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Got a new offer after I already accepted! Help!

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I am an incoming Evolution and Ecology PhD student starting in Fall 2019. I received an offer from UC Riverside two weeks ago and accepted it this last weekend. I was pretty satisfied and comfortable with my choice when out of the blue, the University of Arizona offered me admission two days ago. I know I can still retract my acceptance to Riverside but the idea of having to write that email makes me uncomfy. I'm also not sure which school I prefer and would have picked if the acceptances came in at the same time. I like the research I would do at Riverside more and the location is better for me and my boyfriend, but I got the sense interviewing there that there's some drama in their EEB department and a bit of friction between the professors and grad students. The U of A is undeniably a better program and a better organized department, and I connected with the grad students there more over the interview weekend, but I'm less excited about the research (although it would probably advance my career more) and I'm not crazy about the idea of returning to my hometown.


Both are great programs and I'd be happy either way, but I have to make a choice by Monday and I don't know what to do. Any advice would be welcome!

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Hey Mariguana! What a coincidence! My partner has been accepted to UA and UCR phd programs in the humanities. She's still waiting to hear back from UCSD. She is pretty much set on Riverside due to politics, weather, and proximity to LA and San Diego. Do you live in California now? We'd be coming from the East Coast. It just seems like the hot weather and illegality of mariguana in AZ makes it a pretty easy choice for us. From this point of view, it appears that the experience would be quite different. On the other hand, she had an excellent time with the professors and other graduate students at UCR during her on-campus visit. Drama can come and go in departments. As a phd student myself I have seen just how quickly things can change, especially if the department hires new faculty members during your time there. Ideally, grad students will find some solidarity and you can rely on them for departmental issues. I guess it depends on the type of drama. If there are funding issues or questions of harassment, then I'd definitely go with the wealthier or kinder department. 

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