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Materials Science Undergrad looking for PhD/ MS/ Research Advice


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Hi, I'm a recent Materials Science and Engineering graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and need some candid advice. I've posted my problem, questions, and my profile below. 


The Problem: I've been working in Management Consulting for a year and a half, and have once again pondered whether to return to graduate school (ideally for a PhD, or a masters if it potentially leads to a PhD) in Materials Science, specifically biomaterials. My early grades in materials science were average, while my grades in higher level, 400-level courses were all stellar. Additionally, couple this with a lack of research experience. Fortunately, the classes I performed well in were biomaterials and polymer courses - namely biomaterials, bioconjugation, & polymer science. Some additional info: my senior research paper discussed a the design and evaluation of a biphasic osteogenic bioscaffold.


Questions: Would it be best to apply directly to a PhD program?

Would it be best to apply directly to a MS program?

Or would it be best to work with a professor (with a biomaterials focus) for a year or so at a reputable program, potentially take a few additional courses to augment my application, and then apply?

I feel I'm at a crossroad right now and would greatly appreciate any advice anybody has to offer!






Major(s)B.S. Materials Science & Engineering; B.A. Economics

Minor(s): Technology & Management Minor
Overall GPA: 3.60/4.00 (Honors)

GRE Scores: N/A
LOR: Assistant Professor UIUC (alma: University of New South Wales; Biomaterials concentration) 

Associate Professor UIUC (alma: UCSB; Biomaterials concentration)

Research Experience: RA for 1 semester in a biomaterials lab, nothing extensive

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations: Senior Thesis / Materials Design Project

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Department Scholarship; Dean's List; graduated with honors

Fellowships/Funding: N/A

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: N/A

Research Interests: Biomaterials, specifically drug/gene delivery systems & bioscaffolds

Edited by vdersar1
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It really depends on what kind of school you'd like to go to for your PhD. If you're looking to go to a top-tier school, I'd recommend taking a year to boost your resume. If you just want to get into an average program and get your PhD, you should apply. Your application is not very bad. You can get into some decent places for sure. Research experience would help boost your chances, though.


Don't apply for a terminal masters, especially if you're looking to do a PhD in the end.

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