Home < Degrees < Biometry


Administrative Unit:Statistics
College/School: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Admitting Plans:M.S.
Degrees Offered:M.S.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Clayton (Statistics/Plant Pathology), Ané (Statistics/Botany), Yandell (Statistics/Horticulture), Zhu (Statistics/Entomology)


Biometry is the development and application of statistical methods to biological problems. At the University of Wisconsin, biometry refers to this application to problems from plant, animal and agricultural biology. (Biostatistics denotes this application to human biology.) The biometry program is an M.S. degree program in the field of biometry.

The program is interdisciplinary, providing formal course work in statistics and biology, consulting experience, and supervised research combining the two areas. Students completing the program will understand biological processes and have the ability to apply and extend a broad range of statistical concepts and techniques to biological problems. This integration of statistics and biology is the distinguishing feature of the program. The biometry program is distinct from the M.S. statistics program in its interdisciplinary emphasis and corresponding reduced depth in statistics. (Students interested in training with statistical consulting as the primary focus should apply for the M.S. in statistics through the statistics department.)

The biometry program is intended for two groups of students: (1) students simultaneously working toward or intending to work toward a Ph.D. in a biological discipline and (2) non-Ph.D. students. Students who complete the M.S. in biometry and the Ph.D. in a biological science should be at the forefront of quantitative biological research. Students who stop with the M.S. in biometry, possibly obtaining another M.S. in a biological science concurrently, will be well suited for positions with industry or government focused on quantitative biological research.


Prospective students may apply for admission to the biometry program without application to any other program. Prospective students may also apply simultaneously with application to another program or after admission into another program. It is anticipated that most students enrolled in the biometry program will be enrolled concurrently in another program.

Acceptance of a prospective student by a statistical and biological co-advisor, who should be identified at the time of application, is necessary for admission into the Program and input from prospective co-advisors will be sought in the admissions process. It is expected that most students will be supported through a biological department or program or with their own funds. Opportunity for financial support through the program is extremely limited.

Applicants to the M.S. program should have completed the following prerequisites: (1) undergraduate calculus (Math 221, 222, and 234 or equivalent); (2) a course in statistics (For/Hort/Stat 571 and 572 or equivalent on- year sequence); (3) background courses in biology (e.g., Bot 130, Zool 101 & 102, Biology 151 & 152). The background courses in biology are a bare minimum; it is anticipated that almost all successful applicants will have a strong background in some area of biological science. Under extenuating circumstances, students may appeal to the Biometry Executive Committee for exemptions to prerequisites or requirements.

For more information: Andrea Palm, Biometry Program, c/o Department of Statistics, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2598; palm@stat.wisc.edu; www.stat.wisc.edu/masters-biometry.