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University of Michigan Biostats Fast Track MS-PhD


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I've heard of a lot of people who applied to University of Michigan's Biostatistics PhD program and got offered admission to their MS to PhD fast track. My question is should I apply for just the MS, just the PhD, or both programs if I want to get that fast track offer?  I'm a molecular and cellular biology major,  with a little higher than a 3.7 math GPA (only took "multivariable calc" and "intro to statistics and probability and the associated lab", and I'm taking linear algebra this fall, maybe another math class spring semester). 

I also saw on the UM website's tableau graph that around 70% of applicants get into their MS program. Am I just imagining that?

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Apply to the PhD.  It'll let them know your intention to continue, which may affect funding (although some regular MS students are funded too). If they don't accept you, there might be an option to be considered for the MS.  Your math background is really light for someone wanting to get into their PhD program though. 

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Almost everyone gets an MS offer with a few direct PhD offers. To get the funded MS, you should only apply to the PhD. They don't fund nearly as many MS-direct applicants, as far as I know.

I applied solely to the PhD and received the MS funded offer, along with many of my friends. 

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13 hours ago, bcarmel said:

Do you think I should apply to both programs then?

You shouldn't have to apply separately.  They would admit you to the Masters program initially anyway if you apply for the PhD, so just apply to the PhD and they'll let you into the MS program if they want you. 

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I think you'd probably get an MS offer, as long as your program is in the top 100 and you do decent (165+ Q) on the GRE, the meaningful question is whether or not you'd get a funded MS offer, which seem to be Michigan's main recruiting pipeline into their PhD program.

The issue is linear algebra is a core requirement at every biostatistics program I've seen, with most funded programs desiring real analysis above that. You won't have finished linear by the time Michigan applications are due, assuming you're aiming for Fall 2019 entry. With that in mind, I would say there is a slim chance of a funded offer. I know a few who had very competitive profiles with many upper-division math courses (with near-perfect GPAs) and were turned down for full funding. 

Keep in mind, according to few students I talked to at UMich while there, it is very difficult to get funding as an MS student (either for the first year summer or the second year) if you do not receive funding at the time of admission. 

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