MS Program


About the Program

The MS program in Statistics aims to produce excellent statistical consultants. In addition to adequate preparation in undergraduate statistics, computing, and mathematics, the admissions committee seeks evidence of expertise (course work or work experience) in other domains (in particular, the biological, physical, and social sciences or engineering) and an interest in collaboration. Demonstrated communication skills are a factor in the admissions process. As the Department strives to support newly admitted students as teaching assistants, familiarity with the US higher educational system and strong English proficiency are considered important factors in the admissions process. In addition to coursework, the MS program in Statistics requires passing a practical statistical consulting exam which involves interviewing two clients, writing reports, and orally defending the reports to a committee of faculty. Due to the nature of this exam, the regular MS program in statistics has a modest size.

The Department offers an alternative MS in Statistics: Data Science option which enrolls many more students and has its own curriculum and admissions process. Students may apply to both programs.

Pathways into the MS in Statistics Program

There are two pathways into the MS in Statistics program. Students who are not already enrolled in a graduate program at UW-Madison apply through the Graduate School. There is a single admissions deadline of January 2. Students already in a UW-Madison graduate program who wish to add a major in Statistics have a simpler application process with the Department of Statistics directly. Such applications are reviewed prior to the start of each semester. Students who add the major are typically not provided financial support from the department.

How to Apply

For student not already enrolled in a graduate program at UW-Madison

Graduate admissions involves a formal online application with a required fee, an electronic copy of your official transcripts, and various supporting materials as outlined below.

We do not make preliminary evaluations of any applicant inquiry based on email communication. No decision will be made until after the deadline has passed and a completed file (including the application fee) has been received.


FALL 2022 ADMISSION: January 2, 2023


Before applying to the Statistics Department, please read the Graduate School Frequently Asked Questions. Note that there is a non-refundable application fee, and that applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score (TOEFL or IELTS).


Begin your electronic application at


  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically by the recommenders.
  • The online application for admission asks for the name and email contact information of the references from whom you request recommendations. A recommendation request will be sent, by email, to each of your references. The email will include your name with a link to each department’s electronic recommendation form. The request can be sent at any time providing you meet department deadlines. You can change references or send a reminder through your application.
  • It is common practice to contact your references ahead of time so that they expect your request.
  • After you have submitted your application, you can view receipt of your recommendations through the online status system.


  • As part of the online application, please upload a clear and easy-to-read PDF copy of your transcript from each institution of higher learning (post High School) that you have attended. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. If we offer you admission, you will be asked to provide an official copy of your transcript to our department at that time. Admission will be contingent upon our receiving the official transcript.
  • If courses at the institution were not taught in English, we will need an electronic copy of both the transcript in the original language, and the transcript in English.


  • Your statement of purpose include why you feel that the UW-Madison program is a good fit for you, and conversely, why you are a good fit for our program. What are you hoping to work on in the field with your degree? Are there any professors here that you would particularly like to work with? Any research areas in statistics that particularly excite you?
  • The overall length of the statement is usually about 2 pages, single or double spaced. You can use whatever font and formatting you are comfortable with.


  • Please upload a PDF copy of your CV or Resumé to the online application.


A supplemental application is required as part of the online application. You will be asked to answer the following questions and provide the following information:

  • Are you applying to the Biostatistics option? Yes/No (There is no advantage to applying to both programs.)
  • List any major competitive honors, awards, and/or fellowships you have received.
  • List any undergraduate or graduate research experiences.
  • Provide a table with all courses you have taken, are currently taking, or plan to take prior to coming to UW-Madison that contain substantial mathematical, statistical, quantitative, or computational content. Include courses from other disciplines such as economics, physics, or engineering, if applicable. Use one row per course with columns for the course number, course title, textbook used (if possible), and grade received (if already completed). Upload this document as a pdf.


Due to COVID-19, there have been challenges for students attempting to take the GRE. For students applying for Fall 2023, the GRE requirement is optional. Regardless of whether GRE scores are submitted, all applications will be held in equal regard.


  • Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically via ETS (to institution code 1846; it is not necessary to include a department code). IELTS scores can be submitted electronically or by paper.
  • Scores must be no more than two years old from the start of the admission term. This means that if you are applying for Fall 2020, your scores must not be older than from September 1, 2018.
  • There are some circumstances in which students are exempt from this requirement. Please see the details on the Grad School admissions requirements page at . If you are exempt from the requirement, you do not need to file any sort of waiver request. The exemption will be automatic.


How to apply

For student already enrolled in a graduate program at UW-Madison

If you are already enrolled in graduate program at UW-Madison and are interested in adding an MS in Statistics, please contact and ask for more information on how to provide the admissions materials.
We will wish to see:

  • admission materials from your current program
  • a statement of purpose;
  • at least one letter of recommendation from a UW faculty member;
  • a table of previous coursework; and
  • copies of transcripts.