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Schools The University of Hawaii, Manoa

  1. Oct 26, 2009 #1
    Hi folks,

    Simple question: does anyone here have an idea of the quality of physics graduate study at the university of Hawaii?

    I am interested in fundamental physics, quantum gravity, quantum field theory etc. The professors there mostly research elementary particle physics and have interests in 'supersymmetry, grand unification ... and other physics beyond the Standard Model'. I also checked out the staff members and most seem to have graduated from respectable universities. All that sounds great to me.

    However today I found a PhD course ranking site, Manoa was ranked 150 out of 160! Alarmed I did some more research and found that the university seems to be consistently at the bottom of whatever ranking I can find, I know that different tables use different criteria and do not necessarily represent how good a place is but what worries me is that the first ranking I mentioned was based on the opinions of faculty members at other universities!.... although admittedly the data is from 1995... maybe things have changed since then?

    The other reason I am interested in doing a PhD in hawaii is obviously the location. I grew up in the middle east living right on the beach. Being at uni here in the UK is depressing, I hate the cold and distance from the sea. I couldn't face being here another 4+ years!

    Please reply! I am very worried about this.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2009 #2
    Mind sharing the link?

    Seems pretty bogus to me. University of Hawaii is one of the top astronomy graduate schools because of Mauna Kea. Someone with an undergraduate physics degree should be able to go to the school's website and judge for themselves the quality of the research from the preprints and the faculty bios.

    I'm curious if they are looking at specifically the physics/astrophysics department. The schools department of medieval antarctic literature might totally stink, but that's not important to you.
  4. Oct 26, 2009 #3

    Thats what I was thinking! (and hoping!)

    This is the general physics ranking: http://graduate-school.phds.org/rankings/physics/rank?w2=-4&w3=4&w1=5&w9=3&w10=3&w7=5&w17=-5&w8=-4&w18=-5&w24=-2&w25=2&w26=2 [Broken]

    If you click on the university link you get to http://graduate-school.phds.org/rankings/physics/program/profile/1481/11273 [Broken] where the reputation/educational effectiveness is listed as 2.3 or "minimally effective". Apparently " the National Research Council asked faculty members to rate the educational effectiveness of doctoral programs at other universities on a scale"
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Oct 26, 2009 #4
    The REAL NRC rankings have UH-Manoa at #11 out of 33.
  6. Oct 26, 2009 #5
    Dude, I could kiss you right now.

    Edit: Oh wait, I take it back. I just looked at the actual physics rank(rather than astro) and it's 80something.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  7. Oct 26, 2009 #6
    My alma mater (University of Texas at Austin) got ranked even lower than UH Manoa. COOL!!!!!
  8. Oct 27, 2009 #7

    ...so next question is how reliable is this NRC rating?

    Basically, I am worried that I might regret applying to(and hopefully going to) Manoa.
  9. Oct 27, 2009 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    Thinker, you are grossly misusing the phds.org rankings. You seem to be worried about reputation - yet on your phds.org ranking, you gave "educational effectiveness" only 5 out of 44 points. Of course the ranker will then give a very large weight to factors other than educational effectiveness, and that's why Wake Forest scored significantly above MIT. (Which should have been a clue that maybe this wasn't returning what you think it was returning)

    I also notice that you gave 9 points to department size: 5 to degrees per year (looking for a small number), and 4 to number of faculty (also looking for a small number). Small universities tend to specialize in a few fields, which causes them to slip in the rankings because people who work outside of these fields have never heard of them.

    Next, you are way, way, way too concerned with reputation. First, you're concerned with overall reputation, which is practically meaningless: if your school has a crappy program in AMO, and stellar everywhere else, it won't help launch a career in AMO. But more importantly, advancement depends far less on where you come from than on what you have achieved. If you look at the faculty of, say, the University of Chicago, you will see graduates of Princeton and Cal Tech. But you will also see graduates of Minnesota, South Carolina, and San Diego.
  10. Oct 27, 2009 #9
    I understand what your saying but believe you have misunderstoood me. The link I gave was to a list based on one of the default weightings, not ones that I personally chose.

    I am not particularly concerned with reputation, rather with teaching quality or "educational effectiveness". I did however assume that the NRC rankings, for example, would give an indication of this.

    Like I said before, I don't want to go there for the location only to end up having great difficulty with work due to a poor department.
  11. Oct 27, 2009 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    Well, somebody chose them. And that person picked them in such a way as to make Wake Forest look substantially better than MIT.
  12. Oct 27, 2009 #11
    The flying spaghetti monster?

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