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Schools Graduate studies in University of Florida

  1. Sep 19, 2008 #1
    I consider entering the University of Florida for graduate physics studies. Do you know what the ranking of the University is? Is it worth going there? Some good or bad experiences from this institution?

    Could maybe anyone compare studies at Florida and at the best institutions, such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford or Princeton?
     
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  3. Sep 19, 2008 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    I would say Florida is Top 50 but not Top 20. But I would also caution you not to put too much stock in rankings. Isn't the point to learn as much as you can?
     
  4. Sep 19, 2008 #3
    UF has some really outstanding faculty, and they do a lot of good research - I would also estimate the rank as well into the top 50.

    That said, UF is a huge school, annually in the 5 biggest by enrollment - and it's practically the only thing in Gainesville. While it is of high quality academically, it is certainly a drastically different experience from schools like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2008 #4
    Vanadium, I agree, that the point is to learn as much as you can. And you can pursue this at any university. However, I believe, that if you enter a better university and get funding, you can concenrate on physics with a great help of very good professors and that way to save your time compared to the studies at not such the first-rate institutions, where the quality is not the best and you probably will have to spend much time being an assistant.

    will.c, could you maybe point out at least several such the "drastic" differences between UF and MIT, Harvard.., as I don't know the US system too much. Do these first-rate institutions tend to pick postgraduates not only from their own students, but also from other universities?
     
  6. Sep 20, 2008 #5
    Top American Party Schools for 2008-2009
    University of Florida Tops Princeton Review's College Ranking

    © Naomi Rockler-Gladen

    Jul 31, 2008

    Every year, The Princeton Review surveys over 120,000 students at colleges and universities across the United States. Based on these surveys, they come up with a list of college rankings that rate these schools based on all kinds of criteria -- everything from quality of teaching to diversity of the student population to the campus food.

    By far, the ranking that gets the most publicity is the Top Party Schools ranking. News agencies all over the country pick this up and give it coverage -- especially if the local college or university is on this list! But what does it mean to be a "party school," and is this a ranking that should be taken seriously by students in search for either a party campus or a quiet campus?
    The Top 20 Party Schools

    According to The Princeton Review, here are the top 20 party schools in the United States:

    1. University of Florida <------------- ?!?!
    2. University of Mississippi
    3. Pennsylvania State University
    4. West Virginia University
    5. Ohio University
    6. Randolph-Macon College
    7. University of Georgia
    8. University of Texas
    9. University of California-- Santa Barbara
    10. Florida State University
    11. University of New Hampshire
    12. University of Iowa
    13. University of Colorado
    14. Indiana University
    15. Tulane University
    16. University of Illinois
    17. Arizona State University
    18. University of Tennessee
    19. University of Alabama
    20. Loyola University New Orleans

    http://campuslife.suite101.com/article.cfm/top_party_schools_for_20082009
     
  7. Sep 20, 2008 #6

    Moonbear

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    I really don't know how they evaluate it, but it doesn't mean you don't get a good education there.

    I work at one of those universities high on the list. Around here, the one thing a quiet student who likes to study on weekends might want to consider is choosing to live someplace other than the huge apartment complexes catering to students who want to party unless you can study with a lot of noise around you, or are fine with going to libraries to study. There are always plenty of quiet places to study.

    About the only exception are home football games. Everyone parties for those, even faculty and town residents. I kind of like it. It's somewhat like the university saying, "Take a day off and have fun!" Not your thing? It's a great time to get your grocery shopping done...the stores are pretty empty. Just get home before the game lets out and the traffic is impenetrable.

    I don't really see student attitudes or course performance or educational opportunities being any different from other state universities where I've worked that didn't rank high on the list. What I don't see so much of here are the cut-throat competitive students who will do anything to get an edge over their classmates. I see much more of a cooperative spirit among the students here. I don't know if that's part of them taking some more time out to enjoy college and build a community spirit and de-stress once in a while, or just that the cut-throat competitors choose other schools.
     
  8. Sep 20, 2008 #7
  9. Sep 20, 2008 #8
    So, from the ratings Hippo posted it seems that if one wants to quietly study at the UF, he should not expect do this at his room?
     
  10. Sep 20, 2008 #9
    I don't know how good of a criterion that is for determining good schools for grad physics. Penn State has one of the best general relativity departments in the nation and it is high up on that list. Frankly, I think that list is entirely irrelevant for PhD students, you will not have the time to party like an undergrad at your institution. Similarly, UT-Austin and UCSB are GREAT schools for physics.

    I think it's a mistake to compare undergrad experience to what a PhD student would experience. Undergrads study maybe 10 hours a week (the average undergrad) while a grad student is easily putting in 50+ hours a week, and probably closer to 65-70.

    Florida doesn't seem like a bad school, their math and physics faculty seem to be pretty good. I liked their math faculty. But yeah, it's tough to compare them to schools like Caltech or MIT. I really don't think they are in the same breath as those schools. Overall, you're better off going somewhere a bit more well known. Just my opinion. But it also seems like if Florida is your best option, it's not a bad option to take.

    One more thing about the party school list, it's really just a list of the bigger schools in the country. UF is a huge school, so is UT-Austin, so is University of Illinois. But UIUC is such a good school. Don't take that list to mean anything. Judge the program and the faculty, not if the undergrads party a lot. I don't know why you would be partying with undergrads in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2008
  11. Sep 20, 2008 #10
    As a current undergraduate at the University of Florida, I would say that the list is only relevant to the people who want to party. In other words, it's bogus.
     
  12. Sep 21, 2008 #11

    cristo

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    Indeed: it seems that many people think a university is either good for studies, or good for partying, but none are in between. This (at least in the UK) is utter rubbish. After all, one of the main points of university is to learn how to strike a balance between studies and socialising. I find it rather narrow minded of people to think that students who succeed in their studies cannot go out and party, and vice versa.

    Are you sure you're not trying to scare the OP here: personally, I work nothing like 65-70 hours a week, and know noone that does!
     
  13. Sep 21, 2008 #12
    So, summing up all the replies it seems, that Florida would be an average choise in the USA. However, I live in a small European country and now I am in the fourth year of my undergraduate studies. I would say that I feel passion for physics and would like to obtain a deep and broad understanding in theoretical physics. It feels like the best choise would be a very good European University in a peaceful town. But is it real that the admission office would be persuaded only by my motivation and some recommendations of to them unknown professors?
     
  14. Sep 21, 2008 #13

    HallsofIvy

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    I was a grad student at Florida around 1970. Yes, it was a "party school" (that's why I chose it!) but they had a pretty good math faculty also- especially in Algebraic Topology.

    I recently saw a person wearing a T-shirt that said

    "University of Florida Graduate Assistant

    It's not just a job, it's an indenture!"

    Oh, yes!
     
  15. Sep 21, 2008 #14

    HallsofIvy

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    Why do you assume your professors would be unknown to them? While physics tends to be a small field, every physicists knows either by publications or personally physicists from around the world. The one thing the admissions office (actually grad admissions are pretty much handled by the department) doesn't know about is your motivation! The key thing is probably course and test grades. In any case, I think talking to your professors would be the best way to get ideas for grad school.
     
  16. Sep 24, 2008 #15
    The University of Wisconsin - Madison isn't in the top 20?? I suspect their ranking methodology is flawed. Unless perhaps they don't feel it's fair to rank professionals with amatuers.
     
  17. Sep 24, 2008 #16
    I've heard that these rankings have a lot to do with things like "alcohol sold per capita in the surrounding town". So if a school is located in a place with particularly strict alcohol laws (for example, many places in Massachusetts refuse to sell liquor to anyone with an out of state ID) then all the alcohol sales will happen at a few particular locations which may or may not have been polled. This could keep a real party school off that list pretty easily.
     
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