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I am looking to apply to UCLA for neuroscience in the fall of 2012, I however was wondering if anyone had any idea on what the realistic criteria was for a student to be accepted into the masters program? I have a double major in biology (3.84GPA) and Broadfield Natural Science (3.54GPA) with a minor in chemistry (3.74GPA), and an overall GPA of 3.7. I do not have any research experiance, but im not sure how prevelant that is. I would appreciate any advice anyone could give me.

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Def get research experience asap. For the PhD this is fundamental, for MS however I don't know how crucial this is but it would only make your application stronger. Try looking up interesting profs in your dept and asking if you can volunteer or get some independent study credits! If you are worried about how much time you have I have found profs can be very accommodating, even a few hours week will give you a leg up and help you get a feel of what research actually entails.

And kudos for finding this website and using this community! I wish I could've known about this earlier!

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I do not have any research experiance, but im not sure how prevelant that is.

I would e-mail or call the department directly and ask them if it is necessary. Experience will definitely make you more competitive and even if you just want to get a tech job someone with experience is going to be more desirable than someone without it. Is there a specific reason why you haven't been able to take advantage of any undergraduate opportunities? I would think it would be difficult to get a funded MS without it, but then again I do not know for sure.

However, If you want to do a PhD, and want to get into a good program research experience is an absolute necessity. If you think about why virtually all PhD programs in the life sciences issue a stipend it is because you are going to be doing research for the university. Quality programs output quality research, and to make sure they are able to produce quality research they want to know that they are accepting capable students who know that they want to be there. Research can be tough and frustrating but also very exciting. If you are not excited about the intellectual challenge that scientific research presents and are depressed rather than motivated by its difficulty then it will be hard to enjoy it. Solving a problem in the laboratory is much different than solving a problem on an exam in a lecture hall. While I'm sure you're great at that because of your GPA you may find that lab work is not what you expected. You may even find that after doing some sort of undergraduate research or internship that you don't like it at all. I would strongly suggest getting as much research experience as you can ASAP not only because it will be nearly impossible for you to get into a top program without it, but also to figure out if it's really something you can be passionate about for the rest of your life. A middle school chemistry teacher and a Nobel laureate can both love and be excited by science....but they follow very different career paths.

Edited by yeahyeah
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