Now, I'm trying to decide whether Oxford would be a good choice (both in terms of education and career) for graduate school in Physics or whether I should go with a top-10 US School. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:
- 3-4 yr max for Ph.D. so you get done faster and there is no chance of becoming an eternal grad-student slave to your advisor.
- Superb campus with lots of tradition and history behind it.
- In the UK (this is a pro for me at least).
- Very well-known, Oxford name has an "aura".
- UK system is very against the sort of "weeding-out" which takes place at some American schools. Most professors will bend over backwards before they let a student fail.
- 3-4 yr max for Ph.D. so less flexibility if problems arise
- No choice in project and little chance to change projects if you end up hating the one you've got
- Probably not as high-caliber as a place like MIT for grad school.
- Many are highly prestigious and their name alone can take you places.
- Most are usually very well funded compared with UK schools.
- Most are highly flexible on degree time.
- Flexible in choosing a project and lots of chances to work with different groups.
- Sometimes the programs try to weed out students through use of rigorous qualifiers.
- Variable degree time and readily available funding means that your advisor can keep you indefinitely at times.
- Many campuses are rather ugly (at least compared to Oxford)
I probably missed some pros and cons, so if you've got anything to add, please let me know. I'd appreciate everybody's opinion on this issue. Personally, I really like the idea of going to Oxford, but it would be hard as heck to pass up places like Chicago and MIT whose research interests are so close to my own. Anyways, please discuss, and maybe this thread can help others who are also faced with a US - UK decision too.