Stanford vs. Berkeley

<p>Which would you recommend for Computer Science? </p>

<p>More specifically, I would be going through the Letters and Science route for CS not EECS.</p>

<p>Misha</p>

<p>Berkeley. Graduate Berkeley in 3 years, and do your 4th year at Stanford doing an MS degree if the Stanford name means that much to you.</p>

<p>Stanford has an excellent Computer Science department. According to the US News rankings for graduate programs, Stanford and Berkeley are tied for first, along with Carnegie Mellon and MIT. Whether this translates into the undergraduate education as well is open to interpretation.</p>

<p>I strongly believe that you should consider other factors in making your final decision. For example:</p>

<p>--Student life: do you want to live in dorms all 4 years? What kind of organizations would you like to be part of? How do the students seem?
--Finances: which school is cheaper?
--Surrounding area
--Other academic considerations: Stanford, I feel, is great about providing a well-rounded education and provides opportunities to take classes from amazing professors in numerous areas. I don't know about Berkeley.
--Extracurricular opportunities</p>

<p>Best of luck to you.</p>

<p>I would go Stanford. Not just because of its prestige. It's a smaller environment and you'll get to know your professors and students better, allowing you to become involved with research opportunities more easily. Classes will be smaller, you'll be able to take the classes you want without some upperclassmen pushing you out of your spot and, from what I hear (I have many friends who went to either Stanford or Berkeley), the atmosphere at Stanford is MUCH livelier and community-based. The students are very driven, but they're cooperative and less cutthroat.</p>

<p>CS in letters and sciences in Berkeley is a dumbed down version of Computer science. Go to Stanford.</p>

<p>Yeah don't go down the Letters and Science route, basically you aren't really guaranteed your degree until you declare and get accepted into the CS program there, so it's another uncertainity you have to deal with. Also here at Stanford we have fewer students and you really get to know professors a lot better ( I for instance am taking a seminar on Motion Planning with a real professor and there are only like 12 other students). The Cal EECS and Stanford programs are both equally rigorous... I have no idea about L&S CS (it could be a dumbed down version!)</p>

<p>As others have mentioned, the CS major in Berkeley's college of Letters and Sciences, while perhaps being the hardest major in the college, is still a watered-down version of Berkeley's EECS. Not that that's saying much, since EECS is probably the most difficult major at Berkeley. I see two problems with going CS at Berkeley. First, it's impacted, which means you have to apply and may not get in. Like others have said, this is an unnecessary risk. You have to do well in the pre-reqs and if you don't get into CS well, there's really nothing else like it in L&S. You may have trouble finding another major to go into. After sophomore year (when you typically declare your major) it's almost impossible to transfer into the college of engineering and thereby EECS or another engineering major that's somewhat related to CS. The second problem is that if CS is anything like EECS in its attrition rate, you run the risk of flunking out of Berkeley. While Stanford isn't a walk in the park, at least it's much harder to flunk out of Stanford than Berkeley due to its relatively lax policy on grading. Of course, if you manage to get into Stanford, then the two problems at Berkeley I mentioned probably won't happen to you, but why run a risk when you don't have to?</p>

<p>Besides that, looking at the two universities as a whole, Stanford provides a stronger undergraduate education overall. You will probably get more resources and more research opportunities at Stanford. You really have to fight for opportunities at Berkeley. Sadly there are too many students there compared to the Stanford population. I believe the Stanford brand name will carry you farther later in life should you want to apply to grad school. Heck it might even give you a leg-up in job opportunities.</p>

<p>Also consider the possibility that you may want to switch majors. What if after you get into Berkeley, you suddenly decide you want to do EECS? Or BioE? Or even a 180 turn-around to something like Business? Those majors are all impacted and it's hard to transfer into them. It's much easier to switch majors at Stanford.</p>

<p>Anyway, I'll give Berkeley this: it's a pretty nice location with a lively city. Palo Alto's a pretty boring town. The campus is surrounded by nothing really. Might help your decision to visit the two schools.</p>

<p>
[quote]
As others have mentioned, the CS major in Berkeley's college of Letters and Sciences, while perhaps being the hardest major in the college, is still a watered-down version of Berkeley's EECS.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Well, I think it should be pointed out that you can make CS (or any other major, for that matter) as hard as you want it to be. If you're a Berkeley L&S CS student, and you insist on taking classes on combinatorial algorithms or advanced complexity theory, nobody is going to stop you. If you want to make the curricula far more difficult than the regular EECS program, you can do that.</p>

<p>Hence, the notion of offering a watered-down program (relative to EECS) might actually be good in the sense that some people who just can't handle the difficulty of EECS might still be able to complete the CS program. That's a lot better than not being able to get either degree at all.</p>

<p>I'm not sure I buy that L&S is "watered down". The classes required are the same ones required for EECS, except no EE classes. Which is good since I am not very interested in EE.</p>

<p>"Besides that, looking at the two universities as a whole, Stanford provides a stronger undergraduate education overall."</p>

<p>I think a distinction needs to be drawn here. At Stanford, resources and opportunities are easier to come by. But by actual education, neither school is superior to the other.</p>

<p>"I believe the Stanford brand name will carry you farther later in life should you want to apply to grad school."</p>

<p>You seem to be implying that grad school=life. =p</p>

<p>
[quote]
I'm not sure I buy that L&S is "watered down". The classes required are the same ones required for EECS, except no EE classes.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>There are more differences than that. L&S CS guys don't have to take ANY physics courses, whereas EECS guys have to take at least 2 semesters of engineering physics (hence, Physics 7A and B). They don't have to take the additional lower-division hard science requirement (which usually turns out to be either Chem1A or Physics 7C). The L&S guys don't have to take Math 53 (multivariable calculus). Nor do they have to take Engineering 190 (technical ommunication).</p>

<p>Granted, the L&S CS guys still have to fulfill science breadth requirements just like anybody else in L&S. But they have a wide range of relatively easy science courses available to do that. They don't have to fool with the difficult engineering physics 7 sequence (especially the Physics 7B weeder).</p>

<p><a href="http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Peer/#applyingls%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Peer/#applyingls&lt;/a>
<a href="http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Peer/index.shtml#upperdiv%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Peer/index.shtml#upperdiv&lt;/a>
<a href="http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Programs/Notes/newnotes.shtml#sec1.2%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Programs/Notes/newnotes.shtml#sec1.2&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>In addition, L&S guys still have to take at least one EECS course - that being EECS 42 (basic circuits for computer scientists). It is basically an easier version of the basic circuits class for EE's. But it's still an EE course.</p>

<p>There are a ton of valid reasons for choosing Stanford over Berkeley. I think by far the biggest reason is that Stanford is one of the top 5 most prestigious schools in the country, and that will probably help you later in life. There is probably more guidence at Stanford as well, which could make your college experience a little less stressfull. It seems that almost everyone is talking about how big class sizes are at Berkeley compared to stanford, which I'm not sure is true. Here is some class size data from some other research schools (from each school's common data set):</p>

<p>Percentage of classes with fifty or more students:</p>

<p>Brown=12 percent</p>

<p>Harvard=13 percent</p>

<p>Berkeley=15 percent</p>

<p>Percentage of classes with fewer than twenty students:</p>

<p>Brown=65 percent</p>

<p>Rice=60</p>

<p>MIT=61</p>

<p>Berkeley=58 percent</p>

<p>As you can see, Stanford's class sizes aren't included, but I'd be shocked if they were severely different from Harvard, Brown or MIT's numbers.</p>

<p>Actually, according to the Stanford site itself, 75% of classes have 15 or less people in them.</p>

<p>Could you post a link to that data?</p>

<p>also, stanford has a fantastic co-term program where you can graduate in either 5 years (taking an extra year to finish reqs) or 4 years (if you're really hardcore and can do that) with both a BA and a Master's. So you could theoretically go to Stanford for both - it's pretty convenient, actually.</p>

<p>Also, dunno abt berkeley but lots of people here, because it is right in the heart of silicon valley, get cs jobs at start-ups/internet companies/google either in the summer or DURING the school year. one of my upperclass dormmates literally works part-time at google...he's amazing...</p>

<p>I would second the class size thing. Esp for very popular majors like CS - and a lot of my friends are at or went to berkeley and some are/did do EECS - classes can run numbers upwards of 500 people. 200 is as big as it gets at Stanford - and that's for the first intro class, which is taught by an amazing professor who is really famous in CS/invented something (not a CS major; don't really know specifics; just remember hearing that and thinking wow). Beyond that and upperclass lectures, the upperclass seminars and freshman-sophomore seminars are GREAT, capped at 15 people. I've taken 3 freshman-soph seminars this year, and my largest class is SLE lecture (90 people, exceptional because it is required humanities core equivalent of IHUM/PWR) and largest seminar/section is SLE section (20 people - this is an exception) and my seminars have always been with AMAZING professors, 15 people or less. My smallest class is Chinese - 6 people. It's amazing. I love the attention and the professors are just so amazing yet approachable. I looove it.</p>

<p><a href="http://stanford.edu/dept/uga/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://stanford.edu/dept/uga/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Wait for the images to load and put your mouse over the second picture from the top left.</p>

<p>I'm glad that you love your school, but is a 200 person class really that different from 500 person class? Not to me, but maybe I'm weird. And if you think Berkeley's classes are too big, I assume you'd say the same the same about Harvard, MIT, Rice and Brown?</p>

<p>blondeonblonde-</p>

<p>you're right, a 200 person class probably odesnt make much difference as far as the classroom dynamic goes with respect to a 500 person class, but i will tell you, a main difference between stanford and cal is out-of-classroom accessibility. to be sure, profs at berkeley are probably accomodating, but at stanford its jsut easier for reasons as diverse as class size and the general culture of employment at the two universities. </p>

<p>if its worth anything, my dad expressly forbid me from going to cal (im out of state), because when he went there, it was a sink or swim environment and he got the impression that if he had died on campus the university itself wouldn't have noticed. it may have changed since then, but for out-of-state tuition, cal doesnt seem like a very good deal-payin 45,000 bucks a year to sink or swim.</p>

<p>don't get me wrong, in-state, or if oyu could go at a reduced prive for other reasons, its probably the best deal in the enitre world, but i do think that at stanford undergraduates are given a higher priority and are more actively cared for.</p>

<p>Konda, I don't doubt that Stanford is better at accomodating its undergraduates. Berkeley is a tough place, but its not nearly as bad as people make it out to be (per my experience). I'm sure different people have different experiences, but personally I've had great luck with getting to know professors and interacting with them both inside and outside of class. And one thing that can't really be argued is that Berkeley's faculty is just as good, if not better than Stanfords. The two schools are polar opposites in terms of environment, and I think there are good arguments for or against either one. Personally, I think they're both great schools and I would feel comfortable recomending either one.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Berkeley. Graduate Berkeley in 3 years, and do your 4th year at Stanford doing an MS degree if the Stanford name means that much to you.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>You make it sound like it's so easy - as if everybody who goes to Berkeley will do well enough to get into Stanford for graduate school. Believe me, there are * plenty * of Berkeley students who are nowhere near doing well enough to be competitive for any of the better graduate schools, especially not one like Stanford. Heck, I know plenty of people who * flunked out * of Berkeley. They're clearly never going to Stanford.</p>