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MathMajor

Stat/Biostat PhD Research Interest in Personal Statement

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I am currently in the process of writing a statement of purpose for statistics/biostatistics PhD programs and I am not certain what to write for my academic/research interest. I do not really know what my academic/research interests are. How do I elegantly say that I don't really know my academic interest while maintaining my competitiveness? Is it okay to just state that I would like to spend my first two years as a graduate student exploring the field of stat/biostat then deciding on an area? Or should I list some topics and say that I am potentially interested in these areas?

I know that biostat is the field I want to get into but as a math major, I do not feel like I have the sufficient background and knowledge to definitively say what my research interests are.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Keep your personal statement generic. Talk about your mathematical preparation in your previous coursework and list some topics that you are potentially interested in (e.g. machine learning?). Most applicants to Stat/Biostat PhD programs cannot credibly discuss their research interest at an "expert" level, so the SOP probably won't carry much weight anyway. The letters of recommendation matter much more.

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How in-depth should I talk about topics that I am potentially interested in? Can I just list a few topics without going into details? For example, is it sufficient for me to say, "I am potentially interested in topics such as machine learning, time series, and statistical genetics" somewhere in my SOP and leave it at that?

Thanks for your response.

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3 hours ago, MathMajor said:

How in-depth should I talk about topics that I am potentially interested in? Can I just list a few topics without going into details? For example, is it sufficient for me to say, "I am potentially interested in topics such as machine learning, time series, and statistical genetics" somewhere in my SOP and leave it at that?

Yes, that's fine. 

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