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Old 06-13-2011, 12:20 AM
 
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I'm flip-flopping between these schools. I'd like to pursue a career in biochemistry (eventually bleeding into the neurosciences) and I, being a native Oregonian post-baccalaureate am super-thrilled to enroll in an Oregonian University.

I understand both schools are high-level research schools and my career goals are full-time research in the neurosciences. I am still not sure whether I want to pursue a PhD but it's a very real possibility (as opposed to finishing with a Masters alone.)

I also understand that OSU has more ties with OHSU (who has a phenomenal neuroscience program) but that UO has some great neuroscience graduate options as well.

And while I'm not politically liberal (more of a centrist, really) its true that I'm much more of a Duck fan than I am a Beaver. Go ducks! [I like the beavers too, but just sayin']

But of course, my sports-team preferences is secondary to my future career goals, and I'm wondering which program is stronger or more suited to my goals (for those of you who know a thing or two about it

Thank you for any input!

Edit: I am pursuing a second UNDERGRADUATE degree. Just wanted to clarify.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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OSU. IMO not even close....
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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Why do you say that?
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I recently just graduated with my BS at OSU and am headed off to CSU for a PhD program. If you are interested in science based career then you should definitely attend OSU. While visiting other schools OSU has a far better reputation in the sciences and is well known for the amount of research that they perform.

While UO is a good school it is mainly a school for the Arts and if you were wanting to attend a law school or architecture then I would highly suggest it. However, it has a weak science program, and doesn't even come close to the amount of money in grants for research that OSU has.

If you would like to get a good (hard) science degree then OSU is right for you, especially if you are considering higher education.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:24 PM
 
920 posts, read 1,627,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denhamj View Post
I recently just graduated with my BS at OSU and am headed off to CSU for a PhD program. If you are interested in science based career then you should definitely attend OSU. While visiting other schools OSU has a far better reputation in the sciences and is well known for the amount of research that they perform.

While UO is a good school it is mainly a school for the Arts and if you were wanting to attend a law school or architecture then I would highly suggest it. However, it has a weak science program, and doesn't even come close to the amount of money in grants for research that OSU has.

If you would like to get a good (hard) science degree then OSU is right for you, especially if you are considering higher education.

Hope this helps!
This is EXACTLY what I encountered. I began my physics study at U of O, and pretty soon became aware of just how terrible was the quality of teaching. Furthermore the department had no intention of making it any better. It was a headlong pursuit for the dwindling research money being kicked out by the NIH/NSF that animated the profs, and teaching was nothing more than an irritant.

What finally made me make the commute to OSU from Eugene was my buddy who transferred to their physics program from U of O. He instantly recognized that our initial school sucked and kept insisting that I transfer. I went and talked to the head of the OSU physics department who told me about their curriculum. They had instituted a paradigm program, which was an intensive, one month course in one specific physics topic. It graded and had the same units as a regular 10 week course, but was highly concentrated and the profs were fully involved in the teaching. We had two profs teaching, a grad student in the classroom to assist, they showed you how the math worked with the physics, unlike U of O which assumed that since you had taken a math class you instantly knew how to apply it to physics, and encouraged class discussion of first principles and concepts.

But what was so very interesting why the program was instituted was because nearly a decade ago, students were tested right after the classes ended to see how much of the material they had retained. The results showed that the biggest attribute wasn't mastery of the subject matter or a capacity to apply to other topics, rather it was complete confusion of both concepts and the applied math. Students couldn't calculate basic problems from their just completed courses, had little if any understanding of the core concepts or first principles, had merely memorized enough to pass, or in some cases, pass with high grades, but once the test was passed and the course was over, their minds simply disposed of material they never understood in the first place. I can tell you from experience from what I had seen at U of O, that was pretty much the same. I can't tell you the number of fellow students who kept telling me that after a certain point, they had no idea what our professor was talking about. Not a good commentary for any uni, most especially for the state flagship.

When faced with the situation, the OSU physics administrators didn't blame the students, but rather said that something was wrong with the teaching. They applied for an NSF grant in order to improve how their department could better teach their students and the paradigm courses were the result. IMO it displayed a great deal of integrity and character not to simply say that students were lazy and unprepared, instead it was a teaching problem. From that experience alone I put OSU >>>>> U of O, at least in the sciences.

Last edited by loloroj; 06-30-2011 at 04:51 PM..
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:28 PM
i7pXFLbhE3gq
 
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Just to add some balance, OSU and UO are ranked pretty similarly in Biochem. UO slightly edges out OSU, but I doubt it's enough to make any real difference.

NRC Rankings in Biochem/Molec Biol

Different schools are going to have individual strengths, obviously. I would look at what the professors are doing at each school and pick the one that seemed the most interesting (if you want to get into a good graduate program, having some research experience is pretty much required).
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:06 PM
 
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JasonF:

I would have to say that just because UO ranks higher than OSU doesn't mean that other professors from other universities would agree. Many people I met with while on my prospective visits made comments about how UO wasn't as highly reguarded as OSU. As an undergraduate I had the chance to lead my own project in a research laboratory, TA classes along side other graduate students, and become heavily involved in the department in which I was vested. These opportunities did no seem as abundant as UO nor did they encourage graduate school as much for undergraduate/graduate science majors.

I am not to sure what to think about your link you provided. I know for a fact that Davis is ahead of Berkley (the supposedly bigger sister), when in fact Davis brings in FAR more money than Berkley. I know this because when I attended the recruit weekend to Davjs, the college dean told me so. Also, CSU isn't even on your list and most people in my program had been accepted to Irvine, Columbia, and other places.

As you stated, it does depend on your prospective professor on where you attend, but it does depend on your committe members and your ability to learn from other professors on how likely you are to get a job out of college. UO is well known for is Arts side of things and OS is known for thier sciences. This is just my knowledge and my experience considering I grew up in Eugene and moved to Corvallis for my BS degrees.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:43 AM
 
920 posts, read 1,627,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Just to add some balance, OSU and UO are ranked pretty similarly in Biochem. UO slightly edges out OSU, but I doubt it's enough to make any real difference.

NRC Rankings in Biochem/Molec Biol

Different schools are going to have individual strengths, obviously. I would look at what the professors are doing at each school and pick the one that seemed the most interesting (if you want to get into a good graduate program, having some research experience is pretty much required).
Academic Ranking of World Universities:

Oregon State University is within the ranking of 101-200. University of Oregon is within the ranking of 201-300. According to this organization, OSU >> University of Oregon.

And while I tend to agree that you do need to find a good professor, the most important factor is making sure that they're going to actually mentor and guide you to becoming a scientist, rather than use you for slave labor for however many years they may need your services as a lab monkey. If you do get a decent adviser, then you'll have a good chance of landing in postdoc hell, where you will be working 60 hour weeks at 35-40k, while running the chance that again you get an adviser or committee that has no interest in your work other than again using you for underpaid lab and teaching assignments. After looking into grad programs and the fact that tenure is becoming very scarce, as is grant money,it became evident that I would be lucky to find those profs and advisers who are anywhere interested in my becoming another PH.d chasing the same diminishing pot of research money. Didn't make any sense to me, but for an aspiring scientist from India, China or Eastern Europe, where making $1800/month as a grad student was a damn good gig relative to what they could do or get paid at home, then it does make sense. But most of them go back home when it dawns on them that they can't make it here on the salaries mentioned earlier. I've heard one too many horror stories from foreign grad/post docs who couldn't wait to get the hell outta Dodge and go back home....
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:29 PM
i7pXFLbhE3gq
 
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Quote:
Didn't make any sense to me
Eh. PhD physicists tend to make quite a bit and enjoy very, very low unemployment. Sure, it's possible to choose wrong (high energy, bio, astro) and find yourself in postdoc hell for the next twenty years, but it doesn't have to be that way.

But back to the point of this thread, it's simply not true that OSU and UO are "not even close." Academic rankings overall are a pretty worthless metric, IMO. It's much more important to know how a specific department performs, and by that metric, OSU and UO are close enough in biochem that there isn't a clear winner and things like potential professors to work with take on a bigger weight.
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:26 AM
 
Location: Baker City, Oregon
4,252 posts, read 6,461,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Eh. PhD physicists tend to make quite a bit and enjoy very, very low unemployment. Sure, it's possible to choose wrong (high energy, bio, astro) and find yourself in postdoc hell for the next twenty years, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Here is an interesting essay about that by a PhD professor of physics:

"Are you thinking of becoming a scientist? Do you want to uncover the mysteries of nature, perform experiments or carry out calculations to learn how the world works? Forget it! "

The whole thing here: Don't Become a Scientist!
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