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PhD in Germany or USA

  1. Mar 27, 2015 #1
    I am a final year Masters student studying physics at IIT Roorkee, India. I have PhD admits in experimental high energy physics from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany and University of Illinois Chicago, USA. I have previously done an internship as an undergrad with a professor at KIT. Both the labs are working in collaboration with CMS. Which one should I choose and why?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2015 #2
    Can you speak German?
     
  4. Mar 27, 2015 #3

    jtbell

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    CMS is at CERN, so as a practical matter, it would be less of a hassle to travel between Karlsruhe and Geneva than between Chicago and Geneva.
     
  5. Mar 28, 2015 #4

    cgk

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    In Germany you would not have to do coursework and could get finished with the PhD quicker.
     
  6. Mar 28, 2015 #5

    WWGD

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    But I think admission is much harder in general.
     
  7. Apr 1, 2015 #6
    Thanks for the replies. I do not speak German, but that didn't seem like a problem when I was pursuing my internship. I know that I have to take up coursework in the US but it is worth it right?
     
  8. Apr 1, 2015 #7
    No. USA is a terrible place to go to graduate school. There is no money here despite what people may tell you. Go to Germany.
     
  9. Apr 1, 2015 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    If your admission letter says you will receive an assistantship or fellowship, there is money for you, despite what HuskyNamedNala will tell you.
     
  10. Apr 1, 2015 #9
    Well, despite what Vanadium 50 will tell you, that fund might not cover your cost of living. A very good stipend is only 20 grand a year. And unless your contract gaurentees it for all 4 years, funding is on a semester by semester basis.

    The point is, do your research carefully and ignore the hype.
     
  11. Apr 1, 2015 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    I said nothing about this one way or the other - how could I, when I don't have the letter in front of me? Sticking words in my mouth is a cheap form of debate. Face it, you got caught exaggerating.
     
  12. Apr 1, 2015 #11
    Would you not want to do some coursework...? o_O
     
  13. Apr 1, 2015 #12

    Vanadium 50

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    There seems to be a prevalent view that a PhD is a race, and the faster you get to the finish line, the better. I don't understand this - the point is to take advantage of the opportunities and learn what you can. You will, of course, be continually learning throughout your career, but this becomes harder and harder the farther you go, as you will have less and less time.
     
  14. Apr 1, 2015 #13
    Treating the PhD as a race seems rather prevalent in Europe, especially in Germany.

    Perhaps European job markets value time-to-degree more than US job markets...
     
  15. Apr 2, 2015 #14
    Isn't it something like bachelor's degree in 3 years, master's degree in 2 years and then a PhD in 3 years ?

    I think that's the main road to get a PhD in Europe. We don't have undergraduate for 4 years and then master+PhD for 4-5 years. Unless I am wrong, one needs to have a master's degree to start a PhD.
     
  16. Apr 2, 2015 #15
    You are correct. And Dhanush explicitly stated that he/she is going to obtain a master's, soon.
     
  17. Apr 2, 2015 #16

    RJLiberator

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    I've heard differently. My Geophysics teacher got her PHD without obtaining a masters. She kinda 'did them both together' and got a complimentary masters.

    Thread starter, if you decide to go to UIC in Chicago, then I'd love to meet you and perhaps have you help me on my journey! But the PhD to Germany does sound like a nice option based on other people's post here.
     
  18. Apr 2, 2015 #17
    Well if you can get the degree in 3 years vs 6-8 years I think the 3 years is a much better option when the degree is what will allow you to start actually working instead of stuck in a PhD program without a clear way out.
     
  19. Apr 2, 2015 #18
    No, this is simple. By stating:

    "If your admission letter says you will receive an assistantship or fellowship, there is money for you"

    You leave out a very important caveat that the funding might not be enough or may come with stipulations that require you to reapply every semester. In Germany and other more developed nations, students don't have to worry about these things. I'm not even going to go into the probability of obtaining a good assistantship (one that doesn't require you to teach for an intrusive amount of hours, fully waives tuition, and provides a stipend of at least $700/week) or a fellowship that pays a reasonable wage. It drives me crazy when academics give blatantly bad advice to aspiring graduate students, yet wonder why the dropout rate is about 50% for American PhD programs. You can be the best student and most brilliant researcher, but if you cant afford food you what's the point? Here is a quote from the Economist

    http://www.economist.com/node/17723223


    Now don't get me wrong, I am all for higher education. I love learning, but I don't think the OP would make a wise move going to graduate school in the USA.
     
  20. Apr 2, 2015 #19
  21. Apr 2, 2015 #20

    mfb

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    You can take courses in Germany (whatever the university has, not limited to physics), but you don't have to. I don't know where the CMS group in Karlsruhe is - if they are in "Campus Nord" (my guess), that is a bit away from Karlsruhe and its university.
    Expect some German paperwork if you want to live in Germany for a few years, but that's not a real problem.
     
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