pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

pqortic
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pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby pqortic » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:11 am

I was wondering if you know about the pros and cons of doing the MSc degree in a lower rank or actually out of rank school in U.S which only offers up to MSc for Physics.

It seems that it would be a good preparation for continuing PhD in top schools if I improve the test scores and do some pubs. but what about the other site, Do schools really care about where I did my Msc and where I passed the graduate courses since most of the applicants hold BS?
Or any other thing that might matter.

matonski
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby matonski » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:44 pm

I don't know, but this is exactly what I'm doing. I first applied right after undergraduate and didn't get in anywhere. That was 5 years ago. Last year, I realized I really wanted to try again and so I thought it would boost my application if I first enrolled in the master's degree program at my local state school (San Jose State). I plan on applying for the Fall of 2010. I'm taking the PGRE in 8 days. The only thing I worry about is whether schools will hold me to a higher standard now on the GRE since I will have an MS.

chishon
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby chishon » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:48 am

I know someone who did his Masters at a lower ranked school, and is now doing his PhD at Columbia (his top choice, I believe). So...it worked out well for him!

@nonymous
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby @nonymous » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:21 am

How about doing Master in a top Canadian school? (eg. U of Toronto or UBC)
Will it give me a better chance of getting admissions from Top US schools? or is this just a waste of time?
I have to choose between not bad US state school (ranked somewhere around 20th, no Ms program as you know) and a top Canadian school with a Ms program.

evilclaw2321
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby evilclaw2321 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:09 pm

Well right now im admitted to the masters program at UBC and you can transfer into the Phd program after the first year, which is what I plan on doing or you can do the masters and reapply to US schools. But I think alot of us students overlook canadian schools, i mean top canadian schools are not comparable to mediocre us schools, they are top schools. I mean I was shocked at the hep, cme, and astro at UBC, heck they have their own particle accelerator and do lots of collaborations with cern for the lhc and ilc, large department, and research going on with cutting edge stuff in all fields. Personally I'd rather be at a top school, even if its in another country, than just a so so one in the states.

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Kaiser_Sose
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby Kaiser_Sose » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:23 pm

But I think alot of us students overlook canadian schools, i mean top canadian schools are not comparable to mediocre us schools, they are top schools. I mean I was shocked at the hep, cme, and astro at UBC, heck they have their own particle accelerator and do lots of collaborations with cern for the lhc and ilc, large department, and research going on with cutting edge stuff in all fields. Personally I'd rather be at a top school, even if its in another country, than just a so so one in the states.


Are you implying that Canadian top programs are easier to get into ?

slugger
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby slugger » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:46 pm

Do it!, my masters institution is unranked and i am going to a top ten university in the fall!

evilclaw2321
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby evilclaw2321 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:56 pm

Kaiser_Sose wrote:Are you implying that Canadian top programs are easier to get into ?


Well not necessarily but I guess it depends on easier than what. Easier than harvard princeton etc than maybe i think it might be than those. I do know from talking to administrators that they definitely get a lot less US applicants and less applicants in general. I mean where a lot of US schools this year are getting 5 or 600 applications, the few canadian (top canadian) ones I've talked to have had maybe between 2-300. And people who have masters already are separated out of the competition since if you only have a BS you can only apply to the masters programs there, whereas people with masters already apply to PHD. Also, most canadian schools either dont use the PGRE at all or don't weigh it very heavily as compared to US schools.

So I'm not saying they're always easier but it is a different system that may be more favorable to certain types of applicants. And I just think that a lot of US students overlook or under rate these good programs.

pqortic
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby pqortic » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:13 am

slugger wrote:Do it!, my masters institution is unranked and i am going to a top ten university in the fall!


What did you do in Master that you think helped the most?
make visit to top schools? research in area close to those in top schools? retake standardized tests?

shetanak13
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby shetanak13 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:04 am

I've been admitted to a masters program for the Fall 2009! I'm a bit wary bc this means applying not this fall but next fall to a Ph.D program, thus two years off! Patience is a virtue I must learn if I go... I am a bit worried that this may not help to get into a top school as much as I would like to think it does. Hopefully it will offset my not-so-stellar grades, and then I need to rock the pgre's. Simple, right? :shock:

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby coreycwgriffin » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:19 pm

shetanak13 wrote:I'm a bit wary bc this means applying not this fall but next fall to a Ph.D program, thus two years off!


Two years "off"? Doing a Master's? Haha....it's not like a Master's degree is just something they give out if you apply. There is still plenty of work involved.

shetanak13
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby shetanak13 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:01 pm

I wasn't implying that a Masters would be easier. I am just considering the time-line of events.

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Julius_Sumner_Miller
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby Julius_Sumner_Miller » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:43 pm

I'll throw in my opinion, since this is exactly the path I elected two years ago.

Pros:
-Doing thesis research for your master's will significantly improve your knowledge of your research area (experimental or theoretical)

-As a grad student you will meet people from other universities interested in your area of focus by attending and presenting at seminars, colliqua, etc. Knowing someone on the admissions board if always a plus when applying to PhD programs. All the programs I have been accepted to this year were not the original six I applied to, but programs where I had met someone at the uni. previously (granted I didn't manage to do better on the PGRE this year as I had hoped :oops: )

-By teaching undergraduates you will increase your knowledge of the subjects taught in the first year courses, this may/may not improve your PGRE score

Cons:
-Two years of your life

-Not attending the school of your dreams can be demoralizing, which in turn can affect your work ethic

-The school where you do your master's might not have a program that does research in your area of interest, considering the fact that you will be spending at least a year of your life doing research for your MSc thesis this might be seen as a problem.

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razor
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby razor » Fri May 01, 2009 2:13 am

I am considering doing this too. Since I come from nowhere, a masters in a lower ranked school in the US might boost my chances of making it to top schools since research opportunities are more abundant.

But here is my problem. Do they offer financial aid for masters? I am considering San Jose State since I have relatives near the school. I hope grae will answer.

On a side note, I have heard of a program at Perimeter Institute which is somewhat comparable to a masters. Is this a better option? What do you think?

matonski
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby matonski » Fri May 01, 2009 2:28 am

I go to San Jose State right now as a master's student. It is about $2400 a semester for full time status. I know you can get a large chunk of that taken care of by working as a lab assistant/grader/TA etc.

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grae313
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby grae313 » Fri May 01, 2009 4:58 pm

matonski wrote:I go to San Jose State right now as a master's student. It is about $2400 a semester for full time status. I know you can get a large chunk of that taken care of by working as a lab assistant/grader/TA etc.


Hey matonski, do I know you?

Mataka
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby Mataka » Fri May 01, 2009 5:43 pm

One could also choose to do a masters in Canada since most universities garantee finantial support (same kind of support that for phd students). The top canadian univeristies are not that bad either, and if one is interested in theory, Perimeter institute now offers a master program that looks pretty good and not that hard to get in.

matonski
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby matonski » Fri May 01, 2009 6:59 pm

grae313 wrote:Hey matonski, do I know you?

I don't know. Are you a master's student there now? What classes did you take last semester?

PoincareSection
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby PoincareSection » Fri May 08, 2009 4:01 pm

Another good thing about doing a Master's first is that you can teach at a community college (If you like teaching). I'm probably going to have a tenure track position in the fall (a dream come true!), and after a few years worth of teaching under my belt, I plan to return for the PhD. Also, I'll keep in contact from my collaborators from my Master's institution and continue to do research with them.



You can also go into a PhD program full time and adjunct on the side with a Master's for extra $$. Most community colleges don't care about the ranking of your Master's program.

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grae313
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby grae313 » Sat May 09, 2009 2:19 pm

matonski wrote:
grae313 wrote:Hey matonski, do I know you?

I don't know. Are you a master's student there now? What classes did you take last semester?


No, I graduated from there (undergrad) last May.

AreYouFor86
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Re: pros & cons of doing Master in a lower rank school

Postby AreYouFor86 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:22 pm

My question is what are the cons in terms of prestige of choosing a smaller university?

I know that bigger universities that are higher acclaimed are have more cost, more labs, etc etc. But when it comes time to admissions to a PhD school, is there a big difference between a masters from small school X or masters from big school Y




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