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AMERICA'S BEST GRADUATE SCHOOL STIPENDS *2009-2010 EDITION*
SALARIES FOR PhD CANDIDATES IN THE BIOLOGICAL & BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES

   

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Sorry for the lack of updates - boy the holidays are rough. More stipends and new site coming soon!

Last update: 01.04.10 23:15 EST. Get updates on Twitter: @wendypedia or twitter.com/wendypedia

This is the 2009-2010 edition of America's Best Graduate School Stipends - or How Much Money It Takes to Lure Aspiring Biomedical Scientists into a PhD Program.

THE 30K CLUB: In the academic year 2009-10, over-$30K stipend club includes the New York City trifecta: Gerstner Sloan-Kettering, Rockefeller, and Weill Cornell Medical College. So far, Gerstner Sloan-Kettering has the highest PhD stipend with $32,155 in 2009-10 and an impressive benefits package. However, Rockefeller (technically #3 at $31,600) takes the Best Graduate Stipend Award with its $2,500 annual research allowance ($3,000 starting in year 3) and $1,000 relocation allowance and membership in the New York Academy of Sciences and subsidized housing in New York's Upper East Side and $5,000 bonus for students with external funding and I still can't believe I turned down Rockefeller when I got accepted.

The Sackler Institute at New York University, which paid California-like stipends for years ($27,000 for both 2007-08 and 2008-09), finally shakes its 2nd-tier stipend status and soars into the $30K club at $31,000. Columbia University will also join the elite NYC schools with annual stipends of $30,000. Unbeknownst to me, a stipend offered at Boston University actually reached $30K in 2008-9 - but just like its home city, where five different streets are named Washington Street, Boston University always had about 5 different stipend levels. This year, I'm settling on Boston University Medical Center's 2010-9 stipend - which is listed at $30,500 (and increases to an impressive $31,500 for those who have passed the qualifying exam).

THE 50K ADJUSTED CLUB: Smaller cities boast lower costs of living - which means that a PhD student can actually live quite comfortably on a stipend. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) will reportedly offer a stipend of $29,200, which is notable because this equals a whopping $50,552 in New York City, according to the Best Places cost-of-living calculator. New to the list, University of Mississippi Medical Center reports a 2009-10 PhD stipend of $24,150. That's $58,906 in New York dollars. FIFTY. EIGHT. THOUSAND. NINE. HUNDRED...ok, that's a lot of money for a graduate student. Other schools with over-$50K adjusted stipends include University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Washington University, and University of Rochester Medical Center. The generous $27,500 stipend of the Tulane Biomedical Sciences (BMS) program, when adjusted to NYC dollars, is just $37 shy of $50,000. This is probably within the margin of error of this particular salary calculator, so Tulane gets inducted into the $50K adjusted club

HONORABLE MENTION: Clemson University is definitely an underdog at $18,000/year for biological science teaching assistants. However, the dollar goes a long way in this city of 12,000 people - and a Clemson-to-NYC adjustment raises this stipend to well over $30K. Furthermore, The Scientist magazine declared Clemson University one of the top three Best Places to Work in Academia in 2007. Go Tigers!

According to Forbes.com, the 10 Most Affordable Places to Live Well are 1) Minneapolis, 2) Indianapolis, 3) Cincinnati, 4) St. Louis, 5) Houston, 6) Milwaukee, 7) Dallas, 8) Pittsburgh, 9) Columbus OH, and 10) Atlanta. If you want a lot of bang for you grad school buck, you may want to do your PhD in one of these cities.

Emory University also deserves a nod. In the aforementioned Forbes survey, Atlanta was named the 10th Most Affordable Places to Live Well in the nation. Atlanta was also ranked by Forbes as the 4th Fastest-Growing City (not necessarily a good thing) and the 4th Best City for Singles (definitely a good thing). Moreover, Emory University has been selected as one of America's 25 New Elite 'Ivies" by Newsweek, and offers a staggering array of fellowships.

BIG SCHOOLS, SMALL (OR NO) RAISES: Previously, I projected that Harvard University would finally be inducted into the $30K Hall of Fame for the 2008-9 year. When that didn't happen, I was confident that they would break $30K in 2009-10. Wrong again! Still stinging after its endowment plunged $8 billion dollars to a "paltry" $36.9 billion, Harvard recently announced budget cuts - which apparently allowed a mere $192 stipend increase for the whole year. That's a raise of $16/month, $4/week, $0.80/day, or about $0.10/hour for an unrealistic 40-hour graduate student work week. If that sounds rough, it looks like many programs aren't even raising stipends in 2009-10 - notably state-funded schools. However, to remain appealing to prospective graduate students despite no increases in base stipend, some schools are allowing stipend increases (paid by advisers) once students commit to thesis laboratories. One such example is SUNY Downstate, where students can receive up to 20% above the minimum stipend levels once they enter thesis labs.

BLEAK ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: In the 2005 stipend report, I cited a CNNmoney story that called academic science research one of the "Big Jobs That Pay Badly." You know what else pays badly? Unemployment. With the economy in ruins and national unemployent rates currently hovering around 10%, a guaranteed stipend (with free or subsidized health insurance) is not a bad alternative to being jobless. The economy will probably fix itself by the time you earn your PhD - so heed the wise words of Mr. T:

DON'T BE A FOOL! STAY IN SCHOOL!

Remember, it's not about the money - it's about the science. Right?

Below is a list of 2009-10 stipends for PhD programs in the biological and biomedical sciences1 with adjusted stipends2 and fringe benefits3 (which are taken into consideration for tie breaks). If necessary, further tie breaks are purely subjective. Do you have stipend information to report? Please email me at wendychao (AT) post.harvard.edu. This site will be updated regularly.

 

2009-2010 PhD STIPENDS IN THE BIOLOGICAL AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
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rank
school
program1
city/state
stipend 2009-10
extra funding3
1
Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences* New York (Manhattan), NY
$32,155
Subsidized housing; MacBook Pro or PC equivalent, $250 book allowance for 1st year students, $500 for relocation, membership in the NY Academy of Sciences, $5000 bonus for students with external funding
2
Weill Cornell Medical College Graduate School of Medical Sciences* New York (Manhattan), NY
$32,150
Subsidized housing; Free wireless; $1,000 annual support for conference travel if presenting
3
Rockefeller University
(BEST STIPEND)
The David Rockefeller Graduate Program* New York (Manhattan), NY
$31,600
Subsidized housing; annual research allowance of $2,500 (increases to $3,000 in year 3); $1,000 for relocation, membership in the NY Academy of Sciences, $5000 bonus for students with external funding
4

New York University

Sackler Institute of Biomedical Science* New York (Manhattan), NY
$31,000
Subsidized housing
5

Boston University Medical Center

Division of Graduate Medical Sciences* Boston, MA
$30,500
$1,000 bonus for years post-qualifying
6
Columbia University Medical Center Coordinated Doctoral Programs in Biomedical Sciences* New York (Manhattan), NY
$30,216
Subsidized housing; $2,000 bonus for students with external funding
7
Columbia University Biological Sciences* New York (Manhattan), NY
$30,000
Subsidized housing; $500 for relocation
8
Harvard University Harvard Integrated Life Sciences Program (HILS)* Cambridge, MA
$29,700
Select programs (such as Molecular and Cellular Biology) offer free laptops to 1st-year students
9
Yale University Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS)* New Haven, CT
$29,600
$350 textbook allowance first year; $4,000 bonus for students with external funding
10
Stanford University Graduate Studies in Biosciences (GSBS)* Palo Alto, CA
$29,250
$750/year travel stipend for G1-2 (Neuroscience); annual $668 health services fee
11
Cornell University Graduate Programs in the Life Sciences* Ithaca, NY
$29,200
Includes a summer stipend of $4,400 per year (for up to two years)
12
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University Graduate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences* New York (Bronx), NY
$29,000
$1,000 for relocation; guaranteed subsidized housing
13
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Microbiology Graduate Program Cambridge, MA
$29,000
 
14
California Institute of Technology Biology Graduate Program* Pasadena, CA
$28,548
$2,200 yearly allowance for research supplies; separate funds to cover travel to scientific meetings
15
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS)* Philadelphia, PA 
$28,500
Select programs (such as Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics) offer $1500 towards a computer
16
University of Massachusetts Medical School Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences* Worcester, MA
$28,350
 
17
Tufts University Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences Biomedical Sciences* Boston, MA
$28,250
 
18
Washington University Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS)* St. Louis, MO
$27,500
$300 for relocation; limited travel funds; $5000 merit awards for students with external funding; $300 interest-free emergency short-term loans with repayment time of 60 days
19

Princeton University

Graduate Program in Molecular Biology Princeton, NJ
$27,500
$4000 bonuses for students with external funding
20
Tulane University Biomedical Sciences (BMS) New Orleans, LA
$27,500
 
21
University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Molecular and Cellular Biology Seattle, WA
$27,336
Free laptop (MacBook or PC equivalent) upon arrival
22
University of Washington Genome Sciences Seattle, WA
$27,336
 
23
University of Washington Biomolecular Structure and Design Seattle, WA
$27,336
Students required to pay an approximate $800/year "Activities Fee"
24
Johns Hopkins Medical Institute School of Medicine (SOM) Graduate Programs* Baltimore, MD
$27,125
$500 travel allowance first year
25
Northwestern University Interdepartmental Biological Sciences Graduate Program (IBiS)* Chicago, IL
$27,000
$500 for moving expenses; free laptop first year; ; 10% stipend bonus for students with external funding
26
Northwestern University Integrated Graduate Program (IGP) in the Life Sciences* Chicago, IL
$27,000
$500 for moving expenses
27
University of Connecticut Health Center Biomedical Science* Farmington, CT
$27,000
Funds available for travel to scientific conferences, and to attend short courses outside the University;students pay some fees.
28
The Scripps Research Institute Doctoral Programs in Chemical and Biological Sciences La Jolla, CA
$27,000
$3,000 bonus for students with external fellowships
29
University of California, Berkeley Microbiology and Plant Biology Berkeley, CA
$27,000
Up to 25% stipend bonus for students with external fellowships (for total annual stipend of up to $33,750); county bus pass
30
University of California, Berkeley Neuroscience Graduate Program Berkeley, CA
$27,000
N/A
31
University of California, San Francisco  Herbert W. Boyer Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS)* San Francisco, CA
$27,000
Benefits may vary by program; e.g. Neuroscience Graduate Program offers limited travel funds & free gym membership
32
Duke University Department of Immunology Durham, NC
$26,650
N/A
33
University of Michigan Medical School Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS)* Ann Arbor, MI
$26,500
$500 for relocation
34
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/Rutgers University Molecular Biosciences Umbrella Program Piscataway, NJ
$26,500
$2000 bonus for students with external funding; $5000 education bonus for some students selected for Society of Scholars; travel awards
35
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Graduate Program in Molecular Pathology and Immunology Newark, NJ
$26,500
Campus housing available; cash incentive to top recruits (4 per year)
36
Oregon Health & Science University Graduate Studies in the Biomedical Sciences* Portland, OR
$26,500
 
37
Brown University Division of Biology and Medicine* Providence, RI
$26,000
$1800/yr bonus for students with external funding that is ≥80% of base stipend; $500 conference funding years 2-5; $1500 competive awards for international conferences & training; free RI bus service. Some programs (such as Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Health Services Research) offer free laptop for incoming students.
38
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP)* Chapel Hill, NC
$26,000
$1,000 for relocation
39
Baylor College of Medicine  Graduate Program in Molecular Genetics Houston, TX
$26,000
$2,000 bonus for students with external funding
40
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences* Houston, TX
$26,000
 
41
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Division of Basic Science (DBS)* Dallas, TX
$26,000
Campus housing available; bonus for students with external funding 
42
University of California, Davis Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology  Davis, CA
$26,000
 
43
Duke University  Program in Biological Chemistry Durham, NC
$25,933
James B. Duke Fellows: $5,000/yr bonus
44
University of Rochester Medical Center School of Medicine and Dentistry Graduate School* Rochester, NY

$25,500

$2,000 annual bonus for students with external funding; some signing bonuses
45
Rice University  Biochemistry & Cell Biology Graduate Program Houston, TX
$25,500
Signing bonuses available; recipients of the Presidential Fellowship get additional $5,000 in stipend; students pay 30% individual health insurance.
46
Vanderbilt University  Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) Nashville, TN
$25,500
 
47
Dartmouth College Hitchcock Medical Center Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine (PEMM) Lebanon, NH 
$25,500
 
48
University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS)* Miami, FL
$25,500
Students pay 20% health insurance premium
49
Mayo Clinic Mayo Graduate School* Rochester, MN

$25,480

$25,480

Paid travel to scientific meetings; adoption reimbursement
50
State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate School of Graduate Studies* Brooklyn, NY
$25,385
Once student commits to a thesis lab, advisers may pay students up to 20% above the minimum stipend (up to $30,462 total). Under special circumstances (e.g. external fellowships), increases up to NRSA 0 level (currently $36,996) will be considered. Students pay approx. $12/month health insurance premium
51
University of Virginia Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs* Charlottesville, VA
$25,000
Up to $3,000/year bonus for incentive/merit scholarships; annual travel allowance (varies by program). The Jefferson Fellowship offers 5 years @ $30K + $7500 for research funding (W@W)
52
Case Western Reserve University Pharmacology Cleveland, Ohio
$25,000
$750 allowance 1st year for computer; allowance for supplies
53
Carnegie Mellon University Biological Sciences* Pittsburgh, PA
$25,000
 
54
University of Texas, Austin School of Biological Sciences* Austin, TX
$25,000
$1,000 1st year bonus; $500 for relocation
55
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences* Galveston, TX
$25,000
Varies by program
56
University of Utah Molecular Biology Program and Biological Chemistry Program Salt Lake City, UT
$25,000
$1,000 1st year bonus that students can use for whatever they like (e.g., season pass at Alta!)
57
Indiana University at Bloomington Medical Sciences Program Bloomington, IN
$25,000
$1,000 1st year bonus; $500 for relocation; benefits exclude fees (~$700/semester)
58
University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS)* Baltimore, MD
$25,000
$1,000 stipend increase after passing qualifying exam
59
West Virginia School of Medicine Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences* Morgantown, WV
$25,000
 
60
University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine Basic Biomedical Sciences Programs* Aurora, CO 
$25,000
Additional benefits vary by program
61
Temple University School of Medicine - Fels Institute for Cancer Research & Molecular Biology Molecular Biology and Genetics Graduate Program Philadelphia, PA
$25,000
 
62
Temple University School of Medicine Biochemistry Philadelphia, PA
$25,000
 
63
University of Pittsburgh Center for Neuroscience Graduate Training Program Pittsburgh, PA
$24,650
$2000 "Education Enrichment Account" (G1), free city bus service
64
Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh CMU-Pitt PhD Program in Computational Biology Pittsburgh, PA
$24,500
N/A
65
Emory University Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS)* Atlanta, GA
$24,500
$2000/yr bonus for students with external funding; Woodruff Fellowship: 5yr @ $5,000/yr + fees; Emory Graduate Diversity Fellowship: 5yr @ $4,500/yr + fees; Division Scholar Fellowship: 5yr @ $2,000/yr + fees
66
Oregon Health & Science University Graduate Studies in the Biomedical Sciences* Portland, OR

$24,500

$2,000 stipend increase after passing qualifying exam
67
University of Mississippi Medical Center Graduate School (Jackson) Anatomy Jackson, MS
$24,150
 
68
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Biomedical Graduate Programs* Little Rock, AR
$24,000
 
69
University of Georgia Microbiology Athens, GA
$24,000
Partially subsidized health insurance
70
University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Education in Medical Science* Chicago, IL
$24,000
Additional benefits available in thesis lab; partial fee waiver
71
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Graduate Studies* New Orleans, LA
$24,000
 
72
University of Arizona Graduate Program in Pharmacology Tuscon, AZ
$23,825
 
73
University of Wisconsin-Madison Neuroscience Training Program Madison, WI
$23,750
N/A
74
University of Oregon Institute of Molecular Biology; Institute of Neuroscience Eugene, OR
$23,700
 
75
Dartmouth College Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Program Hanover, NH
$23,364
$2,000 annual allowance for travel to scientific meetings
76
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Graduate Programs* Richmond, VA
$23,100
Additional support varies among ndividual programs in the School of Medicine. For example, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology offers $2,500 bonus for exceptional students
77
Colorado State University Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience Program Fort Collins, CO 
$23,000
$2,000 for relocation; campus housing available; up to $600/year for conferences/special courses
78
University of New Mexico Biological Sciences Graduate Program (BSGP)* Albuquerque, NM
$23,000
 
79
Colorado State University Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience Program Fort Collins, CO
$23,000
$2,000 for relocation; campus housing available; up to $600/year for conferences/special courses
80
University of New Mexico Biological Sciences Graduate Program (BSGP)* Albuquerque, NM
$23,000
 
81
Albany Medical College Graduate Studies Program* Albany, NY
$23,000
 
82
Wake Forest University  Biomedical Sciences* Winston-Salem, NC
$22,885
Free laptop; student pays 28% of single person coverage
83
University of Maryland Biology (BIOL) - Biological Sciences (BISI)* admitting fall 2010 College Park, MD
$22,779
Stipend increases to $23,714 G2 or for students with master's degrees; $24,212/year after candidacy
84
University of South Florida Moffitt Cancer Center Cancer Biology PhD Program Tampa, FL
$22,600
Travel awards up to $1,000; books for core courses; annual stipend increase of 3% minimum; bonuses for students with external funding
85
University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Infectious Diseases Athens, GA
$22,597
 
86
Miami University Chemistry and Biochemistry Oxford, OH
$22,350
Students pay 1/2 of the fees
87
Texas A&M University Department of Biology College Station, TX
$22,020
 
88
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Biomedical Science PhD Programs* Cincinnati, OH
$22,000 to $24,000
Stipends vary by program, Ohio residents eligible for Choose Ohio First program that pays a $4500 annual bonus for four years
89
University of Vermont Pharmacology Burlington, VT
$22,000
Signing bonuses for outstanding applicant; external support bonuses; free city bus service
90

University of Louisville, School of Medicine

Integrated Programs in Biomedical Sciences* Louisville, KY
$22,000
   
91

University of Arizona

Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program Tuscon, AZ
$22,000
Additional support from competitive funding sources pay up to $30,000 total annual stipend; students pay university-imposed student fees. 
92

Washington State University

School of Molecular Biosciences* Pullman, WA
$21,588
$2,500 signing bonus; stipend increase after passing their candidacy exam in 3rd year (to $23,130 in 2008-9); students pay residual semester student fees of $858.50. 
93
University of Oregon Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Eugene, OR
$21,300
 
94
University of Massachusetts, Amherst Molecular and Cellular Biology Amherst, MA
$21,024
Student pays 5% subsidized health insurance, some fees
95
University of Georgia Cellular Biology Athens, GA
$21,000
Partially subsidized health insurance
96
University of Toledo College of Medicine PhD Program in Biomedical Science Toledo, OH  
$20,976
$250 for travel to scientific meetings; external support bonuses available
97
University of Missouri-Columbia Biomedical Sciences Area Program Columbia, MO  
$20,976
 
98
University of Vermont Neuroscience Graduate Program Burlington, VT  
$20,976
 
99

Michigan State University

Neuroscience Program East Lansing, MI
$20,772
$250 for relocation
100
University of Vermont Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program Burlington, VT
$20,772
Student pays 25% health insurance premium; negotiations are underway to increase the 2009-10 stipend
101
University of Colorado, Boulder Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Boulder, CO
$20,400 (TA), $23,472 (RA), $25,212 (post qual)
Signing bonuses available; tudents from under-represented groups receive moving expenses, guaranteed summer support and Sloan Fellowships; student pays 30% health insurance premium 
102
Ohio University Interdisciplinary Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology Athens, OH
$19,750
 
103
Ohio University Graduate Program in Biological Sciences* Athens, OH
$19,525
$205/quarter for general fees
104
University of Oregon Institute of Marine Biology Eugene, OR
$18,800
 
105
Clemson University Biological Sciences* Clemson, SC
$18,000
Stipend increases when students transition from teaching assistants to research assistants
106
Wayne State University Biological Sciences* Detroit, MI
$16,586 to $17,170
Recruiting Rumble / Competitive Rumble Fellowships offer subsidized housing or graduate research assistanceships; need-based housing awards available; research and travel enhancement funds available to all students who complete prospectus and candidacy requirements.
107
Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine Basic Medical Sciences West Lafayette, IN
$15,750
 
108
Utah State University Biology* Logan, UT
$11,275
Students pay fees, 20% health insurance
--
University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public Health Infectious Diseases & Microbiology (IDM) Pittsburgh, PA
TBA
Free city bus service
--
University of Pittsburgh Biological Sciences Pittsburgh, PA
TBA
 
--
Penn State University Graduate Programs at Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences* Hershey, PA
TBA 7/2009
 
--

Oregon State University

Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Corvallis, OR
TBA
 
1. An asterisk (*) indicates that multiple programs are available; includes interdisciplinary programs and specialties such as biochemistry, bioinformatics, biophysics, cell biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, genomics, immunology, infectious disease, microbiology, molecular biology, neurobiology, neuroscience, and structural biology. Please see individual program websites for available subjects or programs.
2. Adjusted to cost-of-living in New York City (home to the highest stipend) using the cost-of-living calculator at bestplaces.net/col. These numbers are by no means definitive, and should be used for general reference purposes only. Actual costs-of-living will obviously vary depending on multiple factors - including how lavish your lifestyle is, or even which calculator you use. ADJUSTED STIPENDS REMOVED DUE TO NOT-SO-ACCURATE RESULTS.
3. Additional monetary funding based on available information. Tuition, insurance premiums, and fees are generally waived; only exceptions are noted (if information is available).
 
Information is subject to change.
 
Comments? Questions? Corrections? Please or email me at wendychao (AT) post.harvard.edu
 
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