I'm an undergraduate engineering student starting to think about grad school, but I'm a little bit stuck on something. On the one hand, I have a safe option which I know will be at least good, if not great. I've done a couple summer projects with one research group at my school, and they said they would definitely take me as a grad student. I don't know yet if it's my ideal area of study, but I like it well enough, and it's something I can see myself enjoying long-term. I really like the work environment with that group; I get along with everyone, and the way the group is run works well for me (professors are usually easy to access, and they play the role of advisor more than task-master). Another advantage with this option is not having to relocate. I'm married, and my wife is somewhat tied down, making it difficult to relocate. On the other hand, there are some downsides to staying here. First, this is sort of a mid-level research group at a mid-level school. They're not bad, but they don't seem to be at the top of their field. Based on my grades and experience, I think I would have a shot at getting into more well-respected groups if I wanted to. Also, I've been told that it looks bad when you get BSc, MSc and PhD all at the same institution. (Is that as true in engineering as it is in other disciplines? Does experience in the R&D department of a company help to mitigate this?) So I'm curious what people who have gone through grad school think. Is the certainty that I'll at least like my work and my work environment valuable? Is that something I should jump on? Or is it really important to try to get into a different school with a well-funded and prolific research group? Is that worth all the hassle of finding a better offer and figuring out how to relocate in a way that works for me and my wife? Thanks.