Posted by: thebylog | September 22, 2004

Marshall Scholarship Proposed Academic Programme

Candidates should describe below their proposed academic programme, giving reasons for their choice of course and preferred university. Those hoping to read for a research degree should give an outline proposal of the research they wish to undertake. If any postgraduate study has already been undertaken, state briefly the field, and list any theses or dissertations written or published.

My primary academic interest is Statistics, and as I have looked into various institutions and degrees around the UK, I have realized that with my current background I am not qualified to enter into a research degree. That has led me to MSc degrees that prepare for both industry and research. Statistics is a broad field, and there is much background and specialty that could enhance my career as either an industrial statistician or an academic. My first choice speaks to this idea.

The first alternative is the University of Oxford, chosen for its quality, as well as both the continuity and variety of this proposed academic programme. Since Statistics is built upon Mathematics, and since computing has become indispensable in this field, I propose to undertake a taught MSc at Oxford’s Mathematical Institute entitled “Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science.” This year-long course focuses on where mathematics, computers, and research meet. All three of these areas are of keen interest to me and all three of these areas will be beneficial to my future as a statistician, preparing me with both theoretical and practical skills for a career in industry or academia.

The second year of my study at Oxford would include a taught MSc program in Applied Statistics. The curriculum covers standard statistical techniques, while focusing on modern computing methods as they relate to statistics. Given my interests in computational statistics—including Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques—and operational research, I would focus on these areas in the program, including Decision Theory and Combinatorial Optimisation. This program also thoroughly prepares me for a career in industry with a 3-month project.

After completing this two-year course of study, I would be prepared to pursue a career as a statistician, well-equipped with theoretical knowledge in mathematics and statistics as well as practical skills in statistics, computing, and operational research. Excitingly, these degrees also prepare me to be a researcher in academia. Since statistics is a diverse field which supports a wide variety of disciplines, it is advantageous to have a wide-ranging base of knowledge. With my undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering, I would have background in engineering, manufacturing, mathematics, computer science, and statistics.

I had difficulty finding a second alternative that offered the same variety, so this choice became more focused. The University of Warwick offers an MSc in Statistics which covers standard statistical material with an emphasis on practical techniques used by industrial statisticians. It concludes with a dissertation, which is attractive because of its flexibility. This project can be used to pursue a practical application of statistics, but there is also the opportunity to engage in original research. In the second year of this programme, I would look to undertake a year of supervised, non-degree research at Warwick, though I have not contacted the University regarding this.



  1. “Excitingly,…”

    I had to smile at that.

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