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Sarah43

Please Review; PhD Biostatistics!

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I am very interested in pursuing biostatistics PhD for this coming year (2020). I realize I have a low gpa score but have a strong research record/work experience to compensate. I would really appreciate honest feedback about my chances for graduate school this coming year given that I can get very strong LORs.  

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 LAC

Major: Computer Science and Statistics

GPA: 3.56

Student: Domestic POC, female

Courses: Intro to Stat Modeling (A-), Intro Computer Science I (B+), Multivariable Calculus (A-), Intermediate Statistics (A-), Intro Computer Science II (B+), Linear Algebra (B-), Probability (B), Spatial Statistics (B+), Data Structures and Algorithms I (A-), Databases (A-), Theoretical Statistics (B+), Computer Systems (B+), Networks & Cryptography (A+), Data Structures and Algorithms II (B), Advanced Data Analysis (B+), Machine Learning (A-), Mobile Computing (B+). 

GRE: 161Q, 161 V, 4.5 Writing

Research/Work Experience: Currently work as a Data Analyst at Columbia University Medical Center (a year), with having previously worked at IBM Watson Health as a Data Scientist (a year and a half). I have two research publications and have been working on multiple manuscripts and abstracts for conferences. I also participated in the Biostatistics Program for Underrepresented Students at Columbia University two summers in college.

Applying to: 

QBS PhD Program at Dartmouth

Ohio State University

Drexel University

George Washington University

Rutgers

Boston University

UMASS 

University of Pittsburg

UNC Chapel Hill

Virginia Commonwealth University

University of Maryland

Vanderbilt University

Emory University

Brown University

University of Pennsylvania

Edited by Sarah43

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You might want to try over in the Math Stats section.

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Do you have a specific question/concern or are you just looking to get general feedback on your stats? From the advice I have received from various faculty in my Master's program, I think you are still a strong candidate for a PhD program. Of course, many schools prefer students with a Master's degree, however it is still very very possible to get in regardless if you have a strong research background, which you do. I wouldn't even say your GPA is low by any means. Usually those things (GPA and GRE) are used as a cutoff for some programs, where as long as you meet a minimum, they still review all of your other materials. Some programs don't even have that and rather look at all the materials in a holistic way. I think you should give it a shot and be sure to have a strong Statement of Purpose/Letter of Intent plus LORs that can display that you are a strong independent researcher.

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14 hours ago, HealthBehaviorPhD2020 said:

Do you have a specific question/concern or are you just looking to get general feedback on your stats? From the advice I have received from various faculty in my Master's program, I think you are still a strong candidate for a PhD program. Of course, many schools prefer students with a Master's degree, however it is still very very possible to get in regardless if you have a strong research background, which you do. I wouldn't even say your GPA is low by any means. Usually those things (GPA and GRE) are used as a cutoff for some programs, where as long as you meet a minimum, they still review all of your other materials. Some programs don't even have that and rather look at all the materials in a holistic way. I think you should give it a shot and be sure to have a strong Statement of Purpose/Letter of Intent plus LORs that can display that you are a strong independent researcher.

For most public health areas, I would agree, but Biostats is a different animal. A masters before hand often isn't needed, but can help if your math/stats background isn't as strong. A masters degree would probably be useful in this case, but even then, they may not be able to get into all of these programs. For instance, Emory MSPH requires a B+ in Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra, so Linear Algebra would need to retaken.

https://www.sph.emory.edu/departments/bios/degree-programs/msph-biostatistics/index.html

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5 hours ago, jmillar said:

For most public health areas, I would agree, but Biostats is a different animal. A masters before hand often isn't needed, but can help if your math/stats background isn't as strong. A masters degree would probably be useful in this case, but even then, they may not be able to get into all of these programs. For instance, Emory MSPH requires a B+ in Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra, so Linear Algebra would need to retaken.

https://www.sph.emory.edu/departments/bios/degree-programs/msph-biostatistics/index.html

I agree! You're totally right. Some schools have strict requirements and those will automatically eliminate you as a candidate. I might be biased, but I would just say that a Master's program is preferred because it indicates further, more specialized training in any subject. Especially for Biostats, in your Bachelor's you may have had some fundamental training of a stats software and/or coding, but if you're doing an entire Master's degree on this subject, of course you would have further, more in-depth training of some topics/softwares. Doesn't mean that with a Bachelor's it's impossible to get in. I think with even the best stats, it is hard for someone to get into all of the programs they apply to, but given the fairly strong grades in these classes and with a strong SOP and LORs AND research experience, this person is definitely a good candidate for a PhD.

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