There are no prerequisites to declaring the certificate; students are encouraged to declare as soon as they are comfortable. Declaration of the certificate occurs via an online form, but students are encouraged to schedule a meeting with a Data Science advisor.

Students declared in the Data Science major are not eligible to declare this certificate.

Requirements for the Certificate in Data Science

The certificate requires 16 credits.

Foundation Courses10-12
L I S 461 Data and Algorithms: Ethics and Policy3-4
Complete two courses from7-8
Data Science Programming I 1
Data Science Programming II
Introduction to Data Modeling I
Data Science & Engineering
Elective Courses6
Complete a minimum of 6 credits of electives, including at least 3 credits from the Fundamental Electives list.
Fundamental Electives3-6
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology Laboratory
Principles of Physiology Laboratory
Data Science Programming II 1
Matrix Methods in Machine Learning
Introduction to Bioinformatics
Introduction to Applied Econometrics
Introductory Econometrics
Fundamentals of Data Analytics for Economists
Quantitative Ethnography
Introduction to Geocomputing
Advanced Geocomputing and Geospatial Big Data Analytics
Geospatial Database Design and Development
Fundamentals of Industrial Data Analytics
Mathematical Methods in Data Science
Statistics for Sociologists III
Introduction to Data Modeling II
Introduction to Computational Statistics
Domain Electives0-3
Economic Decision Analysis
Computational Modeling of Biological Systems
Introduction to Optimization
Business Analytics II
Introduction to Survey Methods for Social Research

Residence and Quality of Work

  • Minimum 2.000 GPA on all certificate courses
  • At least 9 credits must be taken in residence at UW-Madison 


Certificate Completion Requirement 

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

  1. Apply tools and processes necessary for data management and reproducibility.
  2. Produce meaning from data employing modeling strategies.
  3. Learn best practices related to data science concepts and methods.
  4. Articulate policy, privacy, security and ethical considerations in data science projects.

Looking for Data Science advising?

Students who are interested in data science academic advising should check out the advising information on our website or send an email to

What do Data Scientists Do?

Data Scientists are trained to manage, process, model, gain meaning and knowledge, and present data.  These skills can be employed in a wide variety of different sectors of employment.  Examples of interests of our students include finance, banking, sports analytics, marketing, retail, humanities, psychology, biosciences, healthcare, and consulting, just to name a few.  Students are encouraged to combine data science with majors, certificates, and courses from differing areas to best be able to apply their data science in the area of their choosing.

Data science is one of the fastest growing area of jobs in the U.S. and in Wisconsin. All of the major job search engines regularly list thousands of jobs, for example, in 2018 Data Scientist was the #1 job on the web site Glassdoor with over 25,000 jobs, listed over 12,000 jobs in data science nationally, and had over 1,000 jobs for data analysts just in the state of Wisconsin.

Additionally, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the job growth outlook from 2016-26 for Mathematicians and Statisticians to be 33% (much faster than average) and for Computer and Information Research Scientists to be 19% (much faster than average). 

Some students may want to continue to develop additional advanced data science skills through graduate education.

L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

Advising Staff

Information regarding the Data Science advisors and how to make appointment can be found on the program page.

Data Science Major Program Committee

  • Michael Ferris (Computer Sciences)
  • Bret Larget, Program Director (Statistics), committee chair
  • Sebastien Roch (Mathematics)
  • Sara Rodock (Statistics), advising representative
  • Alan Rubel (iSchool)