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Advice for choosing between UNC and UW-Madison for MS in Statistics

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Hello everyone! I am fortunate to be admitted into the MS in Statistics: Statistics & Data Science in UW-Madison, and the MS in Statistics, Analytics and Data Science in UNC. I am 50/50 in terms of going into a PhD, or going into the industry (as a Statistician/Data Scientist) after my MS. Also, I am an international student. Here are some details and my thoughts:
Both UW-Madison and UNC are T15 statistics departments. UNC is #11 while UW-Madison is #13, so I think both are of similar standards. UNC's department combines Statistics and Operations Research, while UW-Madison's doesn't.
UW-Madison - Required courses include Statistical Methods, Intro to Statistical Inference, Statistical Learning. It is compulsory to do a data science computing project, and a data science practicum (good for jobs). There will be another 4-5 elective courses, including topics such as mathematical statistics (two courses I could choose from, and one prepares me for a PhD), statistical computing, and more.
UNC- Core courses include data science, machine learning, applied stats, optimization, stochastic modeling, theoretical statistics, and probability (choose 5 out of 7). Then, 4 other courses (mainly within the department), and the master's essay (like a thesis). The master's essay is generally done with a company/another department which could provide job opportunities. Defending the essay might be good preparation for a PhD.
Cohort size:
UNC's intake is much smaller. Around 10 students every year, while UW-Madison has around 50 - 70 (?) students. This makes UNC more attractive, as there is more individualized attention and opportunities for everyone.
Tuition, costs, and related opportunities: 
UW-Madison - 48k. No tuition remission from grad assistantship positions. Those positions are available, although quite competitive to get. Maybe students have to seek Teaching/Research Assistant jobs outside the department.
UNC- Around 60 - 70k.  It seems those who want to are able to get Teaching/Research Assistant or similar opportunities, especially within the department.
Job placements appear good for both. Regarding PhDs, UW-Madison seems to have an internal application to get into their PhD program, or at least they emphasized it a bit, while UNC doesn't seem to, but it could be possible. UNC has taken some of their undergrads into their PhD program.
UW-Madison - It's the capital of WI and there are lots of companies in the area. The transport seems more frequent than CH's, but it could be less walkable, as the city is bigger. If I do an internship, I probably won't have to drive. I'm not too familiar with opportunities in statistics/data science in Madison compared to the triangle area.
UNC- Chapel Hill is small and maybe there won't be many opportunities in the city for internships/work. I would have to drive or rely on the less frequent buses. However, the Research Triangle area (Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, RTP) provides lots of opportunities with hundreds of companies. UNC, Duke, and NC State have lots of collaborations in statistics too. CH has better weather than Madison, I guess.
Overall, I am happy with both programs. I am slightly leaning towards UNC, but which do you think is better, considering job/PhD objectives? 


Edited by Lauren1
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Both are good departments, so tuition is probably the biggest thing, so I'd really figure out if you can get an assistantship if that's going to make a big difference between the two.

UNC hands down wins for the job market with Raleigh-Durham nearby.  Madison is a pretty small city - they have 10 data science jobs posted on linkedin right now in the whole city.

As for curriculum, 10 years ago I probably would've said that UNC's operations research/optimization focus is a little weird, but honestly I've seen so many data science roles lately that are looking for that type of background for their supply chains, so you might have an opportunity to set yourself apart there.

If you don't have personal reasons to be in the midwest, I don't see many huge advantages to UW besides maybe the tuition and the fact that it's a bigger/(more fun?) city (and only you can decide if that outweighs the other stuff).

Realistically, they are both great departments, so I don't think your choice will have a huge impact on your career - I'd prioritize which you think you'll enjoy more and leave you with less debt.

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