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good university vs. good major?


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Hi, all.


Looks like I would get two admissions from US universities:

A- good university (top 50) with civil engineering (civil ranking top 5) ; B-good major with petroleum engineering (petroleum also ranking top 5, but the university ranking 100)


Here are some key points:


admission: A would offer me two years master with RA; B would offer me four or five years phd with RA/TA


professor: In A, I would be co-advised by one old professor and one assistant professor; In B, I would be advised by a chair professor


Place & Life: A is in a very good city; B is in a small town. In A, it would be not very busy, then you have time to find job. In B, it would be very busy for experiment and lab testing.


Internship: In A group, I can find and go for internship at anytime if I can get it; In B group, I think the professor only permit me to go for one time internship. By the way, In A group, I think it's easy to transfer to a  PhD after 1.5 half years.


By the way, I have had mechanical bachelor and petroleum master background. Maybe, have a new civil background is more interesting.


good university or good major, which one is more important?  Please shed some light on it.




Edited by Michaellucky
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I'm not in Engineering so I can't say much in terms of the technical aspects. But here's some advice I got from professional who are pretty higher up in the food chain:


Frances, as a "Harvard educated" environmental economist I can tell you that the name may catch some peoples' eyes, and it may even open a door or two, but your capability, training (not where you trained), and your ability to show what you know are going to be far more important and that all will show itself in the first year or two of your professional career. The worst thing to have happen would be to show up with a big name behind you and not be able to deliver. Go with your heart and that which you believe will make you better at what you want to do. 


...If one goes to a reputed institution, the first impression about the quality of the person is likely to be good given that a substantial quality is required, in the first place, to get into that institution. Also, the reputation of the teachers teaching the courses and the apparent quality of the programme of studies in an institution should be of value in relation to that first impressin about the person. But, beyond that, all depends on what the person concerned delivers. Hence, I would think your focus should be to get the best education and training you can under the guidance of the teachers but, more importantly, through hard and conscientious studies, regardless of which of the institutions you go to. What I have said is based on my long experience of emloying and supervising professionals coming from different backgrounds and having studied in different universities in different countries.


Hope this helps?

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It kind of seems like there's a second question here. Are you more interested in a masters degree or PhD? If you go for a PhD, you can expect a ton of work and a busy schedule from both schools. I recommend taking a step back from just looking at the name of the schools and focusing on which school best reflects your scientific goals. Good luck!

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