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Masters vs. PhD programs: Am I under-qualified for PhD programs?


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Hi all, 


I should probably apologize in advance, as I'm sure this topic has been addressed before... but I'm new around here and figured I might as well ask for some advice. 


I am a senior Biology student (with a minor in Chemistry) and have just started working on my applications for cellular and molecular biology programs at several schools- UC Berkeley, Davis, LA, UW, USC, University of British Columbia and a few others. I would love to attend any of these universities- however, I'm not sure if my profile will be strong enough to apply directly to PhD or even Masters programs at any of these schools.



My GRE scores leave something to be desired (156 quant, 164verbal, 3.5 analytical writing) but I plan on retaking the test come November.


I have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.46 and have been awarded Dean's List honors for several terms at my school. My coursework has consisted of a wide range of Biology and Chemistry classes, including several graduate level classes in both departments. However, I did get a C+ in Molecular Bio II, a grad level Bio class I took last year, which might hurt my application.


I also have research experience in two labs on campus, though I am currently unpublished and probably won't achieve authorship before graduation. LORs should be positive- two will come from PIs on campus, and one will come from an internship at a healthcare company I had the summer before last. 


What do you think? Is admission to a PhD program at any of these schools realistic? Should I consider a Master's first? I know that most of the schools listed above have molecular biology programs that are ranked in the top 20/30 programs nationally, and with time running out to apply to graduate school in Fall 2014, I don't want to spend what little time I have left applying to schools I have no chance of getting into. 


Thanks in advance for reading/commenting! 

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I agree with TexasGuy on your GRE scores. 


GPA isnt bad, but concurrently not stellar. However I know the adcoms will favor with your classes. 


Research experience, regardless of publication is important, therefore you're good there as well


You should focus primarily on your written statements - SOP, Personal Statement/Achievement, and Sample, if they require it.

Btw, Im currently attending UC Davis ^.^

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