BMI 826, Advanced data analysis
University of Wisconsin-Madison
(3 credits)

Good data analysis requires a number of skills (including the munging of messy data files, data diagnostics, exploratory data visualization, identifying an appropriate statistical model, deriving a good-enough estimator, quantifying uncertainty, assessing model fit, and organizing reproducible analyses) but also a way of thinking about data. The goal for this course is to help students improve their skills in exploring and answering questions with data. This will be accomplished with a series of case studies, a set of skill-oriented tutorials, and substantial project-based homework assignments.

Prerequisite: BMI/Stat 541, Stat 571, Stat 610, or Stat 850

Course meetings: Tu/Thu 11:00-12:15, 192 Babcock Hall

Instructor: Karl Broman, 2126 Genetics-Biotechnology Center

Office hours: Tu 9:30-10:30, Fr 10:30-11:30, or by appointment. Connect with me using BBCollaborate Ultra; go to

COVID-19: Starting 24 March, and through at least 10 April, lectures and office hours will be strictly online. More information here.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • communicate data analysis goals, methods, and results.
  • extract the statistical problem from a scientific problem.
  • develop, characterize, and implement suitable analysis methods to answer questions from data.
  • evaluate the validity of analysis methods.
  • organize data and software so that quantitative analyses are meaningful and reproducible.

Course grade

Course grade will be based on 4 homework assignments, weighted equally.

Grading scale: 92-100 (A), 87-91 (AB), 82-86 (B), 77-81 (BC), 70-76 (C), 60-69 (D), <60 (F)

Students are encouraged to discuss course content and homework assignments with each other, but the assignments are to be each student’s own, separate work.

Religious observances or other absences

If you need to miss class for religious observances, or any other reason, please let the instructor know in advance, or as soon as is feasible, so that we can try to make some accommodation.

Academic integrity

By virtue of enrollment, each student agrees to uphold the high academic standards of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; academic misconduct is behavior that negatively impacts the integrity of the institution. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and helping others commit these previously listed acts are examples of misconduct which may result in disciplinary action. Examples of disciplinary action include, but is not limited to, failure on the assignment/course, written reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Accommodations for students with disabilities

The University of Wisconsin-Madison supports the right of all enrolled students to a full and equal educational opportunity. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Wisconsin State Statute (36.12), and UW-Madison policy (Faculty Document 1071) require that students with disabilities be reasonably accommodated in instruction and campus life. Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities is a shared faculty and student responsibility. Students are expected to inform the instructor of their need for instructional accommodations by the end of the third week of the semester, or as soon as possible after a disability has been incurred or recognized. The instructor will work either directly with the student or in coordination with the McBurney Center to identify and provide reasonable instructional accommodations. Disability information, including instructional accommodations as part of a student’s educational record, is confidential and protected under FERPA.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.