programs in Canada

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angie0817
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Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:21 am

programs in Canada

Postby angie0817 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:49 pm

I don't really know much about Canadian programs, but I have heard people mention Toronto, UBC, and McGill. In general, among these programs, is there one particularly stronger or weaker than the other two? Which ones are harder to get into? And how do these programs compare with programs in the US? For example, are they comparable to a top 10 program, top 30, or 50? Just curious about these, so any thoughts are appreciated.

verysweetjuices
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:47 pm

Re: programs in Canada

Postby verysweetjuices » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:01 pm

angie0817 wrote:I don't really know much about Canadian programs, but I have heard people mention Toronto, UBC, and McGill. In general, among these programs, is there one particularly stronger or weaker than the other two? Which ones are harder to get into? And how do these programs compare with programs in the US? For example, are they comparable to a top 10 program, top 30, or 50? Just curious about these, so any thoughts are appreciated.


Toronto > McGill > UBC, easily. Probably Toronto is the hardest to get into. As far as programs go, it varies, but I assume you mean math programs. Toronto's math department is in the top 15-20 US, around the same place as Cornell... perhaps a bit better, because it has the Field's Institute and the largest endowment/focus of any Uni in the country. McGill is next - probably 20-30 - and still rides the rep it had 30 years ago as Canada's best. UBC is also good, the up and comer, and has gotten really good lately. I don't think UBC has much name recognition outside of Canada though (and believe me, I hadn't even considered it until I got to uni and heard others talking about it). However, note also that you will get a great education at any of these schools as they all have some of the best faculty in the world. World class research goes on, they are all top institutions, and each has certain specialties. For example, McGill has Henri Darmon and is slightly better known for number theory whereas U of T has all of Canada's best set theorists.

MathCat
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: programs in Canada

Postby MathCat » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:01 pm

Generally speaking, those three are the top programs in Canada, and they are pretty comparable. U of T(oronto) would definitely claim to be the best of the three, but that would obviously depend a lot on what area you are interested in. And for some areas, other schools are at the top: e.g. Waterloo has an excellent operator algebras group, while those three top programs have almost nothing, and SFU is great in graph theory. One thing to know is that the funding at U of T is very low relative to the extremely high cost of living in Toronto (read up about the rental housing issues in Toronto, and also in Vancouver for UBC/SFU).

I think the top Canadian programs would be comparable to within the range of top 25-50 programs (mostly towards the 40+ end). But these are general rankings. If you know what you want to study (for a PhD anyway), exactly who is in each department matters more than general departmental rankings. For example, the UVic(toria) and Queens are not ranked that well internationally, but they have professors in some areas who are at the top of their field.

If you are interested in Masters programs, I think the Canadian programs are better than most Masters programs in the US. I say this because they are (essentially) always fully funded and most programs include research, while many Masters programs in the US are entirely course based. If relevant, note that U of T and Waterloo are now only 1 year Masters programs and don't have a real Masters thesis anymore.

verysweetjuices
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:47 pm

Re: programs in Canada

Postby verysweetjuices » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:03 pm

MathCat wrote:If relevant, note that U of T and Waterloo are now only 1 year Masters programs and don't have a real Masters thesis anymore.


For good reason.

MathCat
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: programs in Canada

Postby MathCat » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:45 pm

verysweetjuices wrote:
MathCat wrote:If relevant, note that U of T and Waterloo are now only 1 year Masters programs and don't have a real Masters thesis anymore.


For good reason.


That is debatable. It's my opinion that a Masters thesis is good experience for a PhD student to have, especially with the slightly shorter PhD programs in Canada. They can also often lead to publications. In some cases it's the students first real research experience, and it's good to know whether you actually like that (both research and the specific topic) before committing to a PhD program.

verysweetjuices
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:47 pm

Re: programs in Canada

Postby verysweetjuices » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:05 am

MathCat wrote:
verysweetjuices wrote:
MathCat wrote:If relevant, note that U of T and Waterloo are now only 1 year Masters programs and don't have a real Masters thesis anymore.


For good reason.


That is debatable. It's my opinion that a Masters thesis is good experience for a PhD student to have, especially with the slightly shorter PhD programs in Canada. They can also often lead to publications. In some cases it's the students first real research experience, and it's good to know whether you actually like that (both research and the specific topic) before committing to a PhD program.


The reason they make it one year, is because almost no MSc thesis writer is going to write something groundbreaking or new, and no program ever expected them to - it was only required to write 20 pages expositing some known results. The focus on course work also frees up time doing course work during the PhD, potentially bringing the time from 4 years down to 3 years. There is also the fact that it puts people on track with the American school timeline in terms of getting a PhD. Not only that, but who cares about writing a thesis during your master's when you're just going to write one for your PhD anyway? I'm paraphrasing from several profs, ones who work at unis with and without 2 year master's. Nobody seems to like it.




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