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Thread: Masters in Statistics: Worth It?

  1. #1
    rawr Array Pooja's Avatar
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    Default Masters in Statistics: Worth It?

    Background:
    I'll graduate with a major in History and a minor in Statistics. I would have a minor in math, but it looks like I'll be one class short (after Calc I, I skipped Calc II and went straight to Calc III. I got an A in Calc III, but they still want me to take Calc II. Fuck it.). I also have "almost minors" in biology, classics, economics, and anthropology (I'm a true INTP). I'll graduate with a GPA of about 3.45. My GPA in the last few years is closer to 3.80.

    Now, I'm primarily interested in Statistics. I have a lot of advanced 500-level Stats classes, plus knowledge of SAS programming. I've taken enough math/stats courses to get into almost any statistics masters program. My GRE score for math is 790 out of 800. I've spent the last few semesters working for my university as a math tutor.

    HOWEVER, I'm so sick of school right now. I go to all of my classes, but I just sit there and doodle compulsively. Everything bores me. I really want a job, but in this economy, I have little hope of landing one. A masters in statistics sounds nice, because I'll have a better chance of finding a decent job with that degree.

    Do you think that I should do a masters in Stats? Has anybody done (or attempted) this before? Are there certain things that I should know in advance? How is that job market for people with Stats masters degrees? Are (reputable) online degrees a terrible idea? For example, Penn State University has an online Stats masters program that I was considering. It's important to me to be geographically close to Joft, who will most likely end up at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He might also go to Northwestern University by Chicago. I'm not sure if I could get into the stats masters programs at those universities. Most of the "research" to come out of stats departments sounds like incomprehensible jibberish to me.

    Any input would be highly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Ubi sunt Array Ferrus's Avatar
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    Eh, avoid the apocalyptic job market at present and plump for a masters.
    Dimidium facti qui coepit habet: sapere aude, incipe - Horace

    A conscious reactor against the void incertitude

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    I looked into both a Masters and Ph.D. in Stats. I love basic stats and numbers in general, but when I really began to look deeper into what I would be studying at the graduate level, I just knew I'd get fed up with it. I know I'm capable of it, but it sure seemed like "S" work to me. I have a good friend who is an ISTJ and I think he'd be much more cut out for a Master's in Stats than me (I believe we are just about equally mathematically inclined, but his S and his J are strong and I could just see him kicking butt in graduate statistics).

    Your math GRE is a bit higher than mine and your GPA is passable for graduate study (plus it's been climbing in recent semesters which shows an upward trend/increase in motivation/whatever the case may be - admissions faculty like to see that). The fact that you've been a tutor will help too. Overall, I'd say you have a great shot of getting into a good program. You're a shoe-in at most mid-level programs, IMO.

    I'm currently attending a reputable online program at a state college (MBA, not Stats) and no employer would ever even know that I took it online unless they specifically asked that question. The diploma I will receive is the exact same diploma that regular students at the same college will receive - mine will not say "Online" (I think this is the case at these bigger colleges, such as Penn State). In fact, I will be taking a few classes on campus so that (a) I can say that it wasn't solely an "online program" - I can say that I took classes both online and in a classroom, and (b) I'm growing sick of the online format - surprisingly, I miss sitting in a live classroom.

    I can't give you too much info on jobs available in the field of Statistics, but I do wish you the best of luck if it's really something you feel you would enjoy.

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    rawr Array Pooja's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Ferrus: I couldn't think of a better word to describe the current job market than "apocalyptic." People with college/masters degrees are applying for positions as school cafeteria workers...and getting rejected.

    BM210: I can understand what you mean by stats being "SJ"- or at least "S". However, statistical programming (SAS, SPSS, and R) require a great deal of intuition. There's an SJ girl in one of my stats courses who is good at solving stats problems, but terrible at programming because she can't think "outside the box." I think that I can put of with the SJ stuff for 3 or 4 more semesters if it enables me to do programming as a living. I wouldn't mind (meaning that I wouldn't have any ethical qualms about) working for big pharma or "evil" market research companies like Neilsons. It beats being a poor college student with just a BA in history.

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    rawr Array Pooja's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I've thought about becoming an actuary, but like somebody (I think nittanylion302) said in another thread, "[actuarial] exams are death." I'm not good at taking exams. I tried taking the first actuarial exam, and completely failed it. I studied very hard. I suppose if I studied 24/7, and studied like only a "J" can study, I might potentially pass it... But then there are EIGHT more to go! Also, there are WAY more wannabe actuaries than there are positions for actuaries (just look at actuarialoutpost.com). Actuaries don't make a lot of money until they've passed all of the exams and have at least a decade of work experience.

    And at least not too many people want to be statistical programmers...
    Last edited by Pooja; 1 Apr 2009 at 10:39 PM.

  6. #6
    Member Array ocop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooja View Post
    Background:
    I'll graduate with a major in History and a minor in Statistics. I would have a minor in math, but it looks like I'll be one class short (after Calc I, I skipped Calc II and went straight to Calc III. I got an A in Calc III, but they still want me to take Calc II. Fuck it.). I also have "almost minors" in biology, classics, economics, and anthropology (I'm a true INTP). I'll graduate with a GPA of about 3.45. My GPA in the last few years is closer to 3.80.

    Now, I'm primarily interested in Statistics. I have a lot of advanced 500-level Stats classes, plus knowledge of SAS programming. I've taken enough math/stats courses to get into almost any statistics masters program. My GRE score for math is 790 out of 800. I've spent the last few semesters working for my university as a math tutor.

    HOWEVER, I'm so sick of school right now. I go to all of my classes, but I just sit there and doodle compulsively. Everything bores me. I really want a job, but in this economy, I have little hope of landing one. A masters in statistics sounds nice, because I'll have a better chance of finding a decent job with that degree.

    Do you think that I should do a masters in Stats? Has anybody done (or attempted) this before? Are there certain things that I should know in advance? How is that job market for people with Stats masters degrees? Are (reputable) online degrees a terrible idea? For example, Penn State University has an online Stats masters program that I was considering. It's important to me to be geographically close to Joft, who will most likely end up at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He might also go to Northwestern University by Chicago. I'm not sure if I could get into the stats masters programs at those universities. Most of the "research" to come out of stats departments sounds like incomprehensible jibberish to me.

    Any input would be highly appreciated.

    Go for it, I'd say. I have a similar background (math/poli sci major) and skipped out on the job market last year to go back to grad school. I hate my program ("professional" masters in environmental management), BUT I get to take graduate courses across disciplines. With all of my requirements out of the way, I have a pretty interesting schedule, potentially, for next year--essentially an extension of eclectic INTP undergrad, except I get to make decent money after graduating this time.

    Basically, if you're going to get to study (at least some) things you like, and it pays off financially, why not? You could also get into an econ masters program with your Q score, stats and math (if you have diff eq and linear algebra), if you wanted to do that.

  7. #7
    greatness personified Array sandwich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooja View Post
    It's important to me to be geographically close to Joft, who will most likely end up at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He might also go to Northwestern University by Chicago.
    No UW?

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    Senior Member Tetris Champion, SAM Site Champion, Crab Volleyball Champion Array !diom's Avatar
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    If you're sick of school, then jumping right into a masters program in statistics probably isn't a good thing to do. Do something that'll wake you up in the morning. If you don't know what that is job or career-wise, then start using some of this "outside the box" thinking that you mentioned - so long as you aren't forced to work, and have support from joft, your family, or savings.

    Also, volunteer in your area. Work on empathy and interpersonal skills, even if you can only see yourself using them for evil.

    Finally, don't take my advice. My life is fucked up.

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    Feared System Lord ((~)) Array avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Take some time off. You can always find a job at starbucks.



    I always sucked at Calc. but loved Stats.

    Wonder what that means.

  10. #10
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    Question: I've been told that INTP's can be good at lower math (junior high/high school) but we are usually terrible at higher level math (calculus etc...).

    Is this true? I was thinking about becomming a theoretical physicist, right now I'm doing very well in math/physics, but I know physics after highschool is all related to higher level math so I'm kinda worried...

    Thanks.

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