McGill, UBC and Physics in Canada

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tomar
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McGill, UBC and Physics in Canada

Postby tomar » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:05 am

Hey all,

First off, thanks to everyone on the forum who has been very helpful in asnwering my various questions. I have another one :)

Does anyone know how schools in Canada like McGill and UBC compare to the US schools in Physics? Overall, would they compare to the top 10, 20, 30, or 40 US schools ?

Is there a ranking of physics departments in North America, or Worldwide somewhere?

Thanks

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:53 am

In the many hours I spent researching this sort of thing, I came across this page and bookmarked it.

http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2006/ARWU2006TOP500list.htm

It's not for physics, it's just overall. It's from 2006 and I have no idea what methodology they used. Better than nothing? :?

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:19 am

I thought I heard on the news this year that Princeton was ranked #1 in the US... How could Harvard be on top on this list?

dunecastle
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Postby dunecastle » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:30 am

For most Asians, Harvard's world's best . Several years ago there's a Korean TV series named "Love in Harvard", if the story took place in MIT or Princeton, and titled as "Love in MIT", or "Love in Princeton", there would definitely have no Asian youngsters willing to see it.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:32 pm

quizivex, that's from 2006, and I don't know what their criteria was. However, when you are picking between two world class universities, I don't think there is a huge difference between 1, 2 , and 3

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:38 pm

oh yea! I definitely agree, I couldn't care less about who's above who by 1 or 2 spots in the rankings. But just seeing different places list schools in a different order makes me wonder if there's any validity to rankings.

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butsurigakusha
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Postby butsurigakusha » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:39 pm

Any ranking system that doesn't outline its methodology is pretty much useless. The US News Rankings give a different #1 each year, and it's not because of changes at the schools, usually, but just changes in the methodology. And the rankings for undergraduate institutions aren't necessarily that helpful. They are greatly influenced by the amount of research being done, and by the grades and test scores of students entering the school, but they say very little about the actual education one will receive there. So, if you are looking to go to a school that has a lot of prestige, then the rankings are helpful. If you are looking for a school where you will have a great educational experience, the rankings are less helpful. That's not to say that the top schools don't provide great education, just that the rankings don't really show that.

The US News graduate school rankings are pretty straightforward, without any sort of complex methodology. They are simply based on the perceived quality among others in the field. I also like the rankings at phds.org, they provide a little more information about the schools, and allow you to customize your priorities.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:56 pm

oh, they describe their methodology--there is a link to it from the page. I just haven't cared enough to read it. :)

schmit.paul
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Postby schmit.paul » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:17 am

let me say, for a lot of intro graduate courses there's really nothing special that separates a top school from a mid-level state school...your experience all depends on which prof you end up with, and both types of schools have a mix of profs that truly enjoy and work hard at teaching and profs that see it as merely a responsibility to breeze through as efficiently as possible. The difference with the top schools is resources and access to top researchers in the field. So for quality of education, just assume that there will be many times where you'll have to crack open a book and learn, relearn, or refine concepts yourself, no matter where you wind up going. But of course we're all used to that by now, right?

tomar
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Postby tomar » Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:47 pm

Yeah thanks for the rankings, I saw those before. But those are overall and probably based on many factors that are irrelevant. I was thinking specifically in terms of good physics departments in Canada, and how they compare to US.

Anyone know?

brothermalcolm
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Postby brothermalcolm » Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:45 pm

Tomar you've raised an interesting question here. All I know is, as an international student, canadian schools UBC and UT both offer gauranteed funding for us, plus they're more or less the top schools in Canada. So in that respect, one can deduce that they are willing to put alot of money into their physics research, which is probably what you want really, unless there's a specific project which you somehow learnt alot about and want to be part of.

I went for an undergrad school in the UK that's not top 3 on the overall rankings, but because it was top in physics rankings for the year I applied. So what? After 3 years here I've come to realize that it really is about the funding. There's many great supervisors in my school as well as even more utterly incompetent ones. But people claimed that it was a top physics department here for its quality in teaching. The program of study seems flawed in many ways and often invites verbal abuse. The crux is, it didn't have any reputation outside the UK, and that puts it down immediately. One should pick for fame and funding when you're not exactly sure of how to tell quality of research apart, because in the very least you've got that bit sorted. Neh?

kyros
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Postby kyros » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:20 am

I'm doing my undergrad at UBC right now.

I can't say how they compare to the states, but from what I can tell it's perhaps not in the top ten, it's certainly well respected(certainly the top 50 or even 25). UT is in the same boat. The funding situation is excellent, although the range of subjects being examined is not what I wish it was. There is, for example, no experimental GR group. The nearest is at UW in seatle. Take a look at the website, I'm sure you'll get a better feeling for whats being covered.




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