We're 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, either in-person or online, and at a college level. It is in your best interest to take courses that rigorously cover the subject matter in order to be best prepared for the MSDS program.

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.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required as part of the online application. It is preferable (but not required) for at least one letter to be from an individual with substantial knowledge of your academic accomplishments. 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. 


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 Questions

  • How will the UVA MSDS program help you achieve your short- and long-term goals? (150 words or fewer) 
  • Data Science is about solving the world’s most challenging and compelling problems. Tell us about a time when you worked on a team to solve a meaningful challenge (the challenge need not be data-related). What was the problem, what was your role in solving it, and what was the outcome? (150 words or fewer) 
  • Successful data scientists rely on collaborating with a diverse range of stakeholders, and our curriculum intentionally integrates teamwork to prepare you for success across all domains of data science. Based upon your background, perspective, attributes, and experiences, how will you contribute to our inclusive community of data scientists? (250 words or fewer)   

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, 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 counties 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’s MSDS Residential program through the priority and regular decision rounds 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 $400 tuition deposit (applied toward future tuition), and submit the deferral request form located in the Application Status Portal. Please be specific in your deferral request.  

    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 waitlist may not request a deferral. Students who are not granted a deferral may reapply to the program in the future. All deferral requests for the MSDS Residential program must be submitted by May 1.    

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 MSDS 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. 

Application Timeline 

International applicants are strongly encouraged to submit the application by the priority deadline to maximize the amount of time to gather immigration documents and arrange visa processing. The MSDS Residential program starts in mid-June. 

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. 


MSDS 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 

Federal financial aid and need-based fellowships are limited to eligible U.S. Citizens and eligible non-citizens. There are also several external scholarships and funding options available to international students, some of which can be found on the Funding Your Degree page. The F1 Visa does permit part-time UVA-based employment for full-time students in the MSDS Residential program. Any employment would be available after you begin classes and will not be outlined in your offer letter. 

Health Insurance Requirement 

All UVA students must meet the health insurance verification requirements. Read the details of the health insurance requirements here.

For questions about the application process, check out the Frequently Asked Questions. For technical issues regarding the application, reach out to SDS Admissions.