I belong to a south asian country. I got BS Electronics Engineering degree from a Leading Government Engineering University of our country almost 10 years ago. Now I am 33 and I am considering to pursue masters in Bio medical Engineering from a low ranking private university (despite the fact that it is private and low ranking, it is still approved/recognized by Higher education commission of our Country) . I am considering this university because it is near to my job place but if I consider high ranking universities I will have to travel a lot which may not be easily possible keeping in view my current family and job commitments.

So my main question is that if I pursue Masters in Biomedical Engineering from this low ranking private university, will it reduce my chances of securing Phd scholarship/funding especially when considering Phd in Europe and US? Or does the ranking of university not matter in such a scenario, as it is mainly research and thesis of a Masters that determines chances of securing Phd scholarship/funding?

Update: Please note that I am already currently doing a teaching job for the last 5 years and I am a Lab instructor/teacher in a BS Electrical Engineering program of a good ranking university, but my university doesn't permits you to study for a Masters while you are on the job so I have to consider other universities for Masters.

  • 1
    My close friend is a professor of biomedical engineering / biomedical physics in Boston. His personal position is to ignore college rankings, but to take into account candidates' motivation, knowledge of physics, and the ability to work in a lab. Send me an e-mail, if you wish. I shall direct you to his website, and you will be able to talk to him directly, if you choose to. Such personal contacts are of utmost importance in the search for a grad school. This said, I fully agree with @Spark in that you will have to publish at least one good paper while doing Masters -- and in a good journal. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 21:06
  • 1
    @Michael_1812thanks for your detailed comment. Please let me know your email id
    – DSP_CS
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 9:49
  • Please go to my profile here in Stackexchange and click on a link to my personal webpage. Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 14:14
  • I actually spoke to that friend, and he may have funds to support an MS/PhD student starting January or February. (In many US schools it is possible to hire graduate students in mid-year.) So you may want to write to him. Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


All things being equal, yes.

If during your masters you manage to publish a breakthrough result in a top journal, do some truly remarkable outreach or teaching work, you will probably improve your chances, but you will need to do something like that to be considered, whereas an applicant from a well-known university would not.

I sat on many admissions committees and we always get a lot more applicants than we can admit. We’re looking for a signal that this person will be able to finish their PhD successfully. If they got in to a prestigious program they send that signal by default. Others need to send it via other means.

If you want to improve your chances, I suggest you try and work with people in universities that you’re targeting for PhD. See if you can collaborate with them so that they want to advise you later on.

One caveat- I’m in computer science, don’t know about other fields.

  • 3
    That being said: wouldn't starting (and I imagine finishing in regular time) a masters at 33 be a significant indicator of motivation?
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 20:31
  • 1
    Of course, but again- if I had to pick between two similar candidates where one came from a top-10 school and another from an unknown university, it’s pretty clear who gets picked. University prestige matters.
    – Spark
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 1:38
  • Motivation is great, but it’s hardly the only factor. Prestigious universities often offer better education and training, more opportunities to interact with good researchers etc.
    – Spark
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 1:39
  • Dunno, I did my undergrad in a tiny uni in Spain with no research output and then went to do a PhD to quite a decent uni and my research career is going well. I don't think it's as bad as you make it sound. Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 8:09
  • I’m glad it worked out for you. I did my PhD in a low ranking university and am now in a top R1 university. The general statistics say this is an exception, not the rule.
    – Spark
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 11:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .