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CS Masters from University of Wisconsin-Madison v/s University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign?


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The question may be alternatively titled as, if two TIER-2 Universities*^* are offering equally competitive financial assistance, how does an applicant go about choosing the "right" university, given that both these universities are well-reputed in the applicant's field of interest?

I have been offered financial assistance in the form of Teaching Assistantship at both these programs. I am interested in Computer Architecture and Parallel Programming (loosely  termed as "Systems Profile") and will be actively seeking summer internship / full-time job opportunities during/soon after graduation.

I am well-aware of the fact that the UW-Madison is known as the "mecca" of Computer Architecture and that UIUC is consistently ranked as one among the top Universities for Computer Science. However, as neither of them are the typical name-brand universities*** and as both are offering equally competitive assistance, I am facing difficulty in arriving at a well-informed decision.

I welcome all sorts of opinion(biased or otherwise),especially from those who have insight into the STEM departments in the USA.  

As I am willing to take all inputs with a grain of salt, please feel free to even cite relevant yet very specific cases.


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