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Choosing Between UF and OSU


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I've been accepted to multiple PhD programs, but the top contenders are OSU and UF. Both offer very similar funding, with OSU providing support for 5 years, and UF for 6.

I'm primarily interested in very applied research such as statistical learning, deep learning, statistical vision or graphical models. 

From my visits, I was under the impression that although UF does have some professors doing applied research, it's not nearly as strong as OSU's faculty. It also seems that OSU has a much more structured program than UF's. Both have a similar qualifying process. 

Academically, I think I'm leaning towards OSU, however, in terms of location and campus type, I prefer UF.

 

Does anyone have any input or advice? Thank you!

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I don't have much useful input, but something to consider:  are you looking more at industry, academic, or governmental jobs after you graduate?  Columbus has Battelle, of course, along with a lot of banks since it's the state capital.  I'm unsure about Gainesville/Florida's statistics job market, but I'm guessing it may be somewhat different.  If you're looking for academic jobs, go with the strongest adviser/advisers in your chosen field, but I doubt your choice of adviser matters as much if you're looking to work in industry/maybe government.

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5 hours ago, decisionhelp said:

I'm primarily interested in very applied research such as statistical learning, deep learning, statistical vision or graphical models.

I'm not sure how well-defined your research interests are, but besides vision research (an incredibly niche area of research), those aren't necessarily any more or less applied than other areas of statistics. There is very theoretical research in all those areas.  UF has a ton of faculty doing applied research, some of which they call machine learning, so I'm not sure why OSU seems to be a better research fit for you.  Your research interests might change as you learn more in your classes and go through a program too. Deep learning is a pretty niche topic in stats departments still, and most programs don't really have people doing research in it still.  All I'm saying is, before you base your decision on where to go solely on your perceived "research fit", make 100% sure you know enough to know those are really your interests.  Most students don't really know enough to know this when they start their programs, so I don't mean to sound condescending at all.

As for the other stuff, you'll probably be sick of structure after a few years when you are dying to be done with coursework. I know that for me personally, OSU having two separate years of important examinations was a negative for me.

Since you'll be spending most of your 20s in this place, I think that location is incredibly important, especially when the programs are so equal in reputation. If you like UF a lot more in that respect, I would strongly consider going there because it sounds like you would enjoy it more and still probably be able to do research there that you are interested in.  Keep in mind you'll be writing your dissertation with 1 or 2 professors so you don't necessarily need to love every professor's research. 

 

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I would like to add that I emphasize the research fit thing especially because if someone told me they were interested in machine learning and graphical models, I would say that UF has a decent number of people in those areas.

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UF has several professors working on graphical models, including Kshitij Khare and George Michailidis. For job placements, I can tell you that this year, one of UF's fifth year PhD students got a tenure track Assistant Professor job at University of Minnesota and one got a job at Google out in California. And recent years have seen graduating students take postdocs at Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and Duke University, and industry jobs at Amazon, JP Morgan, Apple, and Siemens.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions specifically about UF. The rankings of OSU and UF are about the same, and either one can set you up nicely for a good academic position or industry position if you play your cards right.

 

Edited by Stat PhD Now Postdoc
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4 hours ago, Geococcyx said:

I don't have much useful input, but something to consider:  are you looking more at industry, academic, or governmental jobs after you graduate?  Columbus has Battelle, of course, along with a lot of banks since it's the state capital.  I'm unsure about Gainesville/Florida's statistics job market, but I'm guessing it may be somewhat different.  If you're looking for academic jobs, go with the strongest adviser/advisers in your chosen field, but I doubt your choice of adviser matters as much if you're looking to work in industry/maybe government.

Currently, I want to work in industry after graduating. From my visits, I heard that OSU has quite a few companies come in for recruiting visits, whereas students at UF are mainly on their own for finding internships. However, graduates pursuing industry jobs from each school seem comparable. 

 

 

2 hours ago, bayessays said:

I would like to add that I emphasize the research fit thing especially because if someone told me they were interested in machine learning and graphical models, I would say that UF has a decent number of people in those areas.

You make some very good points. You're correct about me not knowing completely what I want to do research in. One thing I did like about OSU was that they have multiple seminar classes structured towards helping students learn about different research areas in order to prepare them for choosing a research area. From my understanding, I don't think UF has anything similar, although I could be wrong. 

 

1 hour ago, Stat PhD Now Postdoc said:

UF has several professors working on graphical models, including Kshitij Khare and George Michailidis. For job placements, I can tell you that this year, one of UF's fifth year PhD students got a tenure track Assistant Professor job at University of Minnesota and one got a job at Google out in California. And recent years have seen graduating students take postdocs at Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and Duke University, and industry jobs at Amazon, JP Morgan, Apple, and Siemens.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions specifically about UF. The rankings of OSU and UF are about the same, and either one can set you up nicely for a good academic position or industry position if you play your cards right.

 

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Thank you!

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