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Thread: Switching to European PhD from a US PhD

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Apr 2015
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    Switching to European PhD from a US PhD

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    Hi all,

    I am faced with a dilemma and need valuable comments. Any help would be appreciated.
    So, I am in my first year at a top 30 US program. However, due to personal reasons I must have to move to Europe. So I am considering applying to EU programs again. My interest is in behavioral economics. I've some questions:

    1) I've been hearing things like the "ideology" or the "philosophy" of US phd and EU phd are very different. What does that translate into when it comes to brass tacks ?
    2) I'm not keen on working strictly in the US post PhD and would likely go back to my country. So does my US or EU degree really matter ?
    3) Also heard that EU looks at the whole admission process as "hiring a researcher" as opposed to "admitting a grad student" in the US. True ? If yes, what exactly do they look for/expect in my application
    4) For a moment, ignoring the commonly believed notion that there is an unsaid "bias" against EU degrees when it comes to US job market, is a European degree really at a disadvantage ?
    5) How is the research atmosphere in EU. student-advisor relations ? (of course cannot generalize this one but still.. vague idea)
    6) Reapplying from a top 30 US program might help or hinder my chances ?
    7) Funding outlook at EU ?
    8) For behavioral econ, I am considering U of Zurich, TSE, Stockholm. Any more ?

    Thanks a lot ,friends!

  2. #2
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Tilburg, NL
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    Re: Switching to European PhD from a US PhD

    First of all, none of what you asked can easily be generalized across all of Europe. But let me try to be as general as possible.
    1) It depends very much on the program, in the good programs in Europe there is not much difference. Lower ranked programs usually let students research 'something' without steering them towards asking better questions.
    2) Even if you want to stay in Europe it may matter, but only for very few select schools. And of course it depends on which institution you do your PhD at.
    3) Not universally true, but good Europeanprograms look at your potential reflected by academic achievement, content of letters and your written statement.
    4) Again depends where you come from. I would say mostly yes.
    5) Strongly depends. In Tilburg (where I'm a faculty member), we have very students per adviser and I at least try to meet with students frequently and advance their projects. Other good places in Europe will do the same. Not so good places might use PhD students to just do work for the advisers.
    6) If somewhat successful so far help, otherwise hinder.
    7) Funding at EU programs is often more generous than in the US as you often get a 'researcher salary'.
    8) I strongly suggest you also look at Bonn, Munich, Amsterdam and Tilburg. Happy to chat about the benefits of Tilburg.

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Switching to European PhD from a US PhD

    Anymore, folks ??

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