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Studying in halls, University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
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Bonn vs Cambridge (for maths masters)

So the postgrad application season is at an end and I've been left holding two offers. The first is for Cambridge Part III and the second is for the 2yr University of Bonn masters.

I've been tearing my hair out here trying to decide between them. I'm interested in doing a PhD in algebraic geometry of some sort, and arithmetic geometry looks interesting. Bonn is very, very strong for that (all my lecturers say it is the best in Europe outside France).The closeness to the Max Planck institute means plenty of networking opportunities and class sizes are a lot smaller. Additionally I've heard Cambridge isn't that nice to their master's students and the course essentially exists as a screen and funding source for the PhD program. Bonn is 300 euros a year in fees! So on the basis of that I'm leaning toward there. The major downside is that it is a 2yr course.

On the other hand Cambridge! It has a great name - and that seems like if academia proves a washout for me, it might be a major advantage in the jobs market. The course is only 9 months so it would give me time to prepare for and do the GREs to apply for a PhD in the USA to the best algebra places in the world (I know there's also lots of excellent algebra people in the UK too, I'm just not 100% confident that I'll get a distinction in the MASt I need to stay at Cambridge). The problem is that costs are very high and I'd probably need to take out a loan.

I'm interested in getting opinions from people who have done either course, or just people who've been through the system already and can see things that are really important in hindsight that I've missed here. Thanks a million!
(edited 4 years ago)
I'm from Germany and did my Masters in the UK so I'm familiar with both systems. I don't know where you are from, but I'll just share my views on this one. Everyone here back home told me that I was crazy that I went to the UK and paid a fortune in fees while education in Germany is almost free. However, you should not forget that you got an extra year to pay for accommodation which can be fairly expensive. As far as I know, Bonn is one of the most expensive cities for students to live at, however, I believe that uni accommodation at British unis might still be more expensive. Nevertheless, keep that in mind! That's an extra year of living costs.

Workload-wise, my friends still tend to believe that you can't compare a two years Masters with a one year programme. They might be right, while I had six modules in total they have six each semester. Still, assignments kept me busy all year round and I got to admit it was a fairly intense year. Also, keep in mind that in Germany you'll have more time to work on your dissertation (Might depend on the Uni. I was glad that I had to get it done within 3-4 months, though).
Studying in halls, University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
Cambridge
Reply 2
Original post by johnnygonzo
So the postgrad application season is at an end and I've been left holding two offers. The first is for Cambridge Part III and the second is for the 2yr University of Bonn masters.

I've been tearing my hair out here trying to decide between them. I'm interested in doing a PhD in algebraic geometry of some sort, and arithmetic geometry looks interesting. Bonn is very, very strong for that (all my lecturers say it is the best in Europe outside France).The closeness to the Max Planck institute means plenty of networking opportunities and class sizes are a lot smaller. Additionally I've heard Cambridge isn't that nice to their master's students and the course essentially exists as a screen and funding source for the PhD program. Bonn is 300 euros a year in fees! So on the basis of that I'm leaning toward there. The major downside is that it is a 2yr course.

On the other hand Cambridge! It has a great name - and that seems like if academia proves a washout for me, it might be a major advantage in the jobs market. The course is only 9 months so it would give me time to prepare for and do the GREs to apply for a PhD in the USA to the best algebra places in the world (I know there's also lots of excellent algebra people in the UK too, I'm just not 100% confident that I'll get a distinction in the MASt I need to stay at Cambridge). The problem is that costs are very high and I'd probably need to take out a loan.

I'm interested in getting opinions from people who have done either course, or just people who've been through the system already and can see things that are really important in hindsight that I've missed here. Thanks a million!


I am facing the same dilemma which you faced 3 years ago.What did you do? Where did you go? What will you advise me to do? Your answers to these questions will be very helpful to me.

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