Should I transfer?

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astroboy
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:23 am

Should I transfer?

Postby astroboy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:58 am

I'll get to the point. My ultimate goal is to attend a top university in the US, and I'm currently facing a decision that could quite easily affect my chances of doing this. Here's the situation: I've just completed my first year of university at a fairly well respected insitution. Ranked 40th or so in the world according to last years Times Supplement rankings (if that means anything), but with a mediocre physics department. I've just been accepted into a nearby university that generally has a stronger reputation both locally and worldwide, is much more selective and has a larger/stronger physics department. The problem is, if I choose to transfer it will completely alter my course outline. Basically, if I stay I will graduate in 3 years with a BSc (Advanced with Honours) and be eligible to apply for a PhD immediately. If I transfer, I will graduate in 5 years with a regular BSc, what is called a "Diploma" (essentially a double degree), and a Masters. Only then will I be eligible to apply for a PhD. Obviously a much more extensive education though. I'm 21 in 6 months, and feel like another 5 years is a long time before enrolling in a PhD program.

Suggestions, advice? I have less than 2 weeks to make a decision guys!

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grae313
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Re: Should I transfer?

Postby grae313 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:00 am

What opportunities for research do you have at each school? This will likely be the largest factor in the quality of the PhD program you end up in. Remember that if it takes you five years but you have a masters degree, you'll spend less time in your PhD so I don't think that should be a huge factor in your decision.

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YellowXDart
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Re: Should I transfer?

Postby YellowXDart » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:01 pm

Honestly, as long as you are dedicated to you classes and get some good research in, there is no reason you wouldn't be able to get into a top program regardless of whether you transfer. You should base your decision on where you feel you will be the happiest, or where the best research is like grae313 said.

astroboy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:23 am

Re: Should I transfer?

Postby astroboy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:53 pm

grae313 wrote:What opportunities for research do you have at each school? This will likely be the largest factor in the quality of the PhD program you end up in. Remember that if it takes you five years but you have a masters degree, you'll spend less time in your PhD so I don't think that should be a huge factor in your decision.


Research opportunities for undergrad is roughly the same. But, if I transfer I will also benefit from the invaluable experience of doing a Masters by research.

Why would I spend less time doing a PhD with a Masters? I didn't think that either coursework or research would transfer into a PhD program. Although, of course I would be much better prepared to undertake a PhD having completed a Masters.

pqortic
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: Should I transfer?

Postby pqortic » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:45 pm

astroboy wrote:Research opportunities for undergrad is roughly the same. But, if I transfer I will also benefit from the invaluable experience of doing a Masters by research.

Why would I spend less time doing a PhD with a Masters? I didn't think that either coursework or research would transfer into a PhD program. Although, of course I would be much better prepared to undertake a PhD having completed a Masters.


you don't need to have a Master degree and Mater thesis to go to a decent graduate school. many people go to Phd with BS. you need good PGRE score, recoms, good GPA and research experience. consider which of them provides you with better resources and prepares you better for graduate school.

if you get a master degree you can transfer some of the graduate courses (under some conditions) and won't have to retake them in the your phd school.

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grae313
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Re: Should I transfer?

Postby grae313 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:10 pm

It depends on the school, but for example here at Cornell, the department wants to see that you have knowledge of graduate E&M, quantum, and statistical mechanics. If you come in with a masters you've already satisfied that and can get straight to work on finding a research group unless you want to take more classes. Usually it's 1-2 years of classes, then 3-5 years of research. With the masters under your belt, you are much closer to the research.

Anyways, I also don't think that it will make a big difference, and if you have similar research opportunities at each school, I personally would choose to stay where you are and graduate in three years with kickass grades and three years of research under your belt. You'll be on the same foot as most of your peers if you enter a PhD program without a masters, and you'll have more time to explore different research groups while getting to know the professors and the department as you spend your first year or two taking classes.




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