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). 

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 Breadth and 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 a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Science DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Mathematics Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include 6 credits in biological science; and must include 6 credits in physical science
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 86th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced 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 and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.  Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non-L&S-degree-seeking candidates:  

  • Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
  • Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
  • Music (Bachelor of Music)
  • Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)

Requirements for the Major

MATHEMATICS

Calculus 1 (Complete one):5-10
MATH 221
1
MATH 171
& MATH 217

and 1
MATH 275
1
Calculus 2 (Complete one):4-5
MATH 222
1
MATH 276
1
Calculus 3 (Complete one):4-5
MATH 234
1
MATH 375
1
Linear Algebra (Complete one):3-5
MATH 340
(preferred)
MATH 320
MATH 341
MATH 376
Total Credits16-25

 computer programming

Complete one of:3-4
COMP SCI 200
COMP SCI 220
COMP SCI 300
COMP SCI 320
COMP SCI 400
COMP SCI 412
Total Credits3-4

statistics 

Introductory Statistics & Basic Statistical Language:4-5
STAT 302
or STAT 301
or STAT 324
or STAT 371
or STAT 240
STAT 303
Statistical Models:6-7
STAT 333
or STAT 340
STAT 424
Probability (Complete one):3
STAT 309
STAT 311
STAT 431
Inference:3
STAT 310
Electives:15
STAT 304
STAT 305
STAT 327
STAT 349
STAT 351
STAT 360
STAT 411
STAT 421
STAT 443
STAT 451
STAT 453
STAT 456
STAT 461
STAT 471
STAT 475
STAT 479
2
STAT 525
STAT 575
STAT 632
STAT 641
STAT 642
STAT 679
2
Total Credits31-33

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 Honors credit or Take an additional 3-credit STAT elective
  • STAT 681 -STAT 682, for a total of 6 credits, under the supervision of a member of the Statistics faculty. 

Footnotes

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 3003
Foreign Language4Ethnic Studies course4
Physical Science Breadth3Foreign Language4
 15 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 2344STAT 3031
STAT 3023STAT 3333
Communications B3MATH 3403
Social Science Breadth3INTER-LS 2101
Humanities Breadth3Biological Science Breadth3
 Literature Breadth3
 16 14
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Declare the MajorSTAT 3103
STAT 3093STAT elective course3
STAT 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

Looking for statistics advising?

Students who are interested in statistics academic advising for the statistics major should 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

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.

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