The University of Oregon
| StudentsReview ::
The University of Oregon - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||7|
|Avg years at University||2.1|
|Research Quality||B- (6.4)|
|Research Availability||B- (6.5)|
|Research Funding||B- (5.9)|
|Graduate Politics||B- (6.5)|
|Errand Runners||B- (5.8)|
|Degree Completion||C+ (5.6)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||B (6.8)|
|Sufficient Pay||C+ (5.8)|
|Education Quality||B- (6.1)|
|Faculty Accessibility||B- (6.5)|
|Useful Research||B (6.9)|
|"Individual" treatment||C+ (5.5)|
|Campus Beauty||A- (8.4)|
|Campus Maintenance||B (6.9)|
|University Resource/spending||C+ (5.6)|
|Surrounding City||B- (5.9)|
|Social Life/Environment||C+ (5.1)|
Many professors in the department (especially the tenured ones) are unable to secure research funding. This is especially hurtful with such a small faculty size (around twenty). Most graduate students have to fight to join the few research groups that actually succeed in getting funding. These groups are mostly working in the field of Networking, although popularity & funding availability of this field has been waning in recent years. The department is also unable to attract good junior researchers: This may have something to do with the isolation of the Pacific Northwest (and Eugene), as well as the politics and poor academic quality of the department itself. The dept. has been trying to hire 1-2 faculty per year for the past 5-6 years, and in that time period have only managed to hire 3 new professors. Many outstanding candidates interview here as a means for preparing for tougher interviews at higher quality institutions (and, when given an offer, refuse it).
At such a small department, one would expect to find a friendly, family-like atmosphere. Not so at UO CIS. Department functions, such as colloquiums, talks, picnics, free lunches, etc., are held infrequently. Attendance at these events is also very low. Most of the (few-and-far-between) activities are geared towards outdoorsy people. Students sequester themselves into cliques: the three main cliques are dividied along ethnic/racial lines; Chinese, Indian, and White-American. American students of non-White racial backgrounds are not to be found here. However, most Indian students have left the department, so there are now only two visible cliques.
Much of the work asked of the PhD students is menial, repetitive, secretarial, and errand-oriented in nature. The quality of research coming out of this department is quite low: You will not find many UO students publishing in the best journals or conference proceedings. Professors are usually the first authors in publications coming out of the department, since graduate students are relegated to errand-boy status (and asked to do most of the "busy-work"). There are not enough PhD graduates to judge this by, but it seems that students graduating from UO CIS have difficulty finding faculty positions at decent quality research universities.Before going to graduate school, do as much research as possible. Visit, talk to professors, current students, and past students. For me, the UO CIS program was a waste of two years of my life that I could've spent working or learning at a department that's actually got it together.
Academically, many of the departments are just barely competitive, both in the sciences and liberal arts. If you take a look at UO's rankings in any graduate department, they will most likely tend towards 3rd tier (around or below 50th). As for the CIS department specifically, undergrad enrollment has been dropping very quickly in the past 3 years, and as such grad student funding has become more and more limited. The quality of instruction is also quite poor, as many professors are too absorbed in their personal research to take any amount of time to prepare for classes. Most junior faculty are foreign and have a weak grasp of the English language. Many professors are bad at communicating, and some are even outright rude (professors have been known to openly mock and shout at their research assistants).
Half the faculty are getting old and tending towards the latter part of their careers, and as a result they either do not do much research, or do so without funding to support graduate students. Also, many of the professors 'use' students in furthering their own personal research or careers (getting tenure is more important than student satisfaction), sometimes to the exclusion of helping them complete their degrees.There are several programs at UO that do not deserve this type of reputation. However, if you are looking for a strong graduate program, you will probably have better luck elsewhere. There just aren't that many distinguished universities on the West Coast (aside from UDub, UCal campuses, and a few private universities like Stanford, USC, and CalTech--all in California).
Regarding the University at large, grad students may be discouraged by the money/sports hungry administration. The red-tape at the grad school can get quite annoying, but unless you're proposing or defending your research, you won't deal with them much.
Funding in these two departments is available, though not a guarantee. GTFs (or Graduate Teaching Fellowships) come with tuition waivers, FREE health insurance, and a decent monthly stipend. The GTFF, or GTF labor union, rocks! They work very hard to get UO grad students the best benefits possible (it's the 2nd oldest grad student union in the country). Because of our union, we have a solid contract which minimizes the amount (and type) of work we do. No running errands for professors or doing research outside your job description, and work weeks are capped at 20 hours or less depending on your contract FTE amount.I highly recommend the UO, especially if you're interested in Art History or History.
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