Department of Statistics

Jing Liu, China: Statistics PhD student


“I chose the University of Auckland simply because it is the best in New Zealand”


Jing Liu was 16 when he came to New Zealand to study at Hamilton Boy's High School. In the 11 years since, he has completed his undergraduate study at the University of Auckland and moved on to a doctorate.

Jing, seen here at Auckland Zoo with a tuatara, a native and endangered New Zealand reptile, started his PhD study by looking at genetic data as a way to capture the population size of endangered species; the real or effective size in terms of genetic variation can be significantly smaller than the counted population. But his focus has changed: “Later, I found out the idea has a greater impact on association studies for disease, so I have focused on that since.”

Why did you choose to do your PhD at the University of Auckland?
I know the place and the people here, and with the kind support of the department I got a scholarship from the New Zealand Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (NZIMA). Plus applying for a visa for the United States is an excruciating process!

How important was the university’s worldwide ranking in your decision to study here?
Very important. I had pretty good Bursary and IELTS results, so I had many choices around the world. I chose the University of Auckland simply because it is the best in New Zealand.

How important in your decision to study here were the researchers and research topics available in the Department of Statistics?
My supervisor had a big impact. I didn't choose much in terms of the topic, I basically chose whom I most wanted to work with.

What do you enjoy most about living in Auckland?
A good variety of food and a few nice places to walk around.

What questions do you think potential postgraduate students from overseas need to ask when making their decision about where to study?
Where do you want to have your life and career?

How have you funded your study?
Initially my parents supported me financially and then I got the NZIMA scholarship. NZIMA covers my living stipend, and the University covers the tuition fee. For about three years during my earlier degree I was employed as a tutor, which was an excellent experience.

Jing Liu is from Shanghai, China. He holds a BA (Hons) in Economics and Statistics from the University of Auckland.

UPDATE: Jing is now a junior lecturer at the Joint Institute in Shanghai, an engineering faculty within Shanghai Jiao Tong University.