Data Science Major

Students in the Data Science major will be able to apply computational, mathematical, and statistical thinking to data-rich problems in a wide variety of fields in a responsible and ethical manner. This includes the ability to manage, process, model, gain meaning and knowledge, and present data. Data Science is one of the fastest growing career sectors in Wisconsin and across the nation.

By its very nature, the field of data science is one that teaches novel and cutting-edge ways to engage in the “continual sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.”

This major will be available for declaration in Fall 2020, and the official curriculum will be available in the Guide on June 1, 2020, but interested students are encouraged to select courses that will help them move forward in the degree and to meet with the Data Science advisor.

Anticipated Data Science Major Curriculum

As noted above, the official curriculum will be available as of June 1, 2020 in the Guide.  Students will be able to declare the major in Fall 2020.  Here is a snap shot of the tentative curriculum to allow for Spring and Fall 2020 course planning.

Foundational Math Courses (9 cr)

  • MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1 (5 cr)
  • MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2 (4 cr)
  • Please note that some of the Data Science electives will require MATH 234 Calculus–Functions of Several Variables (4 cr)

Foundational Data Science Courses (19-20 cr)

  • STAT 240 Introduction to Data Modeling I (4 cr)
  • STAT 340 Introduction to Data Modeling II (4 cr)
  • COMP SCI 220 Data Programming I (4 cr) previously taught as COMP SCI 301
  • COMP SCI 320 Data Programming II (4 cr)
  • L I S 461 Data and Algorithms: Ethics and Policy (3-4 cr)

Data Science Electives (18 cr)

Students must take at least one course from each of the four following categories and then additional electives to reach the minimum credits. Additional courses taken within each category may count towards other electives.  More information on the electives will be available on June 1, 2020.

  • Machine Learning
  • Advanced Computing
  • Statistical Modeling
  • Linear Algebra (reasonable courses to take to meet this requirement include MATH 320, 340, or 341, additional courses will be included in this category come June 1)

Data Science Advising

Current UW-Madison students interest in the Data Science major should schedule an appointment with the Data Science advisor, Sara Rodock, via Starfish or email the advisor at with questions.

Data Science Drop-In Advising

Students are welcome to come and see Sara Rodock (1227 Medical Sciences Center) during the following Statistics drop-in advising hours between 10am and noon on Mondays:

  • February 17
  • February 24
  • March 2
  • March 9
  • March 23

Please note that changes might be made to the above list based on availability and should be posted to this webpage.

Where to find Data Science Advising

Sara’s office is in the Medical Sciences Center (1300 University Ave, near the corner of University Ave. and Charter St.).  Her office is 1227 Medical Sciences Center, it is easiest to enter the building through the main entrance on University Ave.  From there enter the 1205 suite (to your right after entering the lobby) and you can find her office towards the back-right of the 1205 suite.