Short and simple question: as a prospective PhD student, should I consider applying to universities which aren't as good/prestigious (still top 500 worldwide, for instance) in my area, in order to study with a professor who is well-renowned, or should I try for better standing universities, but study with potentially young and less established professors?

I struggle especially because, often, there is a single (if that) professor in my area in most universities, so it's really a case of individual versus institution.

If it helps, I'm going for a PhD in pure math, but the questions seems independent of the area.

Thanks in advance!

  • Related: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/90/… (and further posts linked therefrom)
    – Buzz
    Oct 3, 2023 at 21:29
  • What are your (potential) goals after your PhD and in which country do you intend to pursue them? Oct 3, 2023 at 21:51
  • @JochenGlueck I intend to pursue a career as a professor of mathematics at some university (I’m not sure if that’s what people call “tenure track”), hopefully in Europe, although I’m still unsure about that.
    – Gauss
    Oct 3, 2023 at 22:13
  • 1
    @Michael_1812, thank you! Not sure why the question was closed - it’s undoubtably related to the linked questions, but none of them involve the importance of the supervisor, which is what I really wanted
    – Gauss
    Oct 4, 2023 at 10:54
  • 1
    Your title was about the institution rather than the supervisor. I would recommend using the search feature if you want questions more specifically addressing choice of supervisor. Added one more possible duplicate, too.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 4, 2023 at 13:42


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