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Applying to Grad School in Europe


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I'm a 4th year Biology major with a focus on neuroscience. I live in the US have decent grades, excellent lab experience and am second-author on a published paper (and appear on a few other papers as a minor contributor). I've always planned on going to Graduate School and assumed I would be doing it in the States as well. I was told a long time ago that the US was the best place for Graduate School because there was more funding. The notion (right or wrong) stuck.

Recently, however, I've begun to think about grad school overseas because a good friend of mine is looking into it. He's been told that the funding is about the same but the networking is drastically better and it puts you in a better position for a great post-doc and academic career later, as compared to going to one of the many grad schools in the US. Furthermore, my friend says you don't need to apply to the University itself so much as apply to the individual professors at the university which is where my extensive lab experience would really shine (and I can downplay my mediocre grades).

So, does anyone have some advice, tips or know the process of applying to European graduate schools? Is it a good idea? Are there alternate tests (instead of or in addition to the GRE) that I need to take?

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I did my MA in the UK (I think a lot of people have done the same).

I don't know about the sciences, but no, there is no GRE like test. If you are applying for the PhD, you need to have a dissertation proposal for the most part, but I"m sure your profs can help you with that.

If you are interested though in my opinion (and granted I did my MA in the humanities so it could be entirely different for the sciences). In the US, you are allowed wiggle room and are given time to mature and explore topics before deciding on your dissertation topic. You have to take classes that give s you a much much wider perspective on your field, and in the end I believe that is a real plus with US educations.

In the UK, you pretty much only work on the dissertation without taking classes, so you don't have this time to mature and explore other options. Yes, networking is actually much easier to do in Europe, probably because it's a much smaller place with a smaller community, so that is a plus in itself. I do not believe funding in Europe is as good as it is in the US. You will probably need loans to pay, at least for your living expenses.

You just need to decide where you are in your studies....to jump right into your research, or if you need the time to explore and get a feel for your field before jumping in.

In my opinion, there is no need to rush, but you do what is best for you.

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