2

I am interested in studying biostatistics, and was looking at several schools to apply to. I live in the DC area and would ideally like to stay in this area. Georgetown and the University of Maryland have new PhD programs in biostatistics. I believe they have both had masters programs in biostatistics for several years now, but their PhD programs are new.

My question is this: Is it risky to apply to a PhD program that is new?

More specifically, does that hinder future employment because the university doesn't have as many connections with other places? Does the fact that these universities already had a masters program mitigate that?

5
  • 1
    You're thinking of the biostatistics PhD program as growing out of the biostatistics masters, but that's probably not accurate. It's more likely that the biostatistics PhD program is branching off of a statistics PhD program (and faculty that have been doing biostatistics for a long time) and is just a version of the stats PhD that is more tailored to applications in biology; probably universities of that scope have trained many many biostatisticians in the past, but their degrees say "PhD in Statistics."
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 10, 2019 at 15:41
  • 1
    Note that the UMD PhD stats website sph.umd.edu/department/epib/phd-biostatistics-bioinformatics explains that the new program is a joint venture between statisticians in the Dept of Mathematics and several departments and divisions within their school of public health.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 10, 2019 at 15:44
  • @BryanKrause That's an interesting point. Do you think the school would have less connections to research centers and people in the field though? I ask because from what I understand the network/connections your thesis advisor has are crucial after you finish your phd Apr 10, 2019 at 16:59
  • 1
    No, or at least, the name of different PhD programs is not going to be a reliable indication. I think you are misunderstanding the relationship between a graduate program and academic faculty. PhD programs relate to graduate students. Faculty relate to academic departments and their own research. There is absolutely no reason a top biostatistician needs to be involved with a PhD program called "biostatistics" or in an academic department called "biostatistics."
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 10, 2019 at 17:08
  • 1
    Similarly there is no reason to expect an academic with a PhD in "mathematics" who publishes in mathematical statistics to be less of a statistician or less involved in the statistics community than an academic with a PhD in "statistics" that publishes in mathematical statistics. Probably the difference between them is they took different but overlapping courses in their early years of graduate school, or attended different institutions who grouped the fields differently, which matters hardly at all and is certainly not how you would evaluate their contributions to their field.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 10, 2019 at 17:09

1 Answer 1

1

Georgetown and the University of Maryland have new PhD programs in biostatistics

Even though the program is new, both of these are very reputable universities. It is the same faculty, same resources, and probably same philosophy. Therefore, no risk there in terms of program age.

More specifically, does that hinder future employment because the university doesn't have as many connections with other places? Does the fact that these universities already had a masters program mitigate that?

I don't think it matters. What matters for future employment is what you learned, new skills and experience gained, leadership development, goal oriented personality, and ability to work in teams.

3
  • Don't the people and institutions your advisor has connections matter a great deal? Apr 10, 2019 at 17:01
  • @graphtheory123 they can but not as much as what you have to offer. Your advisor can probably introduce you to other faculty or company, but if you don't have what they are looking for, then there is no point. That being said, your advisor's connection can come in handy for the collaborations. That is one big benefit of having a supervisor who has connections. Sometime you can find a project that you want to work on but your supervisor directly do not have expertise in that, but one of your supervisor's collaborator does. In that case you can always find a way to work on the project.
    – nsinghphd
    Apr 10, 2019 at 17:30
  • @graphtheory123 People, definitely; institutions, less so—especially if you include yourself as "people". The biostatisticians at Georgetown and Maryland are well-established; otherwise, they wouldn't have been able to start a PhD program!
    – JeffE
    Apr 10, 2019 at 20:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .