Choosing a PhD program

Specialties Doctoral


Specializes in research.

Does anyone have advice on how you chose your PhD program? Did you only look at how well your interests matched with faculty? Did you look at what courses were offered and/or required? Did you base your decision mostly on location? Did reputation of the school play a big role? How many schools did you apply to? How did you know if you'd be a competitive candidate for a program (especially since I don't have a master's degree going in). I would so appreciate any advice before I start applying to schools! I have my eye on a few programs, but I'm not confident that I'm making my choices the right way. Thank you!


The program should have faculty with active research that closely aligns with your interests. This is critically important. If this is not the case, you will likely not have the support needed during the dissertation phase of your program. Reputation matters some in that R1 schools tend to attract more NIH funding and might offer more exposure to that type of research. However, an R2 school might provide an environment that fosters learning in other ways (i.e. nurturing, small cohorts, etc). Do you intend to pursue a funded program? Do you intend continue working or pursue a part-time program? These are questions that will be important in your selection.

Specializes in research.

Thank you! I have found a few programs with faculty who share my research interests. I will definitely be doing my PhD full time and not be working (aside from an assistantship or something else related to the program), so funding is important to me as well. Thanks for your input!

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