next to nothing about Mt. Sinai and what your priorities are in a program but I’ll just say what I think about BU. 

For me, their greatest strength was that they have a solid computational program and around a third of the interviewees were computational which was a big plus for me and there are only a few other schools offering this sort of program (Chicago, CMU/Pitt, UW, Princeton, UCL, and Columbia among others). They also have a legend like Nancy Kopell and well-known names like Uri Eden in the computational realm plus Michael Hasselmo who is one of the most prominent for grid/place cells. If any of these are your interest, go to BU over Sinai. I do rodent systems neuro work and they have a relatively large number of these like Jerry Chen, Ben Scott, Alberto Cruz-Martín, Jeffrey Gavornik, and a few other I’m forgetting. I might be stuck in mouse systems/comp neuro world but I would say certainly BU is more well-regarded than Mt. Sinai. I spent a year searching for programs focusing on these topics and Mt. Sinai never came up once. BU is definitely one of the top schools in the world for computational work up there with Northwestern, UCLA, and UW. I would say that, if you’re interested in translational medicine/research, Mt. Sinai is probably the better choice.

I also like the vibe in Boston more because it’s so much “academic” (probably the top place for this feel in the world): after the visit I hung out with some friends at MIT and Harvard and everywhere we went there were grad students. In NYC it’d be more vibrant with more to do I suppose and a much greater diversity of people’s if that’s a priority for you. Boston is overwhelmingly white (the city not the students). Going to Boston would be a “all science all the time” feel. I should add that, if you’re considering industry, BU is the place to be. Labs like Alberto Cruz-Martín’s were really embedded with industry with active collaborations.

As far as bad impressions go, I didn’t feel like BU was all that collaborative with any of the other schools especially given the proximity. As a note, I felt that Harvard and MIT were far more collaborative and my friends there were continually moving between both campuses (and Harvard medical) for class/lab. Not sure why this is. It also felt like the students were working pretty hard compared to my other interviews but I think this just comes with the territory being in Boston and being one of the better neuro programs. It’s certainly a popular one since they reportedly got over 500 apps; for reference, NYU got over 600 and Harvard got around 560. Also, they said about 10% of the students are at the Longwood campus which I fell would be lonely since it’s a 30 min shuttle ride away. You’d be here if you worked with someone doing macaque stuff.

Edited by HawaiiLee808

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@HawaiiLee808  Thank you so much for your detailed response! This totally helps a lot. Did you go to the recent recruitment session or did you go in a previous year? Regardless, how did BU compare to your other programs?

I definitely want an "all science all the time" feel. And I'm leaning towards basic science with translational research being a plus, but not absolutely vital to me. I'm interested in all the names you mentioned. I guess I was wondering about the reputation of one school over the other, so you think Boston is "better" than Mt Sinai?

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, GECIgecko said:

@HawaiiLee808  Thank you so much for your detailed response! This totally helps a lot. Did you go to the recent recruitment session or did you go in a previous year? Regardless, how did BU compare to your other programs?

I definitely want an "all science all the time" feel. And I'm leaning towards basic science with translational research being a plus, but not absolutely vital to me. I'm interested in all the names you mentioned. I guess I was wondering about the reputation of one school over the other, so you think Boston is "better" than Mt Sinai?

If you’re comfortable, you can PM me on the BU GPN GroupMe (I’m the guy who started it) else just PM here on grad cafe. I know a bit of the professors personally and have opinions about the schools I interviewed at that I can share privately. We were at the same interview. If you can’t tell who started the GroupMe, just look at the last names haha 

Edited by HawaiiLee808

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