T Nation

College guidance

I am seeking the help of those who have pursued the formal education route to get to where they are now, or those who know about it. My college of choice is Emory. This is fairly close and they have programs specializing in nutrition. More importantly, Emory is not focused on genetic or chemical engineering or pharmacology. If I am able to get enough money for Emory, I want to take advantage of their four year MS program in biochemistry. This means I cannot take advantage of the NIH scholarship. My second choice is Urbana-Champaign, who is not yet accepting applications, but has estimated will give me enough money. If I go here, a graduate program in biochemistry is not offered, so I will likely double major in biochemistry and physiclogy and minor in kinesiology. Another option I have considered an applied for is Tennessee Tech. They offer a four year MS in biochemistry, but are a school focused on engineering. In fact, I attend high school with a grandson of the man who established their engineering reputation. The final option I am currently considering is the University of Alabama in Huntsville. This is a local school which also focuses on engineering. Unfortunately, they also focus on chemical engineering and biotechnology. Their only MS program is related to these, so I am considering it for a 3 year BS. Will the bias the faculty will have away from nutrition present me with a tainted education, or will an undergraduate degree be essentially universal, aside from Emory where I would be able to do something with graduate level research beginning my freshman year? All BS or MS programs are hoped to be followed by a PhD (MS first if not already acheive, of course, just so I don’t get any crap) specializing in nutrition from Emory, UCSD, or whatever university offers the best program and research opportunities at that time. Another future option I would enjoy if PhD doesn’t work out or I decide against it is teaching on the high school or college level. TIA.

cp -

When I went into undergrad, I went in as engineering management. I came out with a degree in biology minor in molecular biology after a few switches. I wouldn’t discount a liberal arts school, because of the rounded education you receive. I enjoyed having to take classes I wouldn’t normally have taken. It helped me formulate other opinions and ideas on other subjects I wouldn’t generally know anything about.

As far as getting an MS then a PhD, you don’t have to go that route. I went straight from BSc to PhD. A lot of programs are doing that now. So what happens is instead of getting an MS, they test you sometime during your PhD program just like you would get tested for an MS. For instance, next year after my classes have ended, I have to take a comprehensive exam and then an oral defense of a topic I know nothing about. This is basically what you would do in an MS program, except I am already in a PhD program.

No, getting an education in biochemistry or anything like that at a school that focuses on engineering will not taint your education. In fact, if you learn more engineering, you may be able to apply what you have learned to nutrition.

Good luck man. If you need any help, just PM me.

JWright - thanks. I guess that is what I’ve been reading about at some universities as the intensive highly selective 3 years to PhD program. I’m not discounting liberal arts, Emory is my top choice and is a liberal arts school. Thanks for the opinion on college geared towards engineering. Another advantage I forgot to mention about the local college is it will be nearly free, and all the others will be ~8K, except for Emory, which I am not sure about, and may not be in my range.

Yeah man, money is a huge issue. I won scholarships from about everywhere I applied, and it came down to how much I would actually owe vs what I truly cared to do.

Ok, here’s what I would do. If you really really like Emory and it is your first choice, go visit it a few times. Go visit your other places too. Talk to professors and people in the program. See what they think. And don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions (i.e. do you really like it here? How’s the classwork? Are the profs assholes?). Usually, students wil give you straightforward answers.

If the colleges near you are almost free, go to them. Seriously. You will save sooooo much money and hassle. You can always go to an MS or PhD program afterwards. I did that, and I’m really glad I did. I don’t owe very much from undergrad compared to a lot of my friends and that makes me very happy. Plus, if you do take out loans for undergrad, you get to defer paying them until after you graduate PhD or MS program. I’m doing that. When I get married is when I’m going to start making payments.

Cass and Berardi’s input or other high end input from across the border would be highly appreciated. I haven’t yet been to Emory, but have a trip planned. I have talked to Emory students, former Emory students, and other people who have visited. The professors aren’t asses and are at the top of their game. The people there are very well rounded and nice. They’re not typical ivy league students, they’re not supremacists, and they seem to be spiritually healthy is what one person who visit commented. It would be great to attend a university where not only will I be working with chemists of high caliber, but also where I will be surrounded by loving people.