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Old 14.11.2007, 00:22
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ETH Zurich computer science masters?

Hi,

I got accepted for a Masters Program in Computer Science in ETH Zurich. I am also applying for U.S universities. Those U.S universities would be something mediocre like Dallas University or Minnesota university etc . Can anyone please tell me whether ETH would be better than those?(specifically I am interested in theoretical computer science) I know ETH has a good reputation among european universities, but wanted to know how good the options would be after education in europe like for a job(I am not an european resident, and from Asia) Is it much easier to get Job in US after studying in US than in europe? How good does ETH have reputation in USA(say If one wants to apply for ph.d in US after masters in ETH)?

Thanks
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Old 14.11.2007, 01:11
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Re: ETH Zurich computer science masters?

If you want to end up in the US, you are probably better off going to one of the schools there. Often departments encourage their students to go straight into a Ph.D. program. Just something to think about, and make sure to ask the departments that you are applying to.
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Old 14.11.2007, 10:25
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Re: ETH Zurich computer science masters?

If you want to live and work in the US eventually, it is better to go to a US university. However, ETH Zurich is one of the best universities in the world and certainly better than the ones you mentioned, although University of Minnesota Twin Cities is a fairly strong university as well. ETH Zurich would be at about the level of SUNY Stony Brook, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, etc. when it comes to Computer Science, but not a match for UC Berkeley, the Ivy league schools, MIT, Caltech, etc.

You should also strongly consider the impact of going to a German speaking university. Some courses are not available in English and even those adverstised in English may have lecture notes in German! I took a class at ETH advertised in English and the second half of the course had lecture notes in German. I found that totally ridiculous!

Consider also the student body: you would find many more Indian students in the US than here. That makes a big difference. Also consider the amount of financial assistance you receive, lifestyle differences, etc.

By all means, ETH is an excellent Uni, but consider the implications in your long term plans. ETH has an excellent reputation in the US and you would have no problem getting into a US PhD program with an ETH masters.
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Old 14.11.2007, 10:39
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Re: ETH Zurich computer science masters?

My own opinion with experience from teaching both UniZh and ETHZ students is that the ETHZ has an unwarranted reputation umbrella, particularly in the life sciences. This magical reputation is indeed true in Engineering and chemistry (don't know about computer science) but should not be extended to cover the entire institution. In short yes the ETHZ does carry a worldwide reputation for excellence, BUT

I would suggest looking at long term plans, particularly career related objectives which may be more dynamic in the US.
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Old 19.11.2007, 00:26
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Re: ETH Zurich computer science masters?

Quote:
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I got accepted for a Masters Program in Computer Science in ETH Zurich. I am also applying for U.S universities. Those U.S universities would be something mediocre like Dallas University or Minnesota university etc . Can anyone please tell me whether ETH would be better than those?(specifically I am interested in theoretical computer science)
ETH's reputation in theoretical computer science is very strong (and in CS in general, but theory is one of the strongest institutes in the department). The CS curriculum is much better than in the other universities mentioned in this thread. Also, the reputation of the department and its faculty (within the research community) is very high, and much better than most (not all) US universities.

There is a very simple scheme according to which you can evaluate the quality of the faculty. Research in CS is (in constrast to other disciplines) very much conference-based (rather than journal-based), and there is a quite well-estabilished hierarchy of conferences (just google for CS conference rankings to get the picture). Look for faculty members in your area of interest, and see in which conferences they publish. This should give you a rough idea.

However, if you plan to go for a PhD in the US anyway, you should apply directly there. Even though you have to realize that a PhD from a very good european university (not only from ETH...) is (even in the US) considered to be on a higher level than a PhD from a badly-ranked US university.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 19.11.2007, 10:12
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Re: ETH Zurich computer science masters?

Actually, I disagree with most of these posts. The people at good universities in the US know what schools are good abroad, and will judge you accordingly. I followed my advisor from Caltech to ETH/Eawag (Swiss federal water research institute), and all of the top U.S. researchers in the field (1) know where I am and (2) are jealous. This could be field-specific, but if ETH has any sort of reputation for computer science like it does for most sciences, you're so much better off there than Dallas or Minnesota...I have to admit that I haven't heard of Dallas University, and I always heard of Minnesota as being a party school.

As far as a job goes, my impression after 4 months in Switzerland is that there are way more jobs available in the U.S. than Europe, especially if you want to go into academia.

Good luck deciding where to go!
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