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UMD Vs UMass Amherst CS?


Replies to: UMD Vs UMass Amherst CS?

  • beaner89beaner89 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    @crowlady they are both good for Compsci. UMD is always ranked higher, but not by much. As I said we went to both admitted student days, 1st Umass, son loved it. Then UMD, they gave a very strong presentation for CS, my son made his choice. If your son wanted to check it out they do offer a presentation just for prospective CS kids. We had signed up for it, but the presentation is the same at the admitted day, that's what they told us. Also, just food for thought, while I was researching both schools for compsci I came across someone who went to UMD for undergrad, but has a Umass.edu email. I emailed him and asked if he wouldn't mind sharing some light on both schools. Here is what he replied:

    I went to UMD for undergraduate (I studied psychology and computer science there) and am a PhD student (in computer science) at UMass now.

    Personally, for undergrad I think UMD is vastly superior to UMass, especially for computer science. With in-state tuition the value is incredible and your son will (hopefully) have very little loan obligations. The UMD CS department also has more and better relationships with companies -- from a single UMD CS career fair I got interviews with Palantir, Amazon, and a local tech company (that's since been acquired by a larger player in their vertical). UMD is ranked higher for computer science and has a bigger and more productive department academically (UMass is growing its department but it'll be a few cycles before it gets to UMD's level). Finally, if your son is interested in startups at all (if he stays in computer science, he should be, because that's where the real money is), it's my impression that UMD has a much better tech transfer office and entrepreneurship resources. Feel free to ask me for more detail in any of the above.

    I had a great time at UMD in undergrad and went to UMass because I wanted to work with the professor who's currently my advisor and the lab he's affiliated with. At the grad level, this matters a lot more than the surrounding department, and because my advisor is well -networked, I haven't had trouble getting internships at top-tier companies. But for undergrads, it seems much harder to get top-tier internships and jobs than it is at UMD, and there are a lot more recruiting visits from companies from the Boston area than the standard huge tech companies in silicon valley.

    I think the best reasons to go to UMass over UMD is that College Park is an suburban/urban area and Amherst is very remote/rural, and that UMD is somewhat apolitical where UMass and the surrounding colleges are very hyper-progressive, and have much more of a hippy/west-coast vibe than the DC area's more achievement-oriented focus. Again, feel free to ask me to elaborate on this.

    Hope this helps,

    - Ted

    Good luck to your son where ever he makes his choice!

  • crowladycrowlady Registered User Posts: 1,098 Senior Member
    Thanks @beaner89, and congrats on your son's decision. I should get that guy's name from you! My son was impressed by the UMass psychology department (at least at the grad level it ranks higher than UMD). Also, he really would like to get out of the MD/DC bubble and experience another part of the country (and get far enough away from us to be truly independent). Currently he's more interested in research than industry, and maybe cognitive psychology more than CS but would like to do both. We won't have to take any loans, thank goodness. While it will be more expensive than UMD he did get a couple of scholarships that definitely help. And it is certainly cheaper than his private university options. Finally, he got spring admission to UMD and is not interested in waiting or doing the Freshman Connection program.
  • beaner89beaner89 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    @crowlady if you want Ted's email I can give it to LOL! Typically a strong grad program filters down to undergrad, with that and all things considered sounds like Umass is a good choice for your son. My son liked it very much as well. Tell your son congrats for getting accepted and best of luck in all his future endeavors!!
  • LouiseMcBaneLouiseMcBane Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    OMG the UMASS ranking of 25th in CS is for their GRAD school, not undergrad. The Undergrad program was just given "college " status 2 years ago. Prior to that it was part of the Natural History program. Its amazing the misleading advertising that goes on everywhere.
  • QuestionsMateQuestionsMate Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    @LouiseMcBane You do realize that grad school rankings are very important for undergrad cs. And if you actually look at the Umass curriculum and faculty it is top tier. There's 7-8 different tracks and up to 10 courses you can take within those tracks. Also, just watch this video:
  • oxyselfoxyself Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @LouiseMcBane You are right that they are grad school rankings, but college status means that it has a separate college of CS, which is not true for many other good CS schools, which have a separate department for CS but not a separate college.
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