• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

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

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.
 
1,416
9
Thanks for the thread! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post? The more details the better.
 

analogdesign

Science Advisor
1,127
343
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!
 
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?
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"UC London Astrophysics MSc vs Leiden Astronomy MSc (+ PhD)" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top