As a follow-on to a popular post in understanding how PhD stipend in each university has progressed, we have again collected stipends from top universities in the US according to USNews.
We were able to extract most of the top 15 universities in their list established this year.
First of all, before looking this deeper, we should keep in mind that the PhD student enrolled in the business sides generally get higher stipend. For instance, A PhD student in the business school at the University of Chicago receives $40000/yr compared with $31500/yr for PhD student in the chemistry/biological science in the same school. The whooping 27% difference in salary doesn’t justify for the difficulties between departments – but we should leave that discussion for another day. This discrepancy is also seen in Harvard University (as shown in orange above).
Next, we ask if we can compare the stipend at each school. To do that, we adjust each stipend to a stipend to live in Chicago according to the cost of living supplied by the calculator found on bankrate.com. This is what we found:
We realize that the average stipend from the list above comes out to be $30061/yr.
Next, we put this stipend level into a “are you in the US middle class calculator” provided by Pew Research.
Honestly, living on a PhD stipend with a full tuition scholarship is really not a bad idea, if you like the fact that you will be submerged in an academic-centric world for the next 5-10 years.
The differences among schools and programs indicate the differences in support for each specialty. The reality is that the business related graduate program is paid higher in general compared with other specialties. Then, it is the sciences, followed by the arts and humanities at the bottom.
It would be great to see some changes to fix this issue. We feel that graduate students across specialities should not be treated differently. Every students should be provided with equal amount of help, including financial support.
Academic institutions, including University of Colorado and the University of Chicago, have already started focusing on microbiome research. It is very interesting to me when you come to realize that each human being is essentially a walking Petri dish. There is more bacteria in your body than the cells you have. Think about that – think about how much bacteria in your gut may possibly control your metabolism, your thoughts, or maybe even your life.
Microbiome startups, like ClostraBio, at the University of Chicago, spearheaded by immunologists and biomedical engineer, are looking into altering microbiome to cure food allergy. This is not it – microbiome may even have a bigger role than food allergy. I just came back from the second last day of ASCO – American Society of Clinical Oncology 2017. Microbiome diversity apparently is been linked to how well you will respond to immune therapy (PD-1 therapy, like Keytruda or Opdivo. Researchers found that responders to the therapy have different microbiome make-up than those who don’t respond.
The story gets even more interesting. When they transplanted fecal matter (microbiome) from responders or non responders to germ free mice, they found that mice respond differently when they are xenografted with tumor cells.
They are now exploring the application of fecal transplantation and the use of probiotic in cancer treatment.
Anyway, be aware of the power of these micro organisms in your gut!