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OK, this message is to Natasha and Caleb and to whoever else is out there
with this question on their minds (Mike, you there somewhere?). Since
everyone else is putting in a plug about their programs, I guess I will
put one in for ours (especially since it might mean giving Farlow
If you can deal with living in Philadelphia for 4+ years and don't mind
putting up with our ca. $35,000 a year costs, the University of
Pennsylvania is, as Allan mentioned, an excellent choice for anything
related to paleontology, especially if the critters you want to work with
As I understand the data, Penn is one of the very few places in the
country where you can actually take a degree in paleobiology (offered by
the Committee on Paleobiology, joint between Biology and Earth and
Environmental Science). You can also take an A.B. in geology or in
biology, the two majors that I would recommend if you are seriously
considering this stuff.
We have the oldest tradition of paleo (and despite what Yale says,
geology--sorry guys, Silliman came HERE to get trained before he took the
position...) education in the New World. Both Leidy and Cope taught
here, and though Osborn went to Princeton, he did all of his paleo here
We currently have active dinosaur research programs going on in Wyoming and
Alberta, Mexico, Massachusetts, China, Argentina, and as of Wednesday,
Egypt, and we are currently looking for good undergrads to take to
Wyoming this summer and Argentina next January, so these projects don't
just offer stuff to the graduate students and we will send you to Montana
to learn field geology and show up the Princeton undergrads...
Our faculty contains Peter Dodson and Neil Shubin, and we have
very strong ties with the people at the Academy of Natural Sciences and
the Smithsonian Institution.
In my experience, it is invaluable to have students in the department you
study in actively working on Ph.D.s, while you are an undergrad, so I
encourage science students to go to places with active graduate schools.
When I was in college I learned as much about how to do science from the Ph.D.
candidates as I ever did from my profs (and twice as much about how to
It is true that an Ivy League university is not for everyone (half of our
students look like G.Q. poster-children), but if you can get past the
arrogant exterior, you will be amazed at the resources and alumni network
at your disposal.
Drop me a line if you want to know more.
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
471 Hayden Hall
240 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316
(215) 898-5630 (Office)
(215) 898-0964 (FAX)