bobbydd21 wrote:I having a hard time trying to decide which Applied Math PhD Program to attend. Is it typically just best to go to the better ranked school? In other words, if there are cons to the better ranked school, should you kind of just suck it up because you will end up with a better job (hopefully in academia) in the future?
Exact same amount of funding for both (TAship)
Choice #1: Stony Brook Rank #25 for Math
Pros: Better ranked school, faculty are top tier (many ivy-league PhDs)
Cons: Location (Long Island) - more expensive to live, building is pretty old, just didn't feel at home on the campus, intimidating (very large number of grad students)
Choice #2: UCONN Rank #87 for Math
Pros: Funding guaranteed for 5 years, Location - Cheaper to live/closer to home, smaller and more close knit-department, although professors aren't necessarily ivy league they are doing research in what I want to do, less intimidating faculty, felt more at home
Cons: Lower ranked school, might have to TA longer, not a dedicated Applied Math Department (its within the math department)
rsk wrote:If you haven't already, it might not be a bad idea to see if you can find out where UCONN math PhDs are ending up. Here's a link to their PhD alumni page: http://www.math.uconn.edu/degree-progra ... hd-alumni/. You can use the dissertation titles to figure out which of them were doing applied math research. I'd try googling their names to see if you can figure out where they ended up. Ideally the ones who graduated within the past 3-4 years are doing post-docs somewhere, and the ones who graduated longer ago than that have faculty positions at places you want to work. If you find that almost nobody is ending up in academia, that could raise a red flag that they didn't place very well (though it could mean they'd rather go into industry, but that tells you something too).
Also, from my (limited) understanding, Stony Brook's applied math has a heavy bent toward finance (hell, who wouldn't being in New York). Knowing that, I'd imagine they're placing a lot (perhaps most) of their alumni in the finance industry. Also, their applied math department is separate from the pure math department, so their rankings are separated. The ranking you have is Stony Brook's pure math department. On their website, they claim they're the 7th ranked applied math department in the country (not sure what rankings they used).
On the other hand, if you're really that comfortable with UCONN and that uncomfortable with Stony Brook, that may be what really matters. If you ignore ranking for a second and think about likelihood of doing well in the program, you'll be more inclined to excel at a place you feel comfortable at. Being miserable for 5 years can take a heavy toll on you, which will no doubt be reflected in your research, and your research is arguably the number one determinant as to whether you can land a solid post doc, and later an academic position. And worst case scenario, being miserable can lead you down the road of hating graduate school and possibly dropping out all together. Say what you will about rankings, but there's a lot to be said about fit.
bobbydd21 wrote:I did realize that the ranking I used was for pure math. They are not ranked on USNews so I assumed the two rankings were similar. It does seem they are strong in finance, and the reasoning you said behind it makes a lot of sense.
I am beginning to lean towards UCONN. For me, rank and faculty are really the only pros towards Stony Brook right now. I definitely would feel more comfortable at UCONN right now, but I am sure I would eventually get used to Stony Brook as well. I guess I have to decide if going to the better ranked school is worth it in the long run and where I will thrive more.
I also came to the important conclusion that I LOVE teaching, and therefore my future goal is to work at a university that is more teaching based anyways (probably not a R1 university). I realize that either school would allow me to pursue this aspiration, although Stony Brook's prestige might give me an edge.
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