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UW-Seattle vs. Scripps Institution of Oceaongraphy

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:22 am
by don'tSLACoff
Really divergent interests of mine (biophysics and earth/environmental science) are somehow now both viable options for my future, as UW and SIO (of UC San Diego) both accepted me and now I must pick. Visits to both and weeks of deliberation have not broken a tie between these two, and there is but one week to decide (though fortunately all other grad schools I was considering have been eliminated). On top of this I have a Fulbright offer, but that's a layer of complication I wish not to discuss.

Thoughts? Personal experiences? Stipend/cost of living are non-issues; funding is comparable at both once costs are analyzed.

UW: In one of if not my favorite city, very supportive department, less stressful than other big names (or so I've heard) but still a heavy-weight in the field, biophysics research opportunities are good, including interdepartmental collaboration (a positive in my view). But, I'd be contending with what some would call the bleak physics job market and be in a lab for years, though industry opportunities for biophysics may outweigh that.

Scripps: The top of the pack in oceanography (except maybe Woods Hole), one post-doc -> academic job is common, La Jolla is beautiful (though it lacks that Seattle "authenticity"), can (and may have to) sail the world for research. On the other hand, a fairly stressful environment, even as grad schools go, and there is little "industry" for oceanography or geophysics grads except oil/natural gas (I'm still too idealistic to go that route yet).

Any and all advice, comments, and/or personal anecdotes are welcome.