Hello PF, I have been bashing my mind about for awhile trying to figure out how to decide on my future PhD study plan. And then it suddenly struck me to pose my questions here. So here's the situation: I'm currently a final year physics undergrad from a Singapore university, and I have the intention to continue on to a PhD program. I wish to work in the field of atomic molecular optic (AMO) physics, and hopefully in the future after oaing a PhD, would continue doing research or related work. Here's my problem: I am unable to decide between doing a PhD locally in Singapore (at NUS CQT) or in the US in general. If I were to continue staying at NUS, I think I should have a rather high chance of getting into the program immediately after I graduate. It will also save me a lot of trouble as I will not have to do the GRE or TOFEL. Also, the financial aid from CQT is rather decent which will also help me out greatly. If I were to choose to go for the US universities, my admission applications will have to wait till next year as I've already missed the ones for starting school next year. Thus there will be a one year gap from graduation to (hopefully) enrollment. That one year gap will be used for me to take the GRE, TOFEL, obtain the application forms and etc. I also hope to work at a lab during this one year to gain more lab experience and earn some money. The thing that bugs me is this: is all this delay (for the US universities) worth it? In my grand scheme of things, I hope that after obtaining a PhD I will have had a good education and skill set allowing me to carry out good research. Will a PhD from, say, MIT make a huge difference in comparison to a PhD from NUS CQT? I'm of the idea that a PhD from a strong group in the field would definitely make a difference in terms of future research, and that I should go for the US universities. Can those who have been through this path before shed some light and offer me some guidance? Thanks!