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  1. Jan 6, 2014 #1
    Hi all,

    I'm currently a physics major in the UK and have been accepted to study abroad for a whole year at a UCal campus, as part of the UCEAP program. At the moment I have to decide on 3 campuses I would like to go to and rank them accordingly, at the moment this is what I have put:

    - UC Berkeley as 1st choice (the reputation, location and academic rigour speaks for its self)
    - UCLA as my 2nd choice (again reputation and the location)
    -And finally either UCSD or UCSB

    I'm struggling to decide which would be best (UCSD or UCSB), keeping in mind I'm an international student with a strong passion for space exploration. I hope to either work in the space industry (NASA being the top dream) or go into research in the field of astrophysics. At UCal I hope Ill be able to meet some very high flying intellectual people at UCal, (even outside Physics,) I will have contacts to in the future.

    One thing that concerns me about UCSB is the party atmosphere at and its prestige compared to UCSD, I'm not really into the whole partying atmosphere but have heard UCSB's physics program is the best anywhere. Which should I go for?

    Please provide some guidance and any anecdotes you may have,
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2014 #2


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    They're both great institutions in their own right. UCSD is a party school as much as UCSB or UCLA. I should know, I go there for undergrad. UCSB has several very famous professors for physics, UCSD as well.

    As for locations, UCSD is nice. You're in La Jolla, the cove is close, and while people may complain about the animal feces stench currently, it isn't that bad. You also have a slew of military and government facilities with ties to the school (SPAWAR/Marine Core/ONR.) You have mountains/forests in Julian, desert out in Anza Borrego, snowboarding at bear/Mnt High, LA, Tijuana, what Southern Californians call surfing, all in the range of a two or three hour drive.

    I’ve only been to UCSB twice, but they’re also in a nice area with plenty to see/do.

    I personally don't care for UCLA's location, but I'm not a fan of LA really. Actually, I hate the city, but they’re a fine school. I've never been up to UCB.

    Frankly, I think you'll enjoy your time at any of those universities.
  4. Jan 6, 2014 #3
    Student 100 gave you a pretty good description for both. You can not go wrong with either. I would just like to mention though, UCSC is known HIGHLY for their astrophysics department. I *Belive* better than UCSB's astro or UCSD. So if an option to apply to UCSC is still available, you might want to consider that. This school is surrounded by Red wood forest and looks like a summer camp. Anyways, all of the UC's are great schools and I wish you luck.
  5. Jan 6, 2014 #4


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    Yes, like Kraken said, UCSC is known for their astrophysics department. It is comparable to UCLA's program. UCSD or UCSB may not be what you're looking for in that department.
  6. Jan 9, 2014 #5
    Thanks everyone, if there's any more advice that would be much appreciated.
  7. Jan 9, 2014 #6


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    Is cost of living a consideration? If so, you might want to look at apartment rental costs. La Jolla is absolutely beautiful but it sure comes with a price.
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