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Grad school for Animal Behaviour/Psychology

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by dee vee emm, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. dee vee emm

    dee vee emm Future DVM
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    So I was thinking that if I don't end up getting in this year that I want to do my Master's and then apply after that. And I would really be interested in taking some sort of animal behaviour or animal psychology thing, but I haven't found any place that offers this yet. I'm apply for vet school at the Ontario Veterinary College, and I know they have some master's programs there (which I might also consider)...but I haven't found exactly what I want yet... So I was just wondering if any of you know any places that offer this type of program. I did find one you can do online but I don't know if it's totally legit or not.

    And there's another thing... my essays and LORs for Guelph aren't due till March 1st. And then they probably wouldn't do interviews till the end of March/beginning of April. So I might not find out the results of my application till April or May. But if I contact a supervisor about doing a Master's and then find out I get into the OVC, I don't want to seem like I'm rude and be like "Well I'm not interested anymore cuz I got into vet school..." or should I tell them I'm applying to vet school right off the bat?? I"m just not sure how to go about with this situation... cuz then the other part if I tell them I am applying it just seems like I'd be saying "well I didn't get in so I'm just going to go with you cuz you're the only other choice I have..."

    So any help would be appreciated!! Thanks:cool:
     
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  3. livefor32

    livefor32 VMRCVM 2016!
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    So I applied for vet school in '07 and didn't get in, so I worked on my plan B and I am now a 2nd year Master's student. I applied to graduate school knowing that I did not get into vet school, and one of the programs I applied to was at the University of Maryland, which has an animal behavior program. I haven't researched it in great lengths, but maybe this will be helpful:

    http://www.gradschool.umd.edu/catalog/programs/ansc.htm

    (scroll down - it's option 3 in the abstract)

    As far as what you should reveal about your intentions...I know that a lot of professors are worried about bringing students on that may leave them early for vet school. In my personal statement for grad school, I did say that I was interested in eventually pursuing vet school, but when I first talked with my advisor, I made it clear that I was not going to leave early. I would recommend not making any commitments to graduate programs until you are 100% positive you will not get into vet school. In your essay for grad school, I think it would be OK to outline your long term goals, as long as you are willing to stick it out in grad school for however long it takes to complete your degree.

    Also, think about whether you want a thesis or non-thesis program. Taking on a thesis project can help enhance your resume, but it can also take more time than you want to put in. Are you OK will applying to vet school for fall 2011? Or would you rather just wait one year before applying again?

    Hope this helps! :luck:
     
  4. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
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    I'm in the same position as livefor32 only a year later, in the first year of my MS and what they said is very very correct. The main concern of my professor and of the MS admissions committee is that they will invest time, money and effort into a student who will basically leave them in the dust. So I think it's fine to talk about your intentions up front, but if you decide to do an MS, stick with it. By the way, admissions deadlines for a lot of grad programs are coming up for next year around here. I kind of fell backwards into my program long after the deadline had passed, but I got the impression that it was harder to get in and I have definitely had to do my own legwork to find funding, whereas if I had met the deadlines I'd be covered. So that's something to think about.

    As far as Animal Behavior goes, I don't want to sound like I'm pushing UC Davis (but it IS pretty awesome here!), but the PhD in Animal Behavior program seems to be good. I took their first core course last quarter and it was a great survey of the area and I feel like I took a lot away from it. I don't believe they have a MS option, though. However, and this is what I came to post, at a lot of schools there is starting to be a very interdisciplinary tilt. For example, my thesis research is in domestic feline behavior genetics and population genetics. though my graduate group is Animal Biology. So if I were you what I would do is look for journal articles and such in an area you're interested in, and then look at who wrote them and where they are from to get an idea of schools that might have a good background in behavior. Just my two cents on choosing a graduate program.

    Good luck! :)
     
  5. IHeartGoldens

    IHeartGoldens TUSVM c/o 2014
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    Hey everyone

    I was considering an MA in Animal Behavior (in the Psychology dept) at Hunter College but I read somewhere that vet schools prefer more "hard" science courses. That's a main reason I'm considering pursuing a Neurosci masters instead, although my interest is pulled towards animal behavior. Any insight on this?
    Also, I'm considering Ross or SGU for this fall/winter because otherwise IF I get into a school, I would have to wait another 1 1/2 to start. If I don't get in..well.. then I would be a 1 1/2 behind.
    What does everyone think about using these options? Is there a reason why people prefer to keep reapplying rather than go to the carribean (academic reasons)

    Ah this is long winded.. basically.. should a grad program be considered over carribean schools? and which grade programs look better
     
  6. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
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    That depends on your goals and what you're willing to do. Personally, I am interested in veterinary research and academia so a MS program is a natural progression for me. If I don't ever get into a DVM program, I will move on to a PhD from my MS and have a somewhat similar career to what I'd have with a DVM, only without a clinical consulting component. I realize that this is a unique case, though, and that it doesn't apply to most people.

    I can only figure that many people who know going in that they want to go into practice feel that the opportunity cost of starting later is less to them than the cost of going to the Carribean and having to go through PAVE or ECFVG when they get out. It's an analysis that only you can make for yourself, and it will differ from person to person.

    edit: I also feel like you should really think less about "what the schools want to see" and more about what you yourself want to do. It will come through in your application if the only reason you went and got a MS in neurosci rather than an MA in animal behavior is because it looks better to vet schools.

    Plus, you can probably take whatever science courses you want while getting an MA in animal behavior - as I mentioned my MS is in animal biology, and my coursework so far has been grad level animal behavior (which was very statistics-heavy and covers a wide range of biological fields from development to endocrinology to chronology to genetics and beyond - it's not a cakewalk by any means), behavior genetics, population and quantitative genetics, DNA sequence analysis, and some animal science seminars. My research is in behavioral genetics and population genetics. Just research the school and program and see how flexible the programs are and go where it fits your needs. Choosing a grad school and degree is not at all like choosing an undergrad school and degree.
     
    #5 nyanko, Jan 7, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  7. livefor32

    livefor32 VMRCVM 2016!
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    The other thing you may want to consider is what if you don't even get into vet school? Wouldn't you rather have a degree that will allow you to pursue a career you'll enjoy, rather than a degree that you got only to impress vet schools?
     
  8. IHeartGoldens

    IHeartGoldens TUSVM c/o 2014
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    everyone is 100% correct. I know this myself but I'm just driving myself crazy currently with my course load and applications for vet school.

    I once read a bit of advice on this forum that was something to the effect of not checking SDN obsessively because it can make someone insane..
    Stupidly, I didn't heed this advice and now here I am..:laugh:
     
  9. Pandacinny

    Pandacinny VMRCVM c/o 2013
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    So, I'm planning on applying to a few masters programs this year if I don't get in, too. I'm hoping they'll boost my application, but I'm also looking at alternate careers in case I just don't ever get in. I have a few programs I'm interested in, but I don't have an awful lot of research experience. I've never done anything self directed, and really only have a few months of experience (besides lab animal stuff, which isn't quite the same.)

    Would I even have a chance at getting accepted into a masters program without this experience? Should I spend a year trying to get research experience before applying for a Masters?
     
  10. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
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    That's pretty much what Masters programs are made for. ;)

    Many of them aren't necessarily easy to get into, but I think that in general the admissions process for an MS strikes a nice balance between the numbers-heavy DVM programs and the research-heavy PhD programs.
     
  11. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers stabby cat
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    In response to another question Goldens had, I'm not ready to consider Caribbean schools because I just don't want to be alone on an island for 3 years when I'm used to living in a house with my husband and pets. Plus, I don't think I would like the "weed out" mentality that they have (or so I've heard). That, and I like packaged snack foods, and those are hard to come by out there!
     
  12. david594

    david594 The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
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    From a job listing for an assistant professor at OSU:

    "Applicants must have a DVM or equivalent degree from an accredited institution and have or be eligible to acquire an Ohio veterinary medical license."
    http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/4190.htm

    They are pretty much universally seen as peoples fall back schools and as such their is somewhat of a stigma attached. Depending on where you want to go with your veterinary career, it could only become an additional hurdle.
     
  13. IHeartGoldens

    IHeartGoldens TUSVM c/o 2014
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    That's what really scares me.. I'm now considering school in AU for July '09.I should have all my apps in by Monday-- wish me luck!
     
  14. Electrophile

    Electrophile Working Dog Doc
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    I'd make it known to your prospective graduate faculty adviser from the start you want to apply to vet school AFTER your masters. Not having a good letter of rec from your faculty adviser would look really fishy plus mine had to sign off a thing that was turned in with application basically saying he gave his blessing that I was applying. I guess they don't look too kindly on people who try to get into a masters just to look better on paper and then jump ship. Things change and there's plenty of people who drop from programs for many many different reasons, but IMHO, it's unprofessional to use it just as a means to an end and then jump ship in the middle of a program.

    If you're just doing a post bacc or a special/non-thesis masters (AKA: a post bacc with a piece of paper at the end :rolleyes:), it's probably not a big deal. But if you are doing a research masters/PhD, they have to invest significant money from grants and lots of hours training you to be a scientist. They would not get a nice LOR from me if someone wasn't forthcoming in their intentions. Once again, JMHO.
     
  15. livefor32

    livefor32 VMRCVM 2016!
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    in response to research experience and being able to get into grad school:

    I applied to the Master's program I am in with only basic lab experience (ie: bio and chem lecture/lab) and I had at least 3 schools interested in me. My advisor actually told me he prefered students without laboratory experience because then he could train them the way he wants. I would recommend having a good idea of what you want to do, then contacting the scientist directly telling him/her of your interest in their research.

    Don't count yourself out just because you may not have the same experience as others.
     

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