“Modeling the transmission and impact of mycobacterial infections in wild and domestic animal and human populations.”
“MSc in One Health (Infectious Diseases).”
“Developing prodrugs to target neglected tropical diseases.”
“The evolution and ecology of how mutualist bacteria protect their insect hosts from disease.”
Do any of these project titles sound slightly intriguing to you, the future uncommon veterinarian? How about if they include three or four years of graduate study at one of the top universities in the world, all expenses paid?
I’m back today with some more unique opportunities for my readers to get connected with fully funded graduate study programs. Last week I featured an opportunity for masters or doctoral level study investigating zoonotic parasites in the Canadian Arctic. This week’s batch of programs all hail from the lovely United Kingdom.
My mission today is not only to let you know about these particular projects that are currently accepting applications for entrance in the fall of 2013. I also want to help you learn to find these opportunities yourself, now and in the future. As much as I love my friend Google and dream of pursuing one of these degrees myself, I know that I’ll never be able to find and share every funded graduate program that is out there.
But first, let’s get to the back to those projects.
University of Oxford
Everyone knows about the University of Oxford. Yes, that Oxford, the famous one. Did you ever think that you could actually study there? Maybe you stopped through during your family trip to Europe years ago. Remember the hallowed old college buildings, the beautiful green lawns, the peaceful river, and even the quaint little pub where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis met together to discuss their writing?
So yes, you can study there. You’ll need to have a good academic record and glowing recommendations, but otherwise it’s really just like any other university. Check out this link to the available studentships in the Department of Zoology. Studentship is a term that means a professor already has a research project all lined up, along with the full funding to support it, but just needs to find the right student to fit the bill.
Unfortunately for all my American readers, these studentships at Oxford are only open to students from the U.K. or European Union countries. Don’t lose heart, though! This page on the same site lists a number of other funding possibilities, including some like the Fulbright and the Rhodes scholarships.
The deadline for applications for the EU/UK studentships is January 18, 2013, so get a move on it!
Royal Veterinary College (RVC) at the University of London
If a quaint little college town like Oxford doesn’t sound appealing to you, how about taking on the hustle and bustle of central London for your graduate student adventure?
The Royal Veterinary College was founded in 1791, making it one of the world’s oldest veterinary institutions. It has a number of graduate degree programs that will help put you right where you need to be on the path to becoming an uncommon vet.
There are several open studentships available, including the one on bovine TB that I mentioned at the start of this article. I would honestly love to do this study, as it addresses a question that I’ve been really interested in for a long time (I know, I’m a public health nerd): what kind of impact does this zoonotic disease really have on human health and economies? Tuberculosis is an incredibly important disease in some parts of the world, but we really don’t have any idea of what percentage of human TB is caused by the zoonotic species.
Sound interesting? How about if I tell you that you would be specifically looking at the spread between wildlife, livestock, and humans in one of the biggest national parks in Uganda? Awesome.
There is also a studentship on “Sustainability Of Aquaculture In The Face Of Climate Change” and another on “Impact Of Eimeria Infection On Campylobacter Colonisation Of The Chicken And Microbiome Diversity.” Not quite as appealing to me, but you could find plenty of worse ways to spend a few years of your life.
Again, these studentships are accepting applications now and do not require any sort of research proposal or current expertise on your part. Unfortunately these are also open just for EU and UK residents, so I hope all my European readers will give them some serious consideration.
The Royal Veterinary College also has a number of masters level (MSc) programs that sound really useful, including One Health (Infectious Diseases), Veterinary Epidemiology, and Wild Animal Health. Although anyone can apply for and pay for this graduate degree (just like you would have to in the U.S.), applicants from developing Commonwealth countries have an incredible opportunity to get one of these degrees at no cost.
Are you from South Africa, India, Malaysia, or one of over 50 other countries that are part of the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship program? Maybe you’re really as American as they come but you happen to have dual citizenship in Jamaica because you were born early while your parents were enjoying a Caribbean babymoon? Well head on across the pond and enjoy this fully funded graduate degree!
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen Mary is a highly ranked public research university also located in central London. The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences has a number of funded PhD studentships available right now, with deadlines of January 31, 2013.
Alert: These studentships are open to anyone from anywhere in the world! That means you, my Egyptian, Kiwi, Kenyan, and Japanese readers.
Now, if you look through this list you’ll see that none of these projects specifically fall within the classic confines of veterinary medicine. If you want to study the long-term effects of Rimadyl on ageing German shepherds this is not the place for you. However, couldn’t you develop an interest in studying how goat vocalizations can be used to measure animal welfare? Or how about the genetic underpinnings of memory foundation in songbirds? Probably most relevant for our public health and/or infectious disease types, you could jump on this chance to study new drugs used in the treatment of zoonotic tropical diseases.
I personally e-mailed each of the research mentors for the projects above, and all of them said they would be interested in applications from international veterinarians (including bachelor’s level vets from places like Egypt and India).
These studentships cover all tuition and research expenses, along with a yearly stipend of over £15,000 ($24,000). Again, you won’t be rolling in extra money, but that should be plenty to live on even in London.
I promised that this article would be about more than just sharing these particular opportunities. So what’s the secret? How can you find your own ideal graduate program, complete with all the funding you need to graduate debt-free? Head on over to our friendly neighborhood search engine, where you can type in the name of the university of your choice along with the terms “graduate programs” and “funding”. Or instead, you could type in the topic you want to study, along with “graduate programs”.
The possibilities are really endless. It just takes time and creativity on your part, and you can make these dreams happen.
One final word to consider. Your PhD research does not need to be focused on what you are most passionate about, or what you dream of working on for the rest of your career. It would be nice if you could find a program that fits in with those goals, but either way you will still graduate with those three letters after your name.
And what can those three letters do for you? When combined with your veterinary training, they will open up a world of job opportunities. You will have received top-notch training in biomedical, molecular, and epidemiological research methods. This is the important thing, and these are skills that are transferable into any number of jobs in academia, government, and industry.
Think about some of your vet school professors. Do you know what their PhDs were in? Are they still focused on that exact same topic? Sometimes, yes, but in the majority of cases the answer will be no. They’ve moved on as their interests have changed and matured over the years. And you can too.
Do you think the PhD you get while studying goat vocalizations and living it up in London could one day turn into a job as a senior administrator for an international animal welfare organization? Yep.
Or that your research on Eimeria and Campylobacter in chickens could pave your way as a consultant in the commercial poultry industry making several hundred thousands of dollars every year. Yes, that too.
Maybe a MSc degree in Wild Animal Health from the Royal Veterinary College could lead to a job as head vet for a chimpanzee sanctuary in Sierra Leone? It did for Jenny Jaffe.
Think about it. Then stop thinking, and take action.
Life is too short not to be doing something you love.