Dartmouth College - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||5|
|Avg years at University||2.0|
|Research Quality||A- (8.4)|
|Research Availability||B+ (7.6)|
|Research Funding||B+ (7.5)|
|Graduate Politics||A- (8.6)|
|Errand Runners||A (9.0)|
|Degree Completion||A- (8.8)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||A (9.2)|
|Sufficient Pay||B+ (7.8)|
|Education Quality||A- (8.5)|
|Faculty Accessibility||A+ (9.9)|
|Useful Research||A- (8.6)|
|"Individual" treatment||A+ (9.8)|
|Campus Beauty||A (9.0)|
|Campus Maintenance||A- (8.8)|
|University Resource/spending||A (9.4)|
|Surrounding City||B (7.1)|
|Social Life/Environment||B- (6.4)|
First thing to note, Dartmouth College is beautiful. The architecture is gorgeous. The campus is green, beautiful, and vibrant. There is SO much to do outdoors, that I can not list it all! From swimming and kayaking in the Connecticut River to skiing at the Dartmouth Skiway there is a always something active to do. If you just want to sit down with a nice cup of coffee/tea, Hanover also has a great local coffee shop (Dirt Cowboy Cafe, which is arguably one of the best cafes in New England), some great dining, and even has what has been called "the best gelato in the US" (Morano Gelato)! Yes, Hanover, New Hampshire is a "small town" and this may not agree with everybody. However, it is nonetheless a vibrant place in an absolutely beautiful environment.
Of course, I did not attend Dartmouth College for the coffee or outdoors. I attended Dartmouth College for the education. While Dartmouth often "emphasizes" undergraduate education, the truth is you get just as good an education at the graduate level. The difference is that at the graduate level you get free tuition, health care, and a good stipend! You do have to teach, but the teaching load is tiny compared to what many other graduate students have to do. My department was Physics and Astronomy, and the courses were intense. This is not to say they were necessarily "hard" (some were, some were not), but they always kept you extremely busy. While taking courses, you will likely find that your social life is very limited because you are working very hard. After a few years you will then concentrate on your research. Do not be fooled by the fact that this is a "small" research institution. Professors expect a great deal out of you. You will need to publish, you will need to take a qualifying exam, and it will be stressful at times. Nevertheless, the faculty DOES treat you as a person and not a statistic. They monitor your progress and will help you should you stumble or have problems. They want you to succeed. I was astounded at how friendly ALL the faculty are. If I had questions, I would often ask one of the professors whom I had never even had a class with, and I would sit down and get assistance from him/her! You will NOT get this kind of personal attention at a large research institution.
For its size, Dartmouth College has amazing resources! The Physics and Astronomy Department has world-class resources despite the fact that the department is small and personal. Students often were travelling to Arizona to use the telescopes that Dartmouth owns a share in (MDM), they were travelling to Antarctica to do research, they were in Europe, and often they were at numerous conferences. If you want to travel to a conference, and your advisor has no money, you can still find support! This is amazing, since at many institutions if you have no money you are out of luck! My advisor had no money for a conference I wished to attend, but I got money from the department. At this conference I recall speaking to a graduate student from Berkeley who had to pay everything out of pocket because she could not get any money! Berkeley is an amazing school, but again such a large institution does not mean you will be treated better.
The vast, vast, majority of graduate students I met were extremely happy at Dartmouth College. There were a surprising number of marriages, given just how small the graduate community is relative to a giant institution. The vast majority of graduate students were also extremely accomplished. Although a small university, the graduate program nevertheless attracted scholars from all over the world. Almost every graduate that I know of got a postdoc position or a good job before graduating. Hard work pays off, and honestly in many cases it felt more like fun than work.BOTTOM LINES: Dartmouth College has a great graduate program with world-class facilitates and faculty. The program is quite intense, but also very rewarding. The students (both undergraduate and graduate) as well as the faculty are warm and engaging, as well as very talented. The environment can be stressful (as is the nature of the game), but is far less stressful than at many other places. The location, buildings, libraries, everything is absolutely astounding. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who visited Dartmouth in 1953 remarked, "This is what a college should look like." I would summarize my time at Dartmouth College as: "This is what the graduate experience should be like."