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How important is quality of grad school?



I was admitted to Cal State University, Dominguez Hills this fall for the Computer Science Graduate Program. I applied to this program specifically because they were one of the most flexible in terms of academic background.

My bachelor’s degree is in history rather than computer science. CSUDH offered conditional admittance, and only require that I take some prerequisite programs in order to change my status to fully admitted.

My question is how important is the quality of the school for job prospects? CSUDH is not one of the most prestigious schools and the classes already feel somewhat remedial. I’ve basically set my own standards to do extra work in order to understand the subjects better than what simply getting an “A” in the class would indicate.

I’ve even considered using this degree and school as a starting point from which to eventually apply to a PhD program at a more prestigious university. Is this necessary? What advantage would that provide me?

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I'm sure this depends on the field. In my fields (psychology and public health) the quality of an MS program is important, but the prestige or reputation of a program isn't necessarily in preparing students for applying for PhD programs. You'd want to attend a program that offered a good quality education and offered the kinds of classes and experiences that would prepare someone for a doctoral degree, versus a program that was primarily for professional preparation. But you wouldn't have to attend a prestigious MS program to go to a prestigious PhD program later. Plenty of people go from regional public universities for their master's to top programs for a PhD.

I am not sure about CS. One thing to consider is how many people from that program have gotten outcomes that are appealing to you? For example, how many people from CSU-DH go to doctoral programs in CS, and where do they end up getting in? What kinds of jobs do they go onto? Ask your program's departmental secretary and/or career center for statistics like this, or ask your professors and advisors. They should at least have high-level answers to those questions.

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