This is a named option (formally documented sub-major) professional program in the Statistics MS. Data science is the study of extracting knowledge from data. Our MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science option combines a background in statistical theory, methods and practice related to data science with communication skills to train a new generation of leaders who will use data effectively for planning and decision making.

Data science concepts enable students to translate vague questions about complex data into pragmatic analysis steps using statistical thinking. We build from basic methods that compare groups and relate measurements, to more complicated models that depend on the way data are gathered. In practice, planning and decision making involve choices about how to analyze data and communicate findings. These concepts will be grounded at key points with projects that involve real data and/or realistic simulated data.

Students may also be interested in the MS Data Science professional program, offered by the Department of Statistics in cooperation with Department of Computer Sciences. The MS Data Science program is designed for students who are primarily interested in entering the data science profession, and teaches key computational and statistical skills that may be applied to a variety of industries.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline February 15
Spring Deadline October 1
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy:
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Students with questions regarding the programs admission rules and standards should visit our application website.

The MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science program is intended for three types of applicants:

  • MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science for Visiting International Student Program (VISP) students
    • Students from the Visiting International Student Program (Stat VISP or Math VISP) who have completed some degree requirements at UW-Madison as Visiting International Student Program undergraduates. They may request transfer of up to 15 credits from their Visiting International Student Program coursework.
  • MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science for workforce students
    • Students coming with 5 or more years in the workforce who have worked extensively with data and are seeking a well-rounded training. Some students may be part-time students (6-8 credits per semester) if they remain in the workforce.
  • MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science for other general students
    • Students who have BS degrees or expected to obtain BS degrees prior to the first semester as MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science students.

Requisites for Admission

Students admitted to the MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science program are expected to have courses equivalent to the UW-Madison courses listed below.
4 semesters of calculus:
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2
Calculus--Functions of Several Variables
The Theory of Single Variable Calculus (or another advanced analysis course)
Linear algebra:
Elementary Matrix and Linear Algebra
It is highly recommended that students also have:
R for Statistics I
R for Statistics II
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics I
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics II


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Information

Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at this institution.

Additional information about funding and scholarships for MS Statistics: Statistics and Data Science is available on the program website.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No Yes

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required. Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements Students may only have one core course (STAT 601, STAT 610, or STAT 615) with a grade below B.
Assessments and Examinations None.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

Statistical Methods I
Introduction to Statistical Inference
Statistical Learning
Professional Skills Courses6
Data Science Computing Project
Data Science Practicum
Introduction to Statistical Consulting
Students who are able to demonstrate equivalent prior coursework and/or experience may request to substitute a required course (STAT 601, STAT 605, STAT 610, STAT 615, STAT 628) with a Statistics-taught course numbered 600 or above with advisor approval. Substitutions are not guaranteed and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Elective Courses13
Students may count up to 3 credits of STAT electives numbered 300-599 including:
R for Statistics I
R for Statistics II
R for Statistics III
Introduction to Time Series
Introductory Nonparametric Statistics
Data Science Computing Project
An Introduction to Sample Survey Theory and Methods
Applied Categorical Data Analysis
Data Science with R
Statistical Data Visualization
Classification and Regression Trees
Introduction to Machine Learning and Statistical Pattern Classification
Introduction to Deep Learning and Generative Models
Applied Multivariate Analysis
Financial Statistics
Introduction to Computational Statistics
Special Topics in Statistics
Statistical Methods for Spatial Data
Students may count up to 1 elective course (up to 4 credits) of coursework numbered 500 or above taught outside of STAT with advisor approval from the following courses: MATH/​I SY E/​OTM/​STAT  632; COMP SCI 540, 577, 640, 726, 838. Students are not guaranteed a seat in an elective course taught from outside of the Statistics department. They must obtain departmental permission to enroll.
Student must have at least 3 credits of STAT coursework numbered 600 or above including the following:
Computing in Data Science and Statistics
Mathematical Statistics I
Statistical Methods for Clinical Trials
Statistical Methods for Epidemiology
Special Topics in Statistics (may be repeated with different topic titles)
Applied Time Series Analysis, Forecasting and Control I
Mathematical Statistics
Mathematical Statistics
Large Sample Theory of Statistical Inference
Survival Analysis Theory and Methods
Multivariate Analysis I
Decision Trees for Multivariate Analysis
Statistical Methods for Medical Image Analysis
Statistical Computing
Linear Randomized Algorithms for Data Science
Introduction to Bayesian Decision and Control I
Experimental Design I
Non Parametric Statistics
Sample Survey Theory and Method
Empirical Processes and Semiparametric Inference
Statistical Model Building and Learning
Nonparametric Statistics and Machine Learning Methods
Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I
Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance II
Estimation of Functions from Data
Statistical Methods for Molecular Biology
To reach the minimum of 13 credits for electives, students may also count the following courses:
R for Statistics I
R for Statistics II
R for Statistics III
Internship Course in Comp Sci and Data Science (1 credit maximum allowed)
Professional Skills in Data Science
Directed Study (2 credits maximum allowed)
Total Credits30

Graduate and Undergraduate Courses with Similar Topics

Courses that cover the same or similar topic at the undergraduate- and graduate-level may both be used to fulfill the MS in Statistics and Data Science requirements, but if both courses are to be used, the undergraduate level course must be completed first. Note that this policy does not preclude students from taking just the undergraduate or just the graduate version of a topic.  These combinations would include STAT 349 and STAT 701, STAT 351 and STAT 809STAT 405 and STAT 605STAT 411 and STAT 732, STAT 456 and STAT 760, STAT 443 and STAT 761, STAT 451 and STAT 615, and STAT/​COMP SCI  471 and STAT 771. This will also apply to special topics courses that have similar topics between the undergraduate and graduate level.

Students in this program may not take courses outside the prescribed curriculum without faculty advisor and program director approval. Students in this program cannot enroll concurrently in other undergraduate or graduate degree programs.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to transfer no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions toward the graduate degree credit and graduate coursework (50%) requirements. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

With program approval, up to 7 credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to transfer toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special Student at UW–Madison

With program approval, up to 14 Statistics credits completed at UW–Madison while a University Special student numbered 300 or above are allowed to transfer toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement. Of these credits, those numbered 700 or above or are taken to meet the requirements of a capstone certificate and has the "Grad 50%" attribute may also transfer toward the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


Students are required to follow all of the requirements listed in the program handbook for maintaining satisfactory academic program.  In particular, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and have a minimum grade of B for any course used to satisfy program requirements.  Students who do not make satisfactory academic progress for multiple semesters may be dismissed from the program.

Advisor / Committee

Students are required to communicate with their advisor near the beginning of each semester to discuss course selection and progress.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Students are expected to complete the program in 2 semesters (if coming from the Statistics Visiting International Student Program program) or 3-4 semesters.  Students who wish to pursue the program part time must receive permission from the program chair.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.


Not applicable.

Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

Students in the Statistics: Statistics and Data Science, MS program are encouraged to participate in program-specific professional development events and work directly, one-on-one, with advisors as well. Information about events and resources will be made available to currently enrolled students via email.


Visit the Department of Statistics website to view our department faculty and staff.