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Mentioning the names of professors I want to work with in statistics Ph.D SOP


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Hi, I am currently working on my SOPs for statstics Ph.D and I was wondering if I should mention the names of professors that I want to work with. To be honest, I don't have a perfectly set area of statistics that I want to do my Ph.D on at the moment. I want to explore more after I go into my Ph.D. So, I haven't put the names of professors in my SOP. But I saw that in uc berkeley statistics homepage faq section for Ph.D applicants, they answered 'Instead, on the application, you will list faculty members who you would like to work with should you be admitted to our graduate program. ' to a question about whether or not applicants have to contact faculty before admission. Does anyone know if this is a requirement for berkeley or is just something that applies for applicants who already have certain professors in their mind?  

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It probably doesn't matter too much.  The bigger problem people have is being too tied down to a specific area/professor and not being flexible.  If they require you to put some names in a certain box on the application, I'd just choose some people who look interesting and are still actively doing research that you'll be qualified to do (ie, don't put a probabilist if you haven't taken real analysis, etc)

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Anecdotally, I included two or three names in every statement of purpose I submitted and certain professors took it pretty seriously. I'm sure it doesn't matter for many programs, but it seemed to influence who interviewed me at certain departments and there were professors who assumed I wanted to be in their group, specifically. This was especially true for Berkeley.

Not sure how common this is, though. I pretty much did what bayessays described when I was applying and it worked out.

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