Two days ago I was in discussion with a colleague of mine about the possible PhD studies destinations. We both agreed that the chances of getting post-Doc job or any full position are higher in the country we finish PhD (Maybe you have different opinion). However, we ended up discussion two potential (native English-speakers) countries, namely, Canada and Australia. We both had a vague idea about post PhD stage (academia or industry), so we had not much to share. My question is which country is generally better in terms of the following (computer science field):

  • Research sector prospects (is there any studies indicate which country has stronger research profile in computer science - my gut feeling is Canada at least from the world universities ranking in computer science)
  • Academic career path (What are the possible career paths for PhD graduates? (tenure track, postdoc, lab researchers ... etc.).
  • Finance benefits (taking into account the living cost in both countries, which of the countries, the academic career stand stronger comparing to the industrial jobs in terms of financial benefits)

Any advice to improve the question is most welcomed.

closed as too broad by Nate Eldredge, Piotr Migdal, Peter Jansson, The Hiary, Paul Hiemstra Feb 13 '14 at 18:02

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This seems far too broad. – Nate Eldredge Feb 13 '14 at 16:57
  • @NateEldredge It is disappointing that I am almost sure that who voted to put this question on hold have not read the entire post down to the last line. – Hawk Feb 14 '14 at 0:57
  • I'm voting to leave closed for now, and I've read it all. I'd suggest narrowing down what you mean by your bullet points, or asking about one or two of them at a time in separate questions. Your third bullet, "Job chances..." is almost specific enough, but even that seems hard to answer, as there are an awful lot of personal factors involved, and separate sectors of computer science to consider on the job market even within academic or industrial and not both. – Nick Stauner Feb 14 '14 at 1:46
  • The reviewers and voters are acting as they're supposed to. The problem is that this a very broad, opinion-based question. "Better" is just too unspecific a criterion to allow for a reasonable answer. – aeismail Feb 14 '14 at 5:14
  • @aeismail Thank you, I tried to narrow down my questions. I hope it is easier to answer now – Hawk Feb 14 '14 at 7:11

You should definitely do the ph.d. in the country you intend to live the rest of your career in. The only exceptions are really, really outstanding universities like Harvard or Oxford. Those degrees tend to be portable internationally.

During your career as a ph.d. student you will be going to conferences and trying to publish, and there's a good chance your success on the job market will be a function of people seeing you at these meetings, reading your work, or knowing your dissertation mentor personally. If you spend your time in Australia, but want to teach in Canada, then you're going to have a really hard time getting a job, because nobody is going to know how good your advisor is, and how much a letter from her really means, etc. You're going to lose the opportunity to impress people at conferences, and stuff like that.

One final note, if you aren't canadian, it's really hard to get a job teaching at a canadian college. Canada practices a policy of giving preference to their own citizens in academic hiring that makes it virtually impossible for a non-canadian to get a university job. I don't know whether australia also has such rules, but it would be worth finding out before you sign up for a program.

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    I strongly disagree with your first sentence as general advice. It really depends a lot on what sort of country you want to spend the rest of your career in. In Australia, for example, it is extremely difficult to get an academic job at a good university (at least in mathematics) if you did your PhD in Australia and have never had an academic job outside Australia post-PhD. Also, people from small or developing countries are often best off going somewhere else for their PhD even if they intend to return to work in their home country. – Tara B Feb 14 '14 at 1:10
  • Sorry, my remarks above presuppose that the student is coming from north america or europe. I don't know how the situation would work for a lot of other countries. I should also point out that my experience is mostly limited to the humanities as well. STEM fields might work differently. – shane Feb 14 '14 at 12:58
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    Even for European students, this is also bad advice. In continental Europe now, most hiring committees are looking for evidence of overseas work. If you don't do at the PhD level, you have to do it as a postdoc. – aeismail May 17 '14 at 14:51
  • @aeismail, Could you elaborate a bit more? When I was in Belgium, literally all of the faculty but two in my department were Belgian, and almost all of them had attended that same university for the PhD. Maybe that's an older system though? Most of them had been hired there long, long ago. – shane May 17 '14 at 14:53
  • I mean that candidates applying for starting faculty positions nowadays have to show evidence of international work. They can do it at whatever level they'd like—either as a PhD student or as a postdoc—but they are at a disadvantage if all of their training is in the same country as the one they want to work in. This is a somewhat recent trend, though—perhaps the last decade or so. – aeismail May 17 '14 at 14:56

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