Find answers to frequently asked questions about the M.S. in Data Science program.

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For a comprehensive program overview that should address most program-related questions, watch this video. 

About the Application

Whom do I contact with questions about the online application?

For any other questions about the admission process, please feel free to contact the Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions Bryan Christ.

How do you select students for your program?

We apply a holistic approach to our admissions process, considering all application materials submitted by an applicant.

Can you provide an informal or unofficial evaluation of my credentials to let me know my chances of being admitted?

No, we are only able to evaluate completed and submitted applications after the application deadline.

Is there a preference for students who have just finished their undergraduate degrees or those who have work experience?

There is no preference. Each year, we expect to have students who have just finished their degrees and students who are recent working professionals returning to school.

Do you admit students transferring from other graduate programs?

Students in other programs are welcome to apply but are considered the same as other applicants. In particular, work from other programs cannot be applied to the M.S. in Data Science program. We do, however, offer dual degrees with the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and the Darden School of Business for students interested in our 11-month residential MSDS degree program.  

Is a three-year undergraduate degree acceptable?


Is an interview required?

No. We do, however, encourage applicants to participate in one of the many Virtual Information Sessions offered. See deadlines and events here. 

Are international students required to submit an English translation of their transcripts?

Yes, all transcripts not translated to English are required to be accompanied by an English translation from NACES accredited transcript verification service like WES or ECE. SpanTran is a NACES-member company that has created a custom application for the School of Data Science to ensure you get the right kind of evaluation at a discounted rate. You can access their application by clicking here. Transcripts submitted without a proper English translation from an accredited transcript verification service, will not be accepted. 

I’m applying to the online M.S. in Data Science program as an international student (I hold citizenship in a country other than the U.S.). Am I eligible for a visa to study in the U.S. if admitted to the program?

International students who remain outside the United States are invited to apply and enroll in the online MSDS. The F-1 visa cannot be issued for students enrolling in the online program in accordance with Federal Regulations. International students who wish to study in the U.S. should apply to the residential full-time MSDS program.

Can I defer my offer of admission?

Students admitted to the Online MSDS program may defer their offer of enrollment to the next cohort start date if they are facing extreme mitigating financial or health concerns. In order to request a deferral, admitted students must accept their offer of admission, submit the non-refundable $400 tuition deposit which will be applied toward their future tuition, and submit the late start request form. Deferrals are not guaranteed and are granted at the discretion of the School of Data Science. If not granted a deferral, applicants can reapply to the program.

About Prerequisite Courses

Must all prerequisites be completed prior to submission of the application?

No, all prerequisites do not have to be completed at the time of application submission, however, you must be enrolled in any outstanding prerequisites at the time of application submission and provide full details on outstanding courses.

How do I determine if the prerequisite I am taking is a sufficient substitute for a University of Virginia class?

Please check the list of Key Topics for each prerequisite which lists in detail the exact topics any prerequisite you take must cover to be a sufficient substitute for a University of Virginia equivalent class. The Key Topics are also the foundational skills you will be expected to have a working knowledge of at the start of the program. 

About Test Scores

Is the GRE, GMAT or other graduate school standardized test required?

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

Do I have to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores?

The TOEFL/IELTS is not required of applicants who have or will have obtained an undergraduate degree entirely from an institution (or institutions) in which English is the primary language of instruction. All other international applicants must self-report either a TOEFL or IELTS score on the application. Both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training exams are accepted.

  • The School of Data Science does not require official test scores at the time of your application submission but will require that you send official scores if you matriculate as a student.
  • If you wish to have your official test scores sent, then TOEFL scores should be submitted via ETS using institution code B875 (no department code needed).
  • Official 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. 
  • All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution.

Are there minimum TOEFL and IELTS scores?

Yes, there are minimum English language test requirements in order to eligible to apply to the M.S. in Data Science program.

  • The minimum internet-based TOEFL score requirement is 100 (including section minimum scores of 22 in Speaking, 22 in Writing, 23 in Reading, and 23 in Listening). 
  • The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0 total with a minimum score of 6.5 in each section.

The admission committee will not consider applications with scores that do not meet the minimum requirements. The TOEFL/IELTS must be taken within the last two years to be considered valid. 

About Career Development

Does the program have relationships with employers?

Yes. The School of Data Science Career Services Team has strong relationships with a number of employers. Some of these companies will sponsor student capstone projects, while others will engage in career programming, industry advising, and hiring. Career Services also provides opportunities for students to connect with recruiters through a variety of programming, including technical talks, workshops, conferences, and career treks. 

What companies have hired your students? 

View employment statistics for the past five M.S. in Data Science classes, including average starting salary, job titles, and hiring companies.

About Finances

Is financial support (need-based or merit fellowships) available?

The M.S. in Data Science is a professional program, similar to a JD or an MBA. As such, many students obtain financial aid in the form of federal loans. 

Additionally, the School of Data Science also offers need-based fellowships to qualified students. To qualify, students must fill out their FAFSA forms and indicate they'd like to be considered on their application for a need-based fellowship.  Please see Student Financial Services Office for more information about FAFSA.

Is there an application fee?

Yes, a non-refundable application fee of $85 is required prior to submission of the application. Applicants who believe they may qualify for an application fee waiver should first review the Application Fee Waiver Information and then submit an Application Fee Waiver Request Form. 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.

Is an admission tuition deposit required?

Yes, a non-refundable $400 admission tuition deposit will be required if an offer of admission is accepted. This deposit will be applied towards tuition.