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Bioinformatics Program Reputation


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Hi! I have been applying to Bioinformatics programs this year and been accepted to a few Master's programs and some PhD programs as well. I studied a completely different field for my undergraduate degree and am not well versed in the science / biological society. I am trying to figure out which program is right for me personally, but I'm curious if anyone can help me to understand how programs are viewed. 


Considering some of the programs are newer than others (within the past few years) and the field is also relatively new, how does one know which programs are reputable vs those that are just mediocre? When trying to search online, it seems as though the only resource is US News Report which ranks only the top ten based pretty much on their genetics / genomic credibility as some of the programs listed do not even have dedicated bioinformatics programs. 


I realize that prestige is not everything, but at the same time how important should this be in making a decision? My ultimate goal is to go into academia. So, I'm trying to decide between attending a Master's program that seems to be better "ranked" in hopes of attending a higher ranked PhD program in the future (but incurring debts and adding a few more years onto the program) vs attending a PhD program that might be at a lower tier school but I'm sure would give me a great education. Any advice?

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