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2019 Stat PhD Applicant

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Hi everyone, just another potential applicant seeking a little advice. I welcome and appreciate any and all insight, recommendations, criticisms, questions, etc.

Undergrad Institution: Large State school

Major: Mathematics

Minor: Chemistry

GPA: 3.28 (Major 3.68)


Grad Institution: Large State school

Major: Statistics

GPA: 4.0 (currently)


GRE General Test: (might retake, was falling asleep during parts of test)

V: 160

Q: 168

W: 3.5  

Programs Applying: PhD in Statistics (maybe Biostat?)

Research Experience: Not really any research per se, but a couple of projects: one with a professor of journalism working on media framing of Islam in US, kind of a statistical linguistics project (article was not published with work I did, apparently referee was an Islamophobe, who really knows), and one outside of school with an actuary working on some demographic analysis for his business.

Letters of Recommendation: One from undergrad prof who supervised my projects, two from Grad program who are well-acquainted with my work/study habits.

Relevant Course Work:

Pre-dropout: (rarely attended classes)

Calc 1 - 3 (B, A, B+), Linear Algebra I, II (B-, B+), Limits and Infinite Series (B+)


ODEs (B+), PDEs (A), Complex Analysis (A), Intro to Real Analysis (A), Real Analysis I (A-), Statistical Methods (A-), Mathematical Biology (A), Mathematical Statistics (A), Probability (A), Abstract Algebra I, II (A, B), Regression Analysis (A), Time Series Analysis (A), Statistical Computing (A)

Grad Courses:

Mathematical Statistics I, II (A’s), Theory of Linear Models (A), GIS and Spatial Analysis (A)

Future Grad Courses:

Real Analysis/Measure Theory, and a handful of other statistics courses

Computing Skills: R, C++, ArcGIS, QGIS

Teaching Experience: Taught a year of undergraduate mathematics, will teach applied statistics this year

Applying to:

  • Minnesota (Advisor attended)
  • Wisconsin
  • Colorado State (Two profs attended)
  • Oregon State
  • UCSC (looks like they do cool research here)
  • UC Davis

I know the math grades/GPA don’t look so great, but I was going through some medical/personal issues and feel I made quite a rebound after returning to school. The low LA grades I would hope are made up for in some of the more advanced math classes as well as my graduate coursework (I feel like I really got the chance to learn linear algebra properly when I took the Linear Models course). I decided to try a Master’s to see if I could handle Grad level coursework, and it seemed like it would dovetail nicely into PhD programs if I enjoyed the atmosphere.

I am much more comfortable in theoretical statistics (hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, distribution theory), but am also interested in longitudinal data, as well as mixed models, so maybe throwing in a biostatistics program here or there might be wise. It’s hard to say at the moment, but I am just enjoying learning and exploring new material. I haven’t had much exposure to the Bayesian paradigm, but feel I would really enjoy getting to explore it in a spatial/temporal/ecological setting. This year I will participate in a consulting lab, so hopefully this will help more precisely define my research interests.


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