Academic Programs

Why UVA Data Science?

December 14, 2019

“I want to use data science to solve complex business problems. To address poverty and inequality in education. To tackle challenges in science and medicine. To inform public policy and government.”

“I want to use data science to find a new way of thinking.” — MSDS '20 Cohort

The 11-month professional Master of Science in Data Science program combines a collaborative, interdisciplinary curriculum with a practical, applied capstone project, a close cohort experience, renowned faculty mentors, core values like using data science to make a positive impact, and the opportunity to take advantage of all the University of Virginia has to offer.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum

The interdisciplinary structure of the MSDS program offers students the chance to immerse themselves in core courses like Bayesian machine learning, statistics, data mining and text analytics, computer programming, and data ethics as well as electives from departments across the university—from economics and psychology, to systems engineering and public health, to architecture and physics.

“I enrolled in the MSDS program because its curriculum is uniquely interdisciplinary,” said alumnus Lucas Beane (MSDS ‘19). “The School of Data Science at UVA was a better fit than most schools, because not only did I gain a foundation in data science, I learned how to directly apply data science across different fields of study and diverse industries.”

Real-World Problems, Real-World Clients, Real-World Experiences

Students select a capstone project at the beginning of the MSDS program. With an opportunity to work with clients at organizations like Capital One, Wikipedia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the federal government, and more, students work throughout the duration of the program with a small team of cohort partners and a faculty mentor to apply their data science skills to a real-world problem.

“The School of Data Science has distinguished itself as a leading institution for data science, providing opportunities for students to solve real-world problems using cutting-edge data science methods and technologies,” said Dibyendu Roy Chowdhury (MSDS ‘20).

Cohort Experience

The MSDS program at the School of Data Science maintains a small, close-knit cohort of students. Students attend classes together, collaborate on capstone projects, and get together in their down time to cheer on the UVA basketball team, hike in the Blue Ridge mountains, and relax at the many wineries and breweries around town. The MSDS student council organizes trivia nights, holiday celebrations and more to create a sense of support and family.

“The MSDS program has a small cohort size, which provided me the incredible opportunity to forge valuable professional and personal connections,” said alumnus Vaibhav Sharma (MSDS ‘19).

Renowned Faculty

Faculty at the School of Data Science lead their fields, from biomedicine and systems engineering, to the digital humanities and social sciences, to finance and education. With exciting faculty-driven research collaborations connecting the school with departments across Grounds and a rigorous academic program, the school offers MSDS students a place to discover their passion and cultivate professional relationships.

“The program offers a holistic learning experience as it provides interactions with professors from many different departments and other professionals,” said alumna Charishma Ravoori (MSDS ‘19). “It is ranked one of the best data science programs in the country and I believe that the structure of the program will truly be helpful in learning the subject well.”

Making an Impact

The University of Virginia School of Data Science—the first of its kind in the nation—is guided by common goals: to further discovery, share knowledge, and make a positive impact on society through collaborative, open, and responsible data science research and education. 

“What started as a curiosity of applying statistics to financial markets turned into a genuine interest in learning more about complex models to make a bigger impact,” said student Arti Patel (MSDS ‘20). “After taking several open courses I online, I decided I wanted a formal education in data science to gain the skills I need to address broader issues such as income inequality and climate change. 

“I enrolled as an MSDS student in order to gain the skills I need to tackle pressing issues.”

Click here to learn more about the UVA School of Data Science Masters in Data Science program.