# Phd Statistics - Profile Evaluation and school suggestions

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From: India

Background

Undergraduate Institute- Top 3 for Math in the country

Major- Math

Minor - Physics

Relevant courses(with grades): Analysis 1,2,3(10 in all); Algebra 1,2,3(9,10,8); Probability(10); Calculus(10); Differential equations(10); Complex Analysis(10); Topology(7); Stochastic Processes 1,2(10 in both); Optimisation(10); Game theory(9) + Physics courses(overall physics courses 9.4/10)

Masters: Top1 institute for statistics

Overall percentage-82

Coursework(with percentage): Regression(62); Statistical Inference(84); Linear algebra and linear model(77); Analysis1(95); Probability(90)

Currently taking- Analysis 2, Measure theoretic probability, Optimisation, Multivariate Analysis, Large Sample Methods

Courses to be taken - Martingale theory, Functional analysis, Time series analysis, Large Deviations theory, Brownian motion and Diffusions, Weak convergence and Empirical processes, Percolation theory, Advanced functional analysis

Projects: No research projects - only reading projects in 1. fourier series 2. mixing times

Gre- not taken

Toefl- not taken

Applying for- Phd Statistics(focusing on probability)

Suggest some schools and also any advice is welcome.

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Secondly, it is best to have some idea of what kind of probability theory you want to do. For example, go look at OOPS summer school videos on youtube and see what are the cutting edge stuff in research (This year's program is still on-going!) Form some ideas of where and whom you want to apply to based on your interests. To clarify, there are typically only 2,3 people doing probability at a university so you need to be careful with what you want to study and apply accordingly.

Edited by DanielWarlock
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2 hours ago, DanielWarlock said:

Secondly, it is best to have some idea of what kind of probability theory you want to do. For example, go look at OOPS summer school videos on youtube and see what are the cutting edge stuff in research (This year's program is still on-going!) Form some ideas of where and whom you want to apply to based on your interests. To clarify, there are typically only 2,3 people doing probability at a university so you need to be careful with what you want to study and apply accordingly.

Thanks for the reply. I am doing masters from ISI Stats program. I broadly have an idea that I want to work in intersection of analysis and probability like stochastic analysis. I have two questions

1. Doing projects has become difficult because there are no semester breaks and party because of covid. Does this make huge impact on how my application is view ?

2. Does good gre score bring any vale to my application?

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I guess a GRE general wouldn't be much help, but it can be pretty impressive if you do really well in the math subject test.

Edited by nauhark
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8 hours ago, nauhark said:

I guess a GRE general wouldn't be much help, but it can be pretty impressive if you do really well in the math subject test.

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You have a strong pedigree, so your application should definitely be 'in the discussion' at a lot of schools. Your undergrad performance looks very strong, and your Masters performance at ISI looks quite strong as well. I have seen students with scores of high 80's from ISI graduate "with distinction" and get accepted to top PhD programs in the U.S.A., so it seems like anything over an 80 is considered very good from ISI.

I think you should have a shot at schools at least at the level of University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin (in particular, you are interested in Markov chain Monte Carlo theory -- which tends to be a bit more probability theory-focused than statistics, then there are some good faculty at UMN for this... UWisc also have Timo Seppalainen working on probability theory who can supervise Stats PhD students). The STOR program at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill also has some good probability theory/stochastic processes faculty. I would definitely recommend applying to UMN, UWisc, and UNC-CH. A lower ranked Statistics program that has some great probability faculty is Michigan State University. You could also apply to UC Berkeley as a (far) "reach" school.

In general, though, Statistics PhD programs outside of top programs (Stanford, Berkeley, etc.) won't have as many pure probability faculty. Mathematics departments tend to have more probability faculty. So that is also something for you to consider if you are very sure that you want to be a probabilitist.

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10 hours ago, Stat Assistant Professor said:

You have a strong pedigree, so your application should definitely be 'in the discussion' at a lot of schools. Your undergrad performance looks very strong, and your Masters performance at ISI looks quite strong as well. I have seen students with scores of high 80's from ISI graduate "with distinction" and get accepted to top PhD programs in the U.S.A., so it seems like anything over an 80 is considered very good from ISI.

I think you should have a shot at schools at least at the level of University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin (in particular, you are interested in Markov chain Monte Carlo theory -- which tends to be a bit more probability theory-focused than statistics, then there are some good faculty at UMN for this... UWisc also have Timo Seppalainen working on probability theory who can supervise Stats PhD students). The STOR program at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill also has some good probability theory/stochastic processes faculty. I would definitely recommend applying to UMN, UWisc, and UNC-CH. A lower ranked Statistics program that has some great probability faculty is Michigan State University. You could also apply to UC Berkeley as a (far) "reach" school.

In general, though, Statistics PhD programs outside of top programs (Stanford, Berkeley, etc.) won't have as many pure probability faculty. Mathematics departments tend to have more probability faculty. So that is also something for you to consider if you are very sure that you want to be a probabilitist.

Do I have shot at Phd Mathematics programs ? (one of users on mathematicsgre forum said that my profile looks good for Phd in Mathematics rather than Phd in statistics mainly because of lack of projects) If yes, can you suggest some schools that are with in my reach ?

Also I will be doing a project in my final year like most of the students at ISI (this year there's no summer break or even semester breaks, which is I have one less project than most students usually have). By the time I apply I will be half-way through the project, will that help my application in any way ?

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10 hours ago, aldoraine said:

Do I have shot at Phd Mathematics programs ? (one of users on mathematicsgre forum said that my profile looks good for Phd in Mathematics rather than Phd in statistics mainly because of lack of projects) If yes, can you suggest some schools that are with in my reach ?

Also I will be doing a project in my final year like most of the students at ISI (this year there's no summer break or even semester breaks, which is I have one less project than most students usually have). By the time I apply I will be half-way through the project, will that help my application in any way ?

Unfortunately, I am not able to gauge your chances for math departments -- you could check with people on the mathematicsgre forum for some suggestions.

I think your chances are above average for some of the Statistics departments I mentioned (UNC-Chapel Hill, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin), and you could find a PhD supervisor who is more on the probability side of things. The very top Statistics programs also have a lot of probability theory faculty (Stanford, University of Chicago, and UC Berkeley come to mind), but unless you're ranked in the top 10 or so students in your class, these schools might be hard for you to get into.

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On 5/31/2021 at 3:33 PM, aldoraine said:

From: India

Background

Undergraduate Institute- Top 3 for Math in the country

Major- Math

Minor - Physics

Relevant courses(with grades): Analysis 1,2,3(10 in all); Algebra 1,2,3(9,10,8); Probability(10); Calculus(10); Differential equations(10); Complex Analysis(10); Topology(7); Stochastic Processes 1,2(10 in both); Optimisation(10); Game theory(9) + Physics courses(overall physics courses 9.4/10)

Masters: Top1 institute for statistics

Overall percentage-82

Coursework(with percentage): Regression(62); Statistical Inference(84); Linear algebra and linear model(77); Analysis1(95); Probability(90)

Currently taking- Analysis 2, Measure theoretic probability, Optimisation, Multivariate Analysis, Large Sample Methods

Courses to be taken - Martingale theory, Functional analysis, Time series analysis, Large Deviations theory, Brownian motion and Diffusions, Weak convergence and Empirical processes, Percolation theory, Advanced functional analysis

Projects: No research projects - only reading projects in 1. fourier series 2. mixing times

Gre- not taken

Toefl- not taken

Applying for- Phd Statistics(focusing on probability)

Suggest some schools and also any advice is welcome.

Some of our batchmates who did undergrad and masters both in ISI Bangalore and were wanting to do Statistics/Probability has received offers from Cornel, Chicago, UT Austin, ETH Zurich (Master's ), UNC Chapel Hill etc. (All are Statistics programs). The students getting offers from Cornel, Chicago, Chapel Hill were ranked very high in their classes, had a extra projects and also a very good connection with professors which resulted in strong recommendations. So, it will be also good if you can try interacting with some of your professors who will be ultimately writing recommendation for you. Under the assumption that you had undergrad from CMI/ISI, your profile will be similar to the students mentioned above. Particularly, if you wish to do probability, you will encounter more probability courses in MStat than any other course at ISI (provided you take the combinations in that way and also provided the intended courses are being offered. Caution:- Not all the courses in probability specialization are offered every year). So these schools may be your "reach". Apart from that you can apply to any other universities at the level mentioned in the earlier answers. I can see them as very positive for you.

Regarding extra projects, I guess it will not be a big problem. Try working on your project (assuming that you will take "Project" as one semester course in the final semester) from third semester itself so that you can mention about it in your SoP as well as CV.  But note one thing:- most of the advanced courses in probability specialization (like weak-convergence and empirical processes, martingale theory, brownian motions, large deviations, percolation) will be given in last year. SO, you may not be able to show evidence of these courses (or grades) while applying. But you can definitely write in your SoP. Some universities, though, ask grade-sheets of third semester around January.

Edited by StatB
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5 hours ago, StatB said:

Some of our batchmates who did undergrad and masters both in ISI Bangalore and were wanting to do Statistics/Probability has received offers from Cornel, Chicago, UT Austin, ETH Zurich (Master's ), UNC Chapel Hill etc. (All are Statistics programs). The students getting offers from Cornel, Chicago, Chapel Hill were ranked very high in their classes, had a extra projects and also a very good connection with professors which resulted in strong recommendations. So, it will be also good if you can try interacting with some of your professors who will be ultimately writing recommendation for you. Under the assumption that you had undergrad from CMI/ISI, your profile will be similar to the students mentioned above. Particularly, if you wish to do probability, you will encounter more probability courses in MStat than any other course at ISI (provided you take the combinations in that way and also provided the intended courses are being offered. Caution:- Not all the courses in probability specialization are offered every year). So these schools may be your "reach". Apart from that you can apply to any other universities at the level mentioned in the earlier answers. I can see them as very positive for you.

Regarding extra projects, I guess it will not be a big problem. Try working on your project (assuming that you will take "Project" as one semester course in the final semester) from third semester itself so that you can mention about it in your SoP as well as CV.  But note one thing:- most of the advanced courses in probability specialization (like weak-convergence and empirical processes, martingale theory, brownian motions, large deviations, percolation) will be given in last year. SO, you may not be able to show evidence of these courses (or grades) while applying. But you can definitely write in your SoP. Some universities, though, ask grade-sheets of third semester around January.

Thanks for the reply. I have done my undergraduate in CMI. Due to covid, our first semester started in January and there won't be semester breaks or summer breaks for us(NB-stream). I've mailed a lot of professors for projects but none of them replied (I'm guessing because of the our interaction being online). I am doing a reading project with one of the professors and hope a get a good recommendation. Regarding projects, I am not sure if I'll be eligible for dissertation, so I'll be mostly likely start working under some professor from third (next) semester. That's that regarding projects.

I have listed out few universities based on their probability department: It would be helpful if you provide some feedback on my chances (also know if I am not aiming very high and have a balanced list of universities while applying) and also some more universities I should look out for.

1. Wisconsin- Madison  (Mathematics) ---I'd be really happy if I get in to this.
2. USC Dornsife  (Mathematics)
3. UBC Mathematics (Mathematics)
4. University of Washington (Math)
5. NYU Courrant (Math) --- This is probably way out of my reach but they've a huge probability faculty, so I'll try my luck here.
6. UNC Chapel Hill - probably out of reach
7. Maryland  (Mathematics) ('probability and statistics' is under math department)
8. UChicago (stat) - Again trying my luck here as they have people probability

Universities beside which I didn't write anything are the ones where I don't know my chances.

Also please list some European universities I should check out. I've been asking my seniors but since you've great knowledge regarding these things, I am also asking you.

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Somehow I feel that, your undergraduate degree from CMI would be a plus point if you want to apply to math departments. I know that many top students from CMI are able to get PhD position in pure mathematics (too in universities like Chicago) right after their BSc. So, you might have good chances in math departments, but I will not be able to make a detailed statement on it.

There are many good European universities where you can apply. As an alumni from CMI (plus that your are presently at ISI) you have very good chance in ending up in École normale supérieure (Paris). They have some connection with CMI and prefer CMI students in their lab. In that case, you would require someone from CMI who can write a strong letter on behalf of you. Some other universities which you can look are :- université Paris-Dauphine, PSL, Paris Saclay, Paris-Sud and so on. (You might look mathematicsgre.com or reddit to know more about them). There are couple of good universities in UK where predominantly probability research is carried out. Apart from oxbridge, Bath and Warwick comes to my mind. You can have a look at http://people.maths.ox.ac.uk/tanner/Prospects2010/JNorrisTalk.pdf to know more about probability dominated departments (But I guess the document is old, so you might search whether the peoples mentioned in the documents are still supervising students or not.) Another destination in Europe which comes to mind when talked about probability and random graphs is Netherlands. I have already mentioned about NETWORKS program which have selected a couple of ISI students recently. Apart from that we know some of our seniors who graduated from universities like Eindhoven, Leiden etc., and have done groundbreaking works in applied probability.

Edited by StatB

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