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Michigan EECS vs Rochester Institute of Optics, PhD


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Hello all,


My two strongest offers this year came from the University of Michigan EE:Systems PhD program and the PhD program at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester.  I'm having great difficulty deciding between the two.


Obviously my research field will be much different depending on where I go, but thankfully I have enough interest in signal and image processing (for Michigan) and physics (for Rochester) to be happy with my work at either place.  I am more concerned about making the decision that will keep the greatest number of doors open to, say, eventually getting a GOOD tenure track position at some point in my career.


I have heard that the Institute of Optics has an excellent reputation in the field of optics, but I am unsure about whether it is truly as strong as the Electrical Engineering program at Michigan, which also has an excellent reputation and can be compared in a somewhat quantifiable way to other institutions via program rankings on USNews, and so on.  My biggest concern is that although getting a job in the optics industry coming out of Rochester may be easy, I will face hardships when trying to obtain academic positions simply because Michigan's name is much better known in nearly every other field.  Perhaps I'm overanalyzing and the differences will be negligible either way.


I have been in touch with fairly well-known faculty at either institution, so that doesn't play into my decision much.


Thanks in advance.

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  • 2 years later...


Its been a long time since you posted this but I wanted to inquire about how your decision turned out. I'm facing somewhat of a similar situation. Instead of Rochester, I've got an admit at CREOL, UCF. I wanted to know whether ranking of the university really matters that much in admission. Would it be better to go in a completely optics oriented place like CREOl or should you go for the name as you said. I'd like to know how your experience turned out wherever you went.


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