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Another Biostat/Stat Profile... Questions about Schools


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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I am a double bio and stat major and am conflicted between biostat and stat programs. I was hoping to get an idea of the relative strength of the two departments at different schools and also my chances of being admitted.

Institution: Top Public University

Major: Statistics & Molecular/Cellular Bio

GPA (Overall): ~3.8

Stat GPA: ~3.9

Relevant Courses:

Multivar Calc: B

Linear Algebra & Diff eqns (lower div): A-

Linear Algebra (Upper Div): A-

Probability: A

Stat Concepts: A

Time Series: A

Stat Computing: A

Real Analysis: B+

Linear Modeling: B+

I've done research with an econ professor with very basic statistical analysis involved and worked as a undergrad TA for two semesters in Statistical Computing.

Letters: One probably great, two probably decent-good

Possible Schools:

UC Davis- Stat

U Chicago -Stat

NCSU- Stat

Duke- Stat


Harvard- Biostat

UNC- Biostat

UM Ann Arbor- Stat or Biostat?

Boston University- Stat or Biostat?

UCLA- Stat or Biostat?

I've compiled this list bopping around the forums and via US News and NRC. I am interested in going for the PhD and am hoping to work in industry after graduation.

Do you think this is a good balance of reach and safe schools? Which programs would lend themselves towards getting a position in industry after graduation? Are there any schools you would add to the list? Thank you ahead of time, much appreciated!

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Sorry, forgot to mention GRE Quant: 89th percentile. Thank you again for any advice, it's difficult to get a feel for the reputations of different programs without having much access to profs, which is difficult at a big university like Berkeley.

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hmm i think you have a good range of schools - a bit top heavy though. even Columbia, ranked outside of top 20, has an insanely low admit rate (columbia stats MS here). . i would pick a couple of schools outside of top 25 as your safeties

If you want to do applied work UChicago might not be the best. also while they don't require the math GRE they highly recommend it. maybe replace Uchicago with CMU if you are interested in applied work (esp. machine learning).

Edited by sisyphus1
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I think that your profile will play a bit better at top biostat programs than at top stat programs. The reason I say this is that your math grades in "core" pre-requisite courses (calc, linalg, real analysis) and GRE quant score are good rather than great. Top-notch stat departments tend to be very math-focused, so there might be some concern about your ability to hack the requisite math. Biostat departments get fewer hardcore math applicants, so the math component of your profile will look relatively stronger. I would say that you might be reaching for top stat places (Chicago, Berkeley, Stanford, Duke), but are likely competitive at top biostat places (Harvard, Hopkins, Washington).

If I were you, I would apply to the all the biostat places you listed (Harvard, UNC, Michigan, Boston, and UCLA), plus a couple of more applied stat departments (NC State, Carnegie Mellon, maybe Washington). You could throw some more theoretical places in there for kicks, but it doesn't sound like that's really where your interest lies. Plus, there's plenty of opportunity to do theory at any good place, even it's if it's got a reputation for being more applied.

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Great! Thanks for the advice both of you. I do have a preference towards the Biostat or a more applied Stat department. One more question, you mentioned Boston and UCLA as Biostat schools, do they have fairly strong programs? Thanks!

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One more question, you mentioned Boston and UCLA as Biostat schools, do they have fairly strong programs? Thanks!

In my view, UCLA is pretty solid and BU is decent. Places like Berkeley, Minnesota, Columbia, and Penn are at least as good as if not better than UCLA and certainly stronger than BU.

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