Jump to content

PhD in Mechanical Engineering: UC Santa Barbara vs. Univ. of Brit. Columbia

Recommended Posts

Hi all, 

I am pretty much torn between going to grad school at UCSB or UBC. Both cities are extremely beautiful. I have visited Santa Barbara and just wow! I haven't visited Vancouver but it is consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the world. 

But more importantly, I am in contact with one professor from each school and they both have described the projects to me and still I am torn (all the projects sound exciting to me). I really have no clue which school to choose. They both are offering good financial packages, flexibility in choosing advisers, flexibility in choosing projects, and most importantly those professors specifically singled me out and chose me as a student who they would think fits good with their group. 

So I come to ask, what other questions should I be asking myself and the professors to see which school is better for me? 

If you already have chosen between the two schools, why did you choose one over the other? 

Thanks in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats on the offers. It sounds like no matter what you decide, you can't go wrong because you have 2 equally good options.

Have you looked into where previous grads have ended up working? I'd do this if you haven't already. Connections are really important when looking for work later on. So if any of the faculty or past grads have connections where you'd like to end up working, that would be a good incentive to go.

I'd also consider name recognition and reputation in the field of the POIs and their track record of publishing in well known and respected journals. If you want to get a lot of publications, does anyone publish significantly more than the other?

You mention that funding is good at both places. I assume you took into account the cost of living in each city. In case you haven't, I'd try using an online cost of living calculator for each city to compare.

Also consider which country you'd like to work in after you graduate. Are you considered an international applicant in both countries? Consider your legal status in each country and the ease/difficulty in getting the right visa requirements after graduation should you wish to to accept a job offer later on.

Finally, if you still can't decide consider the climate, entertainment options and other perks of living in each city, as well as the cost and distance to travel back home during the holidays. This can add up quickly if you plan to do a PhD and live there for 5 years or so.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks thelionking for your response. I've pretty much taken into account everything you mentioned. 

One thing that I am not considering to be very important to me is the number of publications in respected journals since one of the professors is probably 50 years old (well established) and the other is 30 (just starting his career). It wouldn't mean much to compare the two by number of publications but definitely I have seen the quality of publications and they are both top notch. One other thing I want to mention on this topic is the fact that it's myself who will be determining how many and the quality of publications, not my adviser. I am pretty confident in myself and I know that I can excel wherever I decide to go. If you have anything to say about this I welcome it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like a really difficult decision to make. You might find this strategy helpful that I've heard of someone using here on the forum.

Write a list of all of the factors that are important to you (in the form of headings/categories). You can rank order them if you wish. Next, attribute a numerical value to how important each category is to you. Then go through each category for each school very thoroughly and attribute a score for each one. At the end, add up all of the points and see which program scores the highest.

Mostly likely the scores will be very close. I'd suggest that you decide beforehand to go with the school with the highest score. But if you complete the activity and afterwards wish that the other school had come out on top instead, then you know where you really want to go. If this doesn't happen and you still find both options equally appealing, go with the school with the highest score knowing that both schools are great options but you had to pick one and you went with the one that was marginally better than the other.


Edited by thelionking
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use