Gabriel Wallin, PhD student in Statistics with a Master’s of Science in Statistics degree from Umeå University
Which year did you graduate with a Master's of Science in Statistics from Umeå University?
What do you do now?
I am a PhD student at the Department of Statistics, USBE, Umeå university, where I do research on psychometrics and especially methods and models for the analysis of data from large scale assessments.
Which knowledge or skill that you acquired during the master courses do think you have been most useful for you?
The inference course was useful for my PhD studies since the content is e.g. about understanding the properties of a "good" estimator, how one estimator compares to others and so on, which are questions you might pose as a researcher. On a more practical level, it's probably the simulation-based approaches that I learnt during the courses Programming in statistics and Computer intensive methods in statistics that I use the most.
Tell us about the master courses you took? Which did you find most interesting?
Beside the master thesis, I took the courses Probability theory 2, Multivariate data analysis, Programming in statistics, Causal inference and Computer intensive methods in statistics. Since entering the PhD program, I have also taken the courses Stochastic processes and Inference theory 2, which are also available courses at the master level.
The courses were all quite different, some being very theoretical and others more practical. The course that I enjoyed the most was the causal inference course, since it combined theory and practice in a nice way. Causal inference is also part of the research profile at the department, so the content of the course was very up to date with where the research is at. You also get an introduction to several different areas of statistics that are not exclusive to causal inference, like graph theory and semiparametric and nonparametric models.
What was the best with your studies in Statistics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University?
I would have to say the atmosphere at the statistics department. Since there aren't a lot of people taking advanced level courses in statistics, you get close with your fellow class mates as well as the staff of the department. One of the highlights was a national conference that the department invited us to, where internationally recognized researchers were invited to give lectures.
What was most difficult with your studies in Statistics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University?
In terms of course work, and I think most would agree on this, Probability theory 2 was by far the most difficult one. It is demanding and requires a lot from you, but afterwards I felt like it was a very good course to have as the first one of the fall semester, since you got a deeper understanding of the topics introduced in the other courses.
How did the contact with the teachers work?
As already mentioned, very well!
What part of the student life in Umeå did you enjoy most?
Hard to say. Since I am from Umeå, it was really fun as a new student to see that the campus with its surroundings really is a city within the city. A lot of the students live around campus, where there for example is restaurants, bars and IKSU, which is a one of Europe's largest fitness centers.
How did you find housing in Umeå?
I am from Umeå and had an apartment already before starting my studies. At that time, I hadn't been in the queue long enough for an apartment at Bostaden, the public rental company in Umeå, so I contacted one of the private companies.
What did you study before starting your master studies in Statistics at Umeå University?
Economics, which turned me into statistics. So, I finally got a Bachelor's degree in statistics at Umeå university before starting my master studies.
Do you have any advice to students thinking about coming here to study?
If you have an idea of what you want to work with after you've finished, think about what courses that suits that goal best. The more theoretical courses might for an example be of more use to a future PhD student. Otherwise, I thought it was fun to take the causal inference course since you won't find that course everywhere else.