Approximately two years ago, I pulled out a list of potential Universities for my PhD from a well known website. The list was 100 Universities long. And I had no way of knowing why and how they were ranked like they were.
Sure, the website said it laid emphasis on the class size and the impact of research. But seriously, is it possible to give all the dynamics that make up a good research program for a graduate student a number?
I was not so sure.
So I threw the list away and started doing my own research about where I wanted to start a career in research. And after making a lot of mistakes, phone calls and having sleepless nights I chose the Molecular and Developmental Biology Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (one of the top 3 Children’s Hospitals in the US) for my PhD. And there hasn’t been a day since that I haven’t thanked God for giving me the courage to follow my heart.
A lot of close friends and mentors helped me seal my decision. It’s time I share my experience so you can gauge programs when it comes to choosing one too. While this post is about looking beyond ‘conventional’ PhD programs in Universities, I will refer to my program when I talk about them in general, since it is easier.
Here are the top 7 things I love about my program:
We have more than 85 faculty members and they’re all amazing people to work with. Research Faculty at Hospitals are in touch with the harsh realities of diseases even more.
They are excited about research and love to mentor students. All of them have an open door policy. They’re extremely helpful and approachable.
They have lots and lots of collaborations with each other, with other scientists , with the Doctors at the Children’s Hospital and with industries.
Funding is at an all time low in the United States.
Every month, labs all over the country are shutting down. However, most hospitals are still heavily funded.
PhD programs run by Hospitals have higher stipends to give their Graduate Students.
All PhD students are funded in our program. You get a full scholarship and a generous stipend.
The cost of living in Cincinnati is pretty low. The stipend takes care of all your living expenses and you even get to save!
Hospitals give equal emphasis on almost every form of disease. That same diversity applies to the faculty they hire too.
From germ cells to leukemia. From epilepsy to asthma. From ‘making’ pancreas to studying gene regulation.
Heart development, muscular dystrophy, neural crest, gliomas… the list is never ending. Don’t even get me started on the techniques, facilities and equipment. To sum it up, the research facility is an 11 floor building. It’s so vast, I still get lost sometimes!
And they are extending it even more to house clinical trials. This is where you can do all that you want to- and more.