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Is UT Southwestern really that well known in the science community?


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I applied to UTSW because I was interested in the program, faculty research, and because the app was free and I didn't need to submit GRE scores. I was just offered an interview, which I didn't expect, and am super excited about. When looking more into the program/university, learned that it's top 20 in the world for both the program and research according to both US News and Nature!!! I know it's not a household name since they don't have an undergrad program. Personally I had never heard of them until I attended a grad fair, but I'm also the only person among my friends and family who isn't business. But is UTSW really that prestigious and well known in the science community too? It's not going to play a role in my decision, but I am curious.

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I don't know about biotech jobs. I think in academia UTSW is well-respected; people may debate about it being top 20, but I don't expect anyone to say it's an unknown or no-name school. I interviewed there and met multiple faculty members who did postdocs in or moved from other well-known places (the 2 examples I now explicitly remember were from UChicago and UCSF iirc). The school is less popular than it deserves science-wise, because people usually want to live on the coasts rather than in Texas. The specifics will depend on your specific area of study, and where (location-wise) you're hoping to get job offers from. I'd imagine UTSW is probably better recognized in Texas, but I could totally be wrong (in fact, I've been told that the further you are from Boston, the more impressive Harvard sounds lol). I don't really know if it'd be considered a near ivy, because I don't think people generally rank grad schools in "ivy" terms.

At the end of the day, if you do an amazing PhD under an advisor well-known in their field, and graduate with two first-author publications in Nature, the school's overall prestige becomes essentially irrelevant; in fact, it's you who then bring prestige to the school. If, however, you do a somewhat average PhD, then people will have to judge you by thinking "well their publications aren't amazing, but hey they did graduate from X". You probably already know this, but having it spelled out to me did make my mind clearer when I was considering grad school choices myself.

Anyway, congrats and enjoy your interviews!

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On 1/25/2021 at 1:06 PM, DRMF said:

I don't know about biotech jobs. I think in academia UTSW is well-respected; people may debate about it being top 20, but I don't expect anyone to say it's an unknown or no-name school. I interviewed there and met multiple faculty members who did postdocs in or moved from other well-known places (the 2 examples I now explicitly remember were from UChicago and UCSF iirc). The school is less popular than it deserves science-wise, because people usually want to live on the coasts rather than in Texas. The specifics will depend on your specific area of study, and where (location-wise) you're hoping to get job offers from. I'd imagine UTSW is probably better recognized in Texas, but I could totally be wrong (in fact, I've been told that the further you are from Boston, the more impressive Harvard sounds lol). I don't really know if it'd be considered a near ivy, because I don't think people generally rank grad schools in "ivy" terms.

At the end of the day, if you do an amazing PhD under an advisor well-known in their field, and graduate with two first-author publications in Nature, the school's overall prestige becomes essentially irrelevant; in fact, it's you who then bring prestige to the school. If, however, you do a somewhat average PhD, then people will have to judge you by thinking "well their publications aren't amazing, but hey they did graduate from X". You probably already know this, but having it spelled out to me did make my mind clearer when I was considering grad school choices myself.

Anyway, congrats and enjoy your interviews!

Thanks so much for your two cents, it really helps. And as someone who used to work in a lab at Harvard Med, I 100% agree with your statement hahahaha

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2 minutes ago, MyStomachHurts said:

Thanks so much for your two cents, it really helps. And as someone who used to work in a lab at Harvard Med, I 100% agree with your statement hahahaha

For what it’s worth, UTSW is listed as a top 30-35 program in this poll:

 

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