How many applications does it take to get into a science PhD program with a stipend?

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So I just completed the graduation requirements for a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and will be receiving my Bachelor of Science in August. I started looking for jobs about a month ago. I sent about 150 applications, but only got 3 declines and 1 interview; didn't get the job.

I heard that a lot of science graduate programs offer some pretty beefy stipends to PhD students (anywhere between $20,000 - $30,000 a year) which is on par with any of the lab tech, research associate and food/drug quality control analyst positions I've been applying for. If I don't find a job soon, I'm seriously considering cramming for the GRE's, taking them in October or November and then applying for some life-sciences PhD programs that offer stipends for the Fall 2013 semester.

The thing is, how many applications on average does it usually take to get accepted into a science PhD program? I'm just really hesitant because of the $50-$80 application fees for each school.
 

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  • #2
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I applied to ten schools and got into nine. So if you send out 1.11 applications you should be good.

Really though, it completely depends on the quality of your application, letters, personal statement, grades, everything.
 
  • #3
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I applied to ten schools and got into nine. So if you send out 1.11 applications you should be good.

Really though, it completely depends on the quality of your application, letters, personal statement, grades, everything.
Did you pay 10 application fees? How much total?
 
  • #4
1,082
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Did you pay 10 application fees? How much total?
Idk how much total.
Application fees vary from 60-125 each (I didnt apply anywhere above 100, or above 80 I think). Then you have to send GRE scores, transcripts, etc. It's about a 80-120 a school, if one does not apply for application waiver.
 
  • #5
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Typicially people send out 6-8 applications. The logic behind this is that if you send out eight applications, and no one takes you, then you were doomed anyway, and so there isn't any point in sending out more.
 
  • #6
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twofish: Over at physicsgre forums I've seen people applying to over 10 schools and maybe getting into 1 or 2. Then I've also seen people with 15+ applications, getting into none, but they were internationals without a comparably high pgre score.

I'm personally applying to around 15 US schools (or less), because its really the only way I can fund my postgrad studies, as many phd programs in Europe require a msc first (which would require me to move out with no source of income). A shot in the dark but I feel like its worth taking it. I don't have any better/less expensive options for continuing my education here.
 
  • #7
847
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Canadian MSc programs offer funding. Look into those as well.
 
  • #8
866
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I have, but the only 3 schools I was interested in had outrageously high grade requirements for students from my country (for reference, U of CO(Boulder) -the only US school with a specific grade requirements for foreign academic systems I've seen, required a 6/10 from my country's grading system, while all 3 Canadian institutions(UoT, Waterloo, McMaster or McGill, I forget) required an 8/10)). A 8/10 is not a "B", its an excellent grade, well above the average and a 5/10 is a bare pass.
 
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  • #9
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That sucks! Most applicants from EU countries probably have similar problems. For instance, 75% in the English system is a first class and I believe that 75% in the American system is like a B?

Bonn-Cologne also offer funding for their MSc in physics. Physiker_192 is doing an MSc in Germany and he *may* have some further information with regards to funding. He mentioned some 10 euros/hour (I think so?) in a thread of mine, usually as a lab assistant/technician/programmer at the U.
 
  • #10
jtbell
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I believe that 75% in the American system is like a B?
Here, 75% is usually a C. However, I think many or most college/university transcripts report grades only on a 0-4.0 scale, with letter grades for individual courses (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0, often with +/- variants). Professors usually use percentage grades on individual items (tests, homework, final exams) during a course. At the end of the course, they convert the final average to a letter grade and report that to the registrar. Individual items are not reported to the registrar. The percentage-to-letter conversion scale is up to the professor. It can and does vary from one professor to another. (At least that's the way it's done at the college where I work.)
 

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