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My background is in Statistics, with some working experience in machine learning (especially in language-related applications). My interest is in machine learning and analytics, and I'm aiming to work in industry as a data scientist after I finish my Masters. I've got offers from CMU's Masters in Computational Data Science and UCSD's Masters in Computer Science and while I have a good idea which one I'm picking, I'm not sure if I've missed out anything.



  • Prestige (especially in industry)
  • Huge number of faculty who are renowned in Machine Learning
  • Curriculum specifically for data science
  • Slightly shorter time frame


  • Expensive (even considering the shorter time frame)
  • Not fond of Pittsburgh's weather
  • Course seems to be more tightly packed
  • Further away from my SO



  • Broader scope of study (which seems to complement what I already know)
  • Nicer weather
  • More opportunities to work as an RA/TA and cheaper tuition
  • Closer to my SO (Half the distance or less)


  • Not as prestigious as CMU
  • Longer time frame to graduation
  • Possibly as expensive as CMU without any form of financial aid (since San Diego is not a cheap place to live in)

That's mostly what I've thought of the past few weeks. Maybe I'm still missing something...? I'm not exactly sure how much the prestige thing matters in industry, and friends have given me mixed opinions as well.

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Prestige is useless. It will only get you into interview for the job you want, but getting the job will depend on what you learn from the school. 


But in terms of preparing you for the industry, yes, CMU is a better choice and you should go there UNLESS:

1. You have a POI in UCSD that you are absolutely want to work with

2. Being in Pittsburg and away from SO would affect your academic performance. 


Most UCSD master students I know was able to secure a TA position. But honestly, don't worry about financials. Maybe it's just me, but I believe financial shouldn't be a factor that keeps you from going to a better program. If I was choosing between paying for Berkeley or Stanford? Maybe. But in your case, a dedicated program in CMU should be much better than a generalized UCSD program. 

Edited by tek123
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  • 5 years later...

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