Is Program A in or near the city where your partner is going to law school that you didn't list it as an issue as you did for Program B? Don't underestimate how the commute will affect you. It's one thing to commute to a practicum one or two days a week for a year, but a completely different story if your commute is an hour each way to school. Even if you don't mind the drive, just consider losing two hours each day you have to go to school. You could better use that time more productively.Help! I’m deciding between two Ph.D. programs that have extended offers to me. Both are fully-funded clinical science programs, and both POIs are well-respected researchers with a track record of producing successful tenure-track faculty (my end-goal). Admittedly, it’s a good problem to have. Beyond that, though, some pros and cons of each include:
- Opportunity to engage in multigenerational, genetically-informed research on my topic of interest.
- Excellent quant training, which is important to me.
- I felt more rapport with the grad students and faculty than at the other program.
- Potential for a predoctoral fellowship offered by the program in years 4-5, and students have a history of getting NSF/NRSA funding.
- Unfortunately, the POI is taking an extended sabbatical beginning in what would be my 3rd year, and essentially it seems like she’s on her way out to retirement. I would have a co-mentor who would take over at this time - our research interests are not as well-aligned, but it seems like I’d be able to continue working with the main POI’s data as much as I’d like.
- Opportunity to do research on several unique populations of interest to me.
- Neuroimaging training is available here, but not at the other institution. I think this would be a useful tool to have.
- POI has lots of funding and I wouldn’t need to TA.
- POI has a reputation of being very demanding. Students in her lab don’t seem to have much of a work-life balance and seem a bit unhappy.
- Would require about an hour commute each way to accommodate my partner’s needs (he would be attending law school in a nearby city).
- The city we’d be living with seems much richer with culture, and I think I’d enjoy it more than the alternate school’s location.
If anyone can weigh in, I’d really appreciate your insight!
As far as the "richer with culture" part, you're going to be fairly busy and not making much money in grad school, especially if your partner is also in school, so it won't be as big of a factor as you might think or hope now.
The POI and rapport are going to be the biggest factors. You seem far more apt to go with program A, for both the POI and other grad students, so I would lean towards that, but having your POI retire during your tenure there definitely puts a wrinkle in it. Maybe if you knew for sure you could continue doing the research you want and not much would change it would be ok, but I'm wary of that.