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Comparing UTSW and Mayo


Master of Ceremonies
15+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2004
Dallas, Texas
Hi all. Long time reader, first time poster here.

I am trying to decide between the MSTP programs at UTSW and Mayo. I don't want to give away too many of my thoughts/pros/cons etc. about the programs, so that I can truly get your opinions. Here's how I look at it, in a nut shell, though: Mayo has sentimental value to me because I did a SURF there two summer's ago - I know some people there, enjoyed it. Mayo is small (school and town) - makes for a good learning environment for the MD years. They don't have the research reputation that UTSW has these days, but there are some people I could see myself working with. The cons could be that it is too small (school/town) and it's def. gonna be some rough winters. UTSW - big school/big city. Great research. But is it too big? Will I get lost in that 200+ medical school class? Do I really want to work in a lab of 30+?

I'm not asking anybody to make this decision for me, haha, but I'd love to hear some opinions (trying to gather as many as possible) from people that don't know me to see what they objectively think about the situation. Trying to hear as many different takes and angles as possible.

Thanks everybody and best of luck to all that are making tough decisions and waiting to hear.

- tay


7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2003
having grown up in minnesota, i thought maybe i could share some of my experiences... first of all, my sister works at mayo as a nurse. she absolutely loves the work environment there. as you probably know, there's tons of money floating around that place, which for your clinical training might be beneficial (in comparison to city hospitals at other medical schools). that being said, the patient population that mayo serves is fairly homogenous, which might limit some of your actual clinical experience. on the other hand, since it's without a doubt the best hospital in the region, it also gets all the really difficult cases. for example, it's apparently routine for the mayo 1 helicopter to fly in patients from all over the midwest. my sister was really impressed and excited by the clinical challenges of working there. anyway, i really don't know how UTSW compares in these regards.

however, she's actually leaving that position in a month for a hospital in minneapolis because rochester really is just too small of a city... especially for singletons. even though the cities (minneapolis/st. paul) are only an hour and half away, people rarely head up there just for the night or whatever. maybe you've driven it before, but from experience let me tell you that an hour and a half of two-lane highway through farm country is really not all it's cracked up to be. again, i don't know how dallas compares but, honestly, i haven't heard great things and, from living in boston for the past four years, let me tell you that big cities definitely have their drawbacks as well.

as far as research goes, if you think you can find someone to work with at mayo that's great but i'm under the impression (for whatever reason) that UTSW has a stronger overall program... especially in certain areas (heart research, right?). what struck me the most about mayo when i visited last spring was its emphasis on translational research and clinical testing (especially for cancer and virology). everyone i talked to said it was a great place to do translational research because there were so many practicing physicians there to help uncover the clinical applications in your bench lab work. depending on your interests, this could either be an advantage or disadvantage. personally, i'm interested in more basic research and, after being accepted into some programs that had what i felt was a better balance between basic/translational research, i turned down an offer to interview at mayo.

finally, yes... for outsiders, the minnesota winters suck sometimes but there really are some fun things to do there that you can't do other places (ie- dallas). also, if you did SURF, i'm sure you experienced the wonderful minnesota summer and, in general, i think minnesota is a nice place to live.

good luck with your decision,
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