Jump to content

Stats PhD, Masters - Profile Evaluation

Recommended Posts

School: Large Public Research University (40-45 ranked math department - USnews ranking)

Major: Mathematics, Computer Science

Minor: Economics

GPA (Cumulative): 3.81/4.00 (Math): 3.9

Mathematics Coursework: Calculus I,II,II (A-,B,A-), Discrete Math (Intro to proofs) (B+), Linear Algebra (Proof-Based) (A), Ordinary Differential Equations (A),  Real Analysis I (A-), Real Analysis II (A), Abstract Algebra I (A-), Complex Analysis (A), Linear and Nonlinear Optimization (A), Financial Mathematics (pretty much just a course in stochastic calculus) (A), Numerical Analysis (next year), Partial Differential Equations (next year)

Statistics/CS Coursework: Probability Theory (A), Statistical Theory (A), Graduate Machine Learning (A), Data Mining (A), Financial Econometrics (A), Time Series (next year)

Math Courses with Ws (and then retook for A/A-): Calculus III, Abstract Algebra I, Probability Theory

GRE Scores: 169Q, 165V, 4AW (I was going to apply this year, but decided to finish up my computer science degree by taking a 5th year, and add some more research to my profile)

Letters: 2 from professors having done research, 1 from professor I took several classes with (opportunity to do research with next year too - see below)

Research: -non-relevant to statistics (both in number theory): Semester Research Project, Summer REU

                 -relevant: year long  research opportunity (if I accept - see below)


PhD Programs (preferred) : Chicago, Michigan, Harvard, CMU (joint machine learning - honestly, I never see anyone get admitted to this though), Berkeley, Wisconsin, Penn, Penn St, Duke, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, Columbia, Cornell, Purdue, UCLA

MS Programs: Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, CMU, Berkeley, Duke, Washington, UCLA (trying to keep this top heavy, since the consensus is that masters are easier to be admitted to)


I have quite a bit of interest in machine learning, and would prefer going to a program that has some faculty doing research in this area, but I wouldn't say it is a deal breaker (i.e. if I was admitted to Chicago I'd go, regardless of the minimal research in ML). 


Some Questions:

1. I have four W's, three of which are in relevant mathematics classes (listed above). I was struggling financially at the time, father was laid off and not able to find steady work. During these periods, often of which were not given with much heads-up, I had to take on 40 - 60 hours of work and could just not keep pace will all of my courses. Figured it probably better to withdraw and retake, rather than take a C. How much weight will this have on my application?

2. Would it be more beneficial to complete a undergraduate thesis OR one year of statistics relevant research with a professor?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I am a current student too which means my words might not be helpful. But according to the impression I get from professors, the W's are no problem, as your overall grades shows how strong you are already. There will be a question in application to explain these sort of situations, and you do have a legit reason for these W's. So I guess don't worry?

If I were you, I would do the research. Firstly it will give you a picture of what you like in statistics. Secondly, as I'm doing a thesis for undergraduate now, I feel that at this level a thesis would emphasize more on background research and summarizing what I have already done, which is not as beneficial as doing extra research. Also in speaking of application, I feel that a experience in stats will add more to your profile than a thesis, plus there are probability you finish something within a year and write a paper. Both will be nice, as your math research experience can already endorse your ability. 

About ML and Chicago, maybe adding TTIC to the list?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use