I have heard many allusions to the negative impact of going to the same institution for graduate school that you did for undergrad, but I was wondering if anyone had any hard evidence of the potential impact, positive or negative that such a thing might have to one's future career opportunities. Carl Sagan went to U of Chicago for undergrad and grad, and I know there are other examples such as this, but everyone I talk to refers to going to the same school for graduate studies as "academic nepotism."
The reason I ask is that my situation is very complicated. Being a divorced mother of two, and having an ex who is reluctant to allow me to leave the state with my kids (apparently in PA the law views it such that the parent wanting to leave has to get "permission" from the parent who wants to stay), my options may be limited. On top of that, my first choice school right now is UC Santa Cruz, so he is even more reluctant since it's all the way across the country. My only other acceptances at this point (aside from two acceptances I have already turned down) are UC Riverside, U of MN, and my alma mater, Pitt. UC Riverside poses the same distance problem and I didn't like the school as much during my visit; and U of MN... well, to be honest I don't think I can handle the winters there. That pretty much leaves UCSC and Pitt. If I can't get my ex to agree to letting me move with the kids to CA, I may end up needing to go to Pitt.
On the bright side, Pitt and Santa Cruz are only 3 rankings apart (Pitt is a pretty decent school), and I have professors here that have already stated their willingness to work with my research interests, plus the cost of living is *way* cheaper here than in CA, but I'm worried about how it will look to future potential employers if I have gotten my PhD the same place I got my BS. I have demanded that my ex grant more relocation flexibility when it comes time to look for employment, since in the long run, I think it's more important to have that flexibility when looking for a job, and he seems like he will agree to this. But how bad do you think it would be for me to stay here? Any thoughts or concrete examples to share???