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Old 6th September 2011, 06:59 PM   #1
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Default Universities in North America

Gentlemen, Ladies,

As some of you may know, I'm slowing working my way through the English education system. I would like to take Physics at university, and one of the universities has an option to do a masters degree, with a year in North America.

This appealed to me, as it's somewhere I've wanted to go for a long time.

Although it'll be a year before I even get to university, the application deadline is approaching.
So, to cut to the chase, I've been given a list of universities to which I would be able to attend for a year.
Here it is:
Case Western Reserve University
Drexel University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Montana State University
Oregon State University
University at Buffalo
University of Illinois
University of Maryland at College Park
University of New Mexico at Albuquerque
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Oklahoma
University of Pittsburgh
University of Texas at Austin
University of Winconsin
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

So, the big question. I know several of you have been to university, completing various degrees. Are there any that you guys can particularly recommend?

Obviously, I don't want to start any wars over who's university is best, but if one in particular stands out as a sought-after university, that information would be very useful to me.

Thanking you all in advance.

Chris
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Old 6th September 2011, 07:06 PM   #2
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Napoleon tried to conquer Buffalo one winter, but left with his army in tatters. Cleveland (my ancestral homeland and home of Case Western) has weather 2nd only to Buffalo on the winter misery index.

Lots of great physics programs in the US, but you might want to define what direction you want to go in.

Oh, Austin has great bars and a lively music scene.
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Old 6th September 2011, 07:08 PM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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What's your specialty within physics? That might help narrow things.

A few where I have some experience:

UT Austin- if you want music all around you, lots of hot girls wearing short-shorts, and an excellent academic department (can you say "Steve Weinberg"?), you can't go wrong. Summers here are brutal. Did I mention the music?

MSU- Bozeman is one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. If you like snow and outdoor sports, this is the place. Academically OK, not outstanding. I'd move back there in a split second.

Wisconsin- Better like the cold; -40 keeps out the riffraff. Excellent department, and Madison has a lot of great culture.

Drexel: Excellent applied physics. Philly is crowded, dangerous, and expensive.

UNC- Excellent department, nice surroundings.

UMCP- Great department, the DC area has horrible weather, is very expensive, and dangerous if you accidentally wander out of some very narrowly defined areas.

VPI- Again, good department for applied physics. Hope you like humidity and mosquitos.

U of O- It's in Oklahoma. That should disqualify it.

Pitt- Good school, but you're surrounded by Yinzers.
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Old 6th September 2011, 07:20 PM   #4
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All those unis are in the USA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SY View Post
Wisconsin- Better like the cold; -40 keeps out the riffraff. Excellent department, and Madison has a lot of great culture.
And home of Madisound.

dave
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Old 6th September 2011, 07:37 PM   #5
SY is offline SY  United States
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Don't know what Madisound is like these days. Back when I lived there, everyone who worked there looked like they were in a prison work-release program. They were great to deal with- Larry Hitch showed off his new FFT system (exotic in 1985) to me during one visit, but allowed as how the results didn't make sense. Coincidentally, the guy I was with was my office-mate, the chief scientist at Nicolet; lucky Larry, he got an enlightening lecture on phase unwrapping.
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Old 6th September 2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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First Issue: City campus or isolated college only? I suspect for a visitor city is better.

Maryland, Austin and Pittsburgh, would be the three best. Although in general I tend to look down at U of Pittsburgh on general principle, my cousin did used to be head of the Scaife Nuclear Labs.

Maryland is to my taste just too large, although I do have a friend there who has a building named after him.

My younger brother got his piled higher and deeper at UT Austin. But it has the downside of being surrounded by real Texas!

Gads! I just saw you like mountain biking. Pitt is it! Get a place in Squirrel Hill and learn all about Forbes hill!

Last edited by simon7000; 6th September 2011 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 6th September 2011, 08:25 PM   #7
tomchr is offline tomchr  United States
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US News publishes a list of top-50 US universities that many people use. That could be one guideline... Especially if you want a job in the US after you're done, it may boost the interest of a prospective employer if you're from a top-5 school.

But, honestly, I'd weigh the quality of the department, the topics they teach, and the surrounding area and how much these align with your interests. Spend some time exploring while you're here. Hence, the need to be in an area that at least on paper seems like a reasonable match with your interests.

~Tom
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Old 6th September 2011, 09:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris661 View Post
but if one in particular stands out as a sought-after university, that information would be very useful to me.
Chris
Georgia Tech is the only one that immediately leaps out as the most highly respected engineering school on the list. Others may be fine, but Georgia Tech is best known on list.
Doc
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Old 6th September 2011, 09:05 PM   #9
iko is offline iko  Canada
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There, the QS ranking just came out. Overall ranking:

http://www.topuniversities.com/unive...-rankings/2011

Physics ranking:

http://www.topuniversities.com/unive...iences/physics
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Old 6th September 2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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Default GT's audio engineering program

Georgia Tech also has the only audio engineering (as in design) program of which I am aware in this country. Founded by the late Marshall Leach. The program is the equivalent of Sheffield and Malcolm Hawksfords program.
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