Document Type



Mathematics (Pomona)

Publication Date



statistical sciences, statisticians


Statistics is a wonderfully diverse profession and graduate students making career choices have many options — especially in light of the dearth of students moving into the statistical sciences today. The three main career paths at the PhD level are in academics, industry/business and government. Each of these job types offers its own mix of intellectual challenges, financial reward, pressure and security. How a new researcher selects (or is selected by) a specific occupation in the statistical sciences sometimes seems more a function of luck than of conscious decision making. This consideration was one of the first concerns addressed by the New Researchers Committee (NRC) of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1988, and this guide is the product of that (and later) thinking. We believe that if students were better informed about their choices, they would be less apprehensive, pursue their goals more effectively and, ultimately, be far more likely to find positions for which they are well suited. Similarly, if doctoral students were generally more familiar with various aspects of professional life, the entire statistical community would benefit. Among the transitional facts of life with which we believe new researchers should be acquainted are: 1. mechanisms for applying for jobs, 2. expectations associated with different types of jobs, 3. techniques for initiating an active research program, and 4. methods of becoming more involved with the broader statistical community. The Survival Guide addresses these issues, but it also offers advice on a variety of other topics which new researchers may wish to consider as they prepare to leave graduate school. This guide is based on the Statistical Science article by the New Researchers Committee of IMS (1991). See Kruse (2002) on inspiration for statistics as a career path and Stasny (2001) on the big picture with respect to academic jobs. DeMets et al (1998) and Shettle and Gaddy (1998) provide job outlooks for statisticians.

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© 2005 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

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