small or big "research group", what will you choose?

ali8
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:20 am

small or big "research group", what will you choose?

Postby ali8 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:38 pm

Hello again,

Yet another (silly?) question.

Suppose you are interested in a given area of interest (let's say Quantum Information).
You cannot go to top 30, so we are talking about anything else. Also I am referring to
M.Sc degree, if it matters.

Will you choose:

A) a school that does not have a "big" research group in your specific area of interest; there
are only one or two professors doing some projects in your specific area of interest, or

B) a school that have a "big" research group but in a closely related area to your interests
(so in this example, say "quantum optics"). There are at least 4 prof. and a couple of postdoctors
and graduate students in the group; it's really a "big group".

But frankly, why should you be bothered by how many professors are there in your
area of interest; after all you are going to do your thesis with only one supervisor, don't you?

Thanks for answering both my questions!

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InquilineKea
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Re: small or big "research group", what will you choose?

Postby InquilineKea » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:32 pm

It really really really depends. Everything else equal, we don't have enough information.

With that said, it's a balance. How close do you want to be with your advisor vs. how many other people do you want to talk to? The more people in a group, the more likely there will be at least one person in the group who you can REALLY "click" with.

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WhoaNonstop
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: small or big "research group", what will you choose?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:11 am

Truthfully you should only apply to schools that have at least 3 groups that you are interested in (and spanning at least two specializations). That way when you arrive you have a few options because anything can happen. However, the difference between a school having 4 groups or 17 groups you're interested in is very minimal. As long as you are aware of a few groups that are doing stuff you're intrigued by, you should be safe. So it's not a matter of how many groups and how big they are, it's a matter of having enough options because you don't want to be stuck at a place where you "thought" a group was going to be awesome and it turns out not to be. With that being said, let other factors decide which school you will attend besides number of groups (or size of them), just make sure there are enough!

-Riley

ali8
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:20 am

Re: small or big "research group", what will you choose?

Postby ali8 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:04 am

InquilineKea wrote:It really really really depends. Everything else equal, we don't have enough information.

With that said, it's a balance. How close do you want to be with your advisor vs. how many other people do you want to talk to? The more people in a group, the more likely there will be at least one person in the group who you can REALLY "click" with.


Well, typically I want to have two or three professors other than mu advisor to
talk to, but that, I think, is not always possible, so I think one should suffice with
his advisor.

ali8
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:20 am

Re: small or big "research group", what will you choose?

Postby ali8 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:11 am

WhoaNonstop wrote:Truthfully you should only apply to schools that have at least 3 groups that you are interested in (and spanning at least two specializations). That way when you arrive you have a few options because anything can happen.


That's a good idea that I've never thought of. But maybe it's not always available.

WhoaNonstop wrote:However, the difference between a school having 4 groups or 17 groups you're interested in is very minimal. As long as you are aware of a few groups that are doing stuff you're intrigued by, you should be safe. So it's not a matter of how many groups and how big they are, it's a matter of having enough options because you don't want to be stuck at a place where you "thought" a group was going to be awesome and it turns out not to be.
With that being said, let other factors decide which school you will attend besides number of groups (or size of them), just make sure there are enough!


That's the question, how many IS enough? Is a school with only two professors
in my first choice research "enough" ?
-Riley[/quote]

bfollinprm
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: small or big "research group", what will you choose?

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:05 am

If the school is PhD-first, I would be thinking a masters student would have trouble finding funding. If you're ok with working for free, 2 is enough, otherwise go to the larger school.

ali8
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:20 am

Re: small or big "research group", what will you choose?

Postby ali8 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:18 am

bfollinprm wrote:If the school is PhD-first, I would be thinking a masters student would have trouble finding funding. If you're ok with working for free, 2 is enough, otherwise go to the larger school.


Well, let the funding issue aside, at least for now.

What do you mean by "working for free" ??




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