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Studying Studying at big-time vs. lil time

  1. Mar 12, 2005 #1

    Pengwuino

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    So exactly what is the difference in getting your bachelors from Stanford or Harvard or ya know, big name schools as compared to maybe one of the lesser known UC's or maybe some lower-rung state college (not community colleges though). And whats a BS from those big name schools compared to a Masters at the state colleges?
     
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  3. Mar 12, 2005 #2
    It's all about prestige and competition. A master's degree is a graduate degree that follows a bachelor's degree. Someone with a masters has a couple more years of experience in their specialization than someone with a bachelors in the equivalent department.

    Now why people choose where they go is all about competition. If you were an employer and had to choose someone for a position you would want someone who came from a good school and with alot of experience. Not all schools are inherently equal. Ivy league schools have great programs, faculty, and are world reknown.

    So when it comes time to get a job, the best scenario is a graduate degree from an Ivy leage school, while a bachelors from some other college is the not so great scenario. I'd bet that a case where someone had a bachelors from an Ivy school as apposed to a masters from a non-Ivy would favor the masters more often than not. Experience matters more than prestige.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2005
  4. Mar 12, 2005 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Yah yah, those last 2 sentences is what im interested in. Is a masters from a non-ivy or non-world reknown school better then a BS from a big name school.
     
  5. Mar 12, 2005 #4
    The masters degree from the non-Ivy guy hands down. Unless the master's degree came from some backwater college he's got the edge. There's also the potential that the Bachelors from the Ivy school could be completed under an honors program. That could be really impressive to an employer since most honors degrees have some graduate course work involved.
     
  6. Mar 12, 2005 #5

    Pengwuino

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    How bout when it comes down to phd vs. phd from like, a UC vs. stanford. Is it just 'hey its a phd, who really cares where it comes from' or is there a big difference to an employer.
     
  7. Mar 12, 2005 #6
    I disagree. I think a master's is pretty meaningless these days (not saying this is right or wrong - just perception). A BA from Harvard or Stanford has much more prestige than a MA from Rutgers - in the eyes of the average employer.

    Edit: My dad has a master's in Applied Math from U Oregon. That has meant extremely little to any of his employers. A BA from a prestigious Ivy would have been far different.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2005
  8. Mar 12, 2005 #7
    Depends on the employer and what the area of employment is.
     
  9. Mar 12, 2005 #8
    Oh don't think the competition stops at a Ph.D! It definitely makes a difference where you came from. An Ivy Ph.D. could easily secure a full professor position with tenure anywhere he wanted. If you have a Ph.D from an unknown or obscure school you may have trouble securing a position as an adjunct (unless you went to a community college to teach). This includes industry and business positions alike.
     
  10. Mar 12, 2005 #9
    A master's degree is only important in certain fields. It's almost completely useless in sciences (biology, chemistry, physics) while a master's degree in engineering usually means a significant salary increase. That being said, if you are from a so-called elite school, many companies will hire you because they are simply looking for young bright minds that they can train. When you go work for a company, you have to be retrained anyways so there is not a huge difference between someone with a master's and bachelor's.
     
  11. Mar 12, 2005 #10
    Good point. Didn't realize that master's were useful in engineering.
     
  12. Mar 12, 2005 #11
    This is untrue. At this level, no one really cares what school you got your PHD at but rather your publication record. The only significant factor is that getting a professorship (no way you can secure one with tenure w/o previous experience) is so difficult than the connections that your advisor might have weigh in heavily.
     
  13. Mar 12, 2005 #12
    There's probably a correlation between the quality of your PhD school and the quality of your publications, though. Not 100%, since prestigious schools do have some weak departments.
     
  14. Mar 12, 2005 #13
    Hmm.. I don't see where that has any basis. If you look on any career search engine employers specify minimum requirements for positions. It often takes a master's degree to get into higher pay positions with less experience. Check Lockheed Martin or IBM to see examples of what I mean.
     
  15. Mar 12, 2005 #14
    Yes I agree- my point is that there isn't the same "elite" classification of graduate programs as there is with undergraduate programs. You have your upper tiers and lower tiers but it doesn't matter because you've got to be exceptional and made a name for yourself in order to be hired as professor (or even make it to the interview process). So departments hiring faculty members do not look at a candidate and say he got his PHD from Harvard while another person received theirs at University of Colorado and favor the Harvard PHD. Even if the two candidates were equal, I don't believe it would have much of an impact. What might be important is whom their PHD advisor was. Hypothetically speaking, if I received my PHD from Colorado under Tom Cech (nobel laureate) that would might hold more weight than if I had received my PHD at Harvard under an associate professor. It's different from undergraduate ties and bias that we often see.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2005
  16. Mar 12, 2005 #15
    Most top tier science programs (or I'll say chemistry since that is what I know) do not even offer master's degrees because most people serious about science careers head straight into the PHD program after they receive their bachelor's. And you only get a master's if for some reason you decide that you don't want to finish your PHD or you are forced to leave (ie can't pass prelims etc). It's different from engineering where there are many great master's programs and a majority of the engineering PHD's receive their master's along the way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2005
  17. Mar 12, 2005 #16
    those are some good points. I guess I can't help thinking like an undergrad as long as I'm still one of them :tongue2:
     
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