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

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About the Application

Whom do I contact with questions about the online application?

For technical questions related to accessing or submitted the application, contact For any other questions about the admission process, contact the admissions team.

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 only 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 who are currently enrolled in another graduate program?

Students in other programs are welcome to apply, but we do not accept transfer credit. We do, however, offer combination degrees with the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Darden School of Business.

Is a three-year undergraduate degree acceptable?


Is an interview required?

No, an interview is not a part of the application process. 

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. SpanTran is a NACES-member company that has created a custom application for the School of Data Science at a discounted rate. You can access their application by clicking here. Applications without the required English translation from an accredited transcript verification service will not be considered complete. 

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 know if I have satisfied the prerequisites?

Check the list of Prerequisite Key Topics to find the exact topics you are expected to learn in each prerequisite course. These are foundational skills you will be need 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.

  • You are required to send official scores if you matriculate to the School of Data Science.
  • Official 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). 

Are there minimum TOEFL and IELTS scores?

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. 

  • 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.

About Admission Decisions

When should I apply? 

The MSDS Residential program runs June–May, with one annual application cycle. We offer two application options: Priority Decision and Regular Decision. The Priority Decision is for those wishing to be considered for early admission and need-based financial aid. Priority applicants will receive an admission decision in early March. Applications received after the Priority deadline will be considered in the Regular Decision round and receive an admission decision in early April.   

What is your offer rate? 

We review all applications holistically and each year receive more qualified applicants than we are able to admit. We do not have quotas of any kind, though we anticipate an incoming cohort of 60-65 students each year. 

What admission decisions may I receive?  

For Priority Decision applicants, we have three admission decisions: Admit (including Conditional Admit), Defer to Regular Decision (we re-review your application in the next round), or Deny. 

For Regular Decision applicants, we have three admission decisions: Admit (including Conditional Admit), Waitlist, or Deny. 

What is conditional admission? 

Conditional admission means we would like to offer you admission to the cohort, however you must meet a specified condition prior to the start of classes. We will include the stipulation(s) in your offer letter, though typically include completion of prerequisite(s) course(s).  

How does the waitlist work? 

Our waitlist is unranked; when spots become available, we re-review candidates. It is helpful (but not required) to send any updates if you have them, such as semester mid-term grades, new job or project, etc. Although the waitlist varies each year, we have previously made anywhere from 3-10 offers. 

Our Regular Decision deposit deadline is April 15. As soon as that passes, and if we have room, we will make offers from the waitlist throughout the end of April to the end of May. If we can make any offers, we will give you a call, and if you accept, you must submit your tuition deposit within 72 hours to secure your spot in the cohort. Please note that students admitted from the waitlist may not request a deferral. The waitlist is released after June 1.  

If denied admission to the MSDS Residential program, can I be considered for the part-time MSDS Online program? 

Please indicate on your application if you are interested in the MSDS Online program. Occasionally, if we review a very strong candidate but do not have space in the residential program, then we may offer admission to the part-time MSDS Online fall cohort instead. 

If denied admission, can I apply again? 

Yes, you are welcome to reapply to any of our programs. We encourage you to review the prerequisites for admission and reach out to a member of admission team if you have questions about the application process.

Can I defer my offer of admission? 

Students admitted to the MSDS program through the priority or regular decision rounds may defer their offer of enrollment to the next cohort start date if they are facing extreme mitigating financial or health concerns. 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 deferral request form in their application 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 the offer. Deferrals are not guaranteed and are granted at the discretion of the School of Data Science. Students admitted from the waitlist may not request a deferral. Students who are not granted a deferral can reapply to the program in the future.  All deferral requests must be submitted no later than May 1.

About the Program

How many students are in the M.S. in Data Science program?

The cohort size is typically 60-65 students each year.

Is the M.S. in Data Science program a STEM program?

Yes. The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code is 11.0802.

Can the program be started at times other than the summer?

No, the program courses are integrated, requiring a summer start for all students.

What are the dates and times of the summer courses?

Classes will begin in June at the beginning of UVA’s Summer Session II and meet daily for eight weeks until concluding in August. Each class will meet for approximately 90 minutes daily. There will be a full-day orientation and technical orientation meeting the week before courses begin.

Is the program offered in an evening/weekend or distance format?

Yes, the M.S. in Data Science is also offered as an online program that can be completed in under two years across five semesters.

What kind of computer do I need for the M.S. in Data Science program?

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

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. There are opportunities for paid positions such as a teaching or research assistant, student ambassador, or other on-Grounds employment; however, these are hourly wage jobs that do not result in tuition remission. On-Grounds employment opportunities tend to be in the fall and spring semesters and will be shared with students after matriculating.

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 $500 admission tuition deposit will be required if an offer of admission is accepted. This deposit will be applied towards tuition.

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

Is this program STEM-designated?

Yes, the MSDS Residential 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

About Housing

Where do students typically live?

There are many housing options available to graduate students, including on-Grounds housing offered through UVA or off-campus housing in the city of Charlottesville. Whether you are seeking furnished or unfurnished, single or shared occupancy, there are many options to choose from that will fit your needs.

About Campus Safety

Charlottesville is a beautiful city (population 50,000) nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. It is frequently at the top of popular rankings for one of the “best places to live.” The University of Virginia’s vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff is one of the primary reasons this area thrives.

The safety and well-being of our students is among our highest priorities at the University of Virginia. We are committed to assisting all members of our community in providing for their own safety and security. Our safety program includes:

  • The University Police Department (UPD), a professional police department that provides the same level of service offered by a municipal police department along with other services unique to an academic institution. UPD participates in a mutual aid agreement with other local departments and a cooperative patrol agreement with the City of Charlottesville.
  • Ambassadors Program, a service that provides extra eyes and ears on the streets and assistance including walking escorts in neighborhoods frequented by students
  • University Transit Service (UTS) bus system that has an annual ridership greater than 3 million
  • SafeRide shuttle program during hours when UTS buses are not operating
  • Yellow Cab Charge-a-Ride program available with student ID
  • Educational seminars, bystander training, and self-defense classes
  • More than 500 blue light emergency phones
  • Lighted pathways and ongoing inspection of buildings and the Grounds
  • Security cameras strategically placed around the Grounds
  • Card key system for access to residence halls at all times and other buildings during designated hours
  • UVaAlerts emergency notification system, sirens and public address system
  • Fire alarm and suppression systems
  • Security and General Safety Committee, an advisory group made up of students, faculty, staff, and parents

Federal law requires the University to publish an Annual Fire Safety and Security Report. The report includes information on crime prevention, fire safety, University Police law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, and statistics about crimes that occurred during the previous three years on Grounds or in designated areas near the Grounds as well as in other locations specified by law. The document is available on the University's Clery Act website. You may request a hard copy of the report from the University Police Department headquarters at 2304 Ivy Road by calling (434) 924-7166 or writing to

For Enrolling Students

I submitted my deposit to enroll in the program. What’s next?  

SIS & UVA Computing ID: 
Create your UVA Computing ID and access your Student Information System (SIS) Account.  The Office of Student Affairs will contact you via your UVA email address with important updates about the mandatory orientation. email address with important updates about the mandatory orientation.  

Admitted students will be automatically registered for their summer term courses by the SDS Registrar. You will be notified of your tuition and fees bill via SIS.

Admitted students will receive information about housing suggestions and can join a group chat with other admitted students to find roommates. Note that you are expected to be in Charlottesville by mid-June (Summer Session II), so you may need a lease that begins June 1 or earlier to accommodate your class schedule. The Student Ambassadors are a great resource to discuss their experience finding housing. 

Life on Grounds: 
There are plenty of opportunities to get to know your new classmates once you arrive on Grounds. The Office of Student Affairs puts on social and educational events outside of the classroom, such as resume building sessions, lunch meetings, get-togethers, and more. You will be connected to these resources and events at Orientation. 

Financial Aid: 
If you applied for federal financial aid, disbursement dates are typically about 10 days prior to the start of the semester; Student Financial Services can answer any additional questions you may have at  

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

The School of Data Science hires MSDS students as teaching assistants for an hourly rate as needed each Fall and Spring. These are paid opportunities to support faculty in the classroom, particularly in the growing undergraduate field. Those with experience as a teaching assistant from their undergraduate studies are encouraged to apply and will receive information on how to apply after the start of their first semester. 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.  

For International Students

Is this program eligible for the STEM OPT Extension? 

Yes, MSDS Residential graduates will be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (12 months) and consecutively STEM OPT Extension (24 months). 

How do I get my F-1 Visa/I-20? 

Admitted international applicants will be required to submit supplemental documentation to the International Student & Scholars Program confirming the financial resources available for their study in the United States. Timely submission of the I-20 request form and financial forms will be important in receiving the I-20 form and applying for the F-1 student visa or transferring the SEVIS record. Connect with the International Student Office with all questions related to student visas and immigration statuses. Do not submit financial documentation with your application.

Do you have financial aid for international students studying on an F-1 Visa? 

No, UVA does not offer financial aid to international students. However, you are welcome to explore external scholarships and funding options, some of which can be found on the Funding Your Degree page.