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    What university in the US would have similar academic standing and reputation as the University of Edinburgh?

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    (Original post by kthomash)
    What university in the US would have similar academic standing and reputation as the University of Edinburgh?

    Thanks.
    McGill. In Canada.
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    Thank you, but what about the United States?
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    (Original post by kthomash)
    Thank you, but what about the United States?
    Well it's not really comparable ...

    You might say that UPenn, UNC and Princeton were all sort of like Edinburgh - if only because they're fairly old, of a good standard and founded by Scots (much like McGill - which retains a lot more of its Scottish roots). Edinburgh's regularly in the top 20 universities in the world - you won't find anywhere in North America as old as it.
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    Ah, I understand. Thank you- any other insights are welcome.
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    (Original post by kthomash)
    Ah, I understand. Thank you- any other insights are welcome.
    Interesting that you ask this question. This came up on my trip to Edinburgh a few weeks ago (I'm an American). Yes, I would say that its reputation is similar to Penn and other schools like it (perhaps a little bit below that, however). But the quality of the education isn't quite there. I spoke to many Americans or students who had studied abroad in America, and what I got was that the UK system is built differently, and is less rigorous. This does not mean that one is superior to the other, only that you're likely going to have more undergraduate attention at an American university than at Edinburgh (it's a research university). As it relates to the quality of the education, I would equate it to a top public school, like UMich or Wisconsin-Madison. McGill is probably a good comparison as well.
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    (Original post by collegerm)
    Interesting that you ask this question. This came up on my trip to Edinburgh a few weeks ago (I'm an American). Yes, I would say that its reputation is similar to Penn and other schools like it (perhaps a little bit below that, however). But the quality of the education isn't quite there. I spoke to many Americans or students who had studied abroad in America, and what I got was that the UK system is built differently, and is less rigorous. This does not mean that one is superior to the other, only that you're likely going to have more undergraduate attention at an American university than at Edinburgh (it's a research university). As it relates to the quality of the education, I would equate it to a top public school, like UMich or Wisconsin-Madison. McGill is probably a good comparison as well.
    Well-considered post. The thing is, I feel directly comparing universities like Penn to Edinburgh can be a bit unfair - Penn's endowment is enormous, so naturally it will have an advantage. I actually know someone who has studied at both, and while he preferred Penn socially (being a Brit in America and all that), his description of the standard of teaching went some way to dispel the myths surrounding places like that. Yes, there may be on or two big academic names attached to a course, but most of your time is spent with TAs, constantly writing regurgitated assignments and being quizzed/spoon fed (I obviously am grossly over-simplifying to make a point), whereas in Edinburgh there is more of a focus on developing students who can work it out for themselves and work independently. So you say "less rigorous" and I say that Americans I've known studying the UK as postgraduates have been wildly out of their depth (in some cases) because they've never had to think for themselves previously.

    To qualify this, I haven't studied in the USA myself. I still think McGill is the best comparison though.
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    Interesting insights. Being American, I am not familiar with McGill as I am with other US universities, prompting my question. Penn seems to be a good comparison- their medical school was founded by Edinburgh graduates as well as modeled after the medical school in Edinburgh, so the comparison seems appropriate. Edinburgh has some very famous alumni, and I wonder if they are ranked so high in the world (usually top 20) simply because of their history. In terms of national rankings, they are ranked around 5 or 6, so would it not be safe to compare Edinburgh with the US schools that are ranked 5th or 6th? This would equate Edinburgh with Stanford or U. of Chicago. I would say this seems fitting, not quite Ivy-league (meaning Oxford or Cambridge in the UK), but certainly a prestigious, world-class university.
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    I was at Penn last semester from Edinburgh. *most* exchange students at Penn from the UK (UCL, Edinburgh, Imperial, Kings) were disappointed by the academic standard at Penn. This is more due to the US style of education than Penn as a university. More focus on being taught, group work, and continuous assessment which isn't necessarily a bad thing. You can't really say the UK or Edinburgh is less 'rigorous' though - the biggest difference between Penn and Edinburgh for me was that no matter what, I have to know pretty much all of a course for the final exam at Edinburgh. Most courses follow the same grading procedure and structure. At Penn, no real final exams makes not understanding certain sections of the course okay. In 3 of my Penn courses most of the course material was not tested explicitly. Courses and marking are very variable though.

    In terms of comparing reputation just remember there is a huge difference between private and public universities in the US. In the UK and other commonwealth countries universities are generally seen as public institutions. This influences the differences in teaching, reputation and expectations also. Many people even at Penn admitted to going there simply because it was a private Ivy. People don't really consider universities in other parts of the world this way, Russell League is a much weaker brand.

    Edinburgh stands up well for a public institution, and you really have to look at specific fields if you want a good idea of reputation. Penn, for business, is world renowned. Everything at Penn is connected to Wharton. Edinburgh, for Informatics, English, Geology, etc, is well known. During my time at Penn and at other universities, people in these fields would often bring up the fact that they/someone they knew had done something at Edinburgh in one of these areas. Some people would literally rant about it. This is good. Outside of these areas it would really never happen. The same for Stanford vs Ivy league in say Computer Science - Stanford blows them away. It's really hard to make these comparisons and a mistake to look at newspaper rankings and try match places across countries. Why do Oxbridge only equate to Ivy League and Stanford not fall up there? Even CMU is much better for CS than Penn.

    Overall I was really disappointed by my academic experience at Penn. When I went I really thought in the way that Ivy League = Oxbridge and I was going to a better university than Edinburgh for undergraduate education, in a way you describe kthomash. I was very wrong. I got more attention and answers in lectures, but when I came back to Edinburgh I got most lecturers to set up Piazza for their courses and our classes benefit a lot. It's not like they're unwilling in the UK, they're just stuck in old ways. Penn was a really 'nice' place though - University City is a much better place to be a student than Edinburgh. I'd say there's no equivalent to Edinburgh in the world, which holds true for every other university. They are complicated things and the only fair comparisons are not even just in departments but specific specialties in departments (eg Computer Graphics at Penn vs Natural Language Processing at Edinburgh). Reputation within specific fields is a huge thing. Talk to academics, you will be surprised. Informatics in general at Edinburgh is ridiculously more difficult than CIS at Penn. I was actually quite bored at Penn.
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    Good points, MartinMorrison. It is true, everything at Penn is connected to Wharton, almost obsessively. Penn is so known for business I would say because Wharton was actually the first academic department in the world to study business in an academic setting. They set the standard for everyone. The same is true for Edinburgh and english literature. Edinburgh had the first department of english in the world, and is always ranked really, really high for english. Is Penn really a better city to study in than Edinburgh? I don't know, because Edinburgh is always ranked as the number one most popular city in the UK for tourism, while Penn is in downtown Philadelphia. Penn's campus is almost comparable to, dare I say it, USC. Its like a ghetto.

    I mention Oxbridge mainly because that is what everyone thinks of when you mention education in the UK. Unfortunately, Edinburgh is always overshadowed by the Oxbridge name. I think this is just because of age. Oxbridge is a few hundred years older than Edinburgh, and has used that time to establish both a world presence and their endowments. I believe that Oxbridge are the only two universities in the UK with higher endowments than Edinburgh. At the same time, Edinburgh's endowment doesn't pale in comparison to Penn's endowment, or any of the over Ivy League's endowments, certainly not Harvard's. In any case, it is no secret that Oxbridge have just monopolized education in England throughout their history. In fact, I would argue that the key to England's world power throughout their history is in the education system at Oxbridge. Throughout this history, though, the only other university that has had a presence alongside Oxbridge would probably be Edinburgh or St. Andrew's in the UK, and Edinburgh is generally heralded over St. Andrew's nowadays.
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    Sorry, my reply is about a year late.

    I thought Penn was a better city to study in than Edinburgh mainly because Edinburgh is absolutely freezing (and I come from a warm country). In addition, the food was amazing, accommodation more spacious. But taking the city into account as a whole, Edinburgh is really beautiful and unique. Penn's campus is a gem just before West Philly, really clean and impressive, Edinburgh Unis campus isn't as extravagant. The facilities however at Edinburgh were better in terms of lab, lecture and library space (which was surprising).
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    (Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
    McGill. In Canada.
    Canada is not the 'US'.
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    (Original post by collegerm)
    Interesting that you ask this question. This came up on my trip to Edinburgh a few weeks ago (I'm an American). Yes, I would say that its reputation is similar to Penn and other schools like it (perhaps a little bit below that, however). But the quality of the education isn't quite there. I spoke to many Americans or students who had studied abroad in America, and what I got was that the UK system is built differently, and is less rigorous. This does not mean that one is superior to the other, only that you're likely going to have more undergraduate attention at an American university than at Edinburgh (it's a research university). As it relates to the quality of the education, I would equate it to a top public school, like UMich or Wisconsin-Madison. McGill is probably a good comparison as well.
    Edinburgh ranks last in undergraduate satisfaction, but some people told me it's because they allocate most of their resources to postgraduates instead.
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    (Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
    Well it's not really comparable ...

    You might say that UPenn, UNC and Princeton were all sort of like Edinburgh - if only because they're fairly old, of a good standard and founded by Scots (much like McGill - which retains a lot more of its Scottish roots). Edinburgh's regularly in the top 20 universities in the world - you won't find anywhere in North America as old as it.
    Harvard University was founded in 1636 though, not that far from Edinburgh (1582).
 
 
 
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