MS Program in Biomedical Data Science


What is Biomedical Data Science?

Biomedical Data Science is the interdisciplinary field that encompasses the study and pursuit of the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem-solving, and decision-making, driven by efforts to improve human health.  Biomedical Data Science investigates and supports reasoning, modeling, simulation, experimentation, and translation across the spectrum, from molecules to individuals to populations.  

Who should apply?

Potential students include both students with bachelor’s degrees in an area of data-science (e.g., computer science, statistics), as well as health professionals and clinicians (e.g., M.D.s, Pharm.D.s, D.N.P.s, R.N.s).  It is expected that admitted candidates will have demonstrated an aptitude for computer science and math, fundamental programming skills, knowledge of data structures and algorithms, and at least two semesters of college calculus. We will however consider candidates who have a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds; providing opportunities to develop necessary skills immediately upon entering the program.

The Program

The 31-credit program will cover core concepts, as well as allow for concentrated coursework in both methodology and application.  The goal of the program is to prepare graduates to (i) understand and apply key concepts and methodologies from computer science and statistics, (ii) demonstrate knowledge of biological, biomedical, and population health concepts and problems, and (iii) contribute to the solutions of the central computational problems in biomedicine, using methods from computer science, statistics, and engineering. Click HERE to access the Program Handbook.

Requirements for an MS in Biomedical Data Science

Core Courses

12 Credits

BMI 576: Introduction to Bioinformatics


BMI 567: Medical Image Analysis


BMI 573: Health Informatics


BMI 541, 551 or STAT 571: Introduction to Biostatistics


Concentration Electives

In consultation with their faculty advisor, students will select electives in an area of concentration within biomedical informatics. Examples include (but are not limited to):

6 Credits

BMI/STAT 641: Statistical Methods for Clinical Trials


BMI/STAT 642: Statistical Methods for Epidemiology


BMI 776: Advanced Bioinformatics


BMI 877: Statistical Methods for Molecular Biology


BMI 767: Computational Methods for Medical Image Analysis


BMI 768: Statistical Methods for Medical Image Analysis


ISyE 417: Introduction to Health Systems Engineering


ISyE/BMI 617: Health Information Systems


Data Science Electives

In consultation with their faculty advisor, students will select two courses as electives in computer science and/or statistics.  Coursework of high relevance includes the following areas:

6 Credits

STAT 609, STAT 610: Mathematical Statistics and Inference


STAT 627, STAT 771: Statistical Computing


STAT 849, STAT 850: Theory and Application of Regression


CS 577, CS 787: Algorithms


CS 766: Computer Vision


CS 564,  CS 764: Databases


CS 570, CS 770: Human-Computer Interaction


CS 540, CS 760, CS 761: Machine Learning


CS 545, CS 769: Natural Language Processing


CS 425, CS 525, CS 635, CS 720: Optimization


CS 642: Security


Track Electives

The curriculum has two tracks with substantial overlap.   The Professional track is intended for students who have an undergraduate degree in computer science, engineering, biology, or a health-related field, and who are interested in a terminal MS degree that will equip them to work as a professional in industry (e.g. developers of health information systems, electronic health records, of novel genetic tests, as just a few examples), a hospital, or a research lab.  The Research track is for students who have an advanced degree in a clinical field, and who are interested in doing research.

6-7 credits

Professional Track: Biomedical Electives (e.g. for  students concentrating their studies in bioinformatics)

Genetics 466: General Genetics

BioMolChem 314: Introduction to Human Biochemistry

6 credits



Research Track: Research Electives

Responsible Conduct of Research (e.g., Nursing 802)

Research Project 

Research Oriented Elective

7 credits




Total Credits


Applying to the Program

Admission to the MS Program in Biomedical Data Science requires:

  • A formal on-line application with required fee through the UW Madison Graduate School
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from each higher-education institution attended
  • A statement of purpose,
  • GRE or MCAT scores
  • Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score (TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS)

This campus has moved to completely electronic admissions. Do not send paper transcripts or any other paper documents. You must scan official transcript(s) issued by your postsecondary academic institution(s). It is important that your email address is accurate so that we can respond to you effectively.

The Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics admits graduate students once a year, for the fall semester. 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.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Application Period Begins:  Early November
Application Deadline:  January 12
Acceptance Offers Made:  Early March
Deadline for Accepting Offers:  April 15

Application Process

Please fill out the Graduate School Application

Note that your application is not considered complete until the Graduate School's application fee is paid.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required, and they must be submitted electronically.  Directions for this can be found on with the Graduate School Application.


We require that you send a copy of a transcript from each undergraduate institute that you attend. The best way to do this is to scan a copy of your official transcript (issued by your college or university) from each college or university you have attended and upload it. Please do not mail transcripts to the department or the Graduate School.  No paper transcripts will be accepted during the application process.

If you are offered admission, you will be required to submit paper official transcripts.  Please do not send them until they are requested.

Exam Scores 

Please Note: No subject GRE is required, but we do require either the general GRE which includes verbal, quantitative and analytical writing assessment, or the MCAT. Please arrange for test scores to be sent electronically (no paper copies) to the Graduate School by using the UW Madison institution code (1846).

The Graduate School requires the TOEFL or IELTS exam for international applicants unless they qualify for an automatic waiver. For further information on TOEFL requirements, please see the Graduate School Admission Requirements.

All of the above material is required; none can be waived.



Any questions about the program or application procedures?

Please contact: Beth Bierman, Student Services Coordinator
Telephone: 608-265-8649 or Email: bbierman [at]