The students at U of R are some of the friendliest I've come across. In addition to the collegial atmosphere, the faculty are extremely knowledgeable and accessible; as long as you are willing to learn, there is never a shortage of mentors/teachers. The students are respected as individual thinkers.
I had little trouble transitioning from the MS to the PhD program, thanks largely to the multitude of encouraging and helpful individuals in the department of Neurobiology & Anatomy. I am confident that my experiences in this program will serve me well both as a scientist and as a clinician for years to come.
UR's MSTP gave me a chance to grow, both personally as well as academically. It allowed me the opportunity to explore new areas, while being surrounded by great people. I like the multidisciplinary approach the MSTP promotes - it allows you to explore various research areas without being locked in right away.
For me, Rochester has been a great place to live and study. The cost of living is perfect for graduate students, with some students buying their own homes or renting quite comfortable apartments.
There are a wealth of cultural and leisure activities, including many local theaters, music exhibitions including the Rochester Philharmonic and the summer Jazz festival, and sporting events. Many students take advantage of the outdoor activities in all seasons, including cross-country and downhill skiing, bike riding on the local greenways, and golf during the warmer months. Just large enough to support a multitude of activities but without the safety concerns of a big city, I'm glad to have made Rochester my home.
The longitudinal clerkship enabled me to maintain basic clinical skills during the graduate years and also gave me contacts, which are especially advantageous now that I am applying to residency programs. In particular, I spent one semester in a TB Outpatient Clinic, which greatly enhanced and reinforced the clinical application of my research project.
Rochester has a small city feel-there is a lot one can do here, not only because it's easy to get around, but also because it's so affordable.
The thing that really stands out for me is how supportive and approachable the faculty are. They are very caring about students.
As a graduate student in a very basic science field (Chemistry), I was surprised at the ability to integrate it with medicine. For example, my longitudinal clerkship in genetics gave me significant insight about the similarities of patient care and research.
UR's MSTP has everything I am looking for in research as well as academics. The neuroscience program is especially strong and the graduate program streamlines aspects of their curriculum to meet the specific needs of MSTP students. My advisor does both research and clinical work. He is an excellent role model who really understands the interests and challenges faced by MD/PhDs.
Two features of the Rochester medical school really stand out to me. One is the Double Helix curriculum, which places students in clinics in their first year. This really helps put the basic science material into context. The second is Rochester's commitment to the biopsychosocial model. Studying the psychosocial dimensions of health place the art of medicine on firm foundations.
I was impressed by the friendliness of the students; they were open and honest and only had good things to say about the University.
I was impressed by the standard of living in Rochester. Real estate prices are so low that I could buy a house and have a real family life even as a student.
One of the main deciding factors in my decision to attend U of R was the flexibility of the program. U of R is one of the few programs that allow a PhD in any field, that is willing to design a personalized curriculum, and allows for cross-departmental dissertation projects.
I really like the environment - it is very people-centered and friendly. My lab community is small enough to be able to talk to everyone openly and ask questions. For me it is a great teaching environment. There are also a lot of activities in the Program which bring students at all stages together.
One of the great things about the MSTP at U of R is that the program is very flexible and willing to find ways to help you meet your goals. I have found that if there isn't an established protocol for what you want to do, they will find a way to make it happen.
For more information and details on how to apply please visit the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).