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Importance of graduate level courses for PhD Application


Anonymous04
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I already have a stellar academic background from my undergrad and master (with many courses on theoretical and applied Statistics, Probability and even courses like like Analysis, two courses on Measure Theoretic Probability, Advanced Linear Algebra etc. Marks are okayish, mostly A, and B here and there.) Presently I am doing one more master degree (just for fun as I got a generous scholarship and did not have to pay any tuition etc.) In my current master I am taking some more advanced classes like Probabilistic Graphical Models, MCMC Theory, High Dimensional Statistics, Non-Parametric Bayesian Methods, Convex Optimization Theory, Advanced Machine Learning; and even taking some more applied courses like Statistical Methods for Ecological Data, Spatial and temporal data, Machine Learning for medical data, Biostatistics, Clinical Trials etc. I was just curious about one question. Are performances in these recent courses are going to be a determining factor if I apply to PhD? Most of the important courses that is required for getting a good PhD are already covered in my previous undergrad and master. Actually I have to give time to some other activities due to some personal problems, and I want to relax little bit on my current courses (which might result one or two low grades in some of these recent courses and I am studying just before exam, and some of the courses will also have tough exams). If any of these courses are going to matter for my PhD application, could you tell me which? So that I can focus on those in the only free time I get. What my personal instinct says, Courses on Convex Optimization might be important and I should focus on it to get a good mark. Any suggestions?

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Of course, getting A would help you a bit, but I don't think it really matters once you have B or above. Applied courses are less likely to be important and I would not care about them much. You've already taken a lot of courses and I'd recommend focusing on research for better SOP and CV.

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It depends on a lot of factors.  What schools did you go to?  Are you a domestic or foreign applicant.  Are you an URM?  What will your LOR say and who are they from.  Grades and classes alone are only part of the evaluation.  How old are you?  Have you had any jobs or internships and if so from whom?

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I am foreign applicant (Asian) and have my previous master's degree from an Asian school which sends many students to top US schools. In particular, students having similar profile like me from my earlier institution could get into schools like Iowa State, FSU, UF, Ohio State etc. I will apply to PhD next year. Currently 23 years old. LORs are good and mostly will be from my earlier master's institute. I do not have any job. Currently doing an advanced master's degree (in DataScience + ML) in an European country (in one of the top university of the country; and with got a very competitive scholarship for all my expenses). I could get an competitive scholarship during my undergrad for an internship; but it was not any major work. In my earlier institution I had one master's project. Seems like in my current institution I will be able to do some more research projects. 

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