UC London Astrophysics MSc vs Leiden Astronomy MSc (+ PhD)

  • #1
24
1
I need some advice with a tough choice between two great programs. On the one hand, I have University College London, a 1 year program in Astrophysics which covers 6 courses and an original research project. On the other hand, I have Leiden University, a 2 year program in Astronomy with ~12 courses and a full year of research. I am really excited for all the courses both universities offer. Considering the low price of the Leiden MSc and how expensive the city of London is, the costs over 1 year at UCL vs 2 years at Leiden are similar.

While I find the full year of research at Leiden very attractive, at first I decided on UCL since it is so internationally renowned as a great research institution, and I love the city of London. I even wanted to do my undergrad degree there but was just short of the AP scores. However, I recently discovered on Leiden's website that "if you have completed the Leiden master’s degree programme in Astronomy, you are directly eligible for admission to our PhD programme." This is a huge deal to me, as I was just rejected from 17 US PhDs, as a US citizen with a ~3.85/4.00 GPA from a top 20 school/mid 800s PGRE/2 years of research/thesis but no papers (a big reason might have been I applied to astro programs with only 2 courses in astro and nuclear-focused research. Also, these MSc's were my safety, the 17 were all top/well-regarded US programs).

Leiden seems to be a really good astro program, and I would be happy with a PhD from there. But a few family/friends think that UCL is a slightly better fit for me and that I will definitely get into a good European doctorate program after a masters from such a good school. I am not so sure, since I will only add a few months of research, more courses, and another thesis, likely not a paper.

Does anyone have an opinion about which program I should choose? Particularly those who have experience with either university? I have only been to Amsterdam, not Leiden, so if I cannot decide soon I will quickly book a trip to visit and see how it feels. I just emailed asking for details on the PhD from Leiden - funding for internationals, etc.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
analogdesign
Science Advisor
1,140
354
Leiden is an incredible city, full of museums and all the Dutch charm you can handle. It is also a quick train ride into Amsterdam and getting to The Hague on bicycle from there is possible. I would love to live there for a few years. Since you're an American I would think about Leiden also as a more diverse cultural experience than what you would get from London (although London is an amazing place to hang your hat).

You have two really good choices!
 
  • #3
1
0
I need some advice with a tough choice between two great programs. On the one hand, I have University College London, a 1 year program in Astrophysics which covers 6 courses and an original research project. On the other hand, I have Leiden University, a 2 year program in Astronomy with ~12 courses and a full year of research. I am really excited for all the courses both universities offer. Considering the low price of the Leiden MSc and how expensive the city of London is, the costs over 1 year at UCL vs 2 years at Leiden are similar.

While I find the full year of research at Leiden very attractive, at first I decided on UCL since it is so internationally renowned as a great research institution, and I love the city of London. I even wanted to do my undergrad degree there but was just short of the AP scores. However, I recently discovered on Leiden's website that "if you have completed the Leiden master’s degree programme in Astronomy, you are directly eligible for admission to our PhD programme." This is a huge deal to me, as I was just rejected from 17 US PhDs, as a US citizen with a ~3.85/4.00 GPA from a top 20 school/mid 800s PGRE/2 years of research/thesis but no papers (a big reason might have been I applied to astro programs with only 2 courses in astro and nuclear-focused research. Also, these MSc's were my safety, the 17 were all top/well-regarded US programs).

Leiden seems to be a really good astro program, and I would be happy with a PhD from there. But a few family/friends think that UCL is a slightly better fit for me and that I will definitely get into a good European doctorate program after a masters from such a good school. I am not so sure, since I will only add a few months of research, more courses, and another thesis, likely not a paper.

Does anyone have an opinion about which program I should choose? Particularly those who have experience with either university? I have only been to Amsterdam, not Leiden, so if I cannot decide soon I will quickly book a trip to visit and see how it feels. I just emailed asking for details on the PhD from Leiden - funding for internationals, etc.
I need some advice with a tough choice between two great programs. On the one hand, I have University College London, a 1 year program in Astrophysics which covers 6 courses and an original research project. On the other hand, I have Leiden University, a 2 year program in Astronomy with ~12 courses and a full year of research. I am really excited for all the courses both universities offer. Considering the low price of the Leiden MSc and how expensive the city of London is, the costs over 1 year at UCL vs 2 years at Leiden are similar.

While I find the full year of research at Leiden very attractive, at first I decided on UCL since it is so internationally renowned as a great research institution, and I love the city of London. I even wanted to do my undergrad degree there but was just short of the AP scores. However, I recently discovered on Leiden's website that "if you have completed the Leiden master’s degree programme in Astronomy, you are directly eligible for admission to our PhD programme." This is a huge deal to me, as I was just rejected from 17 US PhDs, as a US citizen with a ~3.85/4.00 GPA from a top 20 school/mid 800s PGRE/2 years of research/thesis but no papers (a big reason might have been I applied to astro programs with only 2 courses in astro and nuclear-focused research. Also, these MSc's were my safety, the 17 were all top/well-regarded US programs).

Leiden seems to be a really good astro program, and I would be happy with a PhD from there. But a few family/friends think that UCL is a slightly better fit for me and that I will definitely get into a good European doctorate program after a masters from such a good school. I am not so sure, since I will only add a few months of research, more courses, and another thesis, likely not a paper.

Does anyone have an opinion about which program I should choose? Particularly those who have experience with either university? I have only been to Amsterdam, not Leiden, so if I cannot decide soon I will quickly book a trip to visit and see how it feels. I just emailed asking for details on the PhD from Leiden - funding for internationals, etc.
I do not have first hand knowledge but I have heard that Leiden is well known for astronomy. I also met someone who did their Phd at Leiden and joined the faculty at UC Berkeley afterward.
May I ask where you did your undergrad?
 

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