Who should apply?

As the nation's first standalone School of Data Science, we offer the same rigorous, technical curriculum, career services, and access to industry-expert, pioneering and diverse faculty in both our part-time online and full-time residential MSDS degree programs. The only difference is that our part-time online MSDS degree will prepare you to be a leader in the field of data science while maintaining your full-time professional work schedule.

Whether you are a career switcher, recent college graduate working full-time who wants to further their education, a STEM professional seeking a promotion, an avid coder, or a leader with a terminal degree who wants to master data science tools, you have a place in our cutting-edge and transformative online MSDS program. The first semesters of our program instill foundational skills so that those who have taken our prerequisites but come from a non-STEM background can master data science tools. 

Students have come from a variety of majors and disciplines, including but not limited to astronomy, biology, business, computer science, engineering, economics, journalism, languages, mathematics, nursing, public policy, and statistics. We are looking to craft a community of motivated scholars who:

  • Are passionate about collaboratively solving the world’s challenges using data science 
  • Desire to apply their intellectual curiosity around data science to a broad range of compelling contexts 
  • Are ready to engage with a rigorous STEM curriculum 
  • Recognize the value of diverse perspectives and strive to build and contribute to our inclusive community 

Prerequisite Courses and Minimum Qualifications

A specific undergraduate major or program of study is not required. Applicants must have earned their bachelor's degree prior to matriculation from a three- or four-year accredited institution.

The M.S. in Data Science program requires several prerequisite courses. You can still apply without having all prerequisites, but they must be completed prior to matriculation. Proof of completion will be required for any incomplete prerequisites if an applicant is admitted and accepts their offer of admission.

Applicants must complete prerequisites at an accredited institution of higher education, either in-person or online, for a grade. We also accept test credit for prerequisite requirements (e.g. AP test credit). 

Prerequisites are essential tools for preparedness and academic success. Check out Prerequisite Key Topics for course descriptions, whether courses you have taken count toward prerequisites, and how they can be fulfilled.

View Prerequisite Key Topics

Application Requirements

The application requires the following materials that must be submitted by the deadline date in order for it to be considered complete:


Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts of their entire post-secondary academic record to the online application, including all undergraduate- and graduate-level coursework.

  • Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for the application process if you earned an undergraduate degree from an institution (or institutions) in which English is the primary language. Official undergraduate transcripts are required only after acceptance of an offer from the program.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree from an institution (or institutions) in which English is not the primary language of instruction, a course-by-course credential evaluation is required to help us better understand your educational background and capabilities. IEE and SpanTran are NACES-member companies that have created custom applications for the School of Data Science at a discounted rate. We accept transcript evaluations from all NACES-member evaluators.

If admitted to the School of Data Science and you decide to accept your offer, you will be required to submit proof of degree conferral prior to course enrollment. Send official transcripts electronically to sdsadmission@virginia.edu or by mail to:

Mailing Address  
School of Data Science Admissions  
PO Box 401109  
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Physical Address (for DHL and FedEx)  
School of Data Science Admissions  
Room 232  
1001 Emmet Street North  
Charlottesville, VA 22903


List any honors, awards, need-based financial aid, or merit scholarships you received in college (e.g., Dean’s List, merit or academic scholarships, Federal Pell Grant, and/or other research, academic, or travel grants).

Test Scores

All unofficial test scores must be reported on the online application by the application deadline. Applicants are advised to account for test scoring processing time (typically 10 business days) when determining when to take any test.

Standardized Tests  
We do not require or accept scores for standardized tests (i.e., GRE, GMAT) in the holistic review of applications for our programs.

English Language Tests  
Applicants who earned an undergraduate degree from an institution (or institutions) in which English is not the primary language of instruction must self-report TOEFL or IELTS scores as part of their application. Official scores are only required if admitted to the program.

For official scores, TOEFL scores should be sent via ETS to institution code B875 (no department code needed). IELTS scores should be submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. No institution code or department code is needed. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system.

TOEFL or IELTS scores are considered valid if taken within two years from the application deadline.

The TOEFL or IELTS tests are not required of applicants who have or will obtain an undergraduate degree entirely from an institution (or institutions) in which English is the primary language of instruction. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement will automatically be waived for an applicant who submits evidence of these circumstances.

  • The minimum TOEFL (iBT) score requirement is 100 (including minimum section scores of 22 in speaking, 22 in writing, 23 in reading and 23 in listening). TOEFL scores should be sent via ETS to institution code B875 (no department code needed).
  • The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0 (including minimum section scores of 6.5). IELTS scores should be submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. Paper copies will not be accepted; no institution code or department code is needed.


A résumé or curriculum vitae helps us get to know an applicant beyond their formal academic coursework. There is no preference for students with or without professional work experience.

We hope your résumé will demonstrate your involvement in activities outside of school or work, including leadership, service, family responsibilities, civic engagement, coding or research projects you’re proud of, and any other accomplishments you’d like to share.

Application Short Answer Questions

  • How will the UVA MSDS program help you achieve your short- and long-term goals? (150 words or fewer) 
  • What are the specific steps you will take to incorporate this rigorous program into your personal and professional life? (150 words or fewer) 
  • Required: What about your individual background, perspective, or experience will serve as a source of strength for you or those around you at the School of Data Science? Feel free to write about any past experience or part of your background that has shaped your perspective and will be a source of strength, including but not limited to those related to your community, upbringing, educational environment, race, gender, or other aspects of your background that are important to you. (250 words or fewer)    

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $85 is required prior to submission of the application.  

Fee Waivers (U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents)  

Per UVA policy, we provide application fee waivers for US citizens and permanent residents who meet the Application Fee Waiver Eligibility criteria and submit an Application Fee Waiver Request Form. In addition, application fees are waived for full-time UVA employees who have worked more than 90 days at the University (contact the admissions team for the employee fee waiver code). You cannot be granted a fee waiver after payment of the application fee. An application will not be considered submitted until the fee is paid. 

Fee Waivers (International Applicants)

The School of Data Science is committed to diversity which we define as excellence expressing itself through every person’s perspective and lived experience. 

We acknowledge that financial disparities exist that may discourage prospective students from applying. In hopes of creating and increasing access to our graduate programs, we currently provide application fee waivers to: 

  • Recipients of DACA, Deferred Enforced Departure, or Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Please contact Degi Betcher if you meet this eligibility.
  • Citizens from the countries listed below, defined by the United Nations as the least developed countries (LDCs). The application system will automatically waive the payment based on the citizenship you select on the application. International applications from countries not listed as LDCs will not be eligible to receive need-based application fee waivers. 

    • Afghanistan
    • Angola
    • Bangladesh
    • Benin
    • Bhutan
    • Burkina Faso
    • Burundi
    • Cambodia
    • Central African Republic
    • Chad
    • Comoros
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Djibouti
    • Eritrea
    • Ethiopia
    • Gambia
    • Guinea
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Haiti
    • Kiribati
    • Lao People's Democratic Republic
    • Lesotho
    • Liberia
    • Madagascar
    • Malawi
    • Mali
    • Mauritania
    • Mozambique
    • Myanmar
    • Nepal
    • Niger
    • Rwanda
    • Sao Tome and Principe
    • Senegal
    • Sierra Leone
    • Solomon Islands
    • Somalia
    • South Sudan
    • Sudan
    • Timor-Leste
    • Togo
    • Tuvalu
    • Uganda
    • United Republic of Tanzania
    • Yemen
    • Zambia

    For technical questions about the application, contact sdsadmission@virginia.edu. For all other questions, connect with us.

    Deferral Policy

    Students admitted to the School of Data Science may request a deferral of their enrollment to the next cohort start date if facing extreme hardship or mitigating circumstances. To request a deferral, students must accept their offer of admission, pay the non-refundable $500 tuition deposit (applied toward future tuition), and submit the deferral request form located in the Application Status Portal. The Admissions team will review deferrals within 72 business hours. If granted, students must accept a revised offer of admission for the next cohort date within two weeks of the date of offer. Deferrals are not guaranteed and are granted at the discretion of the School of Data Science. Students admitted from the wait list may not request a deferral. Students who are not granted a deferral can reapply to the program in the future.

International Applicants

The School of Data Science values the backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences that our international students contribute to our community, and we welcome applications from around the world. 

The following information is provided to help international applicants through the MSDS Online application process. The admission process is immigration status and need-blind. All students are considered in the same pool regardless of citizenship, the country of the undergraduate institution. 

International applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution equivalent to a four-year American degree. The School of Data Science will also recognize undergraduate degrees that were earned in only three years of study.  

Prerequisites & Transcripts 

International applicants who completed the prerequisites under a different title (e.g., instead of Calculus II, the course is listed as Mathematics III on your transcript) must submit a course description and/or syllabus of the course to confirm the completion of the prerequisites. Please note that transcripts may be unofficial for the application, but all enrolling students must submit official transcripts upon matriculation.

F-1 Visa/I-20 

MSDS Online program is fully remote program, and MSDS Online students are not eligible for an F-1 visa.  

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