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Anyone familiar with the Masters programs at FSU?

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Hello!  I was recently offered a TA position at FSU for the MS in Statistics with Major in Statistical Data Science program (http://www.stat.fsu.edu/graduate-program/master-science-degree (scroll down a bit for it) with a full tuition waiver up to 9 credits each semester and a stipend of ~$14k for the fall and spring semesters (total for both, not each semester).  I've emailed the chair and office administrator about the program, and I'm thinking of calling them to get more information.  They've told me that it's extremely likely for assistantships to continue in to the second year, and that all students who take the steps to establish Florida residency are able to get in-state tuition for their second year (the tuition waiver for the second year is for in-state tuition only per the TA contract they sent me, but again I would be officially appointed for the first year only right now).  I also asked about their job placement rate and average salaries for their graduates, and I was told everyone with the MS finds jobs and around $60,000 (though I'd feel more comfortable about having a hard number rather than "everyone" lol!)


I was hoping to hear from someone familiar with the department at all?  Does the program I linked to above look good to people more familiar with statistics than I am?  They post all their graduate's names online, so I've been looking them all up on LinkedIn.  The ones I can find seem to be doing well and have found positions soon after graduating in the field, but I can't find a lot of information on many of them - they seem to have a lot of international students, so I'm not sure if they leave the U.S. after or not and therefore don't have LinkedIn.  The specific Major in Statistical Data Science section of their Masters program started in Fall 2015, so there's not really any graduate job data for me to go on there, but the fact that it's newly established says to me that it's likely current in terms of the skills it's teaching for the field.


I'm really surprised to have been offered funding!  I thought I had it figured out when I got into my top choice (Colorado State), but now that I've worked out the math, the program at CSU would cost me $57k for the one year program, vs. $10k total (assuming second year TA and in-state tuition qualification) for FSU's over the course of two years.  This is including all tuition, fees, health insurance premiums, and living expenses.  It's such a huge difference in cost, that now I'm really reconsidering it.  Is that extra year in school worth saving $47k?  I can't imagine being able to save 47k in one year of working lol.  I'm still waiting to hear back from a few other schools, and I recently interviewed with State Farm for the MAGNet program they have at UIUC (full tuition waiver and pay/benefits working at state farm while in school).


I wasn't expecting to have such a hard decision.  The TA offer says I could either be a Grader or a Recitation Leader.  I have some concerns about the Recitation Leader assignment, though I asked the chair if it was possible for me to just be a Grader, and he said that would be fine.  Technically by the contract, it states that I would be assigned duties by "preference and departmental needs," and that any advisor's promises do not supersede the contract.  Thanks!

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I can't speak to the program itself but financially it sounds like FSU is the better choice. To me even if programs were the the same cost, That extra year in the program allows you to secure/explore internships during the summer between years which will set you up nicely when you graduate. Personally I love learning and would rather have an extra year of coursework that would assist me in my career. That's just my personal opinion, I'd be willing to pay a little bit more to receive an extra year of coursework whereas you can save $47,000 AND get the extra coursework. Unless CSU places you into programs where you're making a silly amount of money, $47k will take a while to pay off.

Seems like both programs will set you up for the career you want but one is gong to put you in a huge hole

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Thanks for your reply.  Yeah, I have been thinking about how the one year program at CSU doesn't deal with SAS as much until the second semester, and I was intending to get the Base and Advanced SAS Certifications before I graduate for employability, so I would really be cramming in doing that while I have to look for work as well.  Although, the program includes a 6-8 week internship with an outside company at the end, so that's a positive. 

I enjoy learning too, I think I've forgotten how much lol.  I took a basic Stats class over the summer, and I really enjoyed it.  The chair at FSU has answered a lot of my questions, and he says that domestic students have no issue finding multiple offers at graduation.  I think you're right about them both getting me to where I want to go, but the difference in money is huge enough to make it an easier decision.

I got into Ohio State and yesterday received more-or-less the same TA offer that FSU is giving me (awesome!), so now I'm researching that a little more and am going to ask OSU a bunch of questions lol!  The teaching requirement looks more intense at OSU [Leading 4 recitation sections at OSU vs. 3 at FSU, plus at FSU I could get the Grader position instead (at least at first)].  This is so exciting, I was expecting to have to drop $50,000 for the Masters, now it looks like I could get the Master's and keep my savings/investments too.

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