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Biostatistics PhD Profile Evaluation


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Undergrad Institution: Large State University
Major: Mathematics
Minor: None
GPA: 3.4 Overall; 3.6 major

Undergrad Institution: Large State University
Major: MPH in Biostatistics
GPA: 3.97

Type of Student: Domestic female

Courses/ Background:

  • Undergrad: Calc 1-3, Differential equations, linear algebra, advanced calculus, proof writing, complex variables and applications, abstract algebra 1 and 2, real analysis 1, probability theory, methods of optimization, number theory, programming course (python)

  • Grad: statistical programming, probability/statistical Inference, generalized linear models/categorical variables, survival analysis, linear mixed models, externship, thesis, and some public health/epi related courses.

  • Grades: all As except for one public health seminar course (A-)

  • Currently ongoing: real analysis 2, stochastic processes

The dip in my undergrad GPA mostly comes from one really bad year in undergrad. My lowest grade was a C in abstract algebra 1, but then I got an A in abstract algebra 2. My grades in the rest of my undergrad math courses are A/A- and a few B+s. My classes now are going well so far, and even though it’s a bit early to tell I think I can manage As in both (fingers crossed!).

GRE scores: 160 Q; 160 V; 4.5 W (Didn't study the first time; planning to retake next month. Based on practice exams, I think I’ll do much better)

Programming Languages: R, SAS, SPSS, Python, C++, MATLAB, Open/WinBUGS, STAN


Research Experience: 

  • Research assistant working with survey data for an epidemiological research group, 2 analysis projects, 2 data management. No publications.

  • Externship for MPH: 3 stats projects. 2 basic analysis projects, 1 project working with trajectory data (submitted for publication).

  • Thesis for MPH: Working on manuscript, first author. Might not be submitted by the time I submit applications. It was an application of joint mixed modeling and latent class models.

  • Current: Have been working as a biostatistician for a research group for one year. Work consists of: genomics, functional data analysis, wavelets, Bayesian analyses, mixed models, joint modeling of longitudinal outcomes, and analysis of neuroimaging data. No publications yet, but there are a few manuscripts in the works.  

Other Relevant Experience:

  • Teaching Calculus for four years (2 years TAing during undergrad, 2 teaching university classes after graduating undergrad).

  • Math tutor (from arithmetic through graduate level courses) for 6 years.

  • Covering some lectures for a graduate stats course.


Honors/Awards: Some scholarships in both undergrad and grad, teaching award from undergrad, a couple of small departmental math awards from undergrad (nothing exciting, just little competitions in our department)


Letters of Recommendation:

  • Current boss (biostatistician – also my thesis advisor)

  • Another stats professor (biostatistician)

  • Externship supervisor (biostatistician)

  • Chair of department

All know me very well and have either taught me or worked with me for a while.

On list to apply to: 

  • University of Michigan

  • University of Minnesota

  • Emory

  • Purdue

  • Colombia (either PhD or DrPH in biostatistics)

  • UCLA (either PhD or DrPH in biostatistics)

  • UNC Chapel Hill

  • University of Washington

  • Brown

  • Johns Hopkins

  • University of Illinois Chicago

I know I’m reaching with some of the schools (especially considering my undergrad GPA). I would appreciate suggestions for any schools to add/remove from the list based on my profile. I am not set on applying to all of these schools, I want to narrow the list and make it more realistic before I submit my applications.

One more question: I’m working as a biostatistician right now. If I don’t get in to a school I’m happy with or don’t get enough funding, what should I do in the upcoming year to increase my chances for the next time around? Hopefully I would have some publications by then, but I’m usually not the stopgap in the process of getting the manuscripts finished, so there is not much I can do to speed up that process. I'm open to taking more courses if you have suggestions. 

Thank you so much! 


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  • 2 months later...


I've since retaken the GRE, and got  a 167/167/4.5

Just wondering if anyone has any comments about the schools I'm applying to. I'd love any suggestions for additional schools I should apply to or remove from my list based on my profile. Thank you in advance, I really appreciate any insight!

I've added the following schools to my list: 

Boston University

University of Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon (Stats)

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1 hour ago, coffeealwaysblack said:

the deadlines for some schools on your list have already passed. just a reminder..

Haha! Thanks for the reminder. I've already submitted those applications of course.

I posted the original post well before the deadlines, but I didn't get any responses, and in my current panicked post-application state, I want to know if I should add some more lower-ranked schools (that may have later deadlines) to my list. Or if I should remove some of the higher ranked ones that have not had the deadlines pass (and save myself some money). 


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