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UNC - Biostatistics PhD vs. U Wisconsin Statistics - Biostatistics Degree Option


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I'm so close to the deadline and I just can't decide. Both program offers are fully funded for all 5 years. I want to focus in cancer clinical trials, so I feel like Wisconsin may have better opportunities for research but UNC has a better overall program and faculty. Any help/advice would be appreciated!

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It seems like UNC has quite a few faculty working in clinical trials. You can find 14 of them listed under "clinical trials" here. It doesn't seem to me like Wisconsin has a clearly bigger focus on this area than UNC.

There's also the "IMPACT" program joint with UNC, NC State and Duke with plenty of UNC Biostatistics faculty taking part: http://www2.cscc.unc.edu/impact7/ . To add to this, the primary grant funding this project is focused on cancer clinical trials, entitled "Statistical Methods for Cancer Clinical Trials". 

I don't know too much about this field but from a first glance, it seems to me like UNC is a great place for your interests. What makes you say that Wisconsin has better opportunities? 

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Agreed with statcan - UNC has a bunch if clinical trials faculty. Wisonsin only has a few (I looked on their website and they have quite a few "senior scientists" but not many professors working on them).  One of their actual faculty members just graduated from - wait for it - UNC. Kosorok is a one of the biggest biostatisticians in the world and literally has a grant for cancer clinical trials. If you have personal reasons to go to Wisconsin, that's one thing, but if you're really wondering about the quality of the faculty, it's not close. 

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I can only speak to the program at UNC. You are correct that it has a lot of required classes, my sense is more than many other programs. If you are coming in with a relevant Master's (meaning you can skip the first year of classes), expect it take you two years to complete the remaining required courses. If you do not already have a Master's, you theoretically could complete the coursework in 2.5 years but more likely it will take 3 years (i.e, 6 semesters). The workload is heavy, so it's unlikely that you will make much research progress during that time, nor will the faculty expect you to. In a more general sense, UNC seems to place an unusually high emphasis on classes relative to research. I think if asked, a lot of the faculty would agree that passing the qualifying exam is the biggest challenge of the program, much more so than completing the thesis. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but definitely something to consider. 

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