Columbia MS vs Top 10-15 PhD - Computer Science - The GradCafe Forums
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Columbia MS vs Top 10-15 PhD


SaulGoodman

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Hi,

I have an admit from Columbia MS (unfunded, initially applied for PhD). I also have admits from UMass Amherst and U of Edinburgh, both fully funded MS+PhD.

Am I right in refusing the unfunded MS, since Columbia is also very expensive? If it was funded then I would take Columbia any day above my other admits (this was my first choice), there are a few professors there with whom I would absolutely love to do my PhD and there is a huge overlap in the work they are doing and the work I have done in the past and want to do in future.

Is it possible to get some funding for MS at Columbia or to transition to the PhD program in the subsequent spring application?

My background in terms of research is quite strong (with multiple top-tier publications, will have more by the time I join), so it may be possible to get a professor interested, but its all quite uncertain.

Anyone have any info on how to get funded? Have people done it in the past? (I am finding it difficult to bring myself to refuse Columbia!)

Edited by SaulGoodman
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umass amherst and edinburgh both are great. I would take one of them. 

What is your area of research? For some areas like AI, umass amherst is ranked higher than Columbia.  Even systems (distributed systems and networking) is great. There are some very good professors who even founded akamai.

So it depends on the area of research and the professor. 

Its difficult to get funding for MS in CS at Columbia (this is what I know). I don't know about transition to PhD.

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My area of interest is Machine Learning. Overall I found UMass's research a bit lacking in the particular areas I am interested in. But Columbia is really a great (best) fit for me research-wise.

Edited by SaulGoodman
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You may ping some students at Columbia to check about how successful MS students are in transitioning to PhD. If you feel you have a better fit there, then you can check about your chances of getting enrolled to PhD program. 

I know a friend from another Ivy who got transitioned to PhD after 2 semesters. Once he got transitioned, his fees got waived (not the 2 previous sems for which he had to pay) like other PhD students and got monthly stipend. But, he took the required course exams in his first 2 sems like a PhD student (need to score more than a MS student) and cleared them. So, it may depend on how they do at Columbia. You can check with some students.

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Columbia's MS in CS is not very well regarded (mostly seen as a way for foreign students to get Columbia name on their resume).

 

Both Umass and UoE are extremely strong in ML. Even if you got into Columbia PhD in CS you it's still not clear that Columbia PhD is better. Against MS it's a no brainer.

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