Deciding between U British Columbia and UC San Diego for graduate studies in physics I've been accepted to the University of British Columbia and UC San Diego for graduate studies in physics, and I'm having trouble deciding between the two. I don't know how UBC compares to UCSD academic/prestige wise (I know that UCSD is a great school, but I am not very familiar with UBCs reputation). I am interested in experimental condensed matter and possibly experimental AMO. Both UCSD and UBC seem to have good experimental condensed matter departments, but only UBC has experimental AMO. I might be interested in experimental biophysics, which UCSD is strong in, but I haven't looked into this much. Does anyone know how the culture of the departments compare? I know that in general west coast US schools are a little more laid back, but that's the extent of my knowledge in this regard. Regarding the cities themselves, I've heard that San Diego is somewhat sterile, at least for a young adult. Vancouver seems more diverse from what I've read, but I haven't visited either place yet. The financial offers haven't been finalized yet either, so I can't take this into account (it would be a secondary factor anyway). I plan on talking to some professors at my university and I am going to visit both schools in the next month, but I just wanted to see if anyone here had an opinion either way.