I was recently admitted to a doctoral program to be part of their inaugural class for a new interdisciplinary science and engineering department. The program is located at a top-tier university in the United States and appears to be very well funded by the founding university.
The faculty that they have hired so far are all well established researchers in their respective fields. These faculty have also successfully brought the majority of their students and post-docs with them, so there should be no major loss of continuity as far as research is concerned.
My primary concerns are that:
- the graduate curriculum itself is new
- the program (outside of the reputation of the individual faculty/university itself) is currently not very well known. Will this look bad to prospective employers (both in industry and academic), or is the reputation of my faculty advisor more important?
- professors may need to spend more time doing administrative activities for the new department
What other risks are associated with joining a new program, and are there any professional/academic advantages to doing so?