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Columbia CS MS, UCSD ECE MS.... Fight!

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I've recently received offers for these programs (Columbia University MS in Computer Science, my choice of specialty, or UCSD MS in Electrical Engineering for Intelligent Systems, Robotics and Controls) and would appreciate any input on your perception of them with respect to their reputation in the robotics/AI/computing and related industries, ranking comparison for the specified areas of study, as well as quality of education, research opportunities for MSs at the institution, student satisfaction, etc. I know Columbia is a prestigious Ivy League school, the CS department has a good reputation, but UCSD's ECE/CS departments are making quite an impact as well in the last few years.

Some background on me: I graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering (Machine Intelligence and Controls) from UCSD (3.5+ GPA) because I really started to gravitate / gain a liking for what I guess is more related to CompSci than EE because from what I understand, machine intelligence / robotics is typically not offered in EE departments at most universities.

One of my main hesitations with entering a graduate Computer Science department is that I might be at a disadvantage compared to other students at least when it comes to algorithm analysis and mathematical-programming/optimization. I'm not so worried about my coding abilities as it's always been a personal interest of mine so I am proficient when it comes to that. Is this even worth taking into consideration given the schools in question?

As for personal preferences on location, I am familiar with UCSD and would be content with remaining in San Diego... at the same time the prospect of a whole new experience in the Big Apple is exciting and I'd welcome it. It really comes down to the programs' faculty, their teaching style, student-teacher interaction, class sizes, rankings, etc. and I don't know much about Columbia when it comes to these criteria.

I was also accepted to UMich EECS: Systems but I take it Columbia and UCSD are better.


Show me the light! Any input helps.


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NYC is really expensive and nothing beats SD weather.


Columbia and UCSD are about same rank in ECE/CS wheras Michigan beats both of them.


Columbia is really expensive though, but I think being in a different school adds dimension to your credentials. Also Columbia as an Ivy carries more prestige with financial and consulting companies, but doesn't matter for engieering. Columbia is better for attracting investors for a startup.

Edited by kcyc
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Columbia and UCSD are about same rank in ECE/CS wheras Michigan beats both of them.


This statement is a joke if he is honestly comparing UCSD and Columbia. Columbia is good, but it's emphasis isn't in engineering as much.


UCSD is the superior option along with Michigan. UCSD is one of the top engineering research schools in the country.


UCSD is equal to Michigan. The difference is that Michigan is a 200 year old school, while UCSD is only 50 years old. UCSD's ECE program itself is only 27 years old and still competes with other schools as a top engineering school. The difference in ranking is due to the fact that it makes people uneasy to put a 27 year old program above a 200 year old one. Give it 10+ more years and UCSD will easily be a top 10 or better. Rankings are a flawed popularity contest.


It is impressive that all six engineering branches at UCSD are top 20 without even being 30 years old. UCSD and Michigan both put a lot of funding into their engineering research




The impact of UCSD is growing very rapidly. You should go with either UCSD or Michigan.

Edited by CJim
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Thanks for the input CJim.


My co-worker/classmate brought up the same point in a recent conversation. Plus, another thing that might make other schools rank higher is the fact that they have football teams (UCSD does not) which in some way allows those schools to get more publicity. If this is true, it's even more impressive that UCSD ends up being competitive in the public eye!


I will admit that kcyc has a point when he says you can't beat SD weather! For this reason, among others, I am leaning more towards staying at UCSD.

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