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Fully funded PhD at top 35 or unfunded MS at top 5?


EngineerGrad
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Hi guys,

So this season, I was too scared to apply straight to PhD programs, so I applied to a couple Masters programs and only one PhD. It turns out that I got into the PhD program fully funded+stipend+health insurance. It is a good school (top 35 in Electrical Engineering).

I also got accepted into the 5th best engineering school in the country. But that one was only for an unfunded MS.

The catch is that I have a scholarship that will be enough to pay the tuition at the top 5 school, so in the end of the day, I am funded for a top 35 PhD program and also for the top 5 MS program.

At the PhD institution, I became close to my POI, visited the campus and loved it. I have never been to the top 5 MS school, don't know anyone over there, and would have to re-apply for a PhD program 2 years from now.

Which one should I choose? I am conflicted :-(

Help?

Edited by EngineerGrad
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I remember I have commented on one of your posts lately and we had talked about your application to MSc in power/control at Berkeley. If so, congrats that you got in the program. Were I you, I would rather to go for that option; despite being for a  MSc, you are getting a degree at the heart of silicon valley and you have funds available for you. That pays off in particular if you aimed for an industrial career.  

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Personally, I would go for the fully-funded PhD. From what you've said, it is still a really good school. And I think that being close to your POI is really important. Moreover, with a PhD you would have the opportunity to go straight into academia, which may interest you if you like research.

 

Regardless, it seems like you have two really good options before you. Congrats!

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Do you need a PhD for EE? If you're not going into academia or something that requires a PhD, I think the masters program would be appropriate.

 

However, having a great relationship with a PI is very important and since you loved it - it may be a better place for you.

 

Best of luck!!!

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Berkeley...at the heart of silicon valley and you have funds available for you

Berkeley isn't in Silicon Valley, just FYI. Silicon Valley = San Jose

 

EngineerGrad, I would second what other people have said. if you're more interested in academia, PhD is a better route. If you want to go into industry, the masters is all you need.

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If you want to become a professor, or at least get your PhD eventually, I'd still say the top 5 school. It sounds like you didn't look into many PhD programs even though that's your end goal. A top school will help make you a competitive applicant in two years. It will also give you time to make sure you want a PhD and look into the right programs for you in a helpful, research-intensive environment!

Edited by PhDerp
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If you want to become a professor, or at least get your PhD eventually, I'd still say the top 5 school. It sounds like you didn't look into many PhD programs even though that's your end goal. A top school will help make you a competitive applicant in two years. It will also give you time to make sure you want a PhD and look into the right programs for you in a helpful, research-intensive environment!

 

I second this piece of advice. After 2 topics opened, I suppose top 5 or top 35 or top 50 may not be that important, if the long-term goal is truly PhD & research career. (if you get what I mean)

Edited by hikaru1221
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