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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone,

It is a bit late for making decisions but I have been recently admitted in the PhD Biostatistics program at McGill (Canada) and FSU (USA). There are several factors I need to consider before making a decision. I don't have much idea about the FSU biostat program; however, since it is under their Stat department I am assuming this program might be strong. On the other hand the McGill biostat is also good but I don't know how I can compare it with the FSU biostat. My research interests are Bayesian, Causal inference, Longitudinal and Survival analysis. I also have not decided whether I want to pursue a career in academia or industry, but I am leaning more towards industry. It would be greatly appreciated if I can get any idea about the relative strength of these two programs and the career prospects after completing PhD there. Thanks!

Edited by SeekDirection
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Do you have guaranteed funding at McGill? It can be a challenge to secure that in Canada. 

Overall, FSU has stronger faculty than McGill, but Erica Moodie at McGill is a star and an obvious choice to work with if you're interested in causal inference.

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Thanks for your reply. Yes I got a full-funded offer from McGill for the PhD program and I also managed supervisors there who work on Bayesian inference. I initially contacted Dr. Moodie but currently she does not have a position for a new student unfortunately. My supervisor at FSU has not been determined yet. In this case, should I only compare these two programs based on the faculty profiles? Again are the biostat programs at FSU and McGill more theoretical or applied? Any suggestion will be very helpful.

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Posted (edited)

I also got into the Biostatistics PhD program at McGill last year. McGill's biostatistics department is highly reputable in Canada, especially in the area of causal inference. Dr. Robert Platt would also be a good choice if you are interested in causal inference. FSU has a decent statistics department with a much larger size, however it's not in the top tier/second tier in the US. I would think it's a tier below Columbia/Emory. If I were you I would definitely choose McGill. As for the funding, I'd say that most, if not all (bio)statistics PhD programs in Canada are fully funded. On the other hands, I heard that FSU only guarantees funding for some students.

Edited by Casorati
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I would personally disagree about FSU being below Columbia/Emory.  They have a lot of strong people, especially if you're interested in image/shape analysis, and have some people doing some more theoretical work than is offered at McGill if that's your thing.  McGill has a few people doing some interesting causal inference biostats stuff, but I don't think it could be considered on the same level as FSU *overall*.  But if you find a good fit, the most important thing is that you have a good advisor you can publish with and that you're going to the program you feel is right for you. 

The FSU program is essentially their statistics PhD, so it will be *much* more theoretical (you'll have to take 2 semesters measure theory-based probability classes and pass an exam on some of that material - McGill seems to only cover master's-level material on their exams).

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Posted (edited)

FSU definitely has more research areas and it's a large department. It's just that McGill's biostatistics program is pretty small with only 8 faculty members, and it seems that it is not very well-known outside of Canada. The program itself has a very good reputation and is probably the best biostatistics program in Canada. Besides Dr. Moodie, Dr. Platt is also very well-known in the area of causal inference. McGill's program does require students to take graduate probability/statistical inference, and is more rigorous than other biostatistics programs in Canada, say UToronto, which does not require students to take advanced probability/statistical inference.

Edited by Casorati
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