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Need help with Johns Hopkins EE Ph.D Decision


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So I got into the JHU EE Ph.d program (with1 year stipend + tuition). But I'm having conflicing thoughts about attending. The reason for these thoughts is mostly because:


- JHU's EE program is not that righly ranked

- Baltimore area isn't that attractive


The other issue is that I am in my late twenties, and don't want to wait any longer to start my Ph.D studies. But at the same time, I want to attend a university that has a righly ranked EE program, as it has always been a dream of mine to attend a top ranked university.


Now, am I being a little spoiled by saying that JHU's EE program isn't good enough? Should I wait and apply next year to other universities and hope to get in?


Thanks guys.

Edited by jimmy_01
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Johns Hopkins' graduate program in Electrical Engineering is ranked number 19 in the county (out of 122 programs). That is hardly a bad spot on a ranking list when taking into account that number of programs being ranked. Additionally, Johns Hopkins in general is a very prestigious institution, and to an extent the overall name of an institution opens up doors, regardless of your major field of study. 


However, I am a bit confounded by your mentioning of a one year stipend + tuition remission. A PhD program takes longer than one year to complete thus, where will the rest of your funding come from? If JH is not providing you additional support then I would try to go ahead and get or continue working a job in industry -- the cost of footing the bill yourself may not be worth it. However, if they will be providing additional funding or you can afford to foot the bill then I would say to definitely pursue your PhD in Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins. You are in your late twenties meaning you are at an age where you would still fit in with the other students who will be in your program/cohort, yet at an age where you cannot afford to put off the PhD any longer if you want to actually move up in your career in the next few years and have enough time thereafter to actually spend in that position before retiring. 


The way admissions have been going in recent years with an increase in the number of students applying to graduate programs, it would be highly unwise of you to turn this offer down. But, of course, you know your qualifications better than anyone else. However, one year is a long time to wait to see if you can get into an even better program than the excellent one you've already been offered admission to. 


Enjoy your time at Johns Hopkins.

Edited by nesw4314
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I agree with nesw4314. It's only going to get harder to get into graduate school as the years go by, and there really isn't a reason to turn down an offer like that unless you absolutely can't stand going there.


A top 20 ranking isn't something to care about either, and a lot of times schools with strong programs get lower rankings simply because the department is pretty small. That's why you see the top 10 is dominated by schools with massive departments such as MIT, Stanford, UIUC, Ga Tech, Michigan, etc.


In regards to the funding, many schools award a 1-year package to Ph.D. students that free them from any teaching/research responsibilities for the first year. Multi-year packages are typically only given to students who already have their advisor chosen before their first year. The next 4+ years are then funded by some combination of a TA/RA, but this usually isn't explicitly stated in the award letter.

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