Department of Statistics Home

Comments by Past & Present Graduate Students

The UW Statistics Department is a fantastic place to study for the following reasons:

  1. The faculty are intelligent and motivated and represent a diversity of interests. Students in the Statistics department have access to virtually all subfields of the discipline and will rarely find themselves constrained.

  2. Interaction between students and faculty is great. Faculty are always seeking graduate students for their research projects and in almost all cases they treat students with great respect. It's a wonderful feeling to be treated as peer by some of the leading people in your field of interest.

  3. Faculty are interested in interdiscplinary work and don't shy away from engaging indivduals from other departments in their research activities. It is surprising to see the list of departments and faculty which collaborate with individuals in the Statistics department.

  4. While a student might have specific interests, s/he will leave the department with a good mix of theoretical and applied training in both frequentist and Bayesian statistics. As I mentioned before, the Statistics department employs faculty with a variety of backgrounds and doesn't limit itself in any way. Because of this exposure, students will find their skills in high demand wherever they go.

  5. Seattle is an absolutely phenomonal place to live. Despite the myth of rain (many places on the east coast get more inches of rain each year), surviving the grey, cloudy days between October and May is a small price to pay for the paradise into which Washington transforms between June and September. The landscape is breathtaking —blanketed in trees, dominated by volcanic mountains and covered in lakes—and during the summer the days are sunny and temperatures hover around 80 degrees with no humidity. The allure of nature is almost too great to stay indoors during those months. In addition, Seattle is a awesome city that offers endless opportunities for fun and culture. I've never lived in a better place.

Eric Aldrich, M.S. 2005
(August 2006)

"The PhD program here is tough but rewarding. The professors are well-known and respected, and through them I have made some very important contacts in both academia and industry. The faculty here are also wise and patient.

Just as I am ``catching on'' to the developments in my field and producing some new results, it is time to finish the program and think about the next step. My only regret is there is so much more I could learn from my advisor and others.

I look forward to maintaining communication with the contacts that I have made over these past years. I hope in my next step to benefit from mentors of similar quality that I have experienced here."

Michael Levitz, PhD 2000
(December 1999)

"The UW department of Statistics is a great place to earn a graduate degree. One feature of the UW Statistics department that is, I think, quite unique, is the collegiality between students and faculty. Students play a major role in the life of the department and are consulted on major departmental decisions. I like the flexibility of the PhD program, with choice of core courses, as for me this meant that all the courses I took were ones I knew I would find interesting and useful. Since 1995, when I first arrived at UW, the department has been involved in setting up three interdisciplinary groups (Environmental Statistics, Statistic Genetics and Statistics for Social Sciences). This is a great development for students, providing additional sources of funding as well as resources for cultivating research interests in these applications of statistics. Of course, life does not consist of academics alone, and Washington is well known for its scenery and outdoor activities. As a student, my favorite places to relax were Fort Ebey on Whidbey Island and Pacific Beach on the Washington coast."

Sharon Browning, Ph.D 1999
(November 1999)

"My graduate experience was extremely positive. During the time in my current position, and at my old job, I have been involved in hiring numerous PhD's. I am always impressed by the breadth of the curriculum in UW's Statistics department relative to the backgrounds I see from recent PhD's. The standard, and elective, coursework allowed for a broad range of student interests; applications, theory and computing were available for study at a variety of levels. I was able to do independent studies in two different PhD-level topics besides what I eventually researched for my PhD. The colloquium series covered a wide range of topics presented by good speakers. The teaching and advising were very good and showed interest in me personally and my progress towards the degree. Faculty were helpful when I was applying for jobs and have continued to be helpful years after graduating. Most of all, having been in another Statistics department for two years prior to coming to UW, I found the faculty friendly and approachable throughout my time in the department."

Michael Kahn, Ph.D 1990
(November 1999)

Opportunities for Research:

"One of the main strengths of this department is its interdisciplinary flavor and broad range of expertise. The faculty here are interested in almost all aspects of statistics, including applications in the social sciences, biology/genetics, environmental studies, computer science, and many others. One of the hardest tasks is to choose one topic to research from the many available."

(November 1999)

Faculty and Teaching:

"The thing that has most impressed me is the amount of time many members of the faculty are willing to spend teaching. Several of the professors have their doors open at all times (often well into the evening and/or on weekends) and are quite pleased to answer questions and discuss problems, whether or not the subject matter is directly related to their research or courses."

(November 1999)

Career Planning/Job Placement:

"In many academic fields, graduates face an uncertain job market. Statistics, however, is a happy exception. Many of the graduates of this department take jobs in industry and many more elect to stay in academia. I have never heard of any graduate who had any worries about finding a job. People who are interested in career counseling have several sources available to them. On October 10, just two months ago, the ASA had a career panel here on campus to provide information on careers in statistics. Another popular way to decide upon the industry vs academia debate is to take a summer internship in industry. Many people also talk to their advisors, other faculty members, or our Graduate Coordinator Kristin Sprague about career opportunities."

(November 1999)


"I have found the required coursework for the PhD here to be extremely useful and have enjoyed being able to attend a wide variety of seminars both in the Statistics department and related fields."

(November 1999)

"I received my Ph.D degree in the Statistics department at the University of Washington in 1998. Currently I am a postdoc at Harvard School of Public Health. It has been one year since I graduated. When I look back to my four years of graduate study at the University of Washington, I have always been very grateful to the faculty and the department, and considered my four years at the University of Washington as the most valuable time in my entire life. I have always been very proud of the training I received at UW. More importantly, I feel so lucky to have worked with the best professors in the field of statistics, especially my thesis advisor. I not only had solid training in statistics, but also learned how to become a better person. Thanks so much to the nice faculty and the warm environment in the statistics department at the University of Washington!"

Lang Wu, Ph.D 1998
(November 1999)