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First of all I'd like to say that I'm aware that questions are not supposed to result in opinion based answers or discussions. However, with the experience in academic settings that many of the members have here, I still think my question can be answered rather straightforwardly.

I am a engineering student that, after having done a bachelor at university "A" and after having done an extra-curricular internship, is now looking for a master track. After my master track I am sure that I want to pursue a PhD (this will be important).

In my country I have two options for for rather identical master tracks:

  1. Pursue a master at university "A" (my bachelor university) where I was asked to apply for the universities honours track.
  2. Pursue a master at university "B" which is significantly more expensive

University "A" has a QS rating for my specific study in the lower end of the top 100 while university "B" is in the top 10.

After my master's I want to apply for a PhD at some of the top universities outside of my own country (top 10's for my specific field of interest, I have specific universities in mind) and I am therefore looking at the best approach to make this possible.

The question therefore comes down to:

  • Assuming identical master track (differences are small) and identical GPA (4.0/4.0) after graduation, should I aim for the higher ranked university or should I aim for that university at which I can do the honours track which result in more research experience and personal/professional development

Or worded differently:

  • For PhD admission, what is weighted more severely: a higher ranked university or an honours track

I assume that I'll get a LoR from my thesis supervisor at either university