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Nontraditional MS Stats/Data Science Applicant Advice and Evaluation?


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Hi all! I'm a nontraditional applicant coming from a biology and engineering background and wondering if I could get some advice on what schools I should apply to given my background? I'm applying to MS in Data Science and Statistics programs for Fall 2021. My goal is to transition to an industry position in Data Science (or related). I've been pretty strong with the math classes I've taken so far, but I worry that a lack of more stats and proof-based courses puts me at a disadvantage.

Ethnicity/Demographic: Male Caucasian (European Background)

Undergrad 1: ~95-100 ranked US University (known well in region)

    Major: Bio/biomedical Engineering

    GPA: 3.76 overall. Transferred out after 2 years.

    Coursework: Multivariable Calc (A+), Linear Algebra (A+), Differential Equations (A+), Intro MATLAB Courses I, II (A, A)

Undergrad 2: ~Top 45 US University (known well in region)

    Major: Bio/biomedical Engineering

    GPA: 3.38 overall

Coursework: Linear Algebra + Differential Equations (needed to take again due to credit issue) (A-), Statistics and Experimentation (A), Partial Differential Equations and Fourier Analysis (B+)

Note: GPA took a hit due to depression junior year for personal reasons - the lower grades were in major-related courses and not in mathematics/stats courses

Research: Decently strong - REU in materials engineering, 1+ year work in biological engineering research labs, and 2 research-based internships in industry (total exp ~2.5 years). 

Letters: Strong letter from a senior advisor/upper level professor who may be able to explain the grade drop and my significant contribution to a team thesis - can attest to computational and quantitative ability; Letter from internship supervisor (worked there for 8-9 months) who I know well and can attest well to my computational ability; Letter from a humanities professor from 1st university I know well who can round out my application/background with a strong letter explaining my writing/communication for industry

GRE: Taking soon, but should be around 166+ Q, 160+ V.

Currently: Graduated, Taking a Gap Year - Working on computational biology research project with global team of scientists. Enrolled in a Top Ranked Data Science Bootcamp to prepare myself well for grad school (specifically the DS Programs) and to pursue full or part-time jobs prior to Fall 2021.

 

Based on this, I am wondering what tiers of schools would be best to apply for in stats and data science? Is my list too top-heavy, and if so, what other programs should I consider? Again, my goal is to transition into industry (preferably tech) and not to earn a PhD. Thank you!

Here is my list so far:

UCLA MS Stats
Duke MS Stats
Duke MIDS
UCSD MS ECE + Data Science
Columbia MS Data Science
JHU MSE Data Science
Berkeley MA Stats
UW (Seattle) MS Data Science
UPenn MSE Data Science
Vanderbilt MS Data Science
USC MS Applied Data Science
USC MS CS (non-CS BS)
UMichigan MS Data Science

Please let me know if I should trim and/or what other programs to consider in stats or DS! Thank you!

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