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grad school selection -- advice from academia?

Matt Roos XXmatt.roos at verizon.net
Mon Apr 11 21:39:17 EST 2005

Hi, All.  I'm looking for some thoughts and opinions regarding neuroscience 
and grad school.  I plan to start working on my PhD this fall and will be 
studying neuroscience at the systems and computational level.  I'm 
particularly interested in research on the auditory cortex, although this is 
not a must.  I've been accepted at MIT in the Electrical Engineering 
Department and at Georgetown in the Neuroscience Department.

I would prefer to live in DC (Georgetown) and enroll in a neuroscience 
program, thus the interest in Georgetown.  But MIT is excellent, of course, 
and although I'd be in the EE Department, I could do computational 
neuroscience research (there are plenty of people at MIT doing that type of 
work) and probably take at least a few neuroscience courses.

Since my end goal is to stay in academia and obtain a professorship (not any 
easy thing to do), my concern is that my chances at getting a good post-doc 
or professorship may be diminished if I attend Georgetown, a second-tier 
program, versus MIT.  On the other hand, I've been told it may be easier to 
get a *neuroscience* post-doc if I come from a neuroscience program.

Any thoughts from anyone?  In general, my preference is for Georgetown but 
not if it is detrimental to my long-term career goals.  How significantly 
does ones PhD alma mater affect subsequent academic possibilities?


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