Eastern Europe is composed of the former Warsaw Pact, plus the European part of Russia (e.g. St. Petersburg).

I believe Eastern Europe's higher education is influenced by the former USSR. On the other hand, there has always been a political tussle between the USA and Russia. Therefore, there should be some kind of stigma in the USA in recognizing Ph.D. degrees acquired from those countries. No?

How is East European Ph.D. viewed in the USA? Are they considered on par with American PhDs or at least compatible with American education?

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    Given the number of PhD scientists who have moved to the US post-Cold-War, your fears seem overblown.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 17:31
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    Is your goal to get a job in academia? In many fields, nobody cares where you got your PhD. What counts is whether you have good publications (and in decent quantity). Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 18:00
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    @BryanKrause, which comment?
    – user366312
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 21:21
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    @BryanKrause, His comment didn't wait for my answer. It was formulated as rhetoric. However, the answer is YES.
    – user366312
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 21:54
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    Neither Hungary, nor Romania is Slavic. And they're definitely in Eastern Europe.
    – Riwen
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 10:37

2 Answers 2


I haven't observed direct stigma against Eastern European schools, but the big indirect problem may be that US academics are not familiar with your school

When viewing large numbers of applicants or correspondents, this makes it hard to categorize things. Rightly or wrongly, there is often a need to filter more individuals than you have the ability to research in depth, so that can count against you. Note that this isn't restricted to one direction; I lived in Eastern Europe for years, and I had a friend who went to the US to study at Brown. Now, she was in the private sector, but was routinely frustrated that no one in her country had heard of her school, and therefore didn't place much weight on her educational achievements relative to how an Ivy League education would be assessed in the US.

This is similar to the impact of studying at a respected, but small, regional school. There are many of them around the US, and within that school's geographic region you're likely to be interacting with people who are familiar with the school, or possibly even went there themselves. But in a different part of the US, the name of your school would impart no real information to the observer.

Similarly, publications may be in a language US academics can't read, or may be poorly translated, or may be published in journals they've never heard of. In my experience it's very likely that academics will be inclined to judge you, your work, and your program, on their merits once you get past that initial filter. So if your goal is to work in the US, try to build personal contacts with academics in the US (e.g. at conferences, via email), try to publish in English, attend a school with some international recognition (in Prague, for example, you have CERGE-EI which is deliberately US-styled), and anything else that helps overcome that initial "I don't recognize any of this" when someone in the US reads your CV.

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    "Similarly, publications may be in a language US academics can't read, or may be poorly translated, or may be published in journals they've never heard of." That is very unlikely even in specialized disciplines that solve local issues. CERGE is a very small specialized institution for one discipline only. Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 10:25
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    @VladimirF In my experience it's not very unlikely, but maybe your field is different. And yes, I just listed CERGE as a small example off the top of my head. It was not intended to be a specific recommendation.
    – Jeff
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 13:32

Of course it depends on the university, but Eastern Europe has some very fine (and very old) universities. My advisor was educated at Charles in Prague and worked there before his escape. I also know some excellent scholars in Poland and in Hungary. I can't speak personally about the entire region, but certainly, other things being equal, there should be no concerns.

My advisor was among the finest mathematicians I've ever known and I've know some famous ones.

A former student of mine, now a professor in CS, was from St. Petersburg. His father did important work in mathematics that is widely recognized.

Of course I'm speaking of older people, trained in the "old days". The Soviet days, actually. Standards were very high in some fields at least. What has happened since then, I can't speak for. But many of these older academics came to the US since that time and would possibly be some of those you'd be appealing to.


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