University of Sheffield Back to Nick Fieller's homepageDepartment of Probability and Statistics

Careers

This page is primarily for the benefit of my personal tutees but is open to all. Some material is restricted to users within Sheffield. It provides links to sites to find out about careers and postgraduate opportunities in statistics generally and to places where jobs are advertised. Additionally, there are links to .pdf versions of various recent presentations by statisticians at careers meetings. These presentations are restricted to Sheffield users only (click here). This information duplicates in part some of that given on the Departmental Careers Page which additionally provides other links of interest as well as the general University Careers Service pages.

The prime site for advice and information on Careers is the RSS (Royal Statistical Society) page, (click here).
Particularly useful may be the advice on MSc Courses (see also below), writing CVs and interviews
(including "Ian Cooper's 100 Tough Interview Questions"), see the links towards the end of that page.
Brief advice on these latter two topics is given here.

The organisation PSI (Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry) provides information useful to those wishing to pursue a career in medical statistics (especially in the pharmaceutical industry). Click here for their page. They also advertise jobs within the industry at a range of levels which will give an idea of career progression. The PSI presentation (see presentations page) advises also writing direct to the larger companies and consider using one of the many recruitment agencies specialising in the area (especially Leap29 and Datatech). See the penultimate slide of their presentation for names of companies and then use an internet search to find details of addresses etc. The Government Statistical Service (GSS) is a major employer of statisticians and has a variety of routes for entry.

The most useful site for advertisements for all types of statistical jobs is the allstat mailing list. This provides a searchable archive of messages about jobs, meetings and miscellaneous statistical queries. Sorting by 'Topic' and then scrolling down to those with headers starting JOB to reveal all worthwhile advertisements for statistical jobs in the UK (and many elsewhere).

Most jobs with a substantial statistical content require either an MSc or a PhD in Statistics or an MMath degree with ~70% or more of the modules in years 3 and 4 in statistics. An MSc in Statistics is obtained from a one year-full time course consisting of examined lecture courses over two semesters followed by a substantial dissertation working on a practical project over three or four months in the summer. The entry requirements for an MSc course is typically
a good upper 2nd or 1st class degree in Mathematics, preferably with some statistical component. A PhD consists of a minimum of three years research work leading to a substantial thesis. A typical entry requirement is a good 1st class degree in Mathematics, preferably with some statistical component, or else an MSc in Statistics.

Several MSc courses are funded by UK National Research Councils (EPSRC and ESRC are the main ones for funding an MSc in Statistics, BBSRC, NERC and MRC are other councils which may provide support for a PhD in Statistics). Additionally several MSc courses are supported by pharmaceutical and other industrial companies. Funding for such courses from research councils consists of all academic fees (all EU nationals are eligible) plus a non-means tested maintenance grant of currently ~9,000 for which only EU nationals normally resident in the UK are eligible. To obtain such funding for any MSc course you first have to obtain a place on the course and then any application for funding is made through the Course Director of that course. You cannot apply direct to the research councils or companies.

To find out about the MSc in statistics in Sheffield (including application forms) click here.
Sheffield also offers a distance learning web-based course that can be taken over two or three years by students who are not resident in Sheffield (they can be resident anywhere in the world) but who can attend one or two residential weeks in Sheffield per year. There are bursaries available to all EU nationals for this option to cover academic fees. If you want to apply for the MSc course in Sheffield (whether full-time residential or part-time by distant learning) you should submit a completed application form as soon as possible. Most places are filled (some being conditional on examination result) by the end of February and only a few from the waiting list are eventually successful.

Many other Universities run MSc courses in statistics but there are only six (including Sheffield) which are fully supported by the EPSRC. These are:
Cambridge http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/Postgrad/MPhil/
Kent http://www.ukc.ac.uk/IMS/statistics/msc/
Leicester http://www.prw.le.ac.uk/teaching/msc/
Reading http://www.rdg.ac.uk/statistics/msc/
Sheffield http://www.shef.ac.uk/~pas/MSc/
Southampton http://www.maths.soton.ac.uk/admin/graduate/

Links to other courses can be found on pages maintained by the RSS (Royal Statistical Society, click here) and COPS (Committee of Professors of Statistics, click here).

PhD opportunities in Statistics are more varied. Most larger departments of statistics have at least one EPSRC funded studentship available each year under a Doctoral Training Account system and it may be noted that EPSRC guidelines for funding PhDs in Statistics recommend a substantially higher maintenance grant than that for PhD studentships in other branches of Mathematics. Details of research topics can usually be found on their individual web pages (click here for details of opportunities in Sheffield, including application forms). Standard EPSRC funding of PhD studentships is on the same basis (i.e. amounts and eligibility) as for MSc studentships apart from the enhanced amounts for Statistics PhD maintenance grants noted above. If you want to apply for a PhD place in Sheffield and in particular want to be considered for a Doctoral Training Account studentship you should submit a completed application form by the middle of March.

In addition many departments have special links with other sources of funding and may offer additional studentships funded by industry or special research projects. Such studentships are usually advertised on the allstat pages. These advertisements can be at any time of year but particularly in January to May. A special type of EPSRC studentship which has top-up support of an additional 3,000 p.a. (approx) from an industrial company is an EPSRC Maths CASE (Co-operative Award in Science & Engineering) studentship. These are for projects of specific interest to the company and with a specific supervisor. They are usually advertised on the allstat pages in late April/May. The RSS and COPS pages have links to further information about PhDs in Statistics and the Mathematics Department in Durham maintains a page of links to PhD opportunities advertised in Europe (including the UK). This is available here.

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This page is maintained by the Dr Nick Fieller and was last updated on 13 November 2008.