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Math Grad School Choices: MSc Math or Stats?

  1. Jul 12, 2012 #1


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    Hi, all. This is my first post. Although my question isn't directly physics related, I hope I will be able to get some feedback, as I haven't had much luck finding career advice forums for math & stats.

    I recently obtained a BSc with a major in Mathematics. This is not an honours or specialization degree; instead, I simply took a number of math and stats courses that interested me (ODEs, PDEs, calculus, analysis, modelling, probability, stats, linear algebra, etc.). Other coursework includes 2nd year physics, chem, neuroscience, and genetics.

    I am trying to decide what to focus on in grad school. I am old enough that I feel a PhD is more or less unrealistic, but I am willing to devote 2-3 years for an MSc. I have done some undergrad research in modelling related to biological systems and enjoy it. Employment opportunities are a significant concern for me, but I'm not out to make the most money possible, just a reasonably good salary (hopefully 70k+/year after some experience).

    I'm attempting to wrap my head around the opportunities and job market for someone with a math background, and I've gotten the impression that a MSc in stats would be more employable than an MSc in applied math (say biomathematics), especially if stopping at the MSc level. I like stats, particularly stochastic processes rather than, say, running t-tests, but I think I prefer modelling. That being said, I'd happily pursue stats if it meant a significantly better chance of a career.

    I have a few years experience writing software (mostly business web apps).

    I would love to hear some opinions or anecdotes, especially from those who have experience in either or both areas.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2012 #2


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    If my first post was too long, here are my main questions:

    Which master's degree is more likely to enable me to find degree-related work, applied math or statistics?

    I've been told a master's is sufficient to start a career in stats. Is the same true of applied math, or is a PhD generally required?
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