How To Apply for Graduate Admission in Statistics

The instructions on this page pertain to the traditional Statistics and Biostatistics options of the Statistics graduate MS and PhD degrees. If you are looking for instructions on applying to the professional masters in Data Science option, please see MS Degree - Data Science Option (MS-DS). See also Admissions and Degree Information.

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. Due to the advances in Web communication and the high cost of mailing, this campus has moved completely to electronic admissions. We can no longer send you paper copies of the application materials. It is important that your email address is accurate so that we can respond to you efficiently.

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 2019 Admission: December 1, 2018

We do not accept Spring applications

Before applying to the Statistics Department, 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).

Application Requirements

Begin your electronic application at

Letters of Recommendation

  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation. These must be submitted electronically.
  • List your references in the online application for admission. 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. If we offer you admission, you will be asked to provide an official (paper) copy of your transcript to our department at that time. Admission will be contingent upon our receiving the official (paper) transcript. However, for purposes of evaluating your application, all that is required is the electronic copy.
  • 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.

Statement of Purpose

  • There are no specific requirements for the statement of purpose. You should write it in your own words – 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.

CV or Resumé

  • Please upload a PDF copy of your CV or Resumé to the online application - there is a section for this.

Supplemental Application (Including a List of Courses)

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
  • List any major competitive honors, awards, and/or fellowships you have received.
  • List any undergraduate or graduate research experiences.
  • List the most advanced math and statistics courses you have completed, are currently taking, or plan to take before coming to UW-Madison. So that we can better evaluate your quantitative training, please list all the economics, math and statistics courses you have taken. Include the textbook(s) used, course number, course title, and your grade for the class. If possible, cite the corresponding Math or Stat department course at UW-Madison. Put this in a list or table format and upload your document as a pdf.

GRE scores:

Please Note: The subject GRE is not required, but we do require the general GRE which includes verbal, quantitative and analytical writing assessment.

  • GRE scores should be sent electronically to institution code 1846. It is not necessary to include a department code, as all GRE (and TOEFL) scores are sent to the Graduate School and departments access the scores through a Graduate School website.

TOEFL (or IELTS or MELAB) scores:

  • 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 2017, your scores must not be older than from September 1, 2015.
  • 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.


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