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I'm debating between accepting UCSF (Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics) or UW (Pharmaceutics), both PhD programs. Both seem excellent, but the differences as I see them:

PSPG is part of the broader Quantitative Biosciences Consortium (QBC) at UCSF, so has more faculty and incorporates genomics along with traditional pharmacokinetics (PK) research. There is only one year of coursework, which seems rushed to me. The current students and other interviewees were amazing. San Francisco is cool, but expensive.

UW does not have an emphasis on genomics, so I would have to take classes outside my home department if I wanted this skill. I've emailed Genome Sciences at UW to see if they offer graduate certificates or coursework to outside department students; waiting to hear back. UW has three years of coursework that includes advanced PK coursework, and space for 5 electives (hence my email to Genome Sciences). I currently live in Seattle, so this would be a pretty low-cost transition. The department is about half the size of UCSF, and has more of a family feel between faculty members.

Basically:

I want to live in a cool city (both satisfy)

I want to work with excellent faculty (both satisfy)

I want to have a good foundation in Pharmacokinetics (UW seems to satisfy better, but maybe coursework isn't everything?)

I want to expose myself to and incorporate genomics into my research (UCSF seems much better in this regard, but maybe I could do coursework at UW and then post-doc at UCSF?)

I want to be around cool people (UCSF had a comfier vibe to me)

I want to be prepared for either industry or academia (both satisfy)

 

Any guidance much appreciated :)

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I know absolutely nothing about the actual programs, but, since you haven't gotten a response back yet and I DO know a lot about the institutions/cities, I figured I could add a bit of info.

 

You're right about San Francisco being cool (and expensive)! It's typical to pay 500 to 1000 dollars on rent a month in Madison, depending on number of roommates and quality of living space. On the high end, you could pay $2000 to live on State Street by yourself. Meanwhile, you might spend that to live in an actual dump with a couple roommates in SF. What does your funding/financial situation look like?

SF is a much cooler city, in my opinion (I've lived in Madison for the past couple years, but I've never lived in SF, just visited). But, this is just my opinion, and I can see that Madison has things to offer. Their outdoors culture is great, and their lakes are beautiful. Their food is delicious (though their ethnic food is, on the whole, decidedly not). Surprisingly, their culture (theater, museums) isn't half bad, but it doesn't compare to your actual cities, and certainly not San Francisco.

The UW community can be cut throat, but, then again, midwest nice is a thing. On the whole, I find midwesterners to be super friendly. I don't know about the exact communities you'll be working with, but I don't know if anyone on here is familiar at all with the exact departments you mentioned.

I'm generally a fan of smaller, close-knit communities, so long as the members are well-respected in their fields. I went to a small liberal arts college with well-respected alumni and faculty. Would you be able to research with big names at UW? Even if they don't have the super specifics you're looking for, you can always do your own research, but definitely having the actual faculty researching in areas of interest to you is more helpful.

 

 

On the whole, I think if you can make UW work, it seems better. In general, it's a very well-respected institution, so you'll have better name recognition and access to more of the country's top minds cross-discipline. BUT, if your email back says "Nah, we don't offer what you're looking for in terms of genomics. You can't really pursue that here" then I think UW is a no go. But, in terms of general reputation, cost of living, and general community, I'd lean towards UW, and I love UCSF and San Francisco!

 

One last note: I know people like to downplay weather, and I, like any good northerner, like to poke fun at people who aren't from the northeast or upper midwest. But I'm being serious. Will you be able to handle and enjoy the cold? Have you experienced day after day after day of sub zero temperatures? January and February can be awful in Madison, especially if you're a person who isn't used to it. I spent the bulk of my time pre-Madison in Boston and Cleveland, and yet I'd never really understood the feeling of literally body pain that can occur when you go out in the cold. You breathe in -20 air and your body just hurts. I just don't go outside without wearing 45 layers. If you aren't familiar with this, or even if you are, is this something you want to deal with? If the two are actually straight up tied and you aren't feeling the bad weather, go to San Francisco.

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5 hours ago, milka49 said:

I know absolutely nothing about the actual programs, but, since you haven't gotten a response back yet and I DO know a lot about the institutions/cities, I figured I could add a bit of info.

 

You're right about San Francisco being cool (and expensive)! It's typical to pay 500 to 1000 dollars on rent a month in Madison, depending on number of roommates and quality of living space. On the high end, you could pay $2000 to live on State Street by yourself. Meanwhile, you might spend that to live in an actual dump with a couple roommates in SF. What does your funding/financial situation look like?

SF is a much cooler city, in my opinion (I've lived in Madison for the past couple years, but I've never lived in SF, just visited). But, this is just my opinion, and I can see that Madison has things to offer. Their outdoors culture is great, and their lakes are beautiful. Their food is delicious (though their ethnic food is, on the whole, decidedly not). Surprisingly, their culture (theater, museums) isn't half bad, but it doesn't compare to your actual cities, and certainly not San Francisco.

The UW community can be cut throat, but, then again, midwest nice is a thing. On the whole, I find midwesterners to be super friendly. I don't know about the exact communities you'll be working with, but I don't know if anyone on here is familiar at all with the exact departments you mentioned.

I'm generally a fan of smaller, close-knit communities, so long as the members are well-respected in their fields. I went to a small liberal arts college with well-respected alumni and faculty. Would you be able to research with big names at UW? Even if they don't have the super specifics you're looking for, you can always do your own research, but definitely having the actual faculty researching in areas of interest to you is more helpful.

 

 

On the whole, I think if you can make UW work, it seems better. In general, it's a very well-respected institution, so you'll have better name recognition and access to more of the country's top minds cross-discipline. BUT, if your email back says "Nah, we don't offer what you're looking for in terms of genomics. You can't really pursue that here" then I think UW is a no go. But, in terms of general reputation, cost of living, and general community, I'd lean towards UW, and I love UCSF and San Francisco!

 

One last note: I know people like to downplay weather, and I, like any good northerner, like to poke fun at people who aren't from the northeast or upper midwest. But I'm being serious. Will you be able to handle and enjoy the cold? Have you experienced day after day after day of sub zero temperatures? January and February can be awful in Madison, especially if you're a person who isn't used to it. I spent the bulk of my time pre-Madison in Boston and Cleveland, and yet I'd never really understood the feeling of literally body pain that can occur when you go out in the cold. You breathe in -20 air and your body just hurts. I just don't go outside without wearing 45 layers. If you aren't familiar with this, or even if you are, is this something you want to deal with? If the two are actually straight up tied and you aren't feeling the bad weather, go to San Francisco.

I think OP is referring to University of Washington in Seattle, not Wisconsin.

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14 hours ago, Wackstrom said:

I think OP is referring to University of Washington in Seattle, not Wisconsin.

That makes like 50 times more sense, given s/he currently lives there and mentioned the low cost transition. I have UW Madison on the brain (live here and applied there too).

Whoops!

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