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# of years PhD program can be waived for Master applicants


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Hi all,

 

So I applied for master Biostats and I'm starting the program in August. I'm planning on working (academia or industry) during my OPT 2 years afterwards. If I would like to go back for PhD Biostats, usually how many years of school can I waive?

Also, since I'm international student (degree in US) and biochem major (switching field), would be help (a lot) if I have Master biostats with couple years of research? (hopefully?) Does anyone here have similar experience before? (applying phd program with master degree, preferably also international students?)

 

 

Thanks,

 

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Usually for a two year master degree, you'll get out of most of the first year coursework in the PhD program.  So you'll spend two years on the MS, and get <= 1 year off of the PhD.

Unless you remain at the same university where you can get 2 years off.

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okay thanks!

 

Additional question:

 

My goal is to work in industry eventually and it seems like in most pharmaceutical industry, PhD in biostats seems like a must.

I was wondering if this is the case,

 

1. Would the prestige of the school matters a lot for industry? 

 

2. If the school I complete my master isn't in a good state (as not a lot of pharmaceutical companies around, hense, less networking), would you guys recommend me finishing phd in the same university (get 2 yrs off) or apply to other phd programs in states that a lot of companies gather (ex: NJ, PA, NC) but only get 1 year off?

 

Thanks,

Edited by lisa8191
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I'm coming from a different field, but I think you should also be prepared for the possibilities that you will get nothing waived. I came to a US Planetary Science PhD program with a Masters in Astronomy from Canada and my current program does not waive any requirements if you have a Masters from anywhere. If your classes from your Masters overlapped with the required classes in your PhD, you will get to waive those requirements, however you will have to replace them with higher level elective courses.

 

Policies vary a lot from school to school though. Another school said they would waive the "minor" requirement for people with Masters, which is the equivalent of reducing your courseload by 80% of one semester. Another school said they evaluate this on a case-by-case basis. So it might be true that Biostats has uniform policies across all programs, but it's more likely that you will see varying policies at different schools. So, you should be prepared for the possibility of not having anything from your Masters (except for what you gained in experience) count towards a PhD.

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Yeah, TakeruK is totally right that this will depend on the PhD program. For an extreme example, the UW biostatistics and statistics PhD programs handle previous master's degrees completely differently -- even though these programs have the same required PhD courses!

Someone coming into UW statistics with a background that included a Casella & Berger-equivalent course (even if they don't have a master's!) and previous courses in experimental design and applied regression would be able to start the PhD theory and methods sequences right away. There's some details about minimum GPAs you have to achieve in the PhD theory courses, but it basically shaves a year off of coursework requirements for people who took some grad-level statistics before enrolling. People with master's degrees from other universities can finish the statistics PhD in as little as 3 years (which I don't think is a good idea because you're more competitive on the job market with more time -> more publications, but that's a different story).

The UW biostatistics department is way more anal about their requirements. If you have a previous master's degree in statistics or biostatistics, you still need to take the master's qualifying exam to be able to skip the first year courses (here is last year's). Further, you need to pass that exam at a higher level than that required of the PhD students who took the exam the previous spring after finishing the first year courses. For context, less than 2/3 of the current UW students who take the exam score at that level, and most spend several hours a week in the quarter prior preparing for it, so it's not the kind of thing you can just show up to and expect to ace. I've never heard of anyone successfully skipping all the first year coursework in biostat because of this onerous exam requirement, it's rare. So a previous master's doesn't take *any* time off the UW biostat PhD relative to people coming straight from undergrad, still 5+ years for just about everyone.

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