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Is getting a bio masters worth it?

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

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Is getting a bio masters worth it?

Postby biomom » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:35 pm

I've applied to on online grad school to get my bio masters after having been out of undergrad for 11 years. I've been a full-time mom for 7 years and would like to get back into the work-force when my youngest starts kindergarten in 4 years. In the meantime, I figured I'd work on my master's. It's been a big decision for me since I've been out of academia for a while and taking care of "the three" is definitely a full-time job. While I await the final approval, I am searching for the pros/cons of getting my masters.

I think it will open up more career options for me. Right now, I'm leaning towards teaching high school biology for a few years, then possibly moving into college teaching (obviously not a professorship). I wouldn't rule out laboratory research, but my options in rural western KY are limited. Also, my resources here are limited as far as graduate research projects, so I've been brainstorming ideas to do localized research without being affiliated with a local university or lab. I'm sure my future advisors will assist me with that, but I digress...

If you have a bio master's, do you think it was worth it as far as time and money spent? Have you gotten good positions with your degree? Any info is appreciated!
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Postby Darby » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:06 pm

A master's alone has limited applicability, but I wouldn't expect a master's from an online source would be worth the virtual paper it's not printed on. Graduate school in the sciences is mostly about hand-on and directed research, often leading to publication. I work in one of the few places that you can get work with a master's (community college), and members of a search committee, which I have been on many times, wouldn't consider an online degree a real science degree. Even an MA (as opposed to an MS) from a "real" program can be considered not quite the real thing.
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Postby biomom » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:14 pm

This program is from an actual brick and mortar state university and we'll be required to do our own individual research project. It's not one of those "online universities" and the degree would not mention anything about it being "online". Would that make a difference?
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Postby Darby » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:56 pm

It probably will make a difference, although those programs may achieve second-tier status as people become more familiar with them.

It is still true that there's not a lot of options a master's provides beyond a bachelor's.
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