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US citizen complete biomedical doctorate abroad?


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A few years ago I left a top20 biomedical science PhD program in the US after two years of training. Most of the labs w/ funding in my research area left the school, so there were more students than available mentors. When I left, ¾ of the students in my research area did not have a lab at the end of our 2nd year. I also did not really like the area I was living in or the institution, so I decided to cut my losses and leave the program. I left before my prelim and I was so burnt out at the time I did not try to get a masters degree (would have had to find lab to fund me and stay there several months to write and defend it). I have several years of full-time lab experience before and after my time in graduate school.

Anyways, I am looking at my options to enroll in a biomedical doctoral program again. I have defined research interests now and I know what I need from a mentor and lab. Considering these things facts and my prior two years of graduate coursework, I am starting to think about potentially pursing the degree abroad. From my limited knowledge the European and Canadian systems in general have less course work and you have a lab at the time you matriculate into the program. Based on my background and experiences, I think that this system may be a better option for me, as I could almost immediately start working on my project. Hence, I would likely graduate faster.

Can anyone comment more on these systems? I know a couple people that completed their degrees in Europe, but they all graduated more than 10 years ago. I have never heard of any Americans going abroad to complete their degrees, except the NIH programs in Britain and Sweden. Is it even possible for Americans to apply directly to programs abroad? If it possible, how flexible are they on the master’s degree requirement that most programs I think have? I think that the schools w/ agreements w/ NIH, wave this requirement for the Americans in the programs. Do most schools do this for people w/ a lot of research experience?

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