PhD in Physics at UCI vs Materials Science and Engineering UCR

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UCI Physics VS UCR Materials Science & Engineering

Poll closed Apr 13, 2014.

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1. Apr 2, 2014

greenmike

I have a 2 year TA offer at UC Irvine for physics (~$18k) where I would focus on Condensed Matter experiment or the chemicals and materials physics program(this program is easier and offers a 10 week summer research program before grad school begins). Degree time is usually 6-7 years. The MSE offer at UC Riverside is a fellowship for$15k for the first year, no working. One year TA is required for the degree and after the first year funding is provided by TA/RA. The classes at UCR are more applied and sound more useful for a career in research or industry. Degree time 5 years.

Irvine was originally my top choice school, but after meeting a few profs, and not finding a great fit/project I was concerned. Though I admit I liked the Irvine campus a bit more than UCR, the profs at UCR seemed nicer and more interested in my research experience (nanoparticle synthesis and characterization).

I have always been an experimentalist at heart and love both physics and engineering. The classes at riverside seem more interesting to me than the standard physics curriculum, and the fellowship is a nice bonus...but Irvine was my dream school...the only reasons I hesitate going to UCI are a few bad meetings with profs, and the extremely competitive classmates (I was originally waitlisted).

what should i do?
UCI Physics CM/ChamP? (TA 18k)
UCR MSE (fellowship 15k)

2. Apr 3, 2014

analogdesign

What are your plans after graduation? MSE is a highly sought after major in industry, but it is tough to make a living with a Physics PhD (many people do it of course, it's just harder).

3. Apr 3, 2014

greenmike

I think after graduation I would like to do a few post docs before deciding between research in academia and work in industry. I would love to be a professor with my own lab, but these positions are extremely competitive so most likely I will end up in industry.

from the Irvine ChaMP website
"Although there is essentially zero unemployment among physical science graduates, only a small fraction of PhDs become academic investigators. A full 95 percent of PhDs take positions in non- academic sectors, primarily in industry."

4. Apr 3, 2014

analogdesign

Well, UCR isn't as famous as UCI but they're both good schools and both seem to be able to get you where you want to go. If it were me, I would lean towards UCI. Irvine is a nicer place to live for the next 5 or 6 years as well.

5. Apr 19, 2014

Dela91

If you go to IRVINE you have to deal with Shawn Strausser.... enough said.

6. Apr 19, 2014

greenmike

*get to deal with