Software Engineering – which uni to choose?? It is urgent


Dear All,
I've got a PhD offers in Computer Science (Software Engineering )from the following universities:
1. Conditional offer (Manchester Uni)
2. Loughborough Uni
3. Southampton Uni
4. Cardiff Uni
5. Birmingham Uni
6. Conditional offer (Lancaster Uni)

7. I'm about getting one from Glasgow
Please, help me which one to choose?? It is urgent
Thanks in advanced


I have been studying in Manchester and Glasgow before. I prefer Manchester. I don't know others.


Thank you very much for the reply. I need more specific answer regarding the Software Engineering field.


======= Date Modified 20 Jun 2010 16:22:30 =======
Newspaper rankings aren't that helpful for PhD (or even masters) as they are focussed on undergraduate provision, but there are usually rankings available for your subject.  The Times Higher does rankings by subject for research but as these are global they may not be much use. Are there any journals which give rankings for research - I know there are in my subject and the uni where I am taking my PhD featured in the top 20 worldwide but does not feature in Top 10 for undergraduate provision in UK.  I'm quite happy to be studying at a university with a good research reputation rather than one which is good for undergrads. Your personal circumstances though may dictate where you study (I live 15 miles from my uni which is easily manageable - the no 1 uni is 220 miles away which was never a possibility for me).  You should probably take into account the supervisors at the various universities and how closely that aligns with your research interests. Funding &/or availability of sessional work is something else which might come into play. 


I was going to suggest you check the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) results. See

They're still a little crude because they're for Computer Science and Informatics, and a department might be brilliant at some aspects of computing, but not so good at software engineering, or vice versa. But they should still be a guide to good research departments.


I think at PhD level, you could be the best judge yourself. Look into the potential supervisors homepages and develop an idea about their involvement/interest in the topic of your research. And how serious they are in their duties as research advisers. Send them emails and ask for some technical help and see who helps you most... The general rating of an academic institution may not reflect the true potential of a supervisor


Thank you very much for your help. The problem is all of what you say is hard to manage!!


Southampton's computer science department is very well thought of, especially if you're interested in the 'web science' side of things, some interesting interdisciplinary work going on there. Manchester and Glasgow fairly prestigious too.

But as people mentioned, for a PhD it depends mostly on you and what your research interests are, and which research group/supervisor you're most keen to work with, and also personal considerations like what sort of place you'd be happiest living in. For example, Loughborough is a campus-based university and the town itself is relatively small and quiet, so that would be a different experience from a big city like Glasgow or Birmingham.

I went to Manchester for my undergrad (maths/CS) and liked it, academically very good and the city is a nice place to live as a student. Big enough to have everything you could want, but small enough that you can live in a nice-ish 'leafy' area further out but still be a walk or short bus ride from campus, also considerably cheaper than London, for example! And I liked being near the Peak District for easy access to walking and climbing. But you have to think about what you like, if you're going to be there for 3 or 4 years at least, it's worth making sure the research interests you and matches your career aspirations, and that you're going to be reasonably happy living and working there.


Goodboy's advice is good, but I'd still look at the computing RAE scores from the link I gave. If you're doing a PhD it's good to be in a strong research department, and that's not just based on a single supervisor, who might be brilliant or rubbish, but could be an isolated gem (or otherwise!) in a wider department. Basically you want a really good supervisor (which you try to judge as best as you're able to) and a strong research department together.


Thank you, all. All the offers I got have a perfect supervisor. My concerns are about the Software Engineering group at each university. I would love to get a powerful dissertation.


======= Date Modified 17 Dec 2010 11:44:13 =======
Optics Research at Nottingham University seems to be a very good course and I'm almost 99% sure that it's the best one around from what I'm finding researching on the net. Their facilities seem to be outstanding and all reviews concur. I've got a friend studying there on another course and he says the teacher's support is essential and taken very seriously across all departments, so it's definitely worth considering it. Check it out their website and gather some good ideas: