Vol 8. Issue 9 / March 17, 2008

Flexible, Top-Ranked Program Attracts Future Graduate Students

By Mika Ono

Some of the world's most promising young chemistry and biology students arrived at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, recently in what was for some the first visit to an institution that will shape their scientific careers. The visitors came from as far away as Turkey and Russia to attend one of three Prospective Student Weekends, designed to provide information about all aspects of the Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology Ph.D. program.

"The emphasis here is on learning," said Professor Jeffery Kelly, dean of the Kellogg School, in welcoming the prospective students. "We aren't just interested in getting you a degree. Our role is to make you as good as you can be."

Kelly noted that the Kellogg School graduate program is ranked among the top ten in the nation by a number of organizations. In 2007, U.S. News & World Report placed Scripps Research sixth overall in chemistry and seventh overall in the biological sciences.

"There's a reason our program is highly ranked," Kelly said, "and that is we continue to be innovative. We're flexible. We can make things happen."

Telling It Like It Is

The Prospective Student Weekends in February and March brought about 120 individuals, who represented a range of undergraduate institutions including Stanford, MIT, and University of California schools as well as those with work experience, to the Scripps Research California campus. Those interested in working at the Scripps Florida campus had the option of setting up a second visit to that location; William Roush, associate dean for the Florida campus, also attended one of the weekends to talk with prospective students.

For the candidates' San Diego visit, activities included interviews with some half a dozen to a dozen faculty with similar research interests as the candidates, a tour of the campus, and a luncheon in the Beckman Building, as well as informal get-togethers. Time was also available to explore the surrounding area.

Throughout the weekends, each prospective student was guided by a current Kellogg School student, often from the same alma mater or with similar research interests.

"Pairing prospective students with current students works really well," says Marylyn Rinaldi, graduate program administrator. "Prospective students get a real idea of what it is like here. Current students tell it like it is. And we want our students to know about all aspects of graduate life here before they arrive."

The campus visits also provided members of the admission committees with an opportunity to meet the students in person and make a final evaluation of their potential as scientists. After the campus visits, committee members gather one more time to decide which of the students were to receive an offer letter.

"No One Puts You in a Box"

During their visit, the candidates—whose scientific interests ranged from total synthesis and rational protein engineering to enzymology and stem cell research—expressed enthusiasm for what the Kellogg School had to offer.

Their reasons for interest in the graduate program included:

  • "I'm attracted to the freedom. You can do whatever you want. No one puts you in a box."
  • "There's an amazing amount of research here."
  • "I like the interdisciplinary nature of the program."
  • "It's a great place to use organic chemistry and apply it to immunology."
  • "The faculty is amazing."
  • "I like not having to teach and the location is terrific."
  • "I want to put myself in the best place, where the only limit is myself."

Some students also indicated an interest in special opportunities for Kellogg School students. These include participation in the University of San Diego-Scripps Training Program (JUST), which provides mentored teaching experience, and the Skaggs Oxford Scholarships Program, which offers a joint Ph.D./D.Phil. degree with the University of Oxford—the first joint degree offered in the British institution's 800-year history.

For more information on the Scripps Research Kellogg School program, see http://www.scripps.edu/phd/index_external.html.


Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu













Prospective students came from as far away as Turkey and Russia to learn more about the Kellogg School of Science and Technology. Photo by Kevin Fung.