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Unranked PhD Programs


tokingphd
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Realistically, I know that a lot of the top ranked schools for statistics/biostatistics PhD are probably out of reach based on my grades so far, as they are decent but very mediocre. I have no real interest in academia and would want to work in industry, but I can't really find too much information on this site about the non-academic side. 

Are unranked PhD programs worth it for industry and do they generally offer funding? Is there a list of programs that are known place students in industry after graduation? Based on my profile, schools T40-T50 are probably out of reach for me.

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You can look at the program webpages of schools that interest you and see where their alumni have placed. If this info is not available, you can usually get it from the Director or Coordinator of Graduate Studies. PhD programs generally offer funding, but some schools will accept unfunded students too (and that includes ranked programs like Florida State, Arizona State, etc.). The better option is always to go with the *funded* program if you can.

Unranked/lower ranked PhD programs should be fine for either industry or (believe it or not) academia. However, one's chances in academia (for research universities) seems to depend heavily on the PhD advisor and often requires doing a prestigious postdoc with a well-known PI (for example, I know of a few PhD alumni from University of Illinois at Chicago, Baylor University, UC Santa Cruz, and University of Cincinnati who have managed to get tenure-track/tenured jobs in Statistics at Iowa State, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, and University of Florida). However, those are all good schools even if they are not ranked in USNWR. 

For industry, that doesn't seem to matter all that much (although a well-connected PhD advisor can often help for industry/government/nonacademic positions too). Even without a famous advisor, PhD grads should be able to get good industry jobs, regardless of where they attended. 

Edited by Stat Assistant Professor
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Yeah, there are plenty of solid unranked PhD programs.  There are some lower-ranked math departments that have statistics PhDs within them that people don't even know about -- In addition to the schools above, Notre Dame Applied Math, Clemson math, Arkansas math come to mind as just a few examples of departments with good statisticians that are not well-known schools in the statistics community because they don't appear on US News.  South Dakota State has a computational science and statistics PhD, and one of their alums became a professor at Iowa State Statistics, a top department.  If you have certain geographical preferences, I could try to help you find some programs in those areas.

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On 12/28/2020 at 1:32 PM, bayessays said:

Yeah, there are plenty of solid unranked PhD programs.  There are some lower-ranked math departments that have statistics PhDs within them that people don't even know about -- In addition to the schools above, Notre Dame Applied Math, Clemson math, Arkansas math come to mind as just a few examples of departments with good statisticians that are not well-known schools in the statistics community because they don't appear on US News.  South Dakota State has a computational science and statistics PhD, and one of their alums became a professor at Iowa State Statistics, a top department.  If you have certain geographical preferences, I could try to help you find some programs in those areas.

That would be really helpful! Specifically, I am looking to possibly work in the pharmaceutical industry so I'd prefer schools in the Northeast.

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2 hours ago, tokingphd said:

That would be really helpful! Specifically, I am looking to possibly work in the pharmaceutical industry so I'd prefer schools in the Northeast.

You could check out biostatistics PhD programs. That might be a better fit if you're certain that you are industry-oriented and you're more interested in applications than methods/theory. If you post your full profile (whether you're a domestic or international student, your overall GPA and your GPA in math classes, math classes taken and grades received in those classes, an idea of the college you attend -- e.g. range of rankings in USNWR, etc.), we can give you an idea about how competitive you are.

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