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MS in Robotics CMU vs PhD CS Stony Brook


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I am fourth year undergrad from India. Currently, I have been offered master in robotics at CMU (no funding), and PhD in Stony Brook with financial aid. My area of interest is Computer Vision and I think CMU is best place for it. According to last year trend, all most everyone is funded from second sem and I don't have any problem in paying fees for the first semester. Stony Brook also have good vision group but not as good as CMU. Also, if I do well in my Masters at CMU there is good possibility of getting PhD at CMU. Only advantage I can see joining Stony Brook is that I can do direct PhD and may save 1 year. But I don't think it will matter in long term.

 

Kindly give your opinion on it.

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Careful following thoughtless "follow the money" replies.

I had a chance to visit RI. It was amazing. It was also confirmed that nearly everyone obtains an ra position after one term. I would say the primary factor here should not be the terms worth of tuition, but rather the potential extra year as you say for phd completion. After having visited, I would definitely say its worth the risk. Spending two years at the epicenter of robotics research is an experience that should not be tossed aside to blindly follow the money.

For personal reasons I chose not to attend, but it was one of the hardest decisions I have made.

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I've heard good things about the RI. It's one of the best places in the world for Robotics research and it's highly selective too. Personally - I'd pick that. 

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I'm in the same situation. Admitted to MS robotics at CMU vs. funded PhD at Gatech. I'm headed to CMU because, honestly, summer internships with companies that hire out of CMU will make back whatever crazy debt you get into before you finish a PhD 6 years down the line, and CMU is THE leading robotics research school.  That's what I want to do with my career, and money isn't going to stop me from that.

 

In addition, the program is short (1-1.5 years) and has given out tuition waivers in the past. Worth it IMO

Edited by zecone13
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I don't know about CMU specifically, but so many people (i.e. most) trying to do what you're doing get owned spectacularly. Blindly assuming that you'll be able to get into a PhD program after the corresponding masters at a particular school is a huge mistake (especially when your funded PhD offer is from a school as good as Georgia Tech). My department (like CMU robotics it seems) redirects PhD rejects into the masters program, and so many (like 50+ each year) from the masters program apply for the PhD after they finish. If the class is extremely lucky, 2 will be succesful. 0 or 1 is more common. Careful of people at a school telling you it's possible. It certainly will be, but possible is not necessarily probable.

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Actually things are bit different at RI, CMU. There are only 20 students in their MS program and not everyone is interested for PhD. I was summer scholar at RI last year and found that even MS student gets lot of opportunity to interacts with profs. They invest a lot on their MS student compared to other schools. So if you are really interested for PhD then there is very high probability of getting in.

 

I have decided to join CMU.  :)

Thanks everyone for your opinions.

Edited by learner123
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Actually things are bit different at RI, CMU. There are only 20 students in their MS program and not everyone is interested for PhD. I was summer scholar at RI last year and found that even MS student gets lot of opportunity to interacts with profs. They invest a lot on their MS student compared to other schools. So if you are really interested for PhD then there is very high probability of getting in.

 

I have decided to join CMU.  :)

Thanks everyone for your opinions.

 

You may be completely right (as I said, I know nothing about CMU in particular). But it is dangerous to assume that simply being able to interact with professors and do research with them will ensure your success. If you know that the rate of success for MS students who want to get into the PhD is very high, great. But I wouldn't find it at all surprising if it isn't. As I said, many students go into programs thinking exactly as you do. Like you, they are convinced that their program is different somehow and will guarantee them PhD admission as they interact with professors. They're wrong.

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I don't know about CMU specifically, but so many people (i.e. most) trying to do what you're doing get owned spectacularly. Blindly assuming that you'll be able to get into a PhD program after the corresponding masters at a particular school is a huge mistake (especially when your funded PhD offer is from a school as good as Georgia Tech). My department (like CMU robotics it seems) redirects PhD rejects into the masters program, and so many (like 50+ each year) from the masters program apply for the PhD after they finish. If the class is extremely lucky, 2 will be succesful. 0 or 1 is more common. Careful of people at a school telling you it's possible. It certainly will be, but possible is not necessarily probable.

 

It's risky, of course, but CMU is leaps and bounds above other robotics programs to the extent that the risk is worth it. Of the ~20-25 MS students per year in the past couple of years, roughly 50% apply to the PhD program after their MS, and roughly 60% of those are admitted. I'd bet the other 40% have few problems being admitted to other top 10 schools. Of the other 50% headed to industry, a good chunk are picked up by Google and Microsoft who are willing to pay some hefty starting salaries. Not bad options in the least. Especially for such a short program.
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As long as you recognise the risk, it is of course your prerogative to take it if you wish. My point was that the other posters don't necessarily recognise that the risk exists. I wouldn't call a 60% admission rate a "very high probability of getting in" as learner123 put it (nor would I automatically assume that the 40% who were rejected were able to get into top 10 schools). The risk may be worth it, especially if you are ok with ending up in industry if you don't get into the PhD program. Just be realistic people, you're not PhD students yet (if you take the the CMU masters option).

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@Arcanen, I understand the risk. Generally, 10-12 students apply for PhD and 6-7 get in and others mostly get into top 10 CS programs. There might be 1-2 students who end up in industry. But CMU is world leader in robotics and worth the risk. Also according to last year stats, everyone was funded from second semester, so we won't be under debt. Personally, I feel that I have just now completed Bachelors and it is time to explore. It might be safe to take direct PhD option but I will keep on thinking that I had the good opportunity to do the PhD from the best robotics school and I didn't tried.

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