The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||22|
|Avg years at University||2.0|
|Research Quality||B+ (7.9)|
|Research Availability||B (6.8)|
|Research Funding||B- (5.8)|
|Graduate Politics||B- (6.3)|
|Not Errand Runners||B+ (7.4)|
|Degree Completion||B- (6.1)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||C (4.7)|
|Sufficient Pay||C+ (5.4)|
|Education Quality||B (6.5)|
|Faculty Accessibility||C+ (5.6)|
|Useful Research||B (6.7)|
|"Individual" treatment||B- (6.0)|
|Campus Beauty||B (7.0)|
|Campus Maintenance||B+ (7.5)|
|University Spending||B+ (7.4)|
|Scholastic Success||B+ (7.4)|
|Surrounding City||B (7.1)|
|Social Life/ Environment||C- (4.0)|
While the basic ideas surrounding the program are admirable and often work out in the end for successful graduates of the program, prospective students should be well aware of the particular quality of experience that he or she will get being a part of another department but also being a part of this particular program.
For example, I take mostly music classes, as I intend to pursue a PhD in the future in ethnomusicology; however, classes are often geared toward doctoral students who are "in it for the long haul" and not simply those who are taking classes in what could essentially be considered a willy-nilly manner, which is the basic method that MAPHers employ in choosing courses. Professors and colleagues will assume that you know everything that is going on, and you will be expected to conform to strict departmentally devised guidelines in your coursework.
Also, please note that professors and colleagues are probably not doing anything other than their academic work; this means that they will be disinterested in the fact that you work at a real, non-student job during the day; they will also be ambiguous toward the fact that you may live outside the confines of Hyde Park.In short, I consider this program to be tailored almost exclusively to the trust fund set. If you are a member of this elite group, then it would be wise to consider this program as your next career move if you are so inclined. If you are one of the rest of us, then find something else.
This is one of the most unique environments I've ever experienced; everyone here, from undergrads to Ph.D. students working on their disserations, is well-read and well-spoken. More to the point, everyone is willing and very eager to engage in critical discussion on almost any topic imaginable. Indeed, it is the number one pastime. Panel discussions and lectures by prominent international scholars are a dime a dozen here, several a night if not more, and students flock to them to participate in critical dialogue and present their own perspectives. At the campus bar, you're much more likely to find graduate students drinking heavily and arguing loudly about the lastest publications in major journals (and dropping names and citations left and right) than you are to find them actually socializing or trying to find someone to take home.
If you are in sociology, you'll meet math and literature students in the dining halls that are prepared to offer you serious, challenging, and informed discussion about your research. If you are a math student, you'll find that the sociology and film students are prepared to do the same. The level of cross-discipline dialog is startling. It seems that most of the students at this school are simply exceptionally well-read and very interested in understanding a wide variety of phenomena, processes and histories from across all disciplines. It is, at first, shocking and intimidating: you don't expect such serious and insighful criticism from every direction, throughout the day and night, from every last person you encounter.
For the student who wants a pure, intense, intellectual experience, there can be no better place. Beware, however: there is no respite here. There is no room for nonsense or half-formed thoughts and opinions; any friends that you make will be happy to show you just how sloppy your thinking is, if you should let yourself slip, much less faculty members... they're helpful and friendly, but have no problem telling you when your work is half-baked or your ideas full of holes.
All in all, I would say that I have had an interesting and eye-opening experience, but I will also be glad when I am done, because once I have left the campus, I will finally be able to let my intellectual guard down for the first time in a long time.
For the serious student only!
I've heard people question the safety of the campus, given that it borders a 'rough' neighbourhood; I came here from a rural setting, in a country with a ridiculously low crime rate and I feel totally safe here- as long as I don't do anything stupid.
Socially, yeah, getting to town is a bit of a hassle, but I'm not paying all this money to be going out every weeknight anyway, and Chicago's a blast when we do got out (about twice a week, average, so it's not that socially inept).All-in-all, this has been the best money I ever spent. Being here, working with top professors, and students who are passionate about their subjects has definitely made me more passionate about my own work. I'd highly recommend this place to grad students (Personally, I'm not equipped to comment on undergrads).
CONS-faculty are arrogant; Chicago winter sucks; some groups are poor and students TA often; small-research choices are limited,except in theory; finding a date is impossible.Come to UC if you: don't want to commit suicide (Harvard), not be weeded out after TAing is done (Berkeley), live comfortably (not Stanford), work with normal people (not CalTech), enjoy life (not MIT), and you know who you want to work for.
Students are supersmart and work extremely hard. The 1st year students are very competitive since many students fail the prelim (Ph.D. candidacy exam). Once one pass the prelim, it becomes relatively easier. But still, most students put into 70 hours or more in their studies a week. The hardest part in writing the dissertation, which can take anywhere between 2 years to 4 years. Once you get a Ph.D. from Chicago, one usually find good academic positions or industry positions. Top students from Chicago usually become assistant professors at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Berkeley, Penn, Northwestern etc. Others generally go to Wall Street, consulting firms or government such as World Bank, Federal Reserve etc.University of Chicago is the world's best place to study economics and conducting economic research.
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