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In Europe, normally PhD students are going into two tracks -- taking a contracted PhD position with a given research project OR joining a well-structured PhD program to write up his/her own dissertation.

The later is analogous to the PhDs in the US but not 100% equivalent since many students in the European PhD programs are funded by 3rd parties (e.g. government scholarship) and so they probably never act as TA/RA but fully dedicated to his/her own research.

Besides money, such as paid PhDs earn more, how would you think of the pros and cons of these two tracks?

For me, I got accepted to both a PhD project and a PhD program. The former is an H2020 project led by a young PI at a decent Univ (nationally reputable but fairly new, so not yet very research-intensive), while the later is in a relatively more prestigious b- school (nationally top 1 but internationally not top-tier 1). The supervisor is pending - students can make an agreement in the first year.

I decided to accept the offer of the project since I think it can enable me to have a deeper involvement in the research team during the PhD stage. Of course, I enroll in a PhD program as well but is not that structured. I am unsure if I make the right decision, maybe I am too naive, but I won't change it. There is no much difference in the level of two institutions, so my opportunity costs won't be very great. Yet I am always wondering how you guys think over it when you're faced of such options?

I am new to here. Before posting this question, I searched the keywords but not found a same one.

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