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Neuroscience MS vs. PhD?


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Hey, everyone.

  I'm entering my second year as a Post-Baccalaureate CRTA Fellow at the NCI, and I will be applying to Neuroscience Ph.D programs for Fall 2020. My concern is my lack of Neuroscience background. I graduated from NYU CAS with a Biology B.A. (conc. Molecular and Cellular Biology) in 2016. I am strongly interested in the study of neuropsychiatric illnesses, namely PTSD; I have kept abreast with the relevant literature for the last three years. I have also briefly been in a Behavioral Neuroscience lab at Sinai prior to being selected for a Post-Bacc in May, 2018. Should I consider applying to a Neuroscience MS to develop stronger intellectual and experimental background in the field, or should I just apply to Ph.D programs straight?

Any thoughts, concerns, grievances, etc. would be appreciated! ?

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I think apply directly to PhD programs! You could also apply to a mix of PhD programs and "back-up" masters programs. Speaking from semi-personal experience, one of the people in my cohort in a neuro PhD program did his bachelor's in biology, and he's been completely fine. Personally, in my program I wish I had more of a molecular/cellular background, because a lot of my first-year classes have been skewed that way. Most programs will have at least a year of general neuro background classes to get everyone "up to speed" including basics of neuroscience, so as long as you're generally good at science and learning I'm sure you'll do great :) 

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On 6/4/2019 at 6:29 PM, HawaiiLee808 said:

Straight to PhD. MS's cost money usually and you're getting equivalent experience in your neuro postbacc. Really the MS is only for those who have zero science experience and are looking to switch into neuro.

My postbacc is in Epigenetics & Chromatin Biology, haha. I don't have much bench experience in Neuroscience. May apply for an MS abroad (cheaper, accelerated.) 

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