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Masters Programs in Statistics | Decision Help

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Hello all,

Long time stalker here coming out of the shadows and hoping to receive some friendly advice from the community. I've been lucky enough to get into the following Masters in Statistics/Data Science programs and I'm hoping to get some serious guidance on where to go.

Goal: Go to a program with a serious chance to either begin a PhD (Machine Learning/Computational/Applied Statistics) or with the best job prospects.


Columbia (MA Statistics)

Duke (MS Statistical Science)

UVA (MS Statistics)

UCLA (MS Statistics)

University of Illinois-UC (MS Statistics)

NYU (MS Data Science w/ scholarship)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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If you are looking for something giving you an edge while applying to a PhD program later, then apart from CMU's MSDS, no other data science program would prove useful. A masters degree in statistics with content from Computing/ML would be better. I was going to apply for NYU & Columbia's data science program too, but after meeting some of the current students, I decided against it. These are great programs, no doubt, but only in case you do not have any plans to continue to research. A lot of their content is business focused or introductory so as to get the students at least a basic know-how of verticals & techniques.

CDS(NYU) & DSI (Columbia) promote research a lot, but its not for their MS students, usually Fellows & PhD's from other departments working with DS departments are the ones actually involved in research. Also, if you have any plans for PhD, you might want to take a look at overall cost of the programs+ living exp  vs the scholarship offered. It would be nearly impossible to jump into a PhD with ~30$ debt (in case of NYU as its not full scholarship + living expenses are extremely high in NYC)


Hope this helps! Let us know what you finally choose. :)

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Hello anakin,

Really appreciate the response! It's a big help on the journey towards narrowing my choices. I think the biggest factor right now is funding my education, especially if I am looking at 4-5 years of graduate school after the masters program. Would you say that I should just go to the institution that is at the lowest cost? Would you doubt the quality of any of the institutions I've listed? Factors relating to the strength of an institution are difficult for me to gauge. 

I surely will!

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This doesn't answer the question but any thoughts on Duke's MSS program and PhD prospects later? I just got an offer but Duke is so expensive !

Thanks !

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