statistics

Modern statistics is an exciting subject that affects most aspects of modern living. It has been developed to deal rationally and objectively with the uncertainty that accompanies variation in phenomena as highly complex as the interplay of the many factors that affect our environment. It derives vitality in coping with practical problems arising in all fields of scientific activity, including the social, business, biological, agricultural, medical, natural, and engineering sciences. Investigators' efforts to learn about a specific phenomenon, be it the response of a patient to a certain medical treatment or the effectiveness of a particular instructional program on a student's learning, are impacted by the presence of natural variation. The field of statistics is concerned with valid and efficient ways to learn more about these phenomena in the presence of such variation. It is an inductive science in which information is extracted from sample data in order to draw inferences. This process most often involves planning experiments or designing studies to ensure that valid answers to questions are obtained from the sample.

To declare the statistics major, students should schedule an appointment with a statistics major advisor prior to attaining senior standing (86 credits).   Additional information regarding major declaration and how to schedule an appointment is available on the major webpage.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree requirements.

Bachelor of Science DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Mathematics Complete two courses of 3+ credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level in MATH, COMP SCI, or STAT subjects. A maximum of one course in each of COMP SCI and STAT subjects counts toward this requirement.
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language.
L&S Breadth Complete:
• 12 credits of Humanities, which must include at least 6 credits of Literature; and
• 12 credits of Social Science; and
• 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include 6 credits of Biological Science and 6 credits of Physical Science.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework Complete at least 60 credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience Complete both:
• 30 credits in residence, overall, and
• 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
• 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S Students PURSUING AN L&S MAJOR

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

MATHEMATICS

Calculus 1 (Complete one):5-10
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1 1
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
and Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II 1
Topics in Calculus I 1
Calculus 2 (Complete one):4-5
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2 1
Topics in Calculus II 1
Calculus 3 (Complete one):4-5
Calculus--Functions of Several Variables 1
Topics in Multi-Variable Calculus and Linear Algebra 1
Linear Algebra (Complete one):3-5
Elementary Matrix and Linear Algebra
Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
Linear Algebra
Topics in Multi-Variable Calculus and Differential Equations
Total Credits16-25

 computer programming

Complete one of:3-4
Programming I
Data Science Programming I
Programming II
Data Science Programming II
Programming III
Introduction to Numerical Methods
Total Credits3-4

statistics 

Introductory Statistics & Basic Statistical Language:4-5
Accelerated Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Data Science Modeling I
R for Statistics I
Statistical Models:6-7
Applied Regression Analysis
Data Science Modeling II
Statistical Experimental Design
Probability (Complete one):3
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics I
Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I
Introduction to the Theory of Probability
Inference:3
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics II
Electives:15
Students will complete a total of 15 credits of electives with a maximum of 6 credits from the domain electives
Core Electives9-15
R for Statistics II
R for Statistics III
Learning a Statistical Language
Introduction to Time Series
Introductory Nonparametric Statistics
Topics in Statistics Study Abroad
An Introduction to Sample Survey Theory and Methods
Applied Categorical Data Analysis
Data Science with R
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 2
Statistical Methods for Spatial Data
Introduction to Stochastic Processes
Statistical Methods for Clinical Trials
Statistical Methods for Epidemiology
Special Topics in Statistics 2
Domain Electives0-6
Loss Models II
Regression and Time Series for Actuaries
Matrix Methods in Machine Learning
Probability and Information Theory in Machine Learning
Fundamentals of Data Analytics for Economists
Machine Learning for Business Analytics
Advanced Quantitative Methods
Machine Learning in Action for Industrial Engineers
An Introduction to Brownian Motion and Stochastic Calculus
Statistics for Sociologists III
Introduction to Mathematical Sociology
Introduction to Combinatorics
Linear Optimization
Total Credits40-54

Residence & Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all STAT and major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 Upper-Level Major credits, taken In Residence 3
  • 15 credits in STAT courses, taken on the UW-Madison campus

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Statistics Major in consultation with the Statistics major advisor(s). To be admitted to the Honors Program in Statistics, students must have declared Statistics, must have a 3.500 University GPA, and must have completed STAT 302STAT/​MATH  309and STAT 333 (or other courses with the approval of the advisor) with a GPA of 3.500 or higher in these three classes. 

Honors in the Statistics Major: Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major in Statistics, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.500 University GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 GPA for all STAT courses
  • Complete two STAT major courses (excluding 699)  for a total of 6 Honors credits or complete 18 total credits of electives in the major where 12-18 credits come from the core elective category and 0-6 credits from the domain elective category
  • STAT 681 -STAT 682, for a total of 6 credits, under the supervision of a member of the Statistics faculty. 

Footnotes

1

A grade of C or higher is required for this course to meet the requirement.

2

STAT 479 and STAT 679 can be repeated for elective credit when enrolled for different topics.

3

Courses that are considered Upper-Level in the major are STAT 303, STAT 304, STAT 305, STAT/​MATH  309, STAT/​MATH  310, STAT 311, STAT 312, STAT 327, STAT 333, STAT 340, STAT 349, STAT 351, STAT 360, STAT 411, STAT 421, STAT/​M E  424, STAT/​MATH  431,STAT 433,STAT 443,STAT 451 STAT 453, STAT 456, STAT 461, STAT/​COMP SCI  471, STAT 479, STAT/​I SY E/​MATH/​OTM  632, STAT/​B M I  641 STAT/​B M I  642STAT 699, ACT SCI 653, ACT SCI 654, COMP SCI/​E C E/​M E  532, COMP SCI/​E C E  561, ECON 570, GEN BUS 656, GEOG 560, I SY E 521, MATH 635, SOC 362, SOC 375, STAT/​COMP SCI/​MATH  475, STAT/​COMP SCI/​I SY E/​MATH  525.

University Degree Requirements 

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Frame a scientific question with the appropriate mode of data analysis, to analyze such data correctly, and to summarize and interpret the results in a useful manner. Master a number of key statistical techniques, certainly including significance testing, goodness-of-fit testing, and regression analysis, which are common tools in analyzing data. This will include a careful checking of assumptions that underlie the techniques.
  2. Design experiments/studies — in conjunction with scientists proposing the study — that will lead in an efficient manner to the collection of data that can be properly analyzed. Design studies with multiple factors taking variable reduction techniques into account. Interpret and critique designs they encounter in analyzing data.
  3. Use tools from mathematical statistics and probability to assess the quality of point estimators, confidence intervals, and hypothesis tests. Demonstrate the skills to connect methods of application to their theoretical underpinnings.
  4. Use a statistical language (with emphasis on R) to manipulate data and perform exploratory data analysis using basic statistical methods. Write structured R programs using conditional expressions, loops, and functions and to use regular expressions to extract data from text and make high-level visualizations.
  5. Evaluate critically articles that use statistical argumentation. Assess whether or not the statistical arguments have been developed properly and the conclusions are reliable. If the arguments are not properly developed, they will be able to provide specific evidence for this.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Communication A3MATH 2224
MATH 2215COMP SCI 200 or 2203-4
Foreign Language4Ethnic Studies course4
Physical Science Breadth3Foreign Language4
 15 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Consider Honors In the MajorSTAT 3031
MATH 2344STAT 333 or 3403-4
Introductory Statistics course3-4MATH 320, 340, or 3413
Communications B3INTER-LS 2101
Social Science Breadth3Biological Science Breadth3
Humanities Breadth3Literature Breadth3
 16 14
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Declare the MajorSTAT/​MATH  3103
STAT/​MATH  3093STAT elective course3
STAT/​M E  4243Literature Breadth3
Social Science Breadth6Social Science Breadth3
Humanities Breadth3Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
STAT elective course6STAT elective course6
Elective 9Elective9
 15 15
Total Credits 120

Sample Three-Year Plan

This Sample Three-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it —along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools — to make their own three-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests.

Three-year plans may vary considerably from student to student, depending on their individual preparation and circumstances. Students interested in graduating in three years should meet with an advisor as early as possible to discuss feasibility, appropriate course sequencing, post-graduation plans (careers, graduate school, etc.), and opportunities they might forgo in pursuit of a three-year graduation plan.

Departmental Expectations

A three-year degree is feasible for students with a variety of backgrounds and specific preparation. Students should ideally be entering the University with a minimum of 30 advanced standing credits, and have satisfied the following requirements with course credit or via placement examination:

MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 24
STAT 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods3
or STAT 302 Accelerated Introduction to Statistical Methods
or STAT 324 Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers
or STAT 371 Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
or STAT 240 Data Science Modeling I
  • 3-4 units of foreign language
  • At least 3 credits of L&S Breadth (Humanities, Social Science, Biological Science, or Physical Science)
First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Consider Honors in the MajorSTAT 3031
MATH 2344STAT 333 or 3403-4
COMP SCI 200 or 2203-4MATH 320, 340, or 3413
Communications A3Ethnic Studies3
Social Science Breadth3Humanities Breadth3
Elective3Elective3
 16 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
STAT/​MATH  3093STAT/​MATH  3103
STAT/​M E  4243STAT Elective course3
Communications B3Literature Breadth3
Physical Science Breadth3Biological Science Breadth3
Social Science Breadth3INTER-LS 2101
 15 13
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
STAT Elective course3STAT Elective course3
STAT Elective course3STAT Elective course3
Humanities Breadth3Literature Breadth3
Physical Science Breadth3Biological Science Breadth3
Social Science Breadth3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits 90

Looking for Statistics Advising?

Students who are interested in statistics academic advising for the statistics major should visit the Undergraduate Statistics Advising website or contact the advisor group by email: advising@stat.wisc.edu

So what can you do with a statistics major after you graduate?

Well-trained statisticians are in strong demand and have excellent employment prospects. Statisticians work in industry and business, in government, and in universities and other research institutions.

In most cases an undergraduate major in statistics can find employment as a quantitative analyst or other “generalist” position. A number of our graduates have been successful following this path. However, in most cases, positions aimed at “professional statisticians” require a master's (or Ph.D.) degree. As a professional statistician, typical employment in industry might be as a statistical consultant to biologists, engineers, and/or other scientists in a research and development branch of a large company.

The single, best place to look for statistics jobs is the American Statistical Association Career Center. Consult with a statistics undergraduate advisor about the best fit for you.

Statistical training is seen as very desirable in many other areas (e.g., agricultural, biological, engineering, and social sciences, business, and economics) where the primary activity may not be statistics. In view of this, statistics may often be a strong choice for a second or additional major.

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

A full listing of the Statistics faculty, including affiliated faculty and links to webpages, can be found on the departmental website.

Faculty:

  • Cecile Ane, Professor Statistics and Botany
  • Rick Chappell, Professor, Statistics & Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
  • Peter Chien, Professor Statistics
  • Jessi Cisewski-Kehe, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Sameer Deshpande, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Nicolas Garcia Trillos, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Hyunseung Kang, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Sunduz Keles, Professor, Statistics & Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
  • Bret Larget, Professor Statistics
  • Keith Levin, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Wi-Yin Loh, Professor, Statistics
  • Michael Newton, Professor, Statistics & Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
  • Vivak Patel, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Sebastian Raschka, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Garvesh Paskutti, Associate Professor, Statistics
  • Karl Rohe, Professor, Statistics
  • Kris Sankaran, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Jun Shao, Professor, Statistics
  • Miaoyan Wang, Assistant Professor, Statistics
  • Yazhen Wang, Chair and Professor, Statistics
  • Brian Yandell, Professor, Statistics
  • Chunming Zhang, Professor, Statistics
  • Zhengjun Zhang, Professor, Statistics
  • Jun Zhu, Professor, Statistics