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College of Letters & Science


Requirements for the Major
Honors in the Major

Room 1220 MSC, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2598; office@stat.wisc.edu; www.stat.wisc.edu

Professors Chappell, Clayton, Loh, Newton, Nordheim, Shao, Tsui, Wahba, Y. Wang, Yandell, C. Zhang; Associate Professors Ané, Keles, Larget, Qian, Z. Zhang, Zhu; Assistant Professors Hanlon, Rohe, S. Wang

Undergraduate advisors for the major:
Rick Nordheim, 1110 MSC, 608-263-5812, nordheim@stat.wisc.edu
Kevin Packard 1214 MSC, 608-263-3615, packard@stat.wisc.edu
Bret Larget, 1250A MSC, 608 262-7979, larget@stat.wisc.edu
Zhiguang (Peter) Qian, 1165 MSC, 608 262-2537, peterq@stat.wisc.edu
Bret Hanlon 1241 MSC, 608 262-2539, hanlon@stat.wisc.edu

Faculty diversity liaison: Jun Shao, shao@stat.wisc.edu

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.

Requirements for the Major

Any student interested in completing the statistics major should consult with a statistics advisor as soon as possible.

Required Courses

Calculus and analytic geometry (each course must be completed with a grade of C or higher)

Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I (5 cr.)
Math 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry II (4 cr)
Math 234 Calculus—Functions of Several Variables (4 cr)

Linear algebra

MATH 340 Elementary Matrix and Linear Algebra (3 cr) OR
MATH 341 Linear Algebra (3 cr)


CS 302 Introduction to Programming (3 cr) OR
CS 412 Introduction to Numerical Methods (3 cr) OR
CS 525 Linear Programming Methods (3 cr)
Stat 327 Introductory Data Analysis with R (1 cr)


Stat 302 Accelerated Introduction to Statistical Methods (3 cr)


Stat 333 Applied Regression Analysis (3 cr)
Stat 424 Statistical Experimental Design (3 cr)


Stat 309 Introduction to Probability and Math. Statistics I (3 cr) OR
Stat 311 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Math. Statistics I (3 cr)OR
Math 431 Introduction to the Theory of Probability (3 cr)
Stat 310 Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics II (3 cr)

F. STATISTICS ELECTIVES (any three of the courses below; 9 credits total)

Stat 349, 351, 411, 421, 456, 471, 575, 641, or other Statistics Department courses above 302 as approved by the major advisor.

OPTION 1 (Mathematics option)

Students intending to pursue graduate study in statistics are strongly advised to take more math classes than the minimum requirements. Linear algebra and real analysis are typically the most important areas of mathematics needed for graduate study in statistics.

At least 6 additional credits from the following courses:
Math 421 The theory of single variable calculus (3 cr)
Math 443 Applied linear algebra (3 cr)
Math 475 Introduction to combinatorics (3 cr)
Math 521 Analysis I (3 cr)
Math 522 Analysis II (3 cr)
Math 629 Introduction to measure and integration (3 cr)
Math 632 Introduction to stochastic processes (3 cr)
OR other courses above Math 300 as approved by the major advisor.

OPTION 2 (Area of application option)

At least 12 credits in an area of application of statistical methods as approved by the student's major advisor. This area of application can reflect coursework in other majors where statistical methods are applied, such as in the physical and social sciences. Students completing a joint major in a scientific field (and, in many cases, a certificate program) will almost certainly meet the Option 2 requirements. Indeed, Option 2 is designed to make joint majors (and/or the addition of certificate programs) relatively straightforward for statistics majors.

All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. Courses that count toward this requirement are any course numbered above Stat 302 excluding Stat 324, 371, 441, 571, 572.

Honors in the Major

To be considered for acceptance into Honors in the Major in Statistics, a student must have completed Stat 302, 309 and 333 with a grade point average of 3.3 or higher. Listed below are the requirements for Honors in the Major in Statistics.

  1. The student must successfully complete all the requirements for the major in statistics.
  2. The student must complete all L&S requirements for Honors in the Major.
  3. At the time of graduation, the student must have a grade point average of 3.3 or higher in statistics department courses and also in all courses taken at UW–Madison.
  4. The student must complete at least 2 courses from major requirement (F) for “Honors” credit using courses other than Stat 699.
  5. The student must complete the Stat 681–682 sequence (6 cr) and produce a Senior Honors Thesis under the supervision of a member of the faculty of the Department of Statistics. A list of faculty members in statistics who have expressed interest in supervising Senior Honors Theses can be found on the department website.

This page was revised 11/3/14.