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UIUC (MS) vs. UCSD (PhD, Fellowship) for ME major


UIUC (MS) vs. UCSD (PhD, Fellowship) for ME major  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Which One??? (please read about my thoughts first)

    • UIUC (ranked #5, MS degree, no funding)
    • UCSD (ranked #12, PhD degree, fellowship+RA/TA)

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What do you think guys?

Mechanical Engineering specializing in Micro/Nano tech.

UIUC: ranked #5 in engineering in usnews.com. For master's degree with certificate in micro/nano tech (1-year program). No funding.

UCSD: ranked #12. For PhD with a Fellowship offer (1-year fellowship + 2 years RA/TA. 3-yr funding guaranteed).

I want to get a PhD eventually. The question is, is it worth to go to UIUC for MS and then re-apply for PhD to different schools? In this case, I am supposed to get 3 new recommenders from new school (UIUC), but I will be there only 1 year. Will improving GRE and getting a good GPA for master's study get me into one of the top schools for PhD? My impression is that it is very hard and competitive, so it might be better for me just to accept UCSD's offer and forget about re-applying? Is it against the law to just get MS degree in 1-2 years from UCSD although I was admitted for PhD, and then apply to other schools for PhD while attending UCSD? Please help!

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Yeah, since you said you want to do a PhD, I'm not sure how that's a choice, unless you really don't like UCSD. Is there research you want to do there? Since they offered a fellowship, I would assume they think you would be a good fit. A 1-year masters program isn't going to help you re-apply because 1) it is harder to get into a PhD program if you already have a masters because they expect more from you, and 2) the only way to improve your chances for admission to a top program is solid research experience and publications, which you aren't going to get in 1 year (especially since you'll be applying only a few months into your program, unless you want to take a year off in between). Improving your GRE/GPA probably won't help, unless your field places an emphasis on the subject GRE.

That's also not a big difference in rankings. The research fit and people you'll be working with is a more important factor.

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