Jump to content

Choosing a PhD Program: UWashington, UC Davis, or UCSB?

Recommended Posts

I was fortunate to be admitted into the three programs (in statistics) above. So far, I have been leaning towards Washington, as it is really well-regarded, fits my research interests, and seems like a good path to an industry job. But I have had some slight worries about Seattle location/winters. I visited campus a couple weeks back and liked it quite a bit, but I'm from LA and the sunny weather here is pretty hard to beat; UCSB, while not the strongest program and moreover sort of "niche" in the emphasis on finance, is a winner for weather (except for portions of August). Davis is the in-between choice—still well-regarded but closer to CA weather.

All programs have given me pretty standard funding packages, with Washington including an award for starting the program. I consider location pretty important, because staying in one area for five years is a pretty big commitment, though I know time may pass by quicker than I think. At the same time, I also am fully willing to master out if I am not succeeding as I want to be. So it's not a deal breaker!

For reference, I am interested in statistical machine learning along with time series/sequenced data analysis. Currently, I'd like to eventually work in LA or SF (went to Berkeley), though I do not know Seattle too well yet. I also have somewhat low vitamin D, hence why I like the sun haha.

If anyone lives near these places or has experience with these programs, I would appreciate your input. Another related question is: is it common/feasible to move cities after doing your PhD? Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you ever lived somewhere that's not California?  Seattle's weather concerns are overblown - it's less rainy/cloudy than many major cities on the east coast, and the winters are relatively mild.  It's not like going to Chicago or Minnesota.  But, obviously it's not Santa Barbara, and if weather is a huge concern for you, then only you know how much that would affect your happiness.

I think the best thing is to really think about your goals.  You should be able to get a decent job coming from any stats PhD program, but Washington is really in a different tier than the other two and I think you'd have more options, especially if you're interested in machine learning.  I think that holds even if you want to move back to California - you'l have more options in San Francisco after attending Washington due to the prestige of the program and your opportunity to do cutting-edge ML stuff.  On the other hand, I'm looking at UCSB's PhD placements and they are still pretty good: https://www.pstat.ucsb.edu/graduate/alumni

Location is huge though, and it's 5 or 6 years of your life, so if you think you'd be much happier in California, you can definitely be successful at any of the programs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use