Wondering....MSc or Fellowship

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Jan 1, 2007
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Hey Wondering,

If people had an opinion in terms of a year off fellowship program (such as Doris Duke, Cloisters etc). vs. taking a year off to complete a MSc in Translational Research (I am an M1 right now)... I am pretty torn between the two options....the benefit of the year off fellowship is that your paid for that year.... but I am not sure what will be better for my career and my development as a scientist.... I am very interested in cancer research and would like to run my own translational reseach lab one day.. any thoughts on the pros/cons between the two programs? Thanks in advance.

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As a master's in chemistry, I did not pay tuition and I received a stpend. But that's because I did a teaching assistantship. To do a MSc in a year, you'd either pay or you'd have to get a research assistantship (TA'ing takes too much time away from the lab for you to be done in 1 year). I don't know which (fellowship or MSc) would look better to prospective PDs.
I am getting an MA in a non-science field so take my opinion as a grain of sand. I think you need to determine what you want out of the year. Do you want a lot of hands on experience running your own research project and hopefully get one/several publications out of it? Or would you rather take classes and do some research as well. While the DDCF programs offer classes that you need to take, the majority of the year is focused on research. If you plan on running your own lab or working closely with someone's lab as an attending, imho there is nothing like doing good research to learn how to do good research. While it is good to take classes to learn how to do good research and statistics, I feel those can be picked up along the way and supplemented with needed classes on the side. It is hard to find a good research fellowship that will take the time to invest in you and give you the chance to struggle with your own project and succeed at the same time. Of course you could always do a post-doc after residency if you decided not to do a program like the DDCF. Good luck on whatever you decide to do. I think they will both be valuable.