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UC Schools and CA budget

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  • Thread starter RobD
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I have been admitted to Berkeley and a couple of other UC schools for Ph.D. programs in physics, and I am concerned about how the budget crisis in California will impact these programs over the next few years. Berkeley, in particular, is still ranked very highly, but will this continue to be the case? Will there still be plenty of funding for research, equipment, top-notch faculty, etc.? Any input would be most appreciated, as I have other reasonably good admittances besides the UC's.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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There really isn't any way to tell at this point.
 
  • #3
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Most of the research funding does not come from the state but from federal research grants. You should be more worried about federal budget cuts, but that's not a UC only issue. Some professors may leave the UC system due to salary cuts, some already have, but I think the prospect is bleak everywhere.

I think undergrads will be hit more than grad students.
 
  • #4
lisab
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There really isn't any way to tell at this point.
Afraid that's the case. And it's not much better in many other states, also - there are severe budget issues in lots of places.
 
  • #5
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Will there still be plenty of funding for research, equipment, top-notch faculty, etc.? Any input would be most appreciated, as I have other reasonably good admittances besides the UC's.
As caffenta says, most of what you mention (RA positions/salaries, research equipment, etc.) is payed for by federal grants, which will probably affect all the programs you're considering (assuming they're all in the U.S.). Actually, if the federal science budget gets cut, it's reasonable to think that the best research programs will have less severe cuts than others, so a school like Berkeley is probably a solid choice.

New faculty hires and TA positions/stipends will be affected by the state budget. However, the number of faculty that typically retire or are hired during your graduate studies is probably too small to have a large impact during the amount of time you'll be there. The tenure system makes it extremely unlikely that any faculty will actually be laid off, if that's what you're worried about, although I suppose if conditions get bad enough, the best faculty could decide to move to other institutions.

I'm not sure about how important TA funding is at Berkeley, but ideally you'll find a research group to pay you as an RA during most of your time there, and this is not affected by state budgets.

In my opinion, it's probably not worth worrying about state budgets in deciding on which graduate school to attend.
 
  • #6
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Just to add a comment about the professors leaving, my department (UTk NE) has hired three previous professors from UC Berkeley in the last two years.
 
  • #7
If the professor does move, isn't it sometimes the case that their students can go with them?
 
  • #8
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Ucr CNAS and physics department got hit hard. Something like 30% cut. A lot of TA positions are going so if a grad student depends on these he is likely losing support.
 

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