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Old 03-25-2015, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Montreal
579 posts, read 432,895 times
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Now that it could come down to Minnesota vs. Carnegie Mellon (especially if I get in off the waitlist at the latter) I feel that some municipal factors may end up having sufficient weight in the decisional process to actually tip the balance towards one or the other.

If you feel that the municipal factors are not enough to help, I will supply the academic information also.

Minneapolis (if I attended University of Minnesota):

Stipend: $24,440/year
Likely areas: Dinkytown, Uptown, Marcy-Holmes

Pittsburgh (if I attended Carnegie Mellon):

Stipend: $28,500/year
Likely areas: Squirrel Hill, Southside Flats, Stanton Heights
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Miami Beach, FL/Tokyo, Japan
1,699 posts, read 1,487,001 times
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Well Carnegie Mellon is the better school. Pittsburgh is a more interesting and imo a more livable place than Minneapolis. Both are actually very cheap, but because of the rust belt decline of Pittsburgh, it could be even cheaper than Minneapolis. But I think they are comparable.

My sister had this choice btw. She was given a choice to attend University of Pittsburgh or the University of Minnesota for a phD in public health. She went and visited both, and ultimately chose University of Pittsburgh despite the University of Minnesota being a better program. It was mostly on her visit to the University of Minnesota in February that sealed the deal, and of course the attitude of the professors there, one of which who proudly said: "We're great for studying and researching because our weather is terrible half the year, we all stay inside."

She's now doing a post doc at Harvard Medical in Boston. She loved Pittsburgh btw.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Paris
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I'd go with the one that has the best program for your PhD.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
11,919 posts, read 11,044,985 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvanung View Post
Pittsburgh (if I attended Carnegie Mellon):

Stipend: $28,500/year
Likely areas: Squirrel Hill, Southside Flats, Stanton Heights
Don't move to Stanton Heights if you come to Pittsburgh. It's an island of mid-century suburbia in the city with absolutely nothing to walk to. I don't even think there's a bus that gets you to Oakland without a transfer.

Consider Shadyside if you can afford it. It's the traditional neighborhood CMU students live in.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Montreal
579 posts, read 432,895 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDPMiami View Post
Well Carnegie Mellon is the better school. Pittsburgh is a more interesting and imo a more livable place than Minneapolis. Both are actually very cheap, but because of the rust belt decline of Pittsburgh, it could be even cheaper than Minneapolis. But I think they are comparable.
That would be true for undergrad (unless one is a D1-caliber athlete, in which case Minnesota is a better choice) but a PhD is much more dependent on the actual research.

But Carnegie Mellon seemingly has trouble recruiting PhD students in my field; consider that they are competing against Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers, Brown et al for students. On the other hand, Minnesota has to send out 90-110 offers to fill 30-35 seats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caesarstl View Post
I'd go with the one that has the best program for your PhD.
For this reason I will supply the academic information. Both seem to care about the students' well-being, especially since that, from the viewpoint of universities at the tier immediately below the top-20, the competition for students is fierce (and both Minnesota and CMU are at that level). Keep in mind what I want out of my PhD: early/very early universe research.

Minnesota:
Professors of interest: Olive, Peloso
Greater ability for advanced standing
Farther from home
Large department

Carnegie Mellon:
Professors of interest: Holman, Flauger
More limited ability for advanced standing
Closer to home
Smaller department

Quote:
Consider Shadyside if you can afford it. It's the traditional neighborhood CMU students live in.
I had the impression that Shadyside was a more upscale kind of neighborhood compared to Squirrel Hill, Southside Flats, Morningside or Highland Park and hence was more expensive; plus some CMU current students claimed that Shadyside was the biggest rip-off in Pittsburgh. In which case I wonder whether $2,375/month is a sufficient budget to live in Shadyside.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:21 AM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
12,999 posts, read 17,169,232 times
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If you choose Carnegie Mellon University and you want to stretch your dollars further, give Bloomfield and Regent Square a look. Both have solid business districts, plus a lot of amenities nearby.

Bloomfield is located in between all the action in Pittsburgh's East End, it seems. It's north of Oakland, which is the university neighborhood, south of Lawrenceville, which is the "hipster" neighborhood, and west of East Liberty, which is reemerging as the commercial nexus of the East End. It's also not very far from downtown Pittsburgh, via Bigelow Boulevard.

As for Regent Square, it straddles the city limits, and is convenient to Frick Park, which I believe is the largest park in the city. It's not very far from I-376, which is the major (albeit dated) east/west thoroughfare through the Pittsburgh area, or from Squirrel Hill, which has a solid business district itself.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvanung View Post
I had the impression that Shadyside was a more upscale kind of neighborhood compared to Squirrel Hill, Southside Flats, Morningside or Highland Park and hence was more expensive; plus some CMU current students claimed that Shadyside was the biggest rip-off in Pittsburgh. In which case I wonder whether $2,375/month is a sufficient budget to live in Shadyside.
Rents are higher in Shadyside than anywhere else in the city. But Squirrel Hill is similarly upscale, and the rental market (since it's student dominated) is just as overpriced. South Side is fairly pricey these days as well.

If you want to save money but be on a bus commute to school, I'd consider Bloomfield, Friendship, Regent Square, East Liberty, and Highland Park.
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Old 03-25-2015, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
1,704 posts, read 2,637,235 times
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I would definitely not recommend living in Dinkytown as a PhD student. It's a fun place to visit, but not to live if you aren't an undergrad. And even lots of undergrads aren't willing to live there. It's just loud and raucous all the time.

Marcy-Holmes is a good alternative. Also be sure to check out Como, St. Anthony Park, Northeast, and Prospect Park. Stadium Village and West Bank are great if you're okay with basically living on campus.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,052 posts, read 99,018,950 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDPMiami View Post
Well Carnegie Mellon is the better school. Pittsburgh is a more interesting and imo a more livable place than Minneapolis. Both are actually very cheap, but because of the rust belt decline of Pittsburgh, it could be even cheaper than Minneapolis. But I think they are comparable.

My sister had this choice btw. She was given a choice to attend University of Pittsburgh or the University of Minnesota for a phD in public health. She went and visited both, and ultimately chose University of Pittsburgh despite the University of Minnesota being a better program. It was mostly on her visit to the University of Minnesota in February that sealed the deal, and of course the attitude of the professors there, one of which who proudly said: "We're great for studying and researching because our weather is terrible half the year, we all stay inside."

She's now doing a post doc at Harvard Medical in Boston. She loved Pittsburgh btw.
Similar is said about the U of IL, though for different reasons, mainly "hazy, hot and humid" for at least 4 months a year, bitter cold for at least two months, and flat and boring all the time. Sorry to go off topic but my DH's advisor at UI said that.

Now, I'd go with CMU for the reasons that SDPMiami gave.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Montreal
579 posts, read 432,895 times
Reputation: 255
The primary outstanding question is whether Olive/Peloso are better than Holman/Flauger (in short, the potential advisors) to the point of outweighing the municipal advantage Pittsburgh has over Minneapolis.

As I said, Minnesota and CMU both care about physics PhD students' well-being because they are located in somewhat isolated and/or unappealing, if cheap, cities and they are not that prestigious in-field; the caliber of students that attend either school are about the same (how many Minnesota/CMU cross-admits there are this year remain to be seen) I would expect to get similar challenges out of my classmates.

My professors claimed that, as far as the gauging of institutional reputation is concerned, if the research one intends to do crosses over multiple subfields (here particle physics and cosmology) one has to balance the schools' reputations in all the subfields involved. Minnesota is better on the particle side, CMU on the cosmology side, but when both are put together, it is a non-factor.

Or SDPMiami somehow weighs cosmology more heavily than I do (or have Holman/Flauger in higher esteem than Olive/Peloso) when considering both sides of particle cosmology.
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