I will be applying for phd in Statistics for admission in fall 2023 in the US.

Currently I work in R&D of a top multi national company. Here my work is to support statistical analysis of clinical trials. while working here I got attracted to "Design and Analysis of Clinical Trial" but I have immense interest in Bayesian Statistics also.

I want to pursue my phd in Bayesian Statistics ... but since I do not have prior academic research experience, I am worrying that for Bayesian Statistics topic my work experience will not be counted and I may miss out some good schools. Is my understanding correct on this matter. Will my work experience be counted as research even if I apply for the Bayesian Statistics phd ?

or should I apply for Design and Analysis of clinical Trials.

I am equally knowledgable and interested in both the topics. I want to choose the topic which will increase my chance of acceptance.

Any suggestions will be very helpful. Thank you.

  • What degree(s) do you hold?
    – Buffy
    Feb 16, 2022 at 19:10
  • I hold a 3 year Bachelors degree followed by a 2 year MS in Statistics (from India) Feb 16, 2022 at 19:22
  • See the following for general information about US applications. academia.stackexchange.com/q/176908/75368
    – Buffy
    Feb 16, 2022 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


It is typical in the us to ask for a Statement of Purpose of doctoral candidates. In it you write about your goals for the degree and thereafter. Since the typical applicant only has a bachelors there is probably a path for you no matter what you want to do, though some paths will be longer than others. So, if you are well prepared for a given sub-field it might be shorter, otherwise longer, but still possible.

But, as long as the two fields are within the same department there is normally no need to be that specific. Most people start with some advanced courses and look around for an advisor and a specialty.

But in general, unless you are being hired into a specific research group (uncommon in US) you have options and it is fine to mention more than one possibility.

Likewise, the typical applicant has little real research experience, so your lack of it in Bayesian Stats is not likely to be a deal breaker.

But, for top schools the standards are higher, as you expect, and the competition fierce.

But, if you write a good SoP and get good letters of recommendation then you can find a path. But don't apply to only the top schools in the field. The numbers are small and the competition fierce.

Some of the letters should be from academics if possible, but if necessary from researchers at a top institute or company.

Find a compatible advisor who is interested and skilled in what you want to pursue.

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