Same institution for both graduate and undergraduate degrees

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  • Thread starter pt176900
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I've heard there is a stigma attached with going to the same institution for both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this?
 

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  • #2
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I have heard something about that myself. 2 close friends were told that their chances of getting into the grad program at their undergrad college were slim, despite having excellent grades and recommendations. Their advisors told them that the school preferred to admit students from other universities ahead of their own graduates. I have yet to hear any real explanation for this. Maybe it's a fear of the student being to close to the faculty and not being graded as harshly as a stranger?
 
  • #3
Dr Transport
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Absolutely, graduate programs like to encourage diversity of the education process. Unless you are one of the brilliant ones going to CalTech or another comparable school most places will send you elsewhere. I was told to go to another university after my first masters because they wanted me to get some other educational experience. I went to another school for my PhD not knowing that they had a significant population of their undergrads getting grad degrees. It wasn't the same, inbreeding like that dumbed down the program and I feel I was slighted and didn't get the eduacation I felt I needed to be more competative.
 
  • #4
Moonbear
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I did get my undergraduate degree and graduate degree at the same institution. I asked around a lot about this before I made the decision. However, in my case, I was at a very large university and my graduate degree was in a different department with entirely different faculty from my undergraduate degree. The concern about getting two degrees from the same university is that you won't be exposed to new ideas and new faculty for your graduate degree, so have less of an educational experience, and less exposure to different educational styles and approaches.

In my case, it hasn't hurt me at all. If anything, I think I got more out of my graduate experience because I already knew what the university had to offer, so was able to take more advantage of a variety of opportunities outside of my degree program that I would have had a harder time finding if it was in a new university.

However, if you'd be staying in the same department or if your university is small so that you'd be running into a lot of the same faculty as you have had teaching your undergraduate courses, I'd discourage it.

The best way to avoid any stigma is to be highly productive in graduate school. If you get lots of publications out, present your work at conferences and meet people at those (including prospective postdoctoral mentors), you won't have any problems. That's pretty much what I did. At the first conference I attended, I already knew who the really big names were in the field, so I made sure I visited all the posters presented by their labs, and screwed up my courage and stuck my hand out and introduced myself to them. It made applying for post-doc positions really easy because everyone whose labs I wanted to work in already knew me for several years by then and was familiar with my work. And now I'm far enough into my career that nobody could care less where I got my undergrad degree.
 
  • #5
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Doesit make any difference if I would only be applying for a master's degree?

I don't have all the undergraduate courses necessary to apply for a ph.d. program (or I would imagine - I haven't taken quantum, or the 2nd quarter of mechanics).
 
  • #6
Moonbear
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pt176900 said:
Doesit make any difference if I would only be applying for a master's degree?

I don't have all the undergraduate courses necessary to apply for a ph.d. program (or I would imagine - I haven't taken quantum, or the 2nd quarter of mechanics).
I would think if you're only applying for a master's with the plan of getting a little more experience under your belt before applying for a PhD program, then it's probably even less of an issue to stay in the same place. But, then you should plan to go to a different university for your PhD. Three degrees from the same place will start to look a bit fishy, like you might not have been competitive enough to get into other programs.

I wouldn't be able to advise you regarding what coursework you'd need to apply a PhD program in physics since my field is biology, not physics. There's no shortage of physicists here who I'm sure will be able to offer advice on that part of your question. :smile:
 

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