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Undergrad Research Field and Graduate School


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Does the area of research you've been involved with during undergrad need to line up with what programs you're applying to for graduate school? I've conducted research in biomedical engineering and neuroscience, but am interested in applying for graduate programs in regenerative medicine... Some of the projects I've worked on have been related, but not much more... will this matter at all?

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While it could certainly help to have some undergrad research experience in whatever you want to research in grad school... it's not entirely necessary. What would be beneficial to you would be taking what you have researched, and showing how it has improved your ability to research in general. Research skills are learned and many of them are transferable. The way that you approach a problem, understand errors, collaborate with people, and write are all different in research than say... a class.  

When you present the research you've done in your SOP, highlight the transferable skills that you learned. For example, when I first started undergrad research, I was doing some basic lab work... crushing samples, centrifuging, etc. But I presented it as having learned about all of the basic errors that can occur in a lab, and how that can affect data and results. When I worked on figures, maps, photos etc... I presented it as increasing my ability to convey results to the scientific community. When I actually conducted analyses I presented it as learning the importance of documenting and following certain procedures, but also being able to distinguish between normal errors and machine malfunctions. 

I'm sure that you will be able to do this with your research as well. 

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