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PhD Discussion Forum

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This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


Does the ranking of your university matter for doing a PhD?

User: TheSeminarian - 13 January 2016 13:38

How important would it be to get a PhD from a high-ranking university in a career outside the academia? For example someone who intend to work in industry afterwards or in the career of a physician, or for clergy (like myself). Would it matter if anyone in these positions had a PhD from a lower ranking university?

User: TreeofLife - 13 January 2016 13:53

I don't know about specifically for the clergy, but for others, yes the university does matter for careers within academia. Outside of academia, probably not so much because people are not as aware of which unis/supervisors/departments are highly regarded, although in industry and medicinal occupations they would still matter.

Reputation is important in getting a job. The quality of education is appears better from certain unis, though it's probably debatable whether it is actually better.

However, there are many other things required for getting jobs inside and outside of academia such as experience, publications, notoriety, good references, ability to interview and so forth that are equally as important.

User: AOE26 - 13 January 2016 14:55

Applying what you learnt is far more important than where you learnt it - IMO. As an employer I am interested in experience coupled with qualifications. I have never looked up a candidate's Uni!
For me I look for:
Relevance of both.
In the perfect world they have experience of the role I have, they have great qualifications and those qualifications are relevant to the role.

User: Mark_B - 13 January 2016 16:08

Hi Seminarian

Personally, I'd suggest that *within academia* the reputation of your research group and your supervisor are more important than the ranking of the institution itself.

A high-ranking university will probably have strong individual departments and attract strong researchers. But the reverse isn't always true for a 'lower' ranking university that specialises in your niche.

Outside of academia the overall reputation of a university probably has more weight, but employers won't necessarily consider (or be aware of) specific rankings. If you think a given university sounds impressive, it probably does. Provided you can 'sell' the PhD itself, of course.

We put together a guide on rankings from a Postgrad perspective for FindAMasters not too long ago. It's PGT focussed rather than PGR, but many of the points are broadly relevant:

Hope that helps a bit,


User: sisyphus - 19 January 2016 23:32

As an employer, if your degree is not from a top tier university (Russell Group), then like it or not you are at a disadvantage to other candidates.

Universities do select the best candidates they can, so have done much of the sorting. Also whether the education is better or not (it probably is), things are graded to the norms of the institution. A more high level intake will probably result in a better output.

Put it another way; would you preferentially hire people from a lower ranked university? This answers the question for you.

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