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 on March 8. Applications received after January 6 will be considered in the Regular Decision round and receive an admission decision by April 5.   

What is your offer rate? 

We review all applications holistically and each year receive more qualified applicants than we are able to admit. It is a competitive admission process, with offer rates ranging from 30-40% for the MSDS Residential program. We do not have quotas of any kind, though we anticipate an incoming cohort of 60-62 students each year. 

What admission decisions may I receive?  

We have three main categories of admission decisions: Admit (including conditional admit), Waitlist, and Deny (including deny residential/admit online).  

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 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 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. 

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.

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