B.S. in Data Science (BSDS)


About the Application

How do you select students for your program? 

We are looking to craft a community of motivated scholars who are passionate about collaboratively solving the world's challenges using data science; intellectually curious; ready to engage with a rigorous STEM curriculum; and who will build and contribute to our inclusive community. 

The Admission Committee reviews each applicant holistically, meaning we consider a balance of factors your DS 1001 final essay, recommendation, resume, your transcript, and responses to short answer questions. Please review the Admissions page for more information about the application process. 

How can I stand out as an applicant? 

If you are interested in engaging more with data science, we encourage you to review the School of Data Science event page. Students are also encouraged to explore student organizations that provide data-related opportunities. However, we do NOT consider demonstrated interest in our holistic admissions review process. 

What is the application process like? 

Students apply to the BSDS in the spring of their first year. You can access the application in early March, and the application is due after the end of the Spring semester. To apply, you must have completed or be enrolled in the two prerequisites (DS 1001 and DS 1002 [or equivalent]). The application includes your final essay from DS 1001, one recommendation, a resume, your transcript, and some brief short-answer questions. You can view the application requirements and timeline here

Is there an interview? 


Can I submit test scores or any other supplemental materials? 


What is your offer rate?

The first BSDS cohort is entering in fall 2024 and the admissions cycle is still in progress, so we do not have admissions statistics yet. 

I'm in high school. Can I apply straight into the School of Data Science?

No. High school students should refer to the first-year admission process through the Office of Undergraduate Admission

I am not a first-year student. Can I still apply to the BSDS? 

No. Due to the three-year structure of the BSDS program, only first-year students may apply. Second-, third-, and fourth-year students, as well as transfer students, may pursue the undergraduate minor in data science, or consider one of our graduate programs

About Prerequisite Courses

What are the prerequisites for admission? 

DS 1001 Foundation of Data Science and DS 1002 Programming for Data Science (or equivalent).  

What are some of the accepted alternatives for DS 1002? 

In lieu of DS 1002: Programming for Data Science, the programming requirement may be met the following ways:

By taking another equivalent course at UVA  

  • CS 1110/1111/1112: Introduction to Programming  
  • PHYS 1655/CS 1113: Introduction to Python for Scientists and Engineers (no other UVA courses will meet the requirement)  

By test credit  

  • AP Computer Science A with a score of 4 or 5  
  • IB HL Computer Science with a score of 5, 6, or 7  

By placement test  

  • Passing the CS 1110 Place-out Test. If you pass this test, you will receive a notation in SIS that will be imported during the application process. Python is the preferred language; we expect students to know Python, and it will be used on day one of the BSDS.  

Do I need to have all the prerequisites completed before I apply to the BSDS? 

The admission committee reviews applications after grades have been submitted in the Spring. The prerequisites (DS 1001 and DS 1002) must be completed or in progress at the time of application to be eligible to apply to the major. The admission committee has no preference in which semester you take the prerequisite courses. 

About Admissions Decisions

What admission decisions may I receive?   

We have three admission decisions: Admit, Waitlist, and Deny.  

How does the waitlist work?  

Our waitlist is unranked; when spots become available, we re-review candidates. Space permitting, we will release decisions throughout the summer and up until August 20.  

I was waitlisted – what can I do? 

Your application has detailed your hard work in and out of the classroom, and we do not require any additional information from you. The admission committee will not review supplemental materials, application updates, or letters of continued interest; any changes to your transcript will be updated automatically.  

About the General Education Requirements

What are the general education requirements? 

The School of Data Science’s general education requirements can be found on the Academics page. They generally align with those in the College of Arts & Sciences. All academic requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Record

What else should I take in my first year to prepare to apply to the major?  

Beyond the two prerequisites, we encourage you to continue your progress toward the general education requirements for your school. It is helpful, but not required to include the following:

  • First writing requirement  
  • MATH 1190/1210/1310 or APMA 1090 – Calculus I (or higher-level)*

If you do not have these when you enter the program, you will need to take Calculus I in your first semester of the BSDS (fall of your second year) and complete your first writing requirement either that fall or the next spring.

*AB or BC Calculus with a score of 4 or 5, or IB HL Mathematics with a score of 5, 6, or 7 will also meet this requirement.   

About the Major

Can I double-major with the BSDS? 

When admitted to the BSDS program, your school of enrollment shifts to the School of Data Science. It is only possible to double-major with another program in the College of Arts and Sciences or the Youth and Social Innovation program in the School of Education and Human Development. Our Student Affairs team will work with you if you plan to double-major upon admission to the School of Data Science. A student who has a second major in the College can only double-count two courses toward both majors.

We realize you may have many academic and co-curricular interests and encourage you to carefully consider all your options. For example, BSDS majors may earn a minor from any school of enrollment. However, it is NOT possible to double-major with the following schools/majors: Commerce, Batten, Engineering, Nursing, Architecture, Kinesiology, or Education & Human Development (except for the Youth & Social Innovation major).

Other ways to learn data science include the undergraduate minor in data science or consider one of our graduate programs

Can I double-minor as a School of Data Science student? 

Yes. Students in the School of Data Science may have up to two minors from other schools of enrollment. BSDS students cannot declare the minor in data science. 

Can I study abroad in the BSDS major? 

You will be able to study abroad in January or summer terms, but there is no formal study abroad program for the fall or spring semesters – YET. We hope to develop these opportunities soon, so stay tuned.  

I have a lot of incoming credits from AP/IB/DE. Can I finish the BSDS in less than three years? 

No. The course structure and sequencing will require three years/six semesters; however, having these credits may offer you more flexibility and/or a slightly lighter courseload. 

I'm an Echols Scholar. If admitted, what happens to my Echols Scholar status? 

Echols Scholars are welcome to apply to the BSDS program to continue their academic pursuits. Your general education requirements will continue to be waived, though we still very much encourage all students to enroll in a broad set of courses throughout their time at UVA to complement our major requirements.

The only real impact Echols Scholar will experience on transferring to the School of Data Science is the loss of priority registration; however, once enrolled at the School of Data Science, priority registration is much less important due to the small cohort size. The Echols notation will always remain on your transcript, and students will always be welcome at Echols events and alumni activities. 

What kind of computer do I need for the BSDS major? 

Watch this video and hear professor Pete Alonzi's tips for choosing the right laptop. 

About Career Development

Is there career support? 

Yes. The School of Data Science Career Services team will support BSDS majors through a variety of programming, supplementing the services provided by the UVA Career Center

What companies have hired your students?  

The first BSDS cohort will graduate in 2027; however, you may view placement statistics for graduates of the M.S. in Data Science program, including average starting salary, job titles, and hiring companies. 

I’m an international student. Is this program STEM-designated? 

Yes, the BSDS program is STEM-designated which allows for international students the option to extend their F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) for an additional two years, totaling up to 36 months after graduation. The UVA International Studies Office provides OPT support and recommended timeline.

For Enrolling Students

I accepted my offer of admission. What’s next?  

Welcome to the School of Data Science! By the start of your first fall term in the BSDS, you will…  

  • Officially become a School of Data Science student in SIS
  • Enroll in your first two BSDS classes: DS 2022 — Systems I: Introduction to Computing (3 credits) and DS 2026 — Computational Probability (3 credits)
  • Receive information about general education requirements, BSDS major requirements, and academic advising resources
  • Sign up for the mandatory BSDS Orientation on August 23

Additional details will be emailed to you in the coming weeks.

Do you offer any paid positions such as a teaching assistant or research assistant? 

The School of Data Science hires BSDS and MSDS students as teaching assistants for an hourly rate as needed each semester. These are paid opportunities to support faculty in the classroom (typically 10-20 hours per week). To be eligible to TA for a course, you must have a deep fundamental understanding of the material; these positions tend to be best suited to upper

Other employment opportunities in the School of Data Science include research projects, tutors, and most commonly, Student Ambassadors. Enrolling students will receive information on how to apply for these positions after the start of classes. The positions are not guaranteed and do not result in tuition remission or adjustments.  

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Students studying on an F-1 visa are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week at UVA, which could include the possibilities outlined above, or other jobs such as being a student ambassador, working at the University bookstore, etc. All of these would be hourly wage positions and would not result in a tuition waiver. Consult with your International Student Advisor about your employment eligibilities.   

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