Forum:Should I get my MS in Bioinformatics at UCSC or GA Tech
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25 days ago
nickroseae ▴ 10

I have been accepted to both the UCSC and GA Tech bioinformatic MS programs. I am most interested in the genomics and transcriptomics of viruses and their host species. I hope to continue on to a PhD. I have a passion for biology but want to further devolop a strong computational background. If anyone has any personal experience in these programs, specifically regarding curriculum, lab work, and PhD applications afterward, I would love your input.

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Ultimately it is what you make of the opportunity that is going to count. Academically both are fine institutions. Choose based on your academic interest and how that matches expertise of faculty at both institutions.

You would be a poor grad student who can enjoy fine California weather 11 months of year at UCSC. Or you will be in a better financial situation but will have to endure hot summers in Georgia. You can always take that MS and move on elsewhere for your PhD, if things don't suit you scientific/life style.

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Thank you for your response! Ya, I know that cost of living in santa cruz is ridiculous, if i end up going there I hope that TAing and lab hours help to balance out the cost.

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I would say the faculty at UCSC are probably more connected, but less "hungry" than the ones at GA Tech, if that makes any sense. Haussler in particular is involved in a number of big projects but if you choose him as an advisor, you will probably write papers he may not really contribute to. Obviously, your PI will make a bigger difference than the school, so maybe you should list the ones you are interested in and we can chime in from there.

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25 days ago
Mensur Dlakic ★ 10k

As someone who is involved in graduate recruitment, I can't imagine that you would get more reliable information from random strangers on the internet than from actual members of those graduate programs. I assume you had visits, real or virtual, with students and faculty in those two programs. What did they say? If you didn't meet with them, you should. If you met them but didn't quite get all the answers, I suggest you call their graduate coordinators or recruiters and ask these questions directly. They know that quality candidates will get multiple offers, and will not be surprised that you want to gather information to compare the two programs. Most people I know will give you accurate info about their programs. There is no point in lying to attract students who may become unhappy and eventually a burden to the program.

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25 days ago
O.rka ▴ 290

I got my masters at UCSC and learned a lot. Great education, great professors, and a great community. Plus, the campus is insanely beautiful and the perfect stress reliever from programming all day. You’re also very close to Big Sur coastline which is something to take advantage of. From my education there I am now at JCVI and working on a PhD at the same time investing machine-learning methods in metagenomics. My other friends that got PhDs from UCSC all went into biotech immediately making >$100k. I would at the very least go to the campus before you make a decision. I thought I knew how to program before but that’s when my skills really developed for Python, R, and Bash. That’s also where I learned how to do machine learning, run pipelines, use a compute server for big jobs, assemble and annotate (meta)genomes, a lot of statistics, and a lot of other stuff. Not to mention, you’re literally in a redwood forest, with caves on campus, and a 5 minute drive from some of the most beautiful beaches. Whales are always coming through the bay so you can just be sippin on coffee watching whales breach on the regular. The downtown area is cool too. Good bars, cafes, and restaurants to study or drink with people. There’s a happy hour of grad students every Friday in the molecular biology building which is a great place to meet people. Professors to look into that I've met/taken classes from/hung out with and colleagues of mine had great experiences in their labs: Josh Stuart (Systems Biology), David Haussler ML/statistics), Ed Green (genomics/paleogenomics), Chad Saltikov (environmental microbiology), Todd Lowe (extremophiles/tRNA), etc. Even if you don't find a straight up metagenomics lab, you can always collaborate between two. For example, Josh Stuart as your main lab studying ML methods (he primarily researches cancer) and collaborating with Chad Saltikov's lab for environmental metagenomics. Hope this is helpful. More of rant and going through some good memories than anything.

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This was reallyin depth, thankyou! If you don't mind me asking, what year did you graduate?

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