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funding for stats/biostats


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Can someone elaborate or point me to a link to where I can get a better idea about funding packages for stats and biostats programs?

I am especially curious how packages may vary between the various tiers.

I have an MS in Applied Economics and will probably score near a 164-167 on the quant.

Thanks

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What do you mean funding? How much they will pay you? It all depends on location (cost of living) and the school. The funding ranged from 14000 to 25000 for the schools I applied to.

Yes, that is what I am asking. Did all the schools offer you this? Is that beyond the tuition remission?

Thanks.

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I e-mailed quite a few programs about funding as I decided which schools to apply to. Here are a few stipends for PhD biostats programs:

Harvard - $28,500

Yale - $30,000

UNC - $22,000 - fees

Michigan - $26,500

Johns Hopkins - $22,000

U Penn - $24,500

U Wisconsin - $20,400

Emory - $21,600

U Washington - $21,000

A few comments:

- UNC's student fees stood out to me as being very high ($900/semester I believe). It gets you free buses... Also UNC was the only program that could not guarantee funding for the duration of the program, even if you are accepted with funding for the first year.

- Most require 20 hrs/wk during the school year and 40 hrs/wk during the summer of research, but none of the schools I visited actually keep track, according to the current students.

- The difference between Harvard and Washington is surprisingly big considering they're tied for #1 and are both in expensive cities.

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Cambridge is more expensive to live in than Seattle; but indeed both are more expensive than the US Average. I would say of those schools Emory, Yale and Michigan offer the best packages (Yale especially) respective of their cost-of-living. Note however, that Emory only garauntees funding for the first three years - after which you need to secure your own. Students have said this is never a problem.

Why are you concerned about the money? It is unlikely - if you apply to a top school - that you will receive inadequate funding. My concern would be the GRE and the Math subject GRE (some of those schools you mention strongly recommend it).

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Why are you concerned about the money? It is unlikely - if you apply to a top school - that you will receive inadequate funding. My concern would be the GRE and the Math subject GRE (some of those schools you mention strongly recommend it).

I will be applying to a #10-40 type program. I'm just trying to set realistic expectations for what may be offered by those programs. Ie.The difficulty in receiving money from #10-40, may be the same as acceptance into a top 10

Edited by sandan
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There is no difficulty. I have not seen any schools that do not fund their PhD's; certainly not a Top 50 program in the United States. You may not get what you think you deserve in terms of money, but they all have a funding system of some sort.

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There is no difficulty. I have not seen any schools that do not fund their PhD's; certainly not a Top 50 program in the United States. You may not get what you think you deserve in terms of money, but they all have a funding system of some sort.

i have heard of many cases where PhD students were accepted "without funding" but not sure if this could be the case for stats/biostats programs. biostats programs seem to be pretty well-funded.

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i have heard of many cases where PhD students were accepted "without funding" but not sure if this could be the case for stats/biostats programs. biostats programs seem to be pretty well-funded.

That is essentially a non-offer. Those will always happen, but I do not consider that par for the course (many programs do not do this practice AT ALL). The vast majority of programs will fund you for your admittance.

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i have heard of many cases where PhD students were accepted "without funding" but not sure if this could be the case for stats/biostats programs. biostats programs seem to be pretty well-funded.

Just did some browsing of the comments in the results database in the past year for stat/biostat PhD programs that offer no/untenably low funding to least some admitted students:

  • SUNY Buffalo, biostats
  • Rutgers, stats
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, stats (low funding, $8K)
  • Pittsburgh, stats
  • George Washington, stats
  • George Washington, biostats
  • Johns Hopkins, applied math and statistics (accepted a student but waitlisted for funding)
  • SUNY Stony Brook, applied math and statistics
  • UT Dallas, stats

So, maybe don't count on any of these programs as viable options even if you think you have a decent chance of admission. GW and SUNY Stony Brook seemed to have the most consistent issues with funding in my perusal of the database.

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I e-mailed quite a few programs about funding as I decided which schools to apply to. Here are a few stipends for PhD biostats programs:

Harvard - $28,500

Yale - $30,000

UNC - $22,000 - fees

Michigan - $26,500

Johns Hopkins - $22,000

U Penn - $24,500

U Wisconsin - $20,400

Emory - $21,600

U Washington - $21,000

A few comments:

- UNC's student fees stood out to me as being very high ($900/semester I believe). It gets you free buses... Also UNC was the only program that could not guarantee funding for the duration of the program, even if you are accepted with funding for the first year.

- Most require 20 hrs/wk during the school year and 40 hrs/wk during the summer of research, but none of the schools I visited actually keep track, according to the current students.

- The difference between Harvard and Washington is surprisingly big considering they're tied for #1 and are both in expensive cities.

I will enter graduate program in Mathematics at U Washington this fall and my stipend for 11 months is 19 K . Whichever city you live in, the stipend will be enough for a single graduate student.

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Columbia's cost of living is low. Maybe not low compared to where some people live, but it is definitely below the national average. However, I am not sure where that individual got their information. Their website says a typical stipend is 13K to 14K, which is probably enough to live. A onebedroom (using Walkscore.com) looks like it goes for around 400 to 600. I would expect a roommate situation to be much less.

These programs aren't trying to shine you in regards to the financial aid. You can always (assuming you are an American) take a little out in Financial Aid from the feds (10,200 each semester) to supplement.

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I would add Wisconsin to the list of underfunders. They seem to accept a lot of people with no funding (this guy included). Bad practice in my opinion, it can put applicants in a tough situation if they have no other options. Apply next cycle with no guarantee of a better outcome vs. enroll, take loans, and hope for funding in later years of the program. It seems that the majority of good biostats PhD programs will either accept with guaranteed funding or reject.

I think the size of the stipend is a reasonable factor to consider. If you're deciding between programs like Michigan and UNC, you're looking at a similar cost of living and $26,500 vs. $20,000 after student fees. If someone offered to pay me $32,500 to go to Michigan rather than UNC, I'd do it!

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I think the size of the stipend is a reasonable factor to consider. If you're deciding between programs like Michigan and UNC, you're looking at a similar cost of living and $26,500 vs. $20,000 after student fees. If someone offered to pay me $32,500 to go to Michigan rather than UNC, I'd do it!

I would agree in your specific case (Michigan vs. UNC) because both schools are excellent. However, I think it's a bad idea to attend a lesser program based on receiving a higher stipend. For example, going to Yale over JHU or Washington (in biostat) for the sake of $8-9,000 per year would be shortsighted in my opinion.

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I think the size of the stipend is a reasonable factor to consider. If you're deciding between programs like Michigan and UNC, you're looking at a similar cost of living and $26,500 vs. $20,000 after student fees. If someone offered to pay me $32,500 to go to Michigan rather than UNC, I'd do it!

Funny that you use that example, because that's almost the exact decision I faced - except stats rather than biostats, and subtract 5K from each offer. The advice everyone around me gave was to not factor the stipend into my decision at all (as long as the offer was liveable), and so I went with UNC which was the better research fit.

When you phrase it like "pay me $32,500 to go to Michigan", it certainly sounds tempting. But from my perspective, if I'm pouring my life into a PhD program, I'm not going to let 6K a year persuade me away from the one I prefer.

Just my personal experience.

Edited to add:

One other BIG factor was what expectations come with the funding. At Michigan, they expect a ~10 hour/week GSI, and I got the impression that the situation stayed constant across four years. At UNC, for your first year it's only an 8 hour TAship, and by all accounts you don't really even spend that much time on it. After that, you either teach classes (better paid, but more hours similar to Michigan), become an RA (same pay, better work), or intern (much better pay). Everyone I talked to said their stipend went up across the years, except in the semesters they RA'ed.

This is all based on hearsay and my conversations with current students, so you know, grain of salt. But worth noting that sometimes a bigger stipend also comes with more responsibilities to pull you away from your research...

Edited by Statistique
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i agree it's not good to make the stipend one of the priorities in choosing a program, but it would be nice to have an adequate level of support knowing that you'll be spending at least a couple years having school as your fulltime thing. but then again the option of being able to obtain additional 10k or so in loans a year would negate any lack of support so no need to worry too much about it.

on a side note, anyone familiar with the california school stipend levels? UCLA says they pay $14,800 a year for teaching assistantships, that seems substantially lower than the programs listed on this thread.

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At least the stipend is a concrete, objective piece of information. Other factors are much more subjective. Did I like this city that I visited for two days, the majority of which was spent in the school of public health? Did I find the current students welcoming - based on the five or six that I actually had a conversation with? Is there a faculty member doing research in my specific area of interest - which, if I'm coming straight out of college, is based on maybe one substantial research experience? I didn't take a poll but at least half of the students I met on the interview trail did not have well-defined research interests, which I presume makes it difficult to assess research fit.

I gave US News ranking and stipend the two highest priorities. Highly ranked schools will have great faculty in a wide variety of areas and will provide a solid education. High stipends will allow you to live comfortably and not penny-pinch. Other factors tend to be qualitative, subjective, and hard to gauge.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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