european msc programs

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european msc programs

Post by wumple » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:17 pm

Hi everybody,

I'm thinking of applying to some european msc programs. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it would be in, theoretical physics maybe or applied math, not sure yet. But from looking at the rankings, most of the european programs seem to be ranked below top american programs. Of the top 25 here (, 18 are american. Half of the top 25 for the QS rankings are also american : ... es/physics

So If I decide to do a MSC in europe (for example utrecht or university of amsterdam maybe, I've heard they have good theoretical programs) and then come back to the US to do a PhD program, will having gone to europe hurt me? That is, if I go to a lower ranked european university for a masters, will it be harder to get accepted to a top phd program in the US?


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Re: european msc programs

Post by Etranger » Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:17 pm

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong...but everything I've read led me to believe that "those rankings" are not important at all in physics - pff, rankings are so high school anyway! What matters more (people talked about this in a recent thread I made) is how well connected your research advisor is, what they have to say about you and how much of a fit you are both research and personality wise with the professors in the departments you're applying to.

Ultimately, what's more important, is the physics department of the university and with whom there you've worked with, rather than the rank of the university.

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Re: european msc programs

Post by Andromeda » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:13 am

An American here who is now doing her PhD at the University of Amsterdam (in astro, tho I have quite a few friends in physics down the hall and did my BSc/MSc in Physics). Loving life over here for what it's worth. :D

To be honest I've seen the education here, and what you get is going to be just as good a graduate education as what you'd get in the USA as Amsterdam/Utrecht are known as good universities in these fields. I doubt anyone would dismiss your application for having gone to a European instead of American university when it comes time for a PhD, and in fact it will help you stand out of the pack a little for having taken the initiative to forge a non-traditional path.

So hey I'd say go for it, but as I said I really enjoy living over here so I'm biased. 8)

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