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PhD in Life Science: Utah vs Purdue


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Hi all, 


I am an international student and have two offers for a PhD in Life Sciences in the US. I do not have many criteria to decide as I have never been to any of those places. I need to make a decision this week and have no clue on what I am going to do. 


1. Molecular Biology program at the University of Utah

- $26,000/year + $1,000 starting allocation + 100% health insurance + no fees

- 4 rotations

- 120 faculty in 6 departments 

- Salt Lake City is perfect for skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities. 

- Well-organized housing by the university. It seems easy to find a place to stay. 

- Housing around $500


2. Purdue University Life Science program

- $24,000/year + 80 % health insurance (I'd have to pay visa and semester fees as well). 

- 4 rotations

-170 faculty in 27 departments (many areas of interests)

- Lafayette is a small city with a lot of students and really close to Chicago (useful to fly back home).

- Housing around $500


While Purdue seems (I don't really know) better in terms of research, UofU offers me a larger stipend and they have been much more helpful so far. Any suggestion? Does anyone know something about these universities? 


Thank you :)

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Purdue has a far better reputation (generally speaking) and geographically/culturally speaking may be less of a culture shock for an international student! Anyway, the stipends are so similar - especially with West Lafayette's low cost of living - that I would say the research benefits should outweigh the money for sure! Hopefully this doesn't offend anyone, but Utah (as a state) is kind of in the middle of nowhere, and while West Lafayette isn't exactly an ideal location (it's cute, but not 'near' much) you can drive to Indianapolis in 1 hour and Chicago in under 3.


So... I vote for Purdue!

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Another vote for Purdue, just way more opportunities there for networking and such. Utah is fine but as an underdog they have to woo you with little things like health insurance, stipend, and being nice. Don't fall for it, not worth it for compromising your future career.

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