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MS Applied Statistics

  1. Mar 4, 2008 #1
    Hello all -

    I have a question I hope can be answered here. While I love Math, I know that there are very few jobs available with a BS/MS in pure Math. After taking a few Stats courses, I realized I can definitely make a career out of being a statistician. I already do the statistics for a Biochemistry professor at my university and would definitely be happy with working as a statistician. According to many Math/Stat professors at my university, salaries are high (starting salaries are around $70,000 here in Chicago with an MS), and jobs are plentiful.

    In general, how competitive are MS programs in applied statistics? I was looking at Stanford, UCLA, Texas A&M, University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Illinois/Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa, North Carolina etc... (pretty much top tier programs). Stanford, for example, mentions that 25% of MS applicants are admitted. Are these programs really not that competitive? Anyone have any experience? I definitely do not want to commit to a PhD. I just can't stay in school that long.

    Also, I have a 3.7 GPA overall, 3.85 GPA in Mathematics. I'm planning on taking the GRE subject test next fall and am sure I can get 3 solid LORs.

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2008 #2
    I've been interested in similar programs, although not with quite as big names.

    I've only applied to Western Michigan, and was accepted. They promise to teach regression, design of experiments, and SAS programming so it can't be all that bad. I've also passed the first actuarial exam and am working on the second so I hope to use these kinds of skills within the insurance industry (maybe finance, but that industry isn't fairing too well).

    I've been looking around the ASA website and there seems to be some interest in statistical work (especially from pharmaceutical companies). I couldn't tell you much as I'm in the same boat as you, but I also get the impression not many people apply to these types of programs. Maybe people think the work is dull?
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  4. Mar 4, 2008 #3
    Congrats on passing the actuarial exam. I did find out some more news from a Stats professor at my university which may be helpful. Most low-tier MS programs are fairly easy to get into. For higher-tier programs, you need around a 3.5+ GPA, >70% Math GRE Subject Score for higher-tier programs. The reasons that so few people apply, according to my professor, are:

    1. Most MS programs offer no financial aid. Thus, you will be paying anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 for the MS.

    2. Most people interested in Stats usually opt to go the PhD route, which is free and generally results in higher pay.

    The job market here in Chicago is, and has been for the last 50+ years, has been excellent (according to my prof - again), especially for MS degrees. There are quite a few big companies, hospitals, universities, and finance corporations here, all which are constantly looking for staff statisticians. Starting pay has been in the $60,000-$80,000 range for recent MS grads + benefits and 40-45 hours a week. I'm sure with additional credentials (such as an internship or passing some actuarial exams), you can probably get even more. I'm not sure about Michigan, however.

    This is all directly from my professor, a Stats PhD who spent 20+ years in the industry before going into academia. Please let me know if you find some new info!
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