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mbfinalblues
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 5:11 pm

After having spoken to various people across the Atlantic on both sides. It seems to me that American PhD's are held in more regard have a more rigorous curriculum in maths and physics and their graduates end up publishing in prestigious journals earlier than their European counterparts.Not to mention that the American PhD have very structured 1st two years. And please don't say that European undergraduate degrees have a higher content: utter nonsense. If you look at the top 15 American schools and what they teach in their Maths programs for undergraduates you'll see that their content is absolutely top-notch. For instance Berkeley and Stanford have very well and highly regarded undergraduate math major requirements. While the website say one thing. Being in the classroom is another
 
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aiQUANT
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 6:01 pm

I say that depends on what your definition of prestige is. A phd can be very structured and mathematically rigorous, but might not have any impact within a research field. Conversely a phd can be very unstructured and yet define a new research direction. Which is better?Its likely that american phds have structured 1st two years to compensate for something at the undergrad/postgrad level. Don't you think?
 
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mbfinalblues
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 6:38 pm

that is precisely my point. it is a misconception on the european part to think they do a better a job at the undergraduate postgraduate level. It you look at the top undergraduate math programs in the US they cover just as much depth and breadth as their european counterparts. As for the 1st two years of PhD the American schools go in deeper and broader to lay a solid foundation. I think the UK schools have cotton on to this and are trying to do something similar: London taught course centre and warwick, oxford bristol in the GRID courses.I have had friends who went to Cambridge to do part III tripos but but ultimately came to the US to finish their PhD's and still took courses in their 1st two years in the US
 
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DominicConnor
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 6:40 pm

This is a very confused position, based upon a singularly profound misconception.mbafinalblues seems to think there are European universities, and by extension, American ones.Will someone help me out by explaining what he means ?To be sure there are universities in the USA, but I suspect we both only have a fuzzy idea what is meant by "European" ?Moscow ? Cambridge ? The set of US universities is very diverse. Americans actually count the bits of paper issued by Bible Colleges as degrees, and there are equivalent dopey nonsense in all countries in Europe, India and Egypt.I can think of no useful set of characteristics that define a "European" university that holds generally true.Unlike mbafinalblues I deal with graduates of almost every institution on the planet, and I see no marked difference in the quality of good US schools compared to good ones from the EU, former Soviet Union, and Asia. I have at least a basic notion of the quality of a good subset of everywhere you might plausibly study. I also have noticed a couple of places who alumni do disproportionately well in this game, and they are not in his post.Whether a structured 2 year start to your PhD is good or not is arguable, and in any case variable depending on where you are and want to be, and yes that's partly to undo the lost opportunities in US undergrad programs.There are indeed some very good maths programmes in the USA, also tragically bad ones.
 
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TraderJoe
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 7:27 pm

Doctor of Philosophy.
 
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spice
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 8:04 pm

I agree. The university structure in Europe is so socialistic and poor, of course they pale in comparison to their American counterparts. How much are tuition fees in America these days?
 
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StatGuy
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 8:31 pm

QuoteI have had friends who went to Cambridge to do part III tripos but but ultimately came to the US to finish their PhD's and still took courses in their 1st two years in the USWhat you fail to realize is that the average age of a UK PhD is lower than in the US, therefore the younger UK PhD will have the extra years to develop skills in the areas he/she was lacking via further courses or on-the-job training. So I wouldn’t generalize and say PhD from Europe lack prestige in comparison to the US. Courses can only teach you so much, they can't make you a genius. If you were that good you wouldn’t be on a course in the 1st place IMO, but learn the material and develop the theory yourself. The latter is what really shows you are above the others in this field, and shows that you can go beyond what the other teach you in books and courses. Since such people are very rare, you will just end up learning what is already well known to most quants in the field.Stats Guy
Last edited by StatGuy on June 20th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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aiQUANT
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 21st, 2008, 9:42 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: spiceI agree. The university structure in Europe is so socialistic and poor, of course they pale in comparison to their American counterparts. How much are tuition fees in America these days?Consider the education system as a whole. In mainland Europe you need an IB to get into uni. By contrast the American SATs are a joke. Lot more pre-prep required for the american kid, and this sort of spoon feeding continues right through to phd level. The tuition fee partly justifies it.Come to Europe you learn Plato style. Go away discover material comeback and discuss. And the kids are well cut out for this sort of learning because of training from an early age. As to whether this is better I don't know. Of course the UK is a different case.
 
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Nomade
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 22nd, 2008, 12:10 pm

Quote European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD That is absolutely nonsense, but some otherwise intelligent people think that way. The only thing one can say is that the US has a vastly greater number of top schools than Europe. That said, the top schools in Europe are as good as any top school in the US, and certainly have the same prestige. In fact, one can argue that the reason the US has the lead now is in large part due to the influx of European scholars a few decades ago. If anti-intectualism persists in the US, as Europe standardize and reform its schools, I guess the lead the US has now is likely to shrink.
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twofish
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 22nd, 2008, 3:59 pm

QuoteIt seems to me that American PhD's are held in more regard have a more rigorous curriculum in maths and physics and their graduates end up publishing in prestigious journals earlier than their European counterparts.I don't think that is the case. Also one of the nice things about a Ph.D. program is that the curriculum in general is as far from "rigorous" as you can make it. The first two years of a American Ph.D. program really isn't a Ph.D. program. It's really a master program that prepares you for the Ph.D. You really aren't working on your Ph.D. until you've passed your qualifiers, at which point there is no formal curriculum, and courses take the form of walking over to someone's office and asking if they can explain something. Finally the journal publication thing seems to be incorrect and irrelevant. In astrophysics, your first publication is likely to be either some work that you did with your dissertation adviser that is sort of interesting, or in the worst case, some part of your dissertation. There are also "standard journals" like Ap.J. and A.&A. so journal prestige isn't a huge factor, and everyone gets their research from the Los Alamos server anyway.QuoteAnd please don't say that European undergraduate degrees have a higher content: utter nonsense.The format of the undergraduate degree is pretty irrelevant, since undergraduate and graduate degrees are different worlds.
 
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mbfinalblues
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 22nd, 2008, 5:18 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: NomadeQuote European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD That is absolutely nonsense, but some otherwise intelligent people think that way. The only thing one can say is that the US has a vastly greater number of top schools than Europe. That said, the top schools in Europe are as good as any top school in the US, and certainly have the same prestige. In fact, one can argue that the reason the US has the lead now is in large part due to the influx of European scholars a few decades ago. If anti-intectualism persists in the US, as Europe standardize and reform its schools, I guess the lead the US has now is likely to shrink.----A Harvard PhD or Ivy League PhD or top US school PhD is far superior: my opinion. You get better all around training and are exposed to top notch faculty. In Europe apart from Oxbridge there are no real academic superpowers. Sure you have the French schools but they have pockets of excellence. It is wrong thinking that Europe is on par with the US. The US schools have more money, better faculty and better performance in top journals. Oxford and the UK universities are trying to alter their PhD programs to effectively compete. As some posts mentioned the top very best Chinese and Indian students head to the US. If they thought Europe was on par droves of them would head to Europe. This isn't the case.
 
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DominicConnor
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 22nd, 2008, 6:07 pm

[A Harvard PhD or Ivy League PhD or top US school PhD is far superior: my opinion. My opinion differs from yours, and it matters more because I decide whether to forward you to jobs or not Your next misconception is that you think some simplistic ordering function exists. It doesn't, at least no useful function exists.You need to study some CompSci, rarely do I say such a thing in this forum, but hey.You need to understand the difference between a predicate, an ordering function and an aggregate, and finally grouping. You also need to have met someone who went to the same college as someone who fell asleep in an economics lecture. You need to understand the diversity of utility functions, and you need to understand this now.[/ig]You get better all around training and are exposed to top notch faculty. Flatly untrue. Some people who know vastly more about this game will point at the Ecole Polytechnique, others say nice things about the final bit of the Cambridge maths tripos, and in any case only a tiny % of the world's "top notch" people are at any given university. Even then, how much of their time do you think you will get personally ?You seem to prefer American universities, fine, that's not an irrational evaluation. However, you demonstrate no evidence that you are making an efficient choice, since you've not defined what you are trying to achieve, and seem to have fallen for what Heinlein would call the aristocratic fallacy.
 
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Anthis
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 22nd, 2008, 6:31 pm

QuoteMy opinion differs from yours, and it matters more because I decide whether to forward you to jobs or not LOL I have always thought that at this level of studies the content of research matters more than the place the thesis was written.
 
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StatGuy
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 22nd, 2008, 6:31 pm

QuoteYou need to understand the difference between a predicate, an ordering function and an aggregate, and finally grouping. You also need to have met someone who went to the same college as someone who fell asleep in an economics lectureThis is a good point DCFC. Since no-one really knows the true picture here we just make judgments based on our personal experience. I think some people place too much emphasis on where they got their PhDs as opposed to what they really know. Pure talent is not always correlated with going to a better university, it may well be that some individuals never had the finances to attend such a university. It's usually misleading saying things like x is better than y, unless we have some valid data to prove this hypothesis which is clearly not the case here. A further point having lots of structure in a course will teach you the basics well, but it wouldn't teach you how to be creative, i.e. here is a different problem under different conditions, see if you can find a solution etc.Stats Guy
 
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aiQUANT
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European PhD lack prestige and content compared to American PhD

June 22nd, 2008, 6:43 pm

mbfinalblues, East asians prefer to go to America for the work opportunities, no language barrier, relaxed immigration and lavish scholarships. Its not that easy in Europe.
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