Is it a good idea to stay at your undergraduate institution for PhD?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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bxbdhdj
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:00 pm

Is it a good idea to stay at your undergraduate institution for PhD?

Post by bxbdhdj » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:23 am

Hi! I recently got two offers at about the same level. One is my home undergrad institution and the other one is a closely ranked school. They are equally good schools in terms of reputation and research on the field I'm interested in. At the same time, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the math department of my home school and I know the professors very well. In fact if I stay at my home uni, I know who I will be working with and he is also willing to advise me. Also, the location of my home school is very pleasant (I'm the big-city type of person). I just don't think anything will go wrong if I choose to stay.

However, what I'ver heard, and actually what that professor at my school told me, is one should probably move to other places for PhD. He said staying at home uni will do harm to my resume-building. And I talked with several PhD students, they all suggest me to move so that I could have a "broader view" of mathematics, or at least seem to have.

So I am just a bit hesitant, should I move to a place that I am completely unfamiliar with or should I stay at the place where I know I will love? I guess I've been losing sight of long-term career development as I am so content with my present life. But it's still hard to give up everything.. Any advice on this? Thanks!

CategorifiedCat
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:44 pm

Re: Is it a good idea to stay at your undergraduate institution for PhD?

Post by CategorifiedCat » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:03 am

Congrats on your offers!

People are going to have very different views on this. I know professors who oppose student staying at the same school and ones who support it, at about 1:1 ratio.
I would say as a general rule, be open-minded and go to both schools' open house and discuss with the people there. You might end up preferring the other school.

cohomonoid
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2021 9:52 am

Re: Is it a good idea to stay at your undergraduate institution for PhD?

Post by cohomonoid » Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:11 pm

I have heard some professors discourage this, saying its better to experience some different department cultures. But I've also seen/heard of plenty of PhD students at their undergrad alma mater, so it definitely happens all the time. As long as you like your department and your school, and its not too small, its probably not the worst thing. I do think there's some value in meeting new people, new professors, different research interests etc. though.

LogiKid
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:15 am

Re: Is it a good idea to stay at your undergraduate institution for PhD?

Post by LogiKid » Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:40 pm

I've been told it looks fishy if all your education is done at the same place - like you couldn't get admitted elsewhere. It's probably more common to change schools between undergrad and masters/PhD. That said, I know people who got all their qualifications at the same school, and went on to have very successful careers in mathematics.

pizzakun
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:27 am

Re: Is it a good idea to stay at your undergraduate institution for PhD?

Post by pizzakun » Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:50 pm

I don't think there's anything wrong with it as long as it's a rational decision i.e. reputation, field of interest, or even convenience of location. I will be attending the same school where I'm getting my ab. Though I do know some schools "strongly encourage" their students to pick a different school for doctorate studies i.e. MIT, but I've seen professors that went to MIT for both undergrad and grad.



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