Undergraduate Statistics Major

How to Declare Statistics

  1. Attend a Statistics advising appointment, drop-in session, or major declaration event (see below for information on these options)
  2. Complete the online major declaration form, please note your online major declaration form will not be processed until you meet with a statistics academic advisor
    1. You must fill out the form within a calendar year of your appointment, if it has been more than a year since you met with a Statistics advisor you will need to attend a new meeting
    2. If you fill out the form first and do not have a meeting, your request will be deleted after 2 months

Once you have completed both steps your declaration will be processed (usually within 1-2 business days) and you will receive an email.

It is not necessary to have completed statistics coursework, but prospective majors are strongly recommended to start the major with the Math 221-222-234 calculus sequence and an introductory statistics course (Stat 240, 301, 324, and 371).

Note for students who are not currently in the College of Letters and Sciences

Students wishing to declare Statistics in addition to a major outside of Letters and Sciences should first meet with a Statistics advisor and then contact your academic advisor in your home department to discuss your college’s policies on adding a L&S second major. Students wishing to transfer from another college and 1) become a student in the College of Letters and Sciences and 2) declare a statistics major need to follow the College of Letters & Sciences transfer policies.

How to Drop the Statistics Major

If you are no longer interested in pursuing the Statistics major, please email the Statistics advisors (advising@stat.wisc.edu) indicating that you wish to drop the major.  You must include your 10-digit student ID number and the email must come from your wisc.edu email account.

Planning for Your Statistics Major

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Major Requirements

The requirements for the statistics major are in addition to your college’s requirements. The Letters & Science and statistics major requirements can be found in The Guide: for Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Statistics and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Statistics degrees for those who declare Fall 2019 and after.

For students who declared before Fall 2019, major requirements can be found on this pdf.

4-Year/3-Year Plans

Viewing example 4-year and 3-year plans are a great way to plan for your own academics and understand how to progress in the major. They are a tool to assist students and you should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make your own plan based on your placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. It is common for your plan to change multiple times throughout your college career.

Spring 2022 Enrollment Information

The Spring 2022 Schedule of Classes has now been released.  All students declared in the Statistics major have been sent enrollment information via email.  Here is a PDF copy of the information for those not declared or who might have missed the email.

Students with questions are encouraged to reach out to the Statistics advisors via email, an appointment, or drop-in advising.

Building Your Statistics Skills

Much learning within the field of Statistics also happens outside of the classroom.  As you prepare your time in the program, please make sure that you consider additional options such as honors in the major, participating in student orgs, research, and internships.  In particular, check out our new What Can You Do with your Statistics Major info sheet for details on careers and skills for Statistics graduates.

Advising in Statistics

Sara Rodock

1227 Medical Sciences Center


Sara joined the department in Summer 2018. Prior to working in Statistics and Data Science, she worked for 10 years in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences as an advisor and in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies for 8 years. Sara is a Badger alumnus from the History department. She enjoys assisting students with exploration of the Data Science and Statistics majors, working with our MS Statistics: Data Science students, and helping students plan for their future careers and/or continuing education.  In her spare time she competes in powerlifting and enjoys knitting and cooking.

Email, Appointment, Drop-In, Major Declaration Event

Students are strongly encouraged to think about which form of contact best suits their needs and will result in a timely response.  Students are able to utilize email, appointments, drop-in advising, and major declaration events, depending on their needs.  Please see below for examples of each.

  • Email – this is best for quick, single question needs like confirming if a DARS is complete for graduation, selecting applied concentration courses (for students who declared prior to Fall 2019), or questions about course access.
  • Drop-In – drop-in is similar to email, but also can be used for declaration of the Statistics major.  If you need an appointment, and there are no spots available in your time frame, please check to see if there is drop-in advising available.
  • Appointments – best for lengthy questions for current and prospective students, please be patient and realize that no slots might be available for a week or more during peak times.  Please plan in advance.
  • Major Declaration Event – we will hold a few, early evening sessions where the major requirements for Statistics are reviewed and students who attend and fill out their declaration form will then be declared in the major.  There will be limited availability to ask questions.

Current Student Advising Appointments

Please note that individual statistics advising appointments will not be available November 8-15.

Current UW-Madison students with questions regarding the Statistics major may schedule an appointment with a Statistics advisor, via Starfish or email the advisors at advising@stat.wisc.edu with questions.

For September and October 2021 all appointments will still be remote and we will assess in-person appointments after that.  Students will be able to select their preferred method when making an appointment via Starfish.

If you cannot meet via Zoom or phone and must meet in-person, please email the Statistics advisors to arrange this.  *Please note during the campus mask mandate masks are required for any in-person meeting.

As always, email questions are welcomed.

Drop-In Advising

Drop-In Advising will take place via Zoom for the fall semester.  Here are the upcoming drop-in sessions (all times are central):

  • Wednesday, October 27, 1-2pm
  • Thursday, November 4, 9-10am

Additional times will be added for later in the semester.

Major Declaration Event

Looking to declare before Spring 2022 enrollment begins?  Attend our Major Declaration Session on Wednesday, November 3 at 5pm via Zoom (registration required for a link to join).  Interested students will be able to attend this session, fill out the declaration form (see above), and have their Statistics major declaration processed.

Statistics Major FAQs

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What are the differences between STAT 240, 301, 324, and 371?

Stat 240 is an intro course for those also interested in data science. Statistical programming will be introduced and utilized. QRA satisfied required.

Stat 301 is an intro course for those who are not excited about math. The course teaches statistics in less mathematical, more applied focused methods. QRA satisfied required.

Stat 324 is an intro course for those who are interested in engineering or tech fields. The course requires knowledge of calculus one. You will also be introduced to a statistical programming language. Requires Calculus 1.

Stat 371 is an intro course for those who are interested in life sciences. The course requires knowledge of trigonometry and college algebra. You will also be introduced to a statistical programming language. Requires trig and college algebra.

Any of the four introductory statistics courses will suitably prepare you for taking future statistics courses.

Please note that STAT 302 is no longer offered.

Which probability course should I complete? I see options like STAT 309, 311, and 431.

Stat 309 is geared more towards statisticians. Stat 309 will cover more in-depth topics of probability theory.

Stat 311 is geared more towards careers that utilize probability but is not a statistician (engineering for example).  Stat 311 will cover more surface level probability theory.

Stat 431 is taught through the math department and is geared towards the mathematician lens of probability theory. A strong background of calculus is recommended for Stat 431.

Any of these courses will suitably prepare you for Stat 310 and future statistics courses.

Do classes like STAT 433, 443, 451, and 453 count as major electives?

Yes! STAT 433, 443, 451, and 453 will count as statistics electives for the major. If they do not appear on your DARS as an elective option, don’t worry. If you enroll in one of these courses, your statistics advisor will update your DARS once the semester has started to count the course as one of your statistics electives. These are newer statistics electives which is why they may not appear on some DARS reports automatically.

What is STAT 479? How do I know what will be covered in the class?

Statistics 479: Special Topics in Statistics is a topics course. This means that each semester, the course may have a different topic or we may offer multiple lectures of Stat 479 with different topics.

In Fall 2021, the topic is Introduction to Bayesian Data Analysis.

This course will introduce undergraduate students to data analysis from the Bayesian perspective, with an emphasis on conceptual foundations and computation using the open-source software R. The specific learning outcomes for the course are demonstrated abilities to carry out an applied Bayesian data analysis; to effectively communicate the results of such an analysis; and to critically evaluate a Bayesian analysis.

Topics include: the subjective basis of probability; Bayes’ theorem; posterior inference in conjugate models; subjective and objective prior elicitation; Bayesian hypothesis testing; hierarchical and multi-level models; Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods for sampling from intractable posteriors; and applied modeling in R.

I am having difficulty enrolling in a STAT class, what do I do?

Please check out our enrollment FAQ page for information on enrollment errors you may be having for STAT classes.

I delcared the major prior to Fall 2019 and my applied concentration shows as unmet on the DARS. How do I get this to be complete?

If you’re under the old statistics major requirements, meaning you declared prior to Fall 2019, the 2018-2019 Guide outlines your requirements for completing the major.

For the Applied Concentration – select at least 12 credits of coursework at the intermediate or advanced level in an area of application of statistical methods as approved by your statistics advisor. This area of application can represent study areas where statistical methods are applied, such as in the natural and social sciences and engineering. This requirement can often be met by the completion of a major in such a study area.

For the Mathematics Concentration – select at least 6 additional credits of the following: Math 319, Math 421, Math 443, Math/Comp Sci/Stat 475, Math/Comp Sci 514, Math 521, Math 522, Math 541, Math 605, Math 629, Math/I SY E/OTM/Stat 632.

We encourage students who are under the older statistics major requirements to talk with their statistics advisor early about which concentration they plan to complete as well as what courses they plan to use for their concentration.

I need help with a Terra Dotta form (RCL, CPT, program extension, etc.). What do I do?

Please check out our international student FAQ for resources specific to international students, including Terra Dotta forms.

I am struggling in my classes. Where can I go for help?

Here are some options that have worked well for other students

Start with your instructors! Your TA or your professor will host office hours (time/location can be found in your course syllabus) that is time set aside specifically for students to come ask questions. Use this time to clarify content from lecture, troubleshoot problems on homework/projects, or go over exam questions that you got wrong to prepare for the final. If your instructor’s office hours do not work within your schedule, typically you can set up an individual appointment–email your instructor if this is the case.

Different departments have learning centers available for FREE drop-in tutoring for certain courses. Check them out:

Other academic resources on campus:

Form a study group with peers from class! Your fellow students in classes can be a great resources when studying. Quiz each other, ask each other questions, and try to explain course material to others so you can check your own understanding. Important reminder: make sure that you are only doing group work if your instructor specifies that group work is allowed on certain assignments or projects.

Having trouble finding study buddies?  Check out Demic (https://www.demicapp.com/) which is an app created by UW-Madison students to help connect students in the same classes.

I am interested in Study Abroad. Where do I start?

Studying abroad is a great option for students who want to broaden their horizons and immerse themselves in new cultures. Statistics students interested in studying abroad should consult with Study Abroad advisors for assistance with identifying and applying to programs.

Students in the Stats major should typically expect to complete general education/breadth courses while abroad, as there are limited programs with courses equivalent to Stats major requirements.  Please reference the Study Abroad Major Advising pages and the Statistics page in particular, for ideas of programs that may have relevant courses.

How will a dropped course or dropped major appear on my transcript?

Students are often worried about how a dropped course, dropped major, withdrawal, etc. will appear on their transcript and this is a very normal concern.  Please check out this page from the Registrar’s Office that explains how everything (including, GPA, degree(s), dropped course, honors, etc.) will appear on your transcript.

I have questions about internship and jobs and need help. Where do I go?

There are a number of campus resources to help with career exploration, post-graduation, and internships

  • Statistics Club! Here you can participate in events and activities to help learn about careers in stats and build skills for your resume
  • SuccessWorks is the career services unit for L&S students, they are a great partner in your internship and job search
  • Career Exploration Center can help when you need more assistance with what you want to do
  • We here in the Statistics Department have a number of resources
    • Check out our What Can You do with a Statistics Major handout with information from SuccessWorks on employers of our alumni, job titles, locations and more
    • View and utilize resources from our Student Career Resources page
    • Meet with a Statistics advisor (see above for scheduling)
    • Read the weekly majors newsletter, once declared, for upcoming events and opportunities

I am graduating this term, what do I do?

Students must apply for graduation via their Student Center to indicate that they are nearing completion of their degree. See the Office of the Registrar’s website for information and instructions about this process. We strongly recommend that you apply for graduation as soon as possible, don’t want for your DARS to say everything is okay.  Applying to graduate sooner can help your advisors identify if there is an issue.

In addition, we advise students to do the following:

  • Look at your DARS report. Read it over carefully to find deficiencies-if you are meeting all requirements to graduate, everything will be GREEN. Be aware that each major (if you have more than one) will have its own DARS report.
    • Keep in mind that your DARS is showing in-progress classes as classes you will keep and pass. If you do not pass your classes, or get the GPA you need, this could influence your graduation date.
  • Check to make sure your major(s) is/are declared correctly in your Student Center. That is, make sure you have officially added and/or dropped majors so that the list of majors on record is exactly what you want for graduation. If not, go to the individual departments to add or drop a major. This also applies if you have declared Honors in the Liberal Arts (L&S students) or Honors in the Major.
  • Talk to an advisor about questions you have about meeting requirements or something you may not understand on your DARS.