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Minnesota or Carnegie Mellon for particle cosmology

  1. Minnesota

    0 vote(s)
  2. Carnegie Mellon

    1 vote(s)
  1. Mar 23, 2015 #1
    Now that I have pretty much given up on Columbia, but still will have somewhere to go, I will try to make the best of what I have. Since Carnegie Mellon actually earmarks spots for waitlistees, rather than using it to fill up the class when too many No's have been recorded (like WUSTL, which I would most likely decline if admitted off the waitlist) I feel like pursuing that waitlist is worth it.

    In terms of reputations within particle cosmology, Minnesota is better on the particle side, CMU on the cosmology side, but this is not a difference-maker when both sides are put together, and theory on both sides of particle cosmology is equally risky as far as career prospects are concerned. Both seem to care about students' well-being.

    Here is a rundown of the data relevant for each school:


    Professors of interest: Olive, Peloso (originally interested in Vainshtein also but realized that he was close to retiring)
    Stipend: $24,440/year (Minneapolis)
    Greater ability for advanced standing (no need for placement test)
    Farther from home
    Large department
    Cold weather

    Carnegie Mellon:

    Professors of interest: Holman, Flauger
    Stipend: $28,500/year ($2,375/month; Pittsburgh)
    More limited ability for advanced standing
    Closer to home
    Smaller department
    Somewhat warmer (but still with all four seasons nonetheless)

    Perhaps I was wrong to pursue the waitlist at CMU (I really hope the waitlistees will get their decisions within 2 weeks from now)...

    In the interim, I committed to Minnesota so that I would have for sure somewhere to go to. (Should I feel like CMU really was the right choice, I could ask for a written release from Minnesota)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2015 #2
    Have you visited either school?
  4. Mar 28, 2015 #3
    While I learned quite a bit about both schools during visits, there is still one outstanding question, and a major one at that: which set of potential advisors is the "better" one? Also, what criteria should I use to assess the merits of potential advisors, given their research interests?

    Olive, Ghergetta, Peloso


    Holman, Flauger, Rothstein
  5. Mar 28, 2015 #4


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Well you consider your research interests, their advising philosophy (do they want to see you frequently and know what you are doing or are they more hands off?), their academic reputation, and the accomplishments of their students.
  6. Apr 2, 2015 #5
    I still didn't get out of the waitlist at CMU even as others got decisions off it, acceptance or rejection, hence losing confidence in Carnegie Mellon. So I will most definitely attend Minnesota at this point.

    My professors claimed that the whole purpose of advanced standing and course waivers is to speed up students' transition into research...
  7. Apr 3, 2015 #6


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Did I read on a previous thread of yours that you are interested in working on inflation? Minnesota seems a great fit for that.
  8. Apr 4, 2015 #7
    Hence the professors listed being the reasons why I would attend either school... but this poll was posted with the expectation that I would get in off the waitlist at CMU. A shortlist after a first review of the waitlistees is not looking so good at that point, so I decided to attend Minnesota.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
  9. Apr 4, 2015 #8


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Right, I'm saying I would sway towards Minnesota if you're interested in inflation, anyway.
  10. Apr 15, 2015 #9
    Now CMU rejected me off the waitlist so I will go to Minnesota...
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