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2021 Biology PhD Admissions Results


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On 9/18/2020 at 2:01 PM, Neuromantic said:

But is the Molec / Neuro /etc. program thru A&S, or is it thru the med school? Perhaps it's both?

Perhaps both? I’ve now heard some programs such as physics are still accepting students but some are not. Best to email the program!!!

(Sorry if this ends up being wrong for some programs and scared people)

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Anyone else spiraling into checking their email, the results page and forums every 10minutes? 🤡

That's a terrible way to apply to graduate school.

What counts as middle and low tier?😅 Go big or go home I guess haha, I just picked good schools whose program I liked and would be happy attending 

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Does anyone know how it looks to an admissions committee if you apply to a program's Ph.D. and Masters program at the same time? Given the limited resources as a result of the pandemic, I was thinking of applying to a few masters programs as a backup to my Ph.D applications, but I don't want it to raise red flags with an admissions committee. 

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14 hours ago, sb248 said:

Does anyone know how it looks to an admissions committee if you apply to a program's Ph.D. and Masters program at the same time? Given the limited resources as a result of the pandemic, I was thinking of applying to a few masters programs as a backup to my Ph.D applications, but I don't want it to raise red flags with an admissions committee. 

I have no particular evidence/insight, but I don’t see why it would raise a red flag. It seems like even the most qualified PhD applicants are worried about their likelihood of admission. Applying to a PhD program and a masters program indicates to me that the student has a career plan, and a back up plan/ willingness to work though a MS degree to ultimately obtain a PhD. Why are you thinking it may raise red flags?

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On 10/12/2020 at 12:29 PM, phd_hopeful_2021 said:

I have no particular evidence/insight, but I don’t see why it would raise a red flag. It seems like even the most qualified PhD applicants are worried about their likelihood of admission. Applying to a PhD program and a masters program indicates to me that the student has a career plan, and a back up plan/ willingness to work though a MS degree to ultimately obtain a PhD. Why are you thinking it may raise red flags?

I was worried if it would suggest I'm not confident in my Ph.D. application and if it is the same admission committee, it would be pretty obvious that the MS is my backup. 

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On 10/14/2020 at 7:26 PM, sb248 said:

I was worried if it would suggest I'm not confident in my Ph.D. application and if it is the same admission committee, it would be pretty obvious that the MS is my backup. 

A couple schools have a checkbox on your phd application asking whether you'd like to be considered for their Master's program as well. I can't remember specifically which ones though. I don't think that tick would change your chances of admission either way. 

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On 10/12/2020 at 1:16 AM, sb248 said:

Does anyone know how it looks to an admissions committee if you apply to a program's Ph.D. and Masters program at the same time? Given the limited resources as a result of the pandemic, I was thinking of applying to a few masters programs as a backup to my Ph.D applications, but I don't want it to raise red flags with an admissions committee. 

So I just got off of an open house event, and some one asked a similar question, and the admissions board said don't do that. You should focus on applying to the Ph.D., and if you're not admitted then you have the option to apply to the masters. 

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12 hours ago, StemCells4Lyfe said:

So I just got off of an open house event, and some one asked a similar question, and the admissions board said don't do that. You should focus on applying to the Ph.D., and if you're not admitted then you have the option to apply to the masters. 

This is interesting. Thanks for sharing. I'm curious about the "if you're not admitted then you have the option to apply to the masters." Do you mean the next year around? Or will you be recontacted if you are not accepted to a PhD program and offered the option to apply to the masters? 

I had been wondering about this previously and asked a couple of departments if applicants not accepted to the PhD would be considered for masters admissions, I was told that it is not a guarantee unless you indicate to the department in advance that you would like to be considered for the masters program. 

 

Thanks for the insight!

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18 hours ago, StemCells4Lyfe said:

So I just got off of an open house event, and some one asked a similar question, and the admissions board said don't do that. You should focus on applying to the Ph.D., and if you're not admitted then you have the option to apply to the masters. 

If you're comfortable, can you share the name of the school whose open house you attended in case others are planning on applying there. 

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5 hours ago, heygirlhey said:

This is interesting. Thanks for sharing. I'm curious about the "if you're not admitted then you have the option to apply to the masters." Do you mean the next year around? Or will you be recontacted if you are not accepted to a PhD program and offered the option to apply to the masters? 

I had been wondering about this previously and asked a couple of departments if applicants not accepted to the PhD would be considered for masters admissions, I was told that it is not a guarantee unless you indicate to the department in advance that you would like to be considered for the masters program. 

 

Thanks for the insight!

I didn't ask for clarification, but I'm assuming the latter; that if you get a letter of rejection it will ask if you are interested in applying to the master's program. I'd also check your applications carefully. Some might ask if you wish to be considered for the master's program if you aren't accepted to the Ph.D., which would prompt the offer if you are rejected. I definitely have seen on applications they ask if you don't accepted to your first choice department, if you'd like to be considered for other areas if they think you are suited for them. 

 

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Hey Everyone,

I was wondering about my chances applying to a PhD program in Biology or Computational/Systems Biology. I was admitted to a single Genetics PhD program last application cycle, and deferred it due to mental health issues I was having (before the pandemic hit). I really like the program, and it would probably afford me some ability to work with PIs outside the department, but not very many faculty are doing much work that I am interested in. I have been working since graduating at a large biotech firm, and have been exposed to interesting work being done outside of the study of DNA expression and genetics. In addition, I have realized that my interest has shifted from solely being interested in the study of living systems, but also in the human application of that knowledge. I am thinking of reapplying to a few reach schools that I didn't apply to last cycle in Computational Biology and Bioengineering, and I have no idea if I should apply to them, or apply to a Master's program instead? 

Undergrad Institution: Small Private R2 (graduated. Dec. 2019 - took 4.5 years)
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Computer Science
GPA in Major: 3.42, (3.8 in minor)
Overall GPA: 3.30
Type of Student: Domestic


GRE Scores:
Q: 162
V: 167
W:  5.0

Research Experience: 4.5 years in same research group at undergrad university writing simulation and visualization software of DNA microarray data, 1 REU at Nebraska making mathematical models of neuronal metabolism pathways, 1 REU at UCSD making mathematical models of the mechanisms of a novel drug compound, currently research associate at a major biotech company since Jan. 2020, and have since been placed in charge of our automation initiative and am the second lead of our data science team 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Athletic Director's academic achievement list (2 semesters), Deans List a couple other times, 1 publication (last author), 1 poster at national conference, 3 at regional conferences, 1 best poster award from regional conference

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: D1 Athlete (first 1.5 years), Professional Development Coordinator in fraternity, worked 2 (part-time) jobs during college, during summer internship developed a currently-used biology curriculum for one of the largest zoos in the world, wrote and researched for school's debate team, studied abroad

LOR: (confident in how good these will be) both PIs of joint lab at undergrad institution, 1 available from humanities professor, 1 possible from VP of R&D at current company

Bonus Info: I had my GPA dip significantly for the first two years of college (3.2) because of my athletic commitments and also because of my (at the time) undiagnosed mental health issues and ADD. I never got it back up to where I know it could have been, but it improved since, and in my minor, I excelled. I'm also just terrible at doing homework, but as both my PIs and the VP (will) probably wrote, my work ethic in the research is pretty exceptional.


Applying to Where:
UCLA Bioinformatics, Columbia Systems Bio, Berkeley CompBio, Stanford BMI

Potential Master's: the same schools but Master's programs

 

Any help would be much appreciated. I don't feel like my path forward is very clear cut, and before I make any decisions on what to do I would love to hear any words that anyone has to say.

 

 

Edited by ms_
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On 11/7/2020 at 7:45 PM, lfrt_ said:

 

Hey Everyone,

I was wondering about my chances applying to a PhD program in Biology or Computational/Systems Biology. I was admitted to a single Genetics PhD program last application cycle, and deferred it due to mental health issues I was having (before the pandemic hit). I really like the program, and it would probably afford me some ability to work with PIs outside the department, but not very many faculty are doing much work that I am interested in. I have been working since graduating at a large biotech firm, and have been exposed to interesting work being done outside of the study of DNA expression and genetics. In addition, I have realized that my interest has shifted from solely being interested in the study of living systems, but also in the human application of that knowledge. I am thinking of reapplying to a few reach schools that I didn't apply to last cycle in Computational Biology and Bioengineering, and I have no idea if I should apply to them, or apply to a Master's program instead? 

Undergrad Institution: Small Private R2 (graduated. Dec. 2019 - took 4.5 years)
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Computer Science
GPA in Major: 3.42, (3.8 in minor)
Overall GPA: 3.30
Type of Student: Domestic


GRE Scores:
Q: 162
V: 167
W:  5.0

Research Experience: 4.5 years in same research group at undergrad university writing simulation and visualization software of DNA microarray data, 1 REU at Nebraska making mathematical models of neuronal metabolism pathways, 1 REU at UCSD making mathematical models of the mechanisms of a novel drug compound, currently research associate at a major biotech company since Jan. 2020, and have since been placed in charge of our automation initiative and am the second lead of our data science team 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Athletic Director's academic achievement list (2 semesters), Deans List a couple other times, 1 publication (last author), 1 poster at national conference, 3 at regional conferences, 1 best poster award from regional conference

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: D1 Athlete (first 1.5 years), Professional Development Coordinator in fraternity, worked 2 (part-time) jobs during college, during summer internship developed a currently-used biology curriculum for one of the largest zoos in the world, wrote and researched for school's debate team, studied abroad

LOR: (confident in how good these will be) both PIs of joint lab at undergrad institution, 1 available from humanities professor, 1 possible from VP of R&D at current company

Bonus Info: I had my GPA dip significantly for the first two years of college (3.2) because of my athletic commitments and also because of my (at the time) undiagnosed mental health issues and ADD. I never got it back up to where I know it could have been, but it improved since, and in my minor, I excelled. I'm also just terrible at doing homework, but as both my PIs and the VP (will) probably wrote, my work ethic in the research is pretty exceptional.


Applying to Where:
UCLA Bioinformatics, Columbia Systems Bio, Berkeley CompBio, Stanford BMI

Potential Master's: the same schools but Master's programs

 

Any help would be much appreciated. I don't feel like my path forward is very clear cut, and before I make any decisions on what to do I would love to hear any words that anyone has to say.

 

 

Hi,

I can’t offer too much advise given the admissions process is opaque to everyone. My initial response to your profile though is that your experience is very strong, as are your GRE scores, and your GPA (particularly in the classes where it matters) is fine. If I were you, I’d definitely apply to all those you listed, but also perhaps apply to an additional mid-tier school or two. Good luck!
 

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I spoke with Penn at a conference yesterday. I can assure everyone that their biomedical graduate studies (BGS) program is accepting PhD students for the fall of 2021. The only program in A&S that ~may~ be affected is their Biology PhD. 

 

BGS is through their Perelman medical school which is why it's not being affected. 

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Can anyone please comment on my school choices compared to my stats? I don't have a good grasp of whether I am a strong applicant for these schools or should reconsider adding more safeties.

 

Undergrad Institution: UC Berkeley

Major(s): Molecular and Cell Biology

Overall GPA: 3.47

Major GPA: Science GPA is 3.25

Type of Student: Domestic, female

 

GRE Scores:

(Although none of the programs require GRE, I'm hoping some will still consider my scores)

Q 165 (85%)

V 164 (84%)

W 4.5 (80%)

 

Research Experience: 

- Nearly three years (still working there today) in an academic bioengineering lab on campus, extensive wet lab experience and in vivo work. Including certification to perform cranial surgery on mice independently. One publication (mid author) from this work. Letter of rec coming from PI, as well as another from a former mentor who is now a professor at different university

- Two summers of an internship at a small biotech company, although this was before college. Mostly molecular biology work done. Two conference posters from this.

- One summer immunology internship at very well-known big pharma company (online internship because covid, mainly presented project proposals and lit surveys virtually). Co-first author or second author publication in development for submission (won't be submitted by application due date). Letter of rec coming from mentor.

Extracurriculars:

-One semester of inorganic chemistry class lab assistant

-Two summers of TAing organic chemistry (given same roles as a grad student TA: instructing own lab section, proctoring tests, holding office hours, etc.)

-One summer of assisting in a high school science extracurricular class

-Volunteer at hospital emergency department for almost 3 years, although volunteered there non-consistently throughout the 3 years

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

-Departmental honors program for my major to write a senior honors thesis. 

-Conducted research under the Chemical Engineering honors program for my school.

-Dean's list: 2 times 

 

Applying to Where:

NYU GSAS: Molecular Biology

Weill Cornell BCMB Allied Program

Rockefeller Bioscience

Mt. Sinai Biomedical Sciences

Columbia Biology

UCSF Tetrad

UCLA Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology

USC Molecular Biology

USC Keck: PIBBS: Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences

Boston University Biology

Maybe CUNY or SUNY in NYC? Or Fordham or Albert Einstein in NYC? Not sure if I need more safeties..

 

Any advice on my schools list is appreciated!!

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