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University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
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PhD Neuroscience Cambridge vs Oxford vs UCL

Hello! I am looking for feedback on the reputation/prestige of the following three Neuroscience PhD programs (listed in alphabetical order) from others involved in neuroscience:

Cambridge
Oxford
University College London

The subfield is cognitive/behavioral neuroscience. Please feel free to tailor your feedback to that particular niche, or comment on the reputation/prestige of the three programs writ large, as you are able/desire. I am especially interested in the perception of these programs in the USA but am open to everyone's thoughts, so please also provide your general location (i.e. Europe, North America, Asia, etc.) in your feedback. As this is an esoteric question about perception everyone's thoughts are helpful.

To be clear: I already know the US News and THS and D-Index rankings in neuro and as an institution writ large and I understand the importance of research fit and PI reputation/demeanor as it relates to the current and future success of a PhD candidate. The very specific variable I am trying to understand is reputational prestige (even if it has a lesser role than PI/lab). Given the importance of this decision I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row.

Thanks in Advance!
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by phear_me
Hello! I am looking for feedback on the reputation/prestige of the following three Neuroscience PhD programs (listed in alphabetical order) from others involved in neuroscience:

Cambridge
Oxford
University College London

The subfield is cognitive/behavioral neuroscience. Please feel free to tailor your feedback to that particular niche, or comment on the reputation/prestige of the three programs writ large, as you are able/desire. I am especially interested in the perception of these programs in the USA but am open to everyone's thoughts, so please also provide your general location (i.e. Europe, North America, Asia, etc.) in your feedback. As this is an esoteric question about perception everyone's thoughts are helpful.

To be clear: I already know the US News and THS and D-Index rankings in neuro and as an institution writ large and I understand the importance of research fit and PI reputation/demeanor as it relates to the current and future success of a PhD candidate. The very specific variable I am trying to understand is reputational prestige (even if it has a lesser role than PI/lab). Given the importance of this decision I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row.

Thanks in Advance!


There's no empirical tool for the measurement of prestige.

Those three universities are close enough in general reputation that the calibre of the individual will be far more important in their future career trajectory than any particular choice of one over another of those choices. A twonk will be a twonk no matter where they studied or who they studied with.
University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford
Original post by threeportdrift
There's no empirical tool for the measurement of prestige.

Those three universities are close enough in general reputation that the calibre of the individual will be far more important in their future career trajectory than any particular choice of one over another of those choices. A twonk will be a twonk no matter where they studied or who they studied with.


this is essentially what I was thinking, too
( ok, minus the twonk spiel!)
they are 3 highly competitive highly regarded institutions for your subject
be thankful to have the opportunity to study at any one of them, let alone an offer from all 3
Reply 3
Original post by MedMama
this is essentially what I was thinking, too
( ok, minus the twonk spiel!)
they are 3 highly competitive highly regarded institutions for your subject
be thankful to have the opportunity to study at any one of them, let alone an offer from all 3

Well I am extraordinarily thankful. The trouble is I'm really struggling figuring out how to choose. The PI's are all roughly the same age/experience, roughly the same H-index, equally pleasant, the project is identical across labs, and the funding works out to be roughly the same and in all cases I can delay my start to the fall as this is not the 3+1 neuro program.

So the only thing I don't have a handle on is brand name/prestige because, as has been said, that's more amorphous.
Original post by phear_me
Well I am extraordinarily thankful. The trouble is I'm really struggling figuring out how to choose. The PI's are all roughly the same age/experience, roughly the same H-index, equally pleasant, the project is identical across labs, and the funding works out to be roughly the same and in all cases I can delay my start to the fall as this is not the 3+1 neuro program.

So the only thing I don't have a handle on is brand name/prestige because, as has been said, that's more amorphous.


understand better now
the city where you live is hugely important, and security of accommodation throughout your doctorate. I guess both Oxford or Cambridge offer this
the association between Oxford and Susan, Baroness Greenfield, could be one small factor in the enviable decision you have to make
wish you well
Reply 5
Wow congrats on getting those offers!! I too am trying to apply for a PhD program at those universities. Could you give me some tips regarding the application? How did you strengthen your CV/application to get an offer from all three?
Reply 6
Original post by RustySac
Wow congrats on getting those offers!! I too am trying to apply for a PhD program at those universities. Could you give me some tips regarding the application? How did you strengthen your CV/application to get an offer from all three?


What field?
Reply 7
Neuroscience. I am currently a med student in The Netherlands, 5th year (out of 6 years)
Original post by phear_me
What field?
Original post by phear_me
Hello! I am looking for feedback on the reputation/prestige of the following three Neuroscience PhD programs (listed in alphabetical order) from others involved in neuroscience:

Cambridge
Oxford
University College London

The subfield is cognitive/behavioral neuroscience. Please feel free to tailor your feedback to that particular niche, or comment on the reputation/prestige of the three programs writ large, as you are able/desire. I am especially interested in the perception of these programs in the USA but am open to everyone's thoughts, so please also provide your general location (i.e. Europe, North America, Asia, etc.) in your feedback. As this is an esoteric question about perception everyone's thoughts are helpful.

To be clear: I already know the US News and THS and D-Index rankings in neuro and as an institution writ large and I understand the importance of research fit and PI reputation/demeanor as it relates to the current and future success of a PhD candidate. The very specific variable I am trying to understand is reputational prestige (even if it has a lesser role than PI/lab). Given the importance of this decision I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row.

Thanks in Advance!


Reputation within academia or reputation in general.

Well a PhD from an elite university is always going to be fairly impressive although it’s relevance will depend what you want to do. If your looking at relevant research jobs or academia they will care far more about what you did on the PhD, your output, skills & knowledge then the specific university - and your supervisors/groups network and connections (as well as the ones you build through your PhD) will be of far more value.

If you don’t particularly care about opportunities and just reputation so you can get a nod of approval from relatives, all 3 universities have elite reputations, the Oxbridge name travels slightly further but people who understand the value of a PhD also understand there is far more to the quality of a graduate then the institution name.
(edited 7 months ago)
Original post by mnot
Reputation within academia or reputation in general.

Well a PhD from an elite university is always going to be fairly impressive although it’s relevance will depend what you want to do. If your looking at relevant research jobs or academia they will care far more about what you did on the PhD, your output, skills & knowledge then the specific university - and your supervisors/groups network and connections (as well as the ones you build through your PhD) will be of far more value.

If you don’t particularly care about opportunities and just reputation so you can get a nod of approval from relatives, all 3 universities have elite reputations, the Oxbridge name travels slightly further but people who understand the value of a PhD also understand there is far more to the quality of a graduate then the institution name.

this is good and the last paragraph makes me smile
just to add, though, that for doctoral research in a subject such as medicine,
I’d wager UCL is absolutely on a par with Oxbridge
Reply 10
Original post by RustySac
Neuroscience. I am currently a med student in The Netherlands, 5th year (out of 6 years)


Get a distinction in all of your courses - but at least overall. Be sure to earn a distinction on your capstone project/dissertation. Have an extremely clear idea of what you want your research proposal to be and customize it for each PI that you speak with. Earning a distinction and getting the support of a PI are the most important things.

Some of it is luck. If there isn't a PI taking students who works in something you're interested in then there's not much to be done.

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