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12-20-2012, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mathradio View Post
NYU isn't of the same standard as Columbia, all right, but is it of a high standard? Easily second-best in New York. But the gap between UPenn and Villanova (the best two Us in Philadelphia) is far greater than between Columbia and NYU, or McGill and U Montreal.
Not a legitimate comparison.

The United States has very many "college towns", that bring in people from all over. A good example is College Station, Pennsylvania, where Penn State is located. It's a good school, and by the way has the second highest ranked astronomy graduate program in the USA, but it doesn't contribute to the ranking of any particular city.

Look at the top-20 in the USA according to US news and world report: Princeton, Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Notre Dame, are all located outside of major cities. That's a huge fraction of the talent. In the 20-30 range you also find Virginia, Wake Forest, Michigan, and UNC chapel hill. This is why other than Boston, New York and a few others very few American cities have several good colleges. The equivalent for Quebec would be if UQAM were relocated to Val D'or. The gap is worse if you only look at liberal arts colleges, rather than PhD schools.

Canada only has three college towns with high quality universities, Kingston (Queen's), Waterloo (Waterloo) and Kitchene (mcMaster), 100% are in Ontario.

Originally Posted by Mathradio View Post
Montreal is in a situation where there are two high-caliber Us, unlike Philadelphia (UPenn) or San Francisco (Berkeley), where the gap between the best and the second-best is pretty large. So the best educational comparables are Los Angeles or New York.
Stanford University, not included in my list above, is 30 miles from San Francisco, basically in suburban San Francisco. It is more prestigious than Berkeley imo. You're also not accounting for the greater suburban sprawl in the USA. 30 miles is not a big deal there.

Originally Posted by Mathradio
My number theory prof, who taught at U Alberta and UBC before going to U Montreal, always feel that Quebec universities had it better as far as educational quality is concerned. She says that U Texas-Austin (another research comparable to the aforementionned schools, and this is where she got her PhD from) was horrible at educating undergraduates in mathematics. Yet the main thing that all these rankings suck at is to show how well they teach undergraduates, when undergraduate quality is often what the public wants to know.
The undergraduate education at McGill was quite good.

However, graduate education is simply more important. Undergraduate education doesn't produce the specialized skills needed for the job market in most cases, and never leads to world-class breakthroughs. It is the new high school.

Last edited by DAChampion: 12-20-2012 at 09:49 PM.
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