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Are Physics Graduate school rankings a good indicator of their Undergraduate Quality?

  1. Apr 2, 2009 #1
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2009 #2

    Choppy

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    Re: Are Physics Graduate school rankings a good indicator of their Undergraduate Qual

    I might ask whether physics graduate school rankings are a good indicator of anything at all.

    The answer, of course, comes down to the criteria used in the the ranking system. You have to look at whether those criteria are factors important to you. You also have to consider that some schools will put money and effort into improving items on the metric used to affect ranking, whereas others channel resources into actually improving their programs - these aren't necessarily exclusive, but they can be.

    I don't think it's a bad idea to factor in a ranking when considering a school. Certainly in some cases, a lot of thought has been put into the metrics used. But prospective students owe it to themselves to develop their own ranking.
     
  4. Apr 2, 2009 #3
    Re: Are Physics Graduate school rankings a good indicator of their Undergraduate Qual

    Keeping what Choppy said in mind (which is absolutely true), I would say that the answer is no. I did undergrad degrees in both physics and math. Both departments at my old school were very highly ranked in both areas. My physics education was great, but my math education was...well, average. Classical and modern physics don't change, so you could likely get the same education at a community college as at a university. In fact, research professors don't always make good teachers. My advisor once told me that he spends about 13 hours a week on his teaching, and that's when you consider preparation, classroom lectures, writing assignments, etc. Some of my fellow grad students in my department came from no-name schools, and do really well in the graduate program. I also know someone who came from a top tier school who doesn't do all that great. So I don't really see any correlation.
     
  5. Apr 2, 2009 #4
    Re: Are Physics Graduate school rankings a good indicator of their Undergraduate Qual

    I think how good the physics education is depends on how abusive your professors happen to be. All my previous professors were very abusive, and I feel like I learned a ton... sink or swim, you know. My current one is a lot easier and, while this is nice in that it makes life easier, I can tell it's not as beneficial to my education as the other courses were.
     
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