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I am currently studying for an entrance exam to get into a masters program in either IITs (Indian institute of Technology) or NITs (National Institute of Technology) and by the looks of it, it's seeming more and more likely that I would get an NIT.

The reputation of IITs are slighly better than NITs in India. The IITs are the creme de la creme of Indian universities but NITs are for people who don't get IITs. This would not have been the end of the world had it not been for the fact that I don't want to do a PhD in India (having heard terrible reviews for it from the ones who have done it). I want to move out of here for good when I finish my Masters, so I was wondering if the reputation of the institute was a deal breaker when it came to applying for PhD's (in Europe particularly) or would a good GRE Physics, research proposal help me while applying for a University?

Any suggestion would be helpful. I am willing to do internships (6 months to 1 year) abroad. How common/uncommon are fully paid internships abroad?

Also, my grades in Bachelor's are pretty nominal. And I have a 3 year drop for the 3 year program (1 year Covid + 2 years of Drop). Will this be a deal breaker in PhD admissions or do they look rather at the Marks in masters?

PS: 1 year of drop was to help my family out because we were running short of money after the pandemic. The another year, this one, was to study Physics

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    Hi, I believe that many in Europe don't really have a clue on the reputation of different Indian universities. In general, Europe is less hierarchical when it comes to higher education, but those unfamiliar with the Indian system may be skeptic about if your work meets what they would be consider 'western quality standards'. Would it be possible for you to join a Master's progam at a European university? In many European countries, applications to those are only needed for verifying minimum requirements. It will be easier to move to PhD from there.
    – Wouter
    Oct 24, 2023 at 4:40
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    I think it's impossible to give a general answer to this questions. For instance in Germany, it would completely depend on the professor you're applying to - and thus, on their personal opinions and also any kind of personal prejudice (unfortunately). One piece of advice: if you have any influence on whether or not you'll write a Master's thesis for your degree, then I'd recommend to write the thesis. Many people I know (including myself) would be reluctant to take a PhD student who hasn't written a Master's thesis. (I'm in math; maybe a physicist can comment whether it's similar there.) Oct 24, 2023 at 5:35
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    I don't know anything about Indian universities. I still hired someone from India as a PhD student. They had relevant work experience, good letters of recommendation from their manager and gave a good presentation (which highlighted relevant skills) during the interview. So, if you can't get into a top Master's programm, I suggest you focus on other aspects of your application package.
    – user9482
    Oct 24, 2023 at 6:03
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    @AkashSingh I don't remember because I really don't care and I have to delete all application documents after the interview. They are on vacation. So, I can't ask right now.
    – user9482
    Oct 24, 2023 at 9:27
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    I know professors that only take top IIT students. In your case, make sure you have the best grades, a strong master thesis on a research problem, and try to get a publications in a respected international conference or journal. You cannot do all of that just by yourself, find a strong advisor, ideally with research connections to Europe, check their co-authors.
    – derptank
    Oct 24, 2023 at 10:25

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In fact, it might be better to do your UG at a less competitive university. Getting better rank there is easier, and you're more likely to be admitted if you're in the top 2% of your university than if you're from an IIT.

Getting into the top unis like ETH Zurich would be easier from IITs because of better mentorship opportunities, but otherwise it doesn't matter much.

What matters much more is what you do while in undergrad than where you went for undergrad.

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First note that this is a general answer as I have no specific knowledge of application procedures in Europe, other than what I read here, nor any knowledge of the reputation of institutes in India.

In many parts of Europe, decisions are made by individuals, so it is impossible to say how they think or how they evaluate anything. However:

If you are accurate that one institute has a "slightly" better reputation, then the effect should be small if any. The reputation, if known, of your advisor would be more important.

Second, and probably more important, especially in general, is that a mediocre performance at a top institution won't be judged more valuable than a top performance at a lest prestigious one. What you do is more important in almost all cases than what others who precede you have done in the past. In the US, we say (only somewhat in jest) that there is nothing worse than a C student from Yale.

My advice is to base your decision on other things, such as who your advisor might be or how the overall program meets your needs and expectations.


Admission requirements for many places are detailed at our canonical question on the subject.

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  • Should I consider doing a second Masters in Germany (1 year master programs) in Germany before applying for a PhD? Oct 24, 2023 at 16:01
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    I can't say. I would consider applying for a doctorate at the same time if you think another MS would help. I personally doubt it will, but have no basis for real advice. Good luck.
    – Buffy
    Oct 24, 2023 at 16:03
  • thank you very much! Oct 24, 2023 at 16:13
  • I personally do think it can help, but only if you do well. People will find it easier to judge your performance when it's within a system they're familiar with, and at a University that they know. (I'm a prof in Europe and had this problem before.) However, it's a huge investment of time and money without any guarantees that it will succeed, so think carefully about this.
    – Nick
    Nov 26, 2023 at 3:25

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