T Nation

University of Florida

Anybody out there go to UF? I’m thinking about going there next fall(2002) for grad. school. If anyone could tell me what I can expect I’d appreciate it. Thanks. Oh, I’ll be graduating with a degree in biochemistry and a minor in mathematics. So my studies in grad. school will probably focus on the medical world.

Kevin, I graduated from UF two years ago. I now work in Gainesville. UF is a beautiful campus and is one of the most affordable colleges in Florida. Also, you probably know that it is one of the best universities in the nation. So your graduate studies will be perfect here. What else do you want to know? Please give me specifics. And I’ll fill you in. Also, Bill Roberts is at UF finishing his Ph.D., I believe! So you have a member of the T-mag staff in town! As for the city, it’s nice. It’s clean, very suburban. Downtown is cool if you like barhopping and going to clubs. There are many things to do in town from clubbing, dining, theater, movies, and fitness. So let me know what else you want to know, and I’ll do my best to help you out.

I think UF is a very good place to get your graduate degree. But, with all graduate programs in the sciences (and many other fields) the most important things are who your adviser is, in other words, what professor you work for; and the department you’re in. The university is of secondary importance. In fact, once in the program, you have about zero to do with the university administration or anything in the university outside your own department (exclusive of outside coursework required by your department, but again, this isn’t the university as a whole, but rather the specific outside departments you’ll be trained by.)

For example, in my program, besides my own
department, the strengths of other UF departments in organic chemistry and pharmacology was important.

You also should consider stipend, percent
tuition paid etc. A program you can’t stay
in, for financial reasons, is the wrong
program.

Find out how long other students have taken
to get their degrees. There are programs,
and there are professors, where 6 years or
more is commonplace. Don’t get trapped.

Nate, thanks for the reply. You answered my general questions b/c I wanted to know what UF and Gainesville itself are like from a t-man’s perspective. Take care.

Bill, thanks for the input. But how do you go about choosing your professor? I'm still kind of new to all of that. Short of meeting with the some of the professor's in my intended majors, what are some other ways to accomplish this? Thanks alot.

Its been about 5 years since I was in grad school but I’ll throw in my 2 cents regarding professors. Sometimes they choose you. What I would do is decide, at least generally, what you would like to specialize in, or for me what I wanted to study for my thesis. Look in the professional journals for related research and contact the author. Another way is look at certain websites like higher education, sometimes graduate positions are listed there. Another point to make is to be sure that the prof has “hard” money for your stipend and research needs, “soft” money can go away real fast and you’d end up SOL halfway thru a program and with no finances. Another method of meeting profs is to ask one of your favorite undergrad profs for a recommendation. Most profs in the same research fields are aware of what the others are doing. Hope this helps. P.S. I hope you’ve already taken the GRE and applied to the schools you’re looking at.