The Department of Statistics offers a rich variety of courses and seminars in almost all branches of statistical theory and applications. The department offers the master of science (M.S.) and the doctor of philosophy in statistics (Ph.D), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in statistics with a named option in biostatistics. An M.S. in statistics with a named option in data science is also available to students meeting the criteria (see the data science page for more details). In addition, the department is closely involved with the biometry program, and with the School of Medicine and Public Health's Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, both listed separately in this catalog.

The statistics department provides extensive computing facilities, both hardware and software, to support instruction and research. Several computers and advanced graphic workstations are available for use in advanced courses enabling students to pursue the latest research directions in statistical computing and graphics. Common statistical packages and libraries are available on a variety of machines.

The department may be consulted for specific career information. A number of assistantships are available each year; see the department website for application materials and deadlines. The master's degree programs are described below.

Additional information about the master's and Ph.D. programs, including time limits, can also be obtained from the department.

Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Students holding a bachelor's degree with a natural science, social science, or engineering major and strong mathematical background are encouraged to apply for admission to the graduate program in statistics. Students are advised to undertake graduate work in statistics only if their undergraduate grades in mathematics were uniformly high. 

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 processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Prospective students should see the program website for funding information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

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

Major Requirements


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

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements A grade of B or better must be received in any course used to fulfill the required and elective course requirements.
Assessments and Examinations Students must pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination, an oral preliminary examination on a topic selected with the approval of the student's advisor, and a dissertation defense.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements Statistics doctoral students are not required to complete a minor by the Graduate School. The program does require students to meet the breadth requirement in one of three ways:

1)Complete an Option A (external) minor
2)Complete an Option B (distributed) minor consisting of at least 9 credits outside the Department of Statistics, at least 3 credits of which must be from course(s) numbered 600 or higher.
3)Complete a Breadth Option (called "Option C" in the statistics department) consisting of at least two of the following three: participatory seminar experience, collaborative research experience, and/or a breadth course.

See the program website ( for more details.

Required COURSES 

Required Courses:
STAT/​MATH  709 Mathematical Statistics4
STAT/​MATH  710 Mathematical Statistics4
STAT/​MATH  733 Theory of Probability I3
or STAT 771 Statistical Computing
STAT 849 Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I3
STAT 850 Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance II3
STAT 998 Statistical Consulting3
Elective Courses:
Eighteen elective credits, which may include:18
STAT/​B M I  641, STAT/​B M I  642, or Statistics courses numbered 700 or higher 1
Up to six credits of graduate courses in other departments complementary to the student's interest areas (with permission from the student's advisor)
If STAT 992 is used to fulfill the elective requirement, only 3 credits from any one topic and a maximum of 9 credits can be used.
Sufficient credits from any UW Madison courses including STAT 990 to reach the 51-credit minimum13
Total Credits51

Named Options (Sub-Majors)

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral.

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.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count 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 doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, up to 6 statistics credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree at the 600 level or above are allowed to count toward minimum graduate degree credits. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, up to 15 statistics credits completed at UW–Madison while a University Special student at the 300 level or above are allowed to count toward minimum graduate degree and graduate residence credit requirements. Of these credits, those at the 700 level or above may also count toward the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


Three consecutive reviews in which a student fails to meet the minimum criteria for satisfactory progress will result in the student being dropped from the program. Contact the program for more information.


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


15 credits

Time Constraints

Students must pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination within six semesters from the first fall semester of registration as a graduate student in the department. Students who complete a master's in the department and then are admitted to the Ph.D. program must pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination within four semesters after entering the Ph.D. program.


Students pursuing the general statistics and biostatistics options are considered for department financial support and may seek a dual degree if desired.

Graduate School Resources

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

  1. Articulates research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to the theories, methodologies, and/or applications of statistics.
  2. Formulates ideas, concepts, designs, and methods beyond the current boundaries of knowledge within statistics.
  3. Creates research that makes a substantive contribution to theoretical and/or applied statistics.
  4. Demonstrates breadth in the theories, methodologies, and applications of statistics.
  5. Advances contributions of statistics to society.
  6. Communicates complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.
  7. Fosters ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Professors J. Zhu (chair), Ane, Chappell, Chien, Keles, Larget, Loh, Newton, Shao, Y. Wang, Yandell, C. Zhang, Z. Zhang; Associate Professor Rohe; Assistant Professors Garcia Trillos, Kang, Patel, Raschka, Raskutti, M. Wang, A Zhang