Ncsu or neu for PhD in civil engineering (environment) - Decisions, Decisions - The GradCafe Forums
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Ncsu or neu for PhD in civil engineering (environment)


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I got offer from Ncsu for 1 year (RA with $24000 stipend). The ranking in civil is 22 and in environmental engineering is 30. I like the school but problem is that poi wants me to work in a project related to biology rather than environmental issues. Although he told me there are other projects and he has not decided yet in which project I will work finally. I don't know whether working in the project means that I need to do my PhD on topic related to biology or not. I want to do post doc but confused if I do PhD research on biology related problem, then will it hamper my chance to get postdoc in environmental engineering or not.

The second offer is fellowship ($30000) from northeastern university( ranks 40 in civil & 55 in environmental engineering) for 1.5 years. Research is a good fit here. I will be doing collaborative research with two professors. But the problem is university reputation.

I don't know what to do? Any help will be appreciated.

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When I consider any full funded offer, here is my priority:


1. Research interest

2. Advisor/lab strong in the field 

3. Ranking

4. Funding support


For your case in NCSU, I am not sure if the poi wants you to do a funded specific project or to completely switch your research interest from environmental to biology. Based on your information, I suppose that your poi only focuses on the biology stuff (such as computational biology, etc), which means you will do the biology topic for not only your PhD dissertation but also your whole projects at NCSU. So you should consider seriously if you may want to change your major/concentration, which is also your topic when you apply for the postdoc. The reason is that you will publish papers in the biology field, which does not relate to the environmental engineering field. But you still have chance to apply for postdoc in environmental engineering if your connection/advisor/lab is strong, and the university will be looking for candidate like you, even though I may say the chance is low.


For you case in NEU, I think everything is good (research interest, professor, funding). Your only concern is the ranking, which I think is not a big deal. There is not too much difference between ranking 30 and 55 (even the general ranking of NEU is higher than NCSU, which is an advantage when you apply to postdoc). Moreover, postdoc position requires more publications, LoRs, and research interest. One more personal thing is that I love Boston much more than Raleigh:)


You should think carefully what you really want to do and to be in the future before making the final decision, which will affect to your whole career

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