Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

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r4ve
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Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:18 pm

Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby r4ve » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:36 am

Thoughts? I've heard from various sources that, in the end, private universities beat out public/state ones with funding and general resources... i never considered viewing schools with this critical lens, but as i keep hearing schools compared in this way, i cant help but to take account of the dichotomy when deciding which school to go to. did anyone else ever think about schools in this way in a way that it affected their decision a lot?

TakeruK
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby TakeruK » Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:04 pm

Yes, I did definitely consider this and asked questions about their funding when I visited the department on prospective student days. I asked about the kind of resources the department has access to (not dollar amounts, but facilities, instruments, ability to buy needed things etc.). I also asked the department chairs whether they were planning on hiring new faculty, were they going to expand or just replace retiring faculty etc.

In the end, one of the biggest academic/career related reasons for me in making my final decision was the fact that the school owned 25% of the time on one of the biggest telescopes in the world. This is a resource that none of the public schools I talked to/visited had anything remotely close to!

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

Re: Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:02 pm

To me, questions of funding come down to 3 things:

    stipend level
    percentage of students TA'ing
    percentage of students enrolling that leave with a PhD

The last is a biased tracer of whether the school has trouble finding research programs for its students.

I personally think outside of these things, the public/private school dichotomy isn't so important. Research money, after all, comes from the NSF/DOE, which doesn't distinguish from public and private schools.

TomServo
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:55 pm

Re: Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby TomServo » Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:45 am

At a private school, at least the one I'm going to, which professor you work under isn't a matter of whether that professor has funding for you. I believe that is not the case at many other schools.

sorethumb
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:50 pm

Re: Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby sorethumb » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:41 pm

bfollinprm wrote:To me, questions of funding come down to 3 things:

    stipend level
    percentage of students TA'ing
    percentage of students enrolling that leave with a PhD


Is there a good place to find this information, other than asking the departments? I would especially like to know the last one. (And a related piece of info- how many students who enroll to do theory successfully find a theoretical advisor and earn a PhD in theoretical physics.)

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

Re: Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:36 pm

Gradschoolshopper.com sometimes has it.

hermitw
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:11 am

Re: Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby hermitw » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:04 pm

bfollinprm wrote:To me, questions of funding come down to 3 things:

    stipend level
    percentage of students TA'ing
    percentage of students enrolling that leave with a PhD

The last is a biased tracer of whether the school has trouble finding research programs for its students.

I personally think outside of these things, the public/private school dichotomy isn't so important. Research money, after all, comes from the NSF/DOE, which doesn't distinguish from public and private schools.

Would the TA load at public schools larger than private, since they have more undergrad to teach? Although we are all supposed to do 20 hours, the real time we spend greatly depends on the school.

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Private vs Public/State Schools for PhD Programs

Postby TakeruK » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:18 am

hermitw wrote:Would the TA load at public schools larger than private, since they have more undergrad to teach? Although we are all supposed to do 20 hours, the real time we spend greatly depends on the school.


I am not sure why you think "we are all supposed to do 20 hours". It all depends on whatever your school decides because they are literally the boss. At my current school, there is no set number of hours in practice, but if you dig through all of the HR documents, you will find that one TAship is officially 15 hours per week (150 hours per course).

At some schools, everyone has the same TA load. At other schools, your TA load depends on your funding. Basically, your advisor probably wants to pay you as much of a RAship as they can, since they would prefer you to work on their project. But some groups/advisors have grants to pay RAs while others do not (or have less money). So, if you are in one of these groups with less money, you might have to spend more time TAing in order to earn your stipend/tuition waiver.

Some schools also have some minimum TA requirement as well. This makes sure everyone does some TAing, and helps the deparmtent fill its TA spots. This also helps advisors a bit too, because this reduces how much you cost to your advisor (TAs paid by department, RAs paid by advisor, usually). But usually the minimum TA load is very small, even at public schools.




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