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vnatch

School of Medicine vs. Generic Grad programs?

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Hello, I've been researching lots of grad schools to find good cell/dev bio programs, and there were a few instances where I came across professors whose lab pages/directories said "School of Medicine". I'm not too sure what the difference is between this and the school's generic cell/molecular biology department, could someone explain this? I have heard of some people applying to PhD programs in medical schools, but I always assumed this was more for people geared towards research that had a pretty direct relationship with medicine and/or clinical work. For example, if I apply to a school's Biology graduate program, would I be able to work under a professor if he/she is doing work in the School of Medicine? I would like to know this ahead of time, both so I know who I can work with and who I can't, and also so I don't sound uninformed in my SOP for these schools. Thanks

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If the professor is listed part of the faculty's program you most likely can work for them, provided they are accepting students. If you find someone's work interesting it never hurts to send them a message to see if they're taking students when you're hoping to enroll. 

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It depends on the school but many times a graduate program is different than a department that a PI is under.  A graduate program may have faculty from 3 or 4 different academic departments.  typicallly rotations can be done with anyone accepting students in those programs and even so some faculty from outside the program in one of those departments or a related one can join a graduate program faculty. 

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I agree with @peachypie. It might depend on the school, but the difference at my school (where there is a SOM biosci grad program with various departments and a separate biology department/program outside of the SOM) is funding sources. The bio department has some of the same class requirements as the SOM program and we are allowed to rotate/join labs in their department, so in the end it might not matter. I would contact an admin of the program you're interested in to get more info about rules on rotating and joining labs outside of the department/program.  

Anyway, there are still a good number of PIs in SOM departments that study basic science, the difference might be that they tend to use animal models/cells. 

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In my experience, medical schools have tons of money! If you are torn between 2 programs at a school and one is in a medical school then I recommend applying for it. My interests barely fit into medical school research... My program is the medical school but all of the other students in my lab are in programs in the grad school (BME, chemistry, physics). At my school, the med school affiliation comes with a higher stipend, more benefits, and and less course requirements.

All sorts of profs with completely different research interests are affiliated with the med school... they definitely don't all use animal models. There are even some purely computational/theoretical labs in the med school.

Edited by bsharpe269

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I would also add in here, that generally in a medical school you will not be required to teach. If you are in a basic science department, you will likely be required to TA. 

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