Harvey Mudd or UC Berkeley

<p>Which one do you feel will give me a better education? I am a prospective CS/Astro major. I love both the schools but I'm slightly tilted towards UCB because of it's better CS programme. I haven't been to either of the schools. Please help me decide!</p>

<p>I believe you are a full-pay international student. If you will be paying $52K for UCB or Harvey Mudd, IMO, Harvey Mudd will provide a better undergrad education for you. You will have much closer relationships with your professors and more undergrad research opportunities at Mudd.</p>

<p>On the other hand, if you even have slight doubt about changing majors down the path, then UCB's diverse choices are a better bet, since Harvey Mudd is a very small school. Everyone takes the same core classes for the first 5 semesters. Switching among science and engineering majors are fine, but you will have problem switching to non-technical majors.</p>

<p>For name sake, UC Berkeley is world known (internationally) than Mudd, but every grad school in US knows Mudd's strong undergrad program.
Grade deflation is about the same with both schools - getting A is tough.</p>

<p>How would you rank Mudd in terms of the facilities on campus (labs/equipment etc.)? Also, I'm not very good at Chemistry, so will the core affect me that much? I'm also looking for a more practical hands on education as opposed to a purely theoretical one. Sorry if I come across as ignorant, I'm just trying to take an informed decision!</p>

<p>I'm also interested in Robotics and AI</p>

<p>For undergraduate classes, w.r.t. facilities and lab-wise, they both are adequate for their respective size of student body. Note (not exactly apple to apple comparison) Berkeley has 25K undergrads + another 11K grad students, where Mudd only has ~800 undergrads.
Obviously, Berkeley has a lot more labs and other research facilities for grad students and researchers...</p>

<p>I cannot comment on Robotics and AI.
Harvey Mudd being a small school, I don't believe their Robotics class CS154 is offered every semester. There really not a lot of choices there by looking at their website. I suggest calling or email their department for detail.</p>

<p>If at all possible, visit both schools. The feel is vastly different.
Mudd may have no astro facility to speak of - but you should be able to figure that out by looking online.
Mudd sends a lot of kids to grad school, but many also go straight to work and they seem to do well finding placements.
I wouldn't sweat over chem.</p>

<p>Berkeley is a big school, meaning I would wager in totality, there is simply more variety in what it offers. The level expected of you is also very high.</p>

<p>Really, some people hate a small school, and some people hate a big school. If you feel lukewarm about both, go to Berkeley. </p>

<p>Go to Mudd if you really click with it. It's a small school, goes by the Honor Code, more intimate community, faculty much, much more carefully selected based on ability to instruct students. If all you care about is some obscure branch of CS that Berkeley best represents, then go there.</p>

<p>If you feel like sampling a million things is most important to you, also go to Berkeley. If quality of instruction and a solid program is most important, don't go to Berkeley (you'll receive help if you seek it, but overall, only some faculty are experts at instruction).</p>

<p>There is no unified campus culture to Berkeley, except that there are lots of hippies and activists. It's an interesting town, with lots of nice little places to eat at, pretty reasonably priced.</p>

<p>On AVERAGE, Mudd is a higher workload school. However, CS at Berkeley is top of the line level, so you can expect to be able to challenge yourself as far as you want to go, and interact with the world's best in research. However, beware that as a beginner, it is very hard to play on that field, and a lot of your time will be spent learning fundamentals, and trying to get what the heck they're talking about. </p>

<p>Another point - Berkeley will almost certainly afford you more freedom with how you go about your studies, because quite frankly, they do not care how you do it.</p>

<p>
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Harvey Mudd being a small school, I don't believe their Robotics class CS154 is offered every semester

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</p>

<p>I wanted to underscore this. One major strength of Berkeley is that a lot more will be offered regularly.</p>

<p>Budget cuts hurt some majors, but that tends to be majors ending with 'studies,' such as 'ethnic studies.' There is hardly a chance that CS will be impacted enough to make Berkeley offer anything less than a superbly colorful selection of computer science.</p>

<p>However, again, this is not the most important thing to everyone when it comes to what they want out of undergrad. The culture of Mudd is more uniformly math/science-y, and it's overall a more uniformly hardcore school - that can really make some people tick. Those who are hardcore at Berkeley are very hardcore, however.</p>

<p>Also, while there is a share of theoretical CS type CS students at Berkeley, a large portion are going to be mainly professionally motivated. I'm not sure what the story is at Mudd, on this count, but it's something to ask.</p>

<p>Current Mudder here...</p>

<p>The first major misconception I see above is that the Core does not take up 5 full semesters. Over the past few years, the Core has been cut back, but not drastically. You can finish Core by 3rd semester with room for electives. The Core may be a lot of work but it is manageable. Also remember that your first semester at Mudd is graded HP/P/NC, just like MIT and Caltech. This semester includes 2 of the 3 Chem half-semester courses in Core and possibly your lab, too. It takes effort to fail a class (95% passed Energetics, which is the hardest chem course in Core by far). The only chem course you receive a letter grade for is Dynamics (and maybe lab), which is equilibrium and reaction rates (not particularly hard). For your incoming class, Prob/Stats will be graded Pass/Fail (this is probably the hardest Core math class). </p>

<p>Your education at Mudd will be very hands on with a strong theoretical base. There are 3 labs required in Core (Chemistry, Physics, and Choice Lab), and many more labs you will have to take to fulfill you major requirements. </p>

<p>As far as facilities go, they're pretty good. The labs are great even though it is a small school, and resources are available for on-campus summer research projects. </p>

<p>As for robotics and AI, we have ranked highly in FIRST robotics competitions many times. </p>

<p>When talking about atmosphere and culture, you have to remember that Mudd is one of five contiguous colleges (the others being Scripps, Pitzer, Pomona, and Claremont McKenna). The total undergrad population is about 4,000. Scripps is a women's college, Pitzer is a hippie college, Claremont McKenna is the economics/government school, and Pomona is a general liberal arts college. We share facilities with these other colleges, have some joint programs and departments, you can take courses at any of them, eat at any of their dining halls, and attend any 5-C parties. The culture of Mudd itself is also not uniformly math-science. You will meet all kinds of people on campus, and many students are very interested in the humanities as well. Mudd students are required to take 10 humanities courses, and most students enjoy them. All students are required to "concentrate", or take 5 of these courses, in a specific field. </p>

<p>Hope this helps! Post if you have any more questions.</p>