Every school has profs with egos who will make things difficult. However, I'm gonna bet most profs at any given school are nice and helpful. Don't know about UChicago specifically.some of the UChicago profs have egos out the ass and will make things quite difficult for their students when there's no reason to.
mrrsnhtl wrote:Well, what I've heard about it was that most of the grad.students were failing the grad.qualifying examination so they had to be discarded. Therefore the school becomes a workplace for seasonal graduate workers ?! Probably, it is not true anyway, does anyone have an idea?
grae313 wrote:You should really go visit and talk to the graduate students. UC Berkeley had a bad reputation like this but when I visited I was told that it was historically true but the department had taken a lot of steps to change and it was completely not the case any more. I had almost not applied because of my impression of the place as very cut-throat and uncaring. Until you speak directly to the graduate students or people with recent, first hand experience of your particular department, you're dealing with hearsay.
pter0dactyl wrote:UChicago grad student here (in physics). My impression is that the qualifying exam is absolutely not meant to weed people out these days. The official policy is that students can take the qualifier whenever it's offered but must pass by the fall of 3rd year, so it's certainly no longer possible to be tricked into sticking around for a decade. But I don't know of anyone who was kicked out due to not passing by the 3rd year. Indeed there was one recent iteration of the exam that had a 100% pass rate.
As for the department as a whole, I can't speak for everyone but I've enjoyed my time here so far. Feel free to ask or PM if you guys have any specific questions.
tsymmetry wrote:Harvard and MIT used to be known as very tough places to be a grad student, but it seems that the departments have made an effort to improve the environments.
Arbitrary wrote:A quick update on the matter:
Starting in 2014, the candidacy exam in the University of Chicago physics PhD program is pretty much cancelled. Instead, you take a placement exam upon arriving, and then a counseling committee decides which courses you need to take, based on your performance. You are qualified once you pass the courses they tell you to take.
Apparently, the faculty wishes to make the qualifying process less stressful by this new system.
Ah well, I was not planning on taking the previous candidacy exam upon arrival on September. Now it seems that I should shake a leg and start studying seriously. Thankfully, there are only things to be gained by taking the placement exam.
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