Admissions Considerations 

We're crafting a community of scholars who are: 

  • Intellectually curious and prepared to engage in the intensive study of data science  
  • Proficient in high-level quantitative and technical skills  
  • Passionate about understanding how data is captured and communicated to make informed decisions 
  • Motivated, studious, and mature; willing to contribute to our diverse community as teaching assistants, researchers, and colleagues


Who should apply?

As the nation's first standalone School of Data Science to offer a Ph.D. program, we are seeking candidates who wish to study cutting-edge methods for learning from data or the impact of data driven decisions on society. Ph.D. students are expected to be the next generation of data science researchers and experts, contributing to and pushing the discipline forward.

The Ph.D. in Data Science is a rigorous program, and applicants must demonstrate their ability to succeed in our educational environment. We are seeking candidates from a variety of majors, disciplines, and backgrounds, so no specific program of study is required. A master’s degree is not required and does not make an applicant more competitive in the admissions process. However, completion of prerequisite courses is required prior to matriculation.

Doctoral students typically receive financial support from the School of Data Science for the duration of their enrollment in the program, pending satisfactory completion of requirements and progression through the program. This includes full remission of tuition, fees, and the premium for single-person coverage through the University of Virginia’s student health insurance plan. Tuition and fees are set annually by the University of Virginia Board of Visitors in early spring. In addition, Ph.D. students will receive either a fellowship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship that includes annual living support in the approximate amount of $35,000 per year, distributed over 12 months. 

Prerequisite Courses and Minimum Qualifications

We welcome applicants from all undergraduate majors or programs of study who have earned their bachelor's degree prior to matriculation from a three- or four-year accredited institution.

The Ph.D. 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. 

The following are required upon matriculation:

Multivariable Calculus

  • A course or courses from an accredited college or university that covers concepts through multivariable calculus and functions in more than one dimension. In the U.S., this is typically a three-course sequence (Calculus I, Calculus II, Calculus III).

Matrix Algebra or Linear Algebra


  • At least one course from an accredited college or university that covers concepts in probability and statistical inference. 

Programming Experience 

  • This experience can be demonstrated by completion of a course in computer science from an accredited college or university or substantial experience working with a programming language (such as Python, R, Matlab, C++, or Java). We will ask you to detail this experience in your application.

Application Requirements

The following materials are required for review of your application: 

Essay and Short Answer Prompts

Please familiarize yourself with how the School of Data Science organizes its curriculum using the Domains of Data Science Model. What are the practice areas that currently ignite your enthusiasm and curiosity, and which domains or specialized areas do you aspire to focus on during your graduate training? (500 word limit) 

In addition to your statement, please answer the short supplementary questions below:

Required: Our students are expected to push the boundaries of data science with their research. In what ways do you want to shape the practice of data science? (250 word limit) 
Required: What about your individual background, perspective, or experience will serve as a source of strength for you or those around you at UVA?  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)
OPTIONAL: An application addendum is not required; however, some applicants may have additional information that would be useful for the admissions committee. Use this space to discuss positive dimensions of your background not otherwise highlighted in this application, or to provide insight and/or context regarding other aspects, including, but not limited to, aberrant grades, gaps in your academic record or resume, or other extenuating circumstances. (250 words or fewer) 

Audio File

Please upload an audio file of yourself answering the following prompt: In your experience, what differentiates data science from other fields? (45 seconds maximum) 


Upload all unofficial transcripts from your entire post-secondary academic record, including all undergraduate- and graduate-level coursework. 

  • If you earned an undergraduate degree from an institution (or institutions) in which English is the primary language, unofficial transcripts are sufficient. 
  • 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 official transcripts and proof of degree conferral prior to enrolling. Send official transcripts electronically to or by mail to:

Mailing Address 
School of Data Science Admissions 
P.O. 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

Standardized Tests 

The Ph.D. in Data Science does not review standardized test scores (i.e., GRE, GMAT, MCAT) in its holistic evaluation of applicants.

English Language Tests

  • If you earned an undergraduate degree from an institution (or institutions) in which English is the primary language, you need not submit English Language Test scores, and the TOEFL/IELTS requirement will be automatically waived.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree from an institution (or institutions) in which English is not the primary language of instruction, you must self-report TOEFL or IELTS scores. Official scores are only required if admitted to the program. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years after test date.

Send official TOEFL scores via ETS to institution code B875 (no department code needed). 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). 

Request that your test scores be sent electronically via the IELTS system by contacting your IELTS center directly. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. No institution code or department code is needed. The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0 (including minimum section scores of 6.5). 

Letters of Recommendation 

Three letters of recommendation are required as part of the online application. Once you have saved the contact information for a reference, the individual will receive email instructions to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. It is preferable (but not required) for at least two letters to be from an individual with substantial knowledge of your academic accomplishments.

Curriculum Vitae 

Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) will demonstrate your preparedness for graduate study, including involvement in activities outside of school or work (such as leadership, service, civic engagement), coding or research projects, and any other accomplishments you’d like to share. You can find guidance about your CV here.

Application Fee 
A non-refundable application fee of $85 is required prior to submission of the application. We do not grant individual fee waiver codes outside of the following exceptions. 

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. 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
    • Ghana
    • Guinea
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Haiti
    • Iran
    • Kiribati
    • Lao People's Democratic Republic
    • Lesotho
    • Liberia
    • Madagascar
    • Malawi
    • Mali
    • Mauritania
    • Mozambique
    • Myanmar
    • Nepal
    • Niger
    • Nigeria
    • 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 For all other questions, connect with us.

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 prospective international students through the Ph.D. in Data Science application process. All students are considered in the same pool regardless of the prospective student’s citizenship and the country of the student’s 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 three years of study. 

Prerequisites & Transcripts 

International applicants who completed the prerequisites under a different title (e.g., instead of Calculus III, the course is listed as Mathematics IV 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.


Ph.D. graduates will be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (12 months) and consecutively STEM OPT Extension (24 months).

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 & immigration statuses. Do not submit financial documentation with your application. 

Financial Aid 

Admitted applicants will receive financial support from the School of Data Science for the duration of their enrollment in the program, pending satisfactory completion of requirements and progression through the program. This includes full remission of tuition, fees, and the premium for single-person coverage through the University of Virginia’s student health insurance plan. Read more on the Tuition and Fees page

Health Insurance 

All UVA students, both domestic and international, charged the full comprehensive fees with their tuition must meet the health insurance verification requirements. Read the details of the health insurance requirements here. The health insurance premium will be covered under the financial aid package.

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