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Informed profile evaluation for Statistics PhD Programs?

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I'd appreciate if anyone who has been through the Statistics PhD application process could take some time to offer a profile evaluation and potential chance at admission/funding at the schools I listed. Thanks!!



B.A. Mathematics with Minor in Economics

Top 10 undergrad ranked in the US News and World Report

GPA: 3.7


Standardized Testing:


GRE Verbal: 161

GRE Quant: 160

GRE Essay: 5.0


Relevant Coursework:


Calculus I, II, III (A)

Linear Algebra (A)

Real Analysis I (A-)

Real Analysis II (A)

Abstract Algebra I (A-)

Discrete Mathematics (A)

Financial Mathematics Research Seminar (A)

Mathematical Modeling Seminar (A)

Topology (B+)

Econometrics (B+)


Work Experience:


Currently working in an investment research analyst job for 2 years




Work with economists and other researchers. Published industry papers.


Teaching/Grading Experience:


Teaching Assistant for 3 economics courses in undergrad


Letters of Recommendation:


3 math professors from undergrad who collectively taught me Real Analysis, Abstract Algebra, Mathematical Modeling, and Financial Mathematics. Expected to be strong.


Statistics PhD Programs of Interest:


NC State

UNC-Chapel Hill

University of Pittsburgh



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I think that you should retake the GRE and shoot for a higher math score, shooting for at least a 163 or 164 (which I feel is the consensus minimum, but I could be wrong). I would say that, once that is finished, you have a great chance at getting into the top 10, let alone the schools you listed. Good luck!

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I agree that your GRE quantitative score will probably hurt you, along with the fact that you don't have any probability/statistics courses.  I think NC State and UNC are slight reaches because of these reasons.  Schools on the second page of the US News rankings are probably more realistic options.

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Since when are not UNC and NC State in the top 10?? I have been admitted into one of them and I had only SLIGHTLY higher GRE scores, so I think they are fine. There is no consensus or right/wrong in terms of GRE scores, as long as you have other things to show for yourself, like good major GPA in your case. But yeah I'm sure if you can retake it and get a significantly higher score, go for it!


Idk about Pittsburgh, but UNC and NC State clearly state on their websites that intro stats/ probability courses are prerequisites for PhD. So I think without these, it will be hard/impossible to get in. Clear question that will arise is: Why are you applying for stats when you never took a single stats course?


Furthermore, isn't it a bit late to be applying for Fall of 2015? The deadlines already passed for most schools...... Maybe you could get the prerequisite courses (stats and prob, ideally beyond the intro level) and try next year?

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Thanks for the feedback. I accidentally omitted a few things: I took an advanced introductory probability and statistics course during my freshmen year of college, and I'm currently enrolled in a rigorous Probability Theory course. I was exposed to a great deal of statistics during undergrad through an econometrics course. 


I understand NC State's deadline has officially passed, but it seems to be rolling. UNC and Pittsburgh are still open. 


Question: For those applicants with less than desirable statistics backgrounds (but plenty of pure math), will some of these programs offer admission with the stipulation that they take some masters level course to start? For example, it looks like Pittsburgh is open to it judging by their webpage. http://www.stat.pitt.edu/graduate/phd-statistics " Students lacking this background can arrange to remediate it either in the first year or in the summers proceeding or following the first year".

Edited by Sligh_Anarchist
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I'm not sure a lot of undergrad statistics courses are really necessary for every school (unless it is explicitly stated on their Admissions FAQ page that it's strongly preferred that applicants have taken a full year of probability and statistics), since there are plenty of PhD statistics students who have Bachelor's or Masters degrees in pure mathematics. There are students in my current Statistics PhD program who never took a single stats class before enrolling. Maybe it's different for the top schools though (I attend one of the schools on the second page of the U.S. News & World Report rankings).


Some schools like UNC and Duke seem to strongly prefer that incoming students have taken a Masters level Casella & Berger probability and statistical inference sequence, since it looks like their first-year courses delve into advanced inference and measure theoretic probability theory right away (at many other schools, these courses aren't taken until the second year of the PhD program). But if prior credits earned in probability/statistics is not an explicitly mentioned prerequisite for admission and if the first-year courses on the Department webpage start out with Masters-level probability and statistics (i.e. not measure theoretic probability or advanced inference), then you should be okay, IMHO.

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You're underselling yourself; you should definitely apply to NC State but shoot for the other top 10 programs too (though perhaps you're omitting those because the deadlines for most have already past).  Math preparation wise, schools tend to look for good grades in analysis and at least some exposure to probability, and you're set there.  You should be competitive at most of them.  Many people come from pure math degrees; I had little statistics undergraduate background and had no trouble getting into top programs last year.


Don't worry about funding; it should come with admission at any of these places.

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