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Programs PhD in UK vs Rest of Europe

  1. Nov 30, 2012 #1

    There have been very few discussions on this topic in the internet.
    Is it better to get a PhD degree from the UK or from other European countries such as Belgium , Spain ,Germany, Netherlands,Sweden etc ?

    I have shortlisted for my PhD, University of Strathclyde and Heriot Watt in UK ,CNRS research lab in France ,ICFO Barcelona , Ghent(INTEC) Belgium, and Chalmers University in Sweden, in the field of Photonics.

    I hear that UK PhD degrees are more valued compared to other countries. On the contrary there are many good research labs in Europe.

    I would welcome unbiased opinions on this topic.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2012 #2
    If you're not a EU citizen, getting funding will be tough.

    If you are a EU citizen but not from the UK/haven't lived there for at least 3 years, getting a publically funded phd position in the UK is pretty much impossible unless you're absolutely excellent.

    Spain is in a dire economic situation and funding for phd's is on very thin ice.

    Germany, NL, and Scandinavian countries are good places for phd's, or so I've heard, but the application process and funding bureaucracy are far from unified/similar.

    EU citizen.
  4. Dec 1, 2012 #3
    I'm currently doing my PhD in engineering in London. My understanding is that it depends much more on how good the university (and even more the faculty and the lab) that you're doing your PhD is. If we trust the rankings, the best universities in Europe are in the UK (oxford, cambridge, imperial). This doesn't mean however that there are not some very good universities in other European countries, e.g. ETH in Zurich or TU Delft in the Netherlands. This means that you should really go to the best possible university and (maybe more importantly) professor in your field, since you will get better training that way. Just because Cambridge ranks at the top it doesn't mean that some guy in e.g. Malta (to choose a small country) can't be considered worldwide to be the leading expert in some field. That said, the prestige of the university that gave you your doctoral title does count considerably if you want to be an academic.

    To sum up, no, as far as I know the country where you did your PhD doesn't matter. How good the university is considered, however, does matter. Apart from that, keep in mind that PhD bursaries in the UK are not really high compared to other European countries, and that at the end of the day, the people that want to hire you will look at the work you did (your papers) before making up their mind.
  5. Dec 1, 2012 #4

    I think employers are biased towards UK PhDs being the most prestigious. I think it will benefit talking directly to a researcher at Strathclyde or Heriot Watt to be honest. The question you are asking is something that is to be answered on a case by case basis. The exact research you are proposing will determine what University is best to go to, as some research topics are just so specific that only a handful of universities are "adequate".

    I think it depends on what you plan to do after your PhD.
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