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Staying at the same school for Undergrad, Masters and PhD in Math?

  1. Mar 19, 2014 #1
    Hi everyone,

    So right now I'm an undergrad who is considering getting my Masters and PhD in math. However, I had one question. If someone wants to work in Academia, is it "bad" to get all three degrees from the same place? Where I'm currently studying, some of the professors in the math department (received all three degrees from the same college), but they have been here for 30 years.

    The reason I'm asking is this; I've gotten to know some of the professors in the Math department, and their research really interests me. We've had conversations about their research, going through their publications, etc. I have also gotten to know the PhD/Masters coordinator on a personal level, and by the time I graduate, he will have known me for four years (I was in a couple of classes of his and we kept in touch after), and I will have hopefully worked on a research project with him by the time I graduate (he is also the adviser of an REU program).

    I have also gotten to know another professor since he is the adviser of a club I've been the President of, so I will have worked with him for four years as well.

    I honestly really want to stay here for many reasons, like the ones I listed above, so is that acceptable?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2014 #2


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    Education Advisor

    If all other things are equal in the decision between schools, it's generally advisable to go with the different one. For some reason people seem to translate this into "if you don't change schools you're doomed." In your case it doesn't seem like all other things are equal and staying is, in and of itself, unlikely to have much of an impact on your academic career.

    The reality is that there are advantages and disadvantages to either path.

    You've outlined some very good reasons to stay.

    What you give up are things like:
    - expanding your network (academic, professional, social)
    - exposure to different teaching styles/philosophies
    - living in a different city/environment
  4. Mar 19, 2014 #3


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    That is true, but a classic book on management published way back in 1972 (Weinberg, The Psychology of Computer Programming) had this very good advice:

    "If somebody is indispensable in an organization, the best plan is to fire them as quickly as possible."

    If that seems a bit harsh, rephrase it as "All good things come to an end eventually, so you need to learn how to deal with that situation." School is (or should be) for learning about life, not just for learning your academic subject.
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