At the present, I have got MS at Uni A (rank 16 usnews dept grad school)w/o funding for tuition and on the other hand I have a fully-funded PhD offer from uni B (rank 69 usnews dept grad school). At B the research is interesting, the advisor is a great person but the few drawbacks would be that he's relatively new (i'd be his only student in the lab apart from a few UGs, i'm the 2nd PhD), many of his grants are pending, ranking of the dept is relatively low. The reason I didn't apply to PhD programs was due to my avg U-GPA. So, my plan after masters, at least as of now would be to apply to PhD programs (looking at northwestern, upitt, emory, uofchicago, jhu). If I take CWRU, the advisor that I have lined up is willing for me to do independent research, write grant proposals, and work on a number of collaborative projects.
Can you tell me the main factors to consider when choosing where to do PhD apart from research interest and advisor relationship? I am trying to look at whether this risky choice of MS->PhD (which I am more inclined to) would be better than the PhD offer that I have right now. Risky because i'm not sure if the MS would better my chances at those schools for PhD and if it's worth the 2 years which I could have used for maybe a post-doc after PhD at B. Do top dept's have an edge over relatively lower ranked one's?
One reason that i'd probably want to do a MS would be to maybe expand my research focus and work under more renowned researchers in the field. Though I could do the same in UH by collaborating with great professors in other dept but would have to work much harder. Any thoughts or inputs?