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Master's in Computer Science: UWaterloo vs EPFL


Nocturnae
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Two unexpected admits later, I find myself utterly confused.

To give you an idea about my profile: My research interests lie in natural language processing, information retrieval and deep learning. I intend to pursue a PhD right after my Master's degree. Ultimately, I would like to be working as a researcher at a R&D division of a larger company (such as Google), but that aspiration might well change in the upcoming years.

I feel like UWaterloo is an excellent culture fit, but I frankly can't ignore EPFL's academic reputation. So, I decided to write down all the criteria that go into my decision-making. I appreciate any input regarding the following, or anything else that you think might be important:

  • The professor who accepted me as his student at UWaterloo is truly inspiring, and I am genuinely excited to work with him. Our research interests align well, he is very friendly and easy to talk to, and his academic productivity is just off the charts.
  • On the other hand, I feel like Master's programs in Europe are like a natural extension to undergrad, and too detached from research, and I might not get a chance to join a lab. (I could be wrong.) Since I wish to pursue further research, getting some actual research experience and publishing would be immensely helpful later in my life. That said, EPFL has an excellent NLP lab.
  • Switzerland is much closer to my original country, which would make any emergency trips (or any usual family visits, for that matter) much easier.
  • I am really happy about UWaterloo's great funding. EPFL is pretty affordable in terms of tuition, as well, but they offer no assistantship and only a few scholarships. Sure, money isn't the primary objective in attending grad school, but I know for a fact that struggling financially would take a toll on my mental health. I would much rather focus on my research than freak out about money.
  • By the same token, Lausanne is a damn expensive city.

I am also curious about academic prospects after graduation, first-hand (or second-hand?) stories about student life in either, etc.

Thank you so much in advance!

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