UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

postman
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UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby postman » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:42 pm

Hi, guys!

Could you please help me on one serious decision?
I've got two offers, one from UIUC and another from MIT. It may seem a no-brainer, however, I'm more interested in research by UIUC faculty, rather than by MIT's one.

So, is there much difference in which school to go? I am an international applicant, so I may not know some details. Are students in both universities the same? Does MIT's name matter so much? Anything else?

Thanks.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:49 pm

postman wrote:Hi, guys!

Could you please help me on one serious decision?
I've got two offers, one from UIUC and another from MIT. It may seem a no-brainer, however, I'm more interested in research by UIUC faculty, rather than by MIT's one.

So, is there much difference in which school to go? I am an international applicant, so I may not know some details. Are students in both universities the same? Does MIT's name matter so much? Anything else?

Thanks.


Well, I highly suggest you choose the school with the research that most interests you. They are both decent schools (although many people will suggest you go to MIT, even though UIUC is ranked high in Physics). Beyond the actually physics program, I would look into the differences between living in each of these areas, as one is in Boston, while the other is in a smaller community. Graduate students in these programs should be very similar, but undergraduate students between MIT and UIUC will greatly differ.

Since you're trying to make a decision between two schools I suggest you write out your own list on things that are important to you and then go through the pros and cons of each of these schools as they appear to you, not anyone else.

-Riley

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satyad18
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby satyad18 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:51 pm

postman, you forgot to 'post' your profile first of all..! :)

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HappyQuark
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:16 pm

postman wrote:Hi, guys!

Could you please help me on one serious decision?
I've got two offers, one from UIUC and another from MIT. It may seem a no-brainer, however, I'm more interested in research by UIUC faculty, rather than by MIT's one.

So, is there much difference in which school to go? I am an international applicant, so I may not know some details. Are students in both universities the same? Does MIT's name matter so much? Anything else?

Thanks.


I agree with Riley in the sense that you ought to go to the school that is doing the research you want to do and since UIUC is roughly in the same league as MIT, you might as well choose UIUC. With that said, keep in mind that some schools are better at advertising their research and so it would be worth the effort to dig as deep as you can into exactly what they are working on and, if you went to either of the schools, what work you would be doing. If you ultimately want to work in academia, having your degree from MIT over UIUC might make a noticeable impact in helping you get one of those few elusive positions.

I guess all I'm saying is, be very sure that you would enjoy the research more at UIUC before turning down MIT.

axiomofchoice
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby axiomofchoice » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:05 pm

HappyQuark wrote:If you ultimately want to work in academia, having your degree from MIT over UIUC might make a noticeable impact in helping you get one of those few elusive positions.


Probably more than just the academia. In fact, inside academic maybe a degree from UIUC instead of MIT won't make a huge difference since whoever doing the hiring will know UIUC's reputation. If you end up working outside of academia, however, your resume will look automatically shinier with MIT on it instead of UIUC to anyone (and that would be almost everyone :P) who has no idea what condense matter physics is.

Name brands are called name brands for a reason. Obviously don't go to MIT if you think you will be unhappy there, but if UIUC is just a little bit more preferable over MIT, I'd pick MIT instead if I were you. If your call, of course...

If you haven't read this, take a look and maybe have a little laugh:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmi ... -dialogue/

bfollinprm
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:00 pm

I was under the impression that UIUC was better ranked for CMT than MIT, along with OSU.

I think anyone who will care about your PhD in terms of hiring is going to recognize this and worry more about the quality of your research. What matters most is your post-doc, and for that the better the group, the better your chances at a top position (in physics). If you don't want to work in academia, but instead industry, it might be different.

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HappyQuark
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby HappyQuark » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:28 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:If you ultimately want to work in academia, having your degree from MIT over UIUC might make a noticeable impact in helping you get one of those few elusive positions.


Probably more than just the academia. In fact, inside academic maybe a degree from UIUC instead of MIT won't make a huge difference since whoever doing the hiring will know UIUC's reputation. If you end up working outside of academia, however, your resume will look automatically shinier with MIT on it instead of UIUC to anyone (and that would be almost everyone :P) who has no idea what condense matter physics is.

Name brands are called name brands for a reason. Obviously don't go to MIT if you think you will be unhappy there, but if UIUC is just a little bit more preferable over MIT, I'd pick MIT instead if I were you. If your call, of course...

If you haven't read this, take a look and maybe have a little laugh:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmi ... -dialogue/


Agreed, although I would argue that the influence of brand name recognition is more pronounced in academia than most of us give credit to. I've been told by a number of professors that it is quite common for the selection process to come down to 3 or 4 equally qualified individuals, at which point they start making selections based on, among other things, how much prestige the person will bring to the department. The general thinking seems to be that telling the contributors that give the university its external funding that they hired new professors that graduated from MIT gets you more money than telling them you hired new professors from UIUC.

With all that said, after double checking the rankings for CM on US News, it looks like MIT and UIUC are #1 and #2 respectively, meaning as far as academia is concerned there is probably going to be very little difference in terms of quality of research. My advice is to choose UIUC if you genuinely prefer the research or choose MIT if you don't.

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grae313
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby grae313 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:48 pm

Just throwing this out there: there was a thread on here a while ago (maybe last year?) where someone looked at all of the new hires in the top 20 or 30 physics departments in the last 10 years and tallied up scores for where the new hires obtained their PhDs. UIUC had a good representation, if I remember correctly.

postman
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby postman » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:14 am

grae313 wrote:Just throwing this out there: there was a thread on here a while ago (maybe last year?) where someone looked at all of the new hires in the top 20 or 30 physics departments in the last 10 years and tallied up scores for where the new hires obtained their PhDs. UIUC had a good representation, if I remember correctly.


Do you mean this topic: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2219 ? It seems that they didn't reach any conclusion.

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grae313
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby grae313 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:04 pm

postman wrote:Do you mean this topic: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2219 ? It seems that they didn't reach any conclusion.


No, in the thread I'm thinking of a comparison was done systematically and tallied up ALL new hires over the last decade and made a comprehensive list of who was hired from where. The numbers can be normalize by the graduating class size to really give a good feel for how biased top University hiring is for top University graduates.

The thread you linked to is certainly relevant though, so thanks for finding it.

cryingsun
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby cryingsun » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:01 pm

grae313 wrote:
postman wrote:Do you mean this topic: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2219 ? It seems that they didn't reach any conclusion.


No, in the thread I'm thinking of a comparison was done systematically and tallied up ALL new hires over the last decade and made a comprehensive list of who was hired from where. The numbers can be normalize by the graduating class size to really give a good feel for how biased top University hiring is for top University graduates.

The thread you linked to is certainly relevant though, so thanks for finding it.

That would be a very interesting thread if you could please dig it up :mrgreen:

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grae313
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:05 pm

cryingsun wrote:
grae313 wrote:
postman wrote:Do you mean this topic: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2219 ? It seems that they didn't reach any conclusion.


No, in the thread I'm thinking of a comparison was done systematically and tallied up ALL new hires over the last decade and made a comprehensive list of who was hired from where. The numbers can be normalize by the graduating class size to really give a good feel for how biased top University hiring is for top University graduates.

The thread you linked to is certainly relevant though, so thanks for finding it.

That would be a very interesting thread if you could please dig it up :mrgreen:


Unfortunately I have no idea what the thread was titled, whether the thread started as such or wandered off-topic, what year it was posted in, or who posted it. :( sorry.

ticklecricket
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Re: UIUC vs MIT, condensed matter

Postby ticklecricket » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:52 pm

Inside academia, people are going to know who you worked with and won't care about the school. Industry is a completely different story.

Also, I have lived in Champaign-Urbana AND in Cambridge, and can advise you that Cambridge is a much better place to live. (Not to hate on chambana, cause I liked it there) But living costs will be higher in Cambridge...




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