Choosing and Surviving Graduate School. Natallia Riddick PhD Student Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Outline. My experiences Classes Research/Lab Choosing Grad School Things you need to consider b/f choosing a school
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Choosing and Surviving Graduate School Natallia Riddick PhD Student Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Outline • My experiences • Classes • Research/Lab • Choosing Grad School • Things you need to consider b/f choosing a school • Applying to Grad School • Tricks that I’ve learnt that can help • Interview can “make it or brake it” • WFU Graduate School (if interested)
My Research Interest • Cocaine abuse and brain reward systems • Particularly look at stress and cocaine abuse in female monkeys • Mechanisms responsible for vulnerability • Techniques: • Brain imaging (PET, MRI, phMRI, fMRI) • Self administration models of drug abuse
1st Year • Requirements: • Classes (2-4 a semester for 2 years) • Laboratory/Research work: the rest of the time • Start with: • Choose a rotation • Can do up to 3 until the beginning of 2nd year • Sign up for classes
1st Year • Attend all the departmental and graduate student seminars • Give a seminar once a year • Attend Journal Club • Present/Review publications • Work in the lab when you are not in class • LOVE to Read Literature!!!! • LOVE to Write!!!!
1st Impression is only that! • Beginning of 1st year: • Pharm700what? • What is “pharmacodynamic tolerance”? • Conclusion: • What am I doing here?
Summer b/w Year 1 and 2 • Get as much work done as possible • Read, read, read….more • Try to think about your dissertation thesis • Use the no classes time to your advantage
2nd year • Classes • Research in your permanent lab • Start making posters, writing abstracts for travel grants, go to meetings/conferences • Get ready for preliminary exams
Qualifying Exams 2nd year 3 Day Written Qualifying Exam Days 1 and 2 - integrated set of questions Day 3 - Manuscript Review 3rd year Preliminary Oral Exam scheduled by October of 3rd year NRSA - styled proposal
3rd year and on… • Dissertation Research • Meetings • Seminars • Papers
I’ve Learnt… • Choosing a right advisor IS important • Talk to senior students • Lab technicians are your friends! • Classes are hard but: • I understand seminar speakers and my advisor now • Its ok to feel dumb every once in a while • It should be your driving force
Friday, November 11 • Got started at 6am that day • Blood drawing from 6 females around 8:30am • Lab meeting at 10:30am • Run my animals around lunchtime • Drug self administration session • Behavioral impulsivity test on 3 females around 2pm • Reviewed data for the day • Plan more experiments for next week • Discussed them with my advisor • Left around 5pm
Choosing Grad School Things you need to consider before you make a final decision
Biggest Decision of your Career • Choose wisely: • what do I want to do? • which schools offer that? • which departments offer specialty area that you want to go into • is it realistic for me to get into the school • financial aid • how well the department is funded • minor: geographic area and school rankings (if that’s important to you), school size, etc.
General Requirements • Application • GRE (GRE subject occasionally) • Reference letters • Transcripts • Statement of Interest • Interview!!!
Respect their deadlines • Take GRE early • Practice tests are very useful • Ask people to write reference letters long in advance • Ask for transcripts from your school’s registrar’s office • Fill out the application when you are ready to submit everything • Put A LOT OF work into your statement of interest
Important for Graduate Schools • Recommendation letters • Statement of Interest • Research Experience (Make sure you have it) • Research interest • GRE scores • GPA These 3: If 2 great, • Classes Taken 3rd can be avg.
Interview • Opportunity to make a great impression • Introduces you to faculty and students • Be nice to current students • Do your research • Faculty research interest • Prepare questions for them • Pick areas you might be interested in • Bottom Line: Decides your acceptance
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Biomedical Engineering Cancer Biology Microbiology and Immunology Molecular and Cellular Pathobiology Molecular Genetics Molecular Medicine Neuroscience Neurobiology and Anatomy Physiology and Pharmacology Biomedical Sciences PhD Programs
Combined Programs • MD/PhD - with the WFU School of Medicine • PhD/MBA - with the WFU Graduate School of Management
How can I be competitive? • GRE Scores: • quantitative + verbal ~1100 • analytical writing ~4.0 • GPA > 3.2 • Three supportive recommendation letters • Well-written statement of interest • Carefully prepared application is essential • Research experience is beneficial
Summer Research Programs • Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) • Excellence in Cardiovascular Sciences Program (EICS) May 31 – July 28, 2006
Financial Aid Fall 2005 matriculants • Full Tuition Scholarship, $26,000 • 12-month stipend, $20,772 • $1,800 for Student Health Insurance Plan (BMS) • IBM ThinkPad Computer
Additional information is available from: Dean of the Graduate School Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Biomedical Sciences Medical Center Boulevard Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1001 www.wfu.edu/graduate (336)-716-4303, 1-800-GET-GRAD (336)716-0185 – fax email@example.com
Thank You! Questions? “Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it sure has earned a lot of people graduate degrees” Robyn Irving