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Hey guys, I am very much struggling to decide where to attend for next semester, and was hoping an outside point of view could help.

I am hoping to earn my PhD in statistics one day, but have only been accepted for Masters programs this cycle. So my goal is to enter a program that will help me for the next time I apply to PhD programs. Here are the programs I am considering currently:

Bowling Green State University MS in ASOR 

Pros:

Good funding, may still need loans but a minimal amount.

Have been told this is a good route for attending the PhD program at OSU.

Cons:

Location

Through the schools business college, whereas my interests are in applications to scientific research.

University of Maryland - Baltimore County MS statistics

Pros:

Location, in-state

Have been told by director that if I show promise they will advance me to the PhD track

Research focused university

Cons:

No funding (although money may be available but not until August)

Faculty throughout the college have been hard to keep in touch with, and I have not heard back from anyone after some follow up emails.

 

I am also on waitlists for UVA PhD and Wake Forest MA, I’d say I have an okay shot at wake forest and a very long shot for UVA. 

What is your guys advice in this situation? I am struggling and any help is very much appreciated!

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People on this forum have said that getting a masters degree does not generally drastically change your admissions profile, unless you’re changing fields or other special circumstances.

What is your background and profile? What PhD programs did you apply for? You mentioned that you were waitlisted at UVA. I know that UVA isn’t ranked very highly for statistics, but their program is very small, which results in it being extremely competitive.

I don’t think the masters at BGSU will help you much in PhD admissions. It is very applied and you would only take two stat theory courses. Stat ad coms generally don’t care that much about grades in applied courses.

I did not see much information about the masters at UMBC online, so I cannot speak to the value of that without knowing more about the curriculum.

What stat/math classes did you take in undergrad? Did you take real analysis, linear algebra, math stat, or probability?

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A Masters degree can help for eventual PhD admissions to a solid mid-tier program in the USA (like OSU, Rutgers, or UF) if your undergrad math background was light, if your grades weren't the best in undergrad, and/or if your undergrad institution is very obscure. Agreed with the above poster that it would be easier to give you advice about your path forward if you provide more detail about your background.

Of the two options you've provided, though, UMBC would probably be the better choice, as they have a ranked Statistics doctoral program (#69 in USNWR) and it seems as though their program is more "traditional" (with Masters comprehensive exams and PhD qualifying exams): https://mathstat.umbc.edu/graduate-programs-of-study/. They also have a Thesis option, although if you are planning to apply for the 2021 cycle, I'm not sure how much that will help your application. But as far as gateways to solid mid-tier doctoral programs, UMBC would certainly be the more promising avenue.

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I have plenty of math and statistics course (theoretical probability and stats, design of experiments, linear algebra, real analysis 1 to name a few) but my GPA isn’t as high as it could be, my math GPA is decent but chem courses from my other major. I also have a lot of research experience in biology

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@danny1997 What sort of school did you attend? Public flagship, directional, SLAC, etc?

Also, which PhD programs did you apply to? Its possible that changing your application strategy could prevent you from spending time/money on a masters degree.

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2 hours ago, omicrontrabb said:

@danny1997 What sort of school did you attend? Public flagship, directional, SLAC, etc?

Also, which PhD programs did you apply to? Its possible that changing your application strategy could prevent you from spending time/money on a masters degree.

I attend a large state university, not exactly known for its prestige but an R1 research university. And I applied to many public universities for PhDs, almost exclusively Big10 schools and then UVA, UMBC, and UMass

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I think your PhD applications were a bit top heavy. Most of the Big 10 schools are good stat schools and their PhD admissions are very competitive. (I had a 4.0 gpa at a top stats school, 168 GRE-Q scores and still was rejected to some of them.) As I mentioned above, UVA is also highly selective.

I don’t know what your GRE scores, exact grades, LOR, etc. were. It’s possible that if you applied more widely at their level of Michigan State, U Mass, etc, that you could be admitted to a PhD.

Otherwise, I would go to UMBC and try to get good grades and research experience. Then reapply for OSU level schools.

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