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4ty2

Perfect research fit or better environment?

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I have two offers from PhD programs

Program A: Offers very decent financial support. It is located in a place which perfectly fits my extracurricular and personal interests. They have more faculty members than program B. There are two professors whoes research correspond to my research interests, but not so closely as in program B. One of the professors is at the beginning of his career so he has no graduated students, the second professor is a tenured professor whoes graduates go to very decent places. This program is in Europe, in my area it's ranked in top 40 in the world (which, in my area, corresponds to top 20 in the US) according US News and in top 15 in the world according to arwu.org.

Progam B: Offers financial support which is enough to cover all living expenses and tution, but no more, because cost of living in that area is very high. So life wouldn't be so decent as in program A. Location is also great, but not as great as in program A. There is one professor whoes research perfectly fits my current research interests, and it seems that he realy wants me to accept their offer, since I received several emails from him describing how great their program is (I haven't contacted him before) and how I would make a perfect fit to his research group. He is a tenured professor and his graduates get decent positions both in industry and academia. The program is ranked in top 40 in the US by US News, so not so high as program A. But this program is in the US.

The decision between these two programs is very difficult to make (at least for me). So, any suggestions on what should I choose.

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If you're pursuing a Master's degree and don't mind relocating across the atlantic, Program A does sound like a superior offer in terms of financial support and location. If you're a PhD applicant, however, having a mentor who is supportive and enthusiastic about your work is a great plus. I have studied in both Europe and the United States and I prefer mentors in the United States. In my experience, US scholars are better teacher and more accessable. I realize that this is perhaps biased as everyone is different. I recommend you to talk to your potential advisors on MSN/Skype with webcam on. You'll know instantly whether he/she is a good mentor.

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I read that third of PhD students end up switching their area after their first year. So I'm affraid that my research interests may change. Also, program A isn't so European, because many of its professors got their PhDs in the US.

P.S.

I'm neither in the US nor in Europe, so in any case I would have to travel far away from my home country.

Edited by 4ty2

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