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Blain Waan

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  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Statistics/Biostatistics

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  1. Although I went over the faculty websites, I was wondering who were the most famous professors from the Statistics/Biostatistics departments at UW-Madison right now. Are there any professors who stand out in their research activities? Also, is the school well known for research in any particular field(s) of Statistics?
  2. @bayessays I have always wondered what kind of industry job really needs statisticians with a PhD degree. My impression is that a well-trained MS statistician (especially those with also an undergrad in Statistics) should be able to perform most jobs that the industry offers. What kind of industry job requires developing new theories, could you give me some examples? Also, is it common for companies to offer jobs where both MS and PhD statisticians can apply (I mean do they ever have to compete with each other)? Is it true that the starting salaries in the academic jobs are lower compared to the industry jobs (what about if the Assistant Professor is the co-PI of some grants, is the take-home salary still lower)? And how things look in comparison when the career progresses? Sorry to ask too many questions! Let me know if you think these questions should go to a new thread!
  3. I can tell you about the Biostatistics programs. UNC-Chapel Hill has already sent out all offers and is not going to take any more candidates this year. I emailed them multiple times to at last know this from them. They didn't send me any rejection nor did they update my application portal with a rejection. I don't understand why they don't care about letting applicants know their decisions. The office is also not very responsive. U Florida has also sent out the offers. I let them know very early (mid-Feb) that I was not going to join there. I suggest that you reach out to all these departments and ask if they are still considering the applications. I think some of these programs might have kept you in the waitlist. If you don't find any response from the office staff, then consider emailing to the director of the graduate studies.
  4. I think for industry jobs, they don't make a difference. Both programs are well regarded. If you are interested in faculty positions after you graduate, you may look at where the faculties in both departments are publishing recently. Being in a more theoretical department may increase your likelihood of doing a theoretical work that you can publish in the top Statistics journals. Publishing in the top journals during your PhD will give you a great advantage if you are planning to do academic jobs (of course, you can do that from anywhere, I'm just talking about the likelihood of it). We had an Assistant Professor at Pitt from U Chicago who worked in ML during his PhD. He had his PhD certificate framed on the wall of his office, he seems to be a very proud graduate of U Chicago! It's a top-notch department, so the pride is understandable. The interesting part of CMU is its close collaboration with computational neuroscience and biology, which seems very unique for a Statistics department.
  5. @taoli29 Could you please explain a bit more so that it helps me decide where I should go? In the US News ranking both schools rank very similarly and both departments have faculties regularly publishing in top Statistics journals. Could you please guide me explaining what makes Wisconsin superior to Penn State? I'm sorry if this comparison seems silly, as an international student I may not have very good knowledge beyond what I saw in the ranking and the websites of these programs.
  6. I'm still trying to decide between two Statistics PhD offers from Wisconsin-Madison and Penn State. I researched to find the records of academic placements for these two programs and found 15 professors/associate professors and 11 assistant professors who graduated from Wisconsin-Madison vs. 6 professors/associate professors and 2 assistant professors who graduated from Penn State in the US News top 60-65 programs. I don't know if that really means anything because the Wisconsin-Madison program is a larger one compared to Penn State (they have more PhD students I believe). I do understand that finding an academic placement after graduation depends on many things like publication records, advisors, recommendations, etc. But I still thought of opening this poll to see if people in this forum perceive one program to have higher academic reputation than the other in general.
  7. Thanks, the Penn State offer still includes TA/RA duties. The only benefit is the confirmed summer assistantship if I stay in the campus and the additional $1500 and $300 (if I work during the summer) as the fellowship stipend at Penn State. I looked at the academic placements in top 60-65 schools and found 11 assistant professors who graduated from Wisconsin vs. only 2 who graduated from Penn State (they were in Yale and Purdue though). I also found 15 professors/associate professors who graduated from Wisconsin vs. 6 who graduated from Penn State. I'm not sure if that is because the Wisconsin program is larger or this is also something related to the academic reputation of the programs. However, I do realize that finding an academic placement will largely depend on the advisor and the work I'll be able to do during my stay in the program. But the difference that I see in academic placement records is not what I expected.
  8. @2fluffydogs Do you know who's the chair of this year's Biostatistics PhD admission committee at Harvard?
  9. @Stat Assistant Professor @statsguy @bayessays thanks for the guidelines. I think I can figure out most of what you suggested by talking to the departments. But in general, I was curious to know how theoretical these departments are. I have pretty good math background, but I think PhD level courses could be more challenging and some departments are significantly more theoretical than the others (although the required courses may look similar).
  10. Thanks for your kind reply. It's a huge help! There are a few programs that are yet to let me know their decisions. I have to let Wisconsin-Madison or Penn State know my decision before April 15th. I emailed a few to know if they can let know their decisions before April 15th, and some of them replied that I am in their waiting list and they cannot guarantee that they can inform me anything before that deadline. If I accept an offer and then receive another in a preferred program after April 15th, what should I do? How common it is to receive offer after April 15th deadline?
  11. Hi, I'm an international student planning to join the PhD program at Wisconsin-Madison this fall (fall, 2021). I wanted to know about a few things if any generous person can spend some time answering these: 1) What is the average cost of a one bedroom or studio apartment in Madison? 2) Is on-campus living costlier than the off-campus living? 3) I don't know how to drive yet. In case I cannot learn it soon, can I survive there on the public transport? Are the buses quite regular or they come at long intervals? 4) If I want to know a typical break down of the monthly cost (excluding tuition, health insurance, other academic fees), how would that look like? I am thinking of renting a one-bedroom apartment or studio and having a car at some point. I also imagine eating outside a lot. I can't cook very well, trying to learn it! 5) Is it possible to find an apartment with groceries and restaurants within the walking distance?
  12. Hi, I'm an international student planning to join the PhD program at Penn State this fall (fall, 2021). I wanted to know about a few things if any generous person can spend some time answering these: 1) What is the average cost of a one bedroom or studio apartment in State College? 2) Is on-campus living costlier than the off-campus living? 3) I don't know how to drive yet. In case I cannot learn it soon, can I survive there on the public transport? Are the buses quite regular or they come at long intervals? 4) If I want to know a typical break down of the monthly cost (excluding tuition, health insurance, other academic fees), how would that look like? I am thinking of renting a one-bedroom apartment or studio and having a car at some point. I also imagine eating outside a lot. I can't cook very well, trying to learn it! 5) Is it possible to find an apartment with groceries and restaurants within the walking distance?
  13. I was recently accepted to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Statistics (Biostatistics major), the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I also got an offer from Penn State University. I summarize the offers below: 1) University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Statistics (Biostatistics major), they offered a TA appointment worth a stipend of $22,500, health coverage, and tuition waiver (except for segregated fees). 2) Pennsylvania State University, Department of Statistics, offered a graduate assistantship worth a stipend of $23,490, tuition waiver and waiver of all academic fees, a guaranteed summer assistantship of at least $6,930 (if I stay on the campus during the summer), a fellowship from the Department of Statistics for the first year of the program worth $1,500 and a further $300 if I have a summer assistantship, a subsidy in the amount of 80% (for individual coverage) of the annual premium cost of health insurance. I'm confused about where I should go. I haven't contacted any professor in either department yet but there are professors in both departments whose research interests (statistical learning, causal inference) match mine. My career goal is to find an academic appointment when I graduate. When I explored the profiles of the faculties of top 60 Statistics/Biostatistics programs, I found significantly higher number of appointments from Wisconsin-Madison compared to Penn State (almost 3 times more). I am not sure if any of these programs actually have a higher reputation over the other at all. The US News ranks are very similar (UW-Madison: 16, Penn State: 20), but I don't want to base my decision on these ranks. I'd like to know about the culture, prelims, research output, reputation, graduate placements, how theoretical these departments are, etc. A little higher pay at Penn State is also not a big concern for me. if Wisconsin-Madison is considered as a stronger or more reputed department. It will be great to know your thoughts (especially those who have experience with these programs) while making this important decision of my life. Thanks in advance!
  14. Here is my profile: B.Sc. in Applied Statistics (non-US) M.S. in Applied Statistics (non-US) M.S. in Biostatistics (US) Ph.D. in Epidemiology (US) An Epidemiology Ph.D. seemed like a good option during then because Statistics was tougher, it took usually 3 years to graduate in my Epi program, and it aligned with my research lab I was working with. But now I feel I want to do more theoretical work and my Ph.D. training in Epi lacked enough theoretical courses in Statistics/Biostatistics. I'm happy to apply for a Ph.D. in Statistics/Biostatistics to train myself better and be a proper statistician but worried about how my profile and application will be seen. My interest lies in academia and I think a Statistics/Biostatistics Ph.D. will add value to my profile. But I'm not sure how an application for a second Ph.D. would look like. Any thoughts?
  15. If you are from Indian Statistical Institute or IIT or similar reputed institutes, you may get into a very good university. My suggestion will be to see where alumni from your institute went and did well. You can apply there. While admission and funding both depend on many things, my guess is that you are going to be accepted at most universities ranked 40-70. But try for a few with ranking between 20-40 and test your luck. Wish you all the best!
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