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Are unfunded bioengineering MS programs a good choice?


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I should be able to get into a MS program at a top 10 school in Biomedical engineering... but it looks like it likely would be unfunded.


Or I could apply to a funded Ph.d program at a 15-50 school, complete the MS and bail on the Ph.d after two years, but be funded because it would appear I was going for my Ph.d



Anyone have advice on this?  




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Yes, I do.  

I'm in a different field, but I knew that I wanted the M.S. from day 1.  For two seconds, it crossed my mind to present myself as a PhD candidate and leave, but 1) that would've been horribly dishonest...an advisor's research funding/money doesn't grow on trees and 2) the MS and the first couple of PhD years are pedagogically different.  

By passing on the bait-n-switch, PhD->MS track and being honest, I was not expected to TA.  As a result, I had the free time to explore commercialization and entrepreneurship opportunities.  That helped lay the groundwork for what I'm doing now!

Also, by doing the terminal master's you may get to complete a thesis (not sure if engin. does); a drop-out PhD won't.  The opportunities for conference attendance, publications will probably be the same either way. 

I understand that you don't want the debt, but don't potentially burn bridges at the start of your career in order to avoid it.  

For me, I don't regret going the non-funded route.  I went to an affordable R1.  Because it was a doctoral-granting institution with good facilities, research there went smoothly.  I could have gone to a smaller/local school and gotten funded, but I would not have had the type research experience that I wanted.  It's all about trade-offs.


**In my field, few R1s offer the terminal M.S. 

Edited by Chai_latte
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