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UC Davis vs U Michigan - Statistics PhD


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As the title mentioned, I'm choosing between these two school (and UCLA if I get in...) for a Stat PhD. A bit about me. I'm an undergrad from Rice and I'm pretty sure I want to go into industry after grad school (google, walmart labs, some start-up. Think data science jobs). My research interests include statistical learning methods and graphical models. Here is a bit about each school that I've decided is important to help me make a decision.

UC Davis

  • Already in California.
  • Accepted into this program that looks like it'll prepare me for a good first job in industry (http://www.stat.ucdavis.edu/research/nsf-rtg/index.html)
  • $21,000 stipend over 9 months
  • $5,000 summer fellowship for one month for the first two years
  • No mention of TA duties but probs assume I'll have to TA each semester I'm there


  • Much higher ranking (top 6-top 15 at most of the websites I've looked at)
  • $2418.64/ month stipend with health and dental coverage
  • $9690 summer stipend for first year only
  • No TA duties for first year, and two semesters of my choosing between 2nd and 3rd

Seems like Michigan is an obvious choice but I'm afraid it might be too theoretical/difficult for me to branch out and take other classes. I essentially want to take or audit up the first year or two of the computer science major of whichever university I attend. Also, I'm from Houston, TX and have never been in the true cold vs Davis which is in California (where I'll probably want to work afterwards). Any help??

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I live in Davis currently. One thing that you should know is that Davis weather is not typical California weather. It does freeze on occasion, there is a winter season (its short and relatively warm, compared to most places). The summer is hot. It's a dry heat from 90-100 degrees and extends well into late fall and begins in late may/early June. It's a great college town. No snow, but if you want it, there's always the Sierra Nevadas. If that helps. 

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Speaking as some who grow up on the Equatorial line and went undergrad in UM, Michigan winter is not THAT bad. You just spend most time inside, just like the summer in TX. 

UM's CS program is also top ranked and has huge alumni network that opens doors in big tech firms. 

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