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mathboy

Boston University (BU) vs Northeastern (NEU)

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What are the general reputations of BU and Northeastern for a PhD in theoretical computer science? Is one significantly better than the other? I like them both so its a tough decision... and funding is nearly identical

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Generally, BU is ranked a little higher than Northeastern for Computer Science PhD:

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/computer-science-rankings

http://www.chronicle.com/article/NRC-Rankings-Overview-/124721/

 

That being said, the ultimate factors to choose a PhD programme is your advisor and the fitness with the research projects. Have you visited both departments ? If yes, how do you feel about them ?

Edited by machinescholar

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Won't visit until March. You're right that visiting will help the most, just thought I'd try asking to see if there was something pertinent that I was missing that one school might be trying to hide you know. Thanks!

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I don't know much about BU, but I would suspect that the USNWR rankings are a bit outdated from their last update in 2014. Northeastern has been expanding their CS theory group since then, in particular hiring a couple of good (or at least well-known in their respective fields of differential privacy/learning theory and crypto) faculty in Jonathan Ullman and abhi shelat. They may be hiring more this year, I'm not sure. At any rate, I think this is a good reason to take the USNWR rankings with a grain of salt in this case.

I would also caution against placing *too* much emphasis on visits. Advisors are generally good persuaders, so while "clicking" is nice it's hard to assess accurately in the compressed timeframe of a visit. Definitely talk to current students of potential advisors - most departments will have some students-only event where you can, ostensibly, pump students for unbiased info away from their advisors. Attend this if possible!

Edited by pascal_barbots_wager

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Thanks pascal-barbots_wager! Unfortunately I can't make it to the admitted students event :( but i'll still talk to students of potential advisors!

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