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Application Details

Applicants to the Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) program must earn an undergraduate degree prior to the start of the summer term in which the program starts. Applicants with a three-year or four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited institution are eligible to apply.

A specific undergraduate major or program of study is not required. the School of Data Science students come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, including economics, statistics, engineering, computer science, math, hospitality management, and history, to name a few.

A common knowledge base is essential, however. Students must complete each of the following prerequisites prior to the start of the summer term in which the program starts.

  • Single variable calculus (similar to UVA MATH 1210-1220, MATH 1310-1320, or APMA 1090-1110)
  • Linear algebra or matrix algebra (similar to UVA MATH 3350, MATH 3351, or APMA 3080)
  • Introductory statistics (similar to UVA STAT 2020, STAT 2120, APMA 3110, or APMA 3120)
  • Introductory programming (similar to UVA CS 1110, CS 1111, CS 1112, or CS 1113)

For more information on these courses, view the UVA course catalog here.

For more detailed information on the prerequisites for the MSDS and how they may be fulfilled please visit here, or contact the School of Data Science Online Enrollment Team at 434-264-5759 or email to learn more.

The application form must be completed online. The following materials must accompany the application in order for it to be considered complete:

Statement of Purpose

This should explain how the online MSDS program fits into your short- and long-term educational and career goals.


Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts of their entire post-secondary academic record to the online application, including all undergraduate- and graduate-level coursework. Transcripts that are not stated in English must be accompanied by a translation into English.

Please do not request and mail official transcripts as part of the application process. Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for the faculty’s review of your application. Official undergraduate transcripts are required only after acceptance of an offer from the program.

An admitted student who accepts an offer of admission will be required to submit proof of degree conferral before the start of the program and by the deadline determined by the School of Data Science. Degree conferral is defined as official certification and confirmation of the date of degree completion from the undergraduate institution’s Student Records or Registrar office, and is typically signified by receipt of a diploma or degree certificate and/or an official final transcript. For example, a current UVA undergraduate who does not receive their undergraduate degree in May at latest (confirmed by a final official transcript), will not be permitted to start the online MSDS program in July; UVA confers degrees at the end of each academic term (Fall, Spring, Summer).

Official transcripts and/or degree certificates are only required once an applicant accepts an offer of admission from the School of Data Science. When sending official transcripts, our preferred method of receipt is electronically (

Test Scores

The UVA MSDS is GRE/GMAT test optional. What does the optional mean for the GRE? When provided, GRE scores will continue to serve as just one of the many factors considered in our review of a student’s application. Providing GRE scores can bolster your application if there are aspects of your application you feel may not be as competitive as others. If you choose not include a GRE score, we encourage you to ensure that other components of your application, including the statement of purpose, resume or CV, transcripts, and letters of recommendation, are as strong as possible. If you choose to report 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 (e.g. 10 business days) when determining when to take any test.

Language Tests for International Applicants

International applicants must self-report TOEFL or IELTS scores in the application system. Official scores are required only after acceptance of an offer from the program. The minimum internet-based (iBT) TOEFL score requirement is 90 (including sectional minimums of 22 in speaking, 22 in writing, 23 in reading and 23 in listening). The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0 in each section.

For official scores, TOEFL scores should be sent via ETS to institution code C250 (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/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. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement will automatically be waived for an applicant who submits evidence of these circumstances.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically through the online system. Once you have saved the contact information for a particular reference within the online application, that individual will receive instructions via email for submitting a letter of recommendation on your behalf. It is preferable (but not required) for at least one letter to be from an individual with substantial knowledge of your academic accomplishments.

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

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. Each year, we expect to have students who have just finished their degrees as well as students who are working professionals.

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $85.00 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.

For questions about the online application or the admission process please contact the School of Data Science Online Enrollment Team at 434-264-5759 or email to learn more.

Download your step-by-step application checklist here.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Term Priority Deadline Final Submit Deadline Term Start
Spring 2021 September 24, 2020 November 20, 2020 February 1, 2021
Summer 2021 January 20, 2021 March 22, 2021 May 17, 2021
Fall 2021 April 26, 2021 June 28, 2021 August 24, 2021

Upcoming Events

UVA MSDS Application Overview Webinar
Tuesday, February 9, 20217:00 PM ET
Are you ready to lead and drive change with the power of Data Science? Join the UVA School of Data Science's enrollment team to learn more about our online Master’s of Data Science program. During this event you will learn how our innovative online experience, industry-leading curriculum and distinguished faculty can prepare you for the future of data science. This opportunity will provide an overview on the application, and get you better prepared to complete the application process.