Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dates and times of the summer courses?

Classes will begin in early July and meet daily for about 6 weeks until finishing in August. Each class will meet for approximately 90 minutes daily. Specific class meeting times have yet to be determined. There will be a full day orientation meeting the day before courses begin.

I know that the program is 11 months, but I would like the option to stay for an extra semester or year. Is this possible?

Yes. You would need to complete the program requirements in the first year, and any courses taken in the extra semester(s) would have to be approved by the program academic advisor. Additional tuition and fees would apply.

Does the program have relationships with employers?

Yes. The Data Science Institute is developing relationships with a number of employers about the MSDS program. One specific outcome is that some of these companies will be partners in the Capstone Projects course, with student teams having a chance to work on projects provided by partner companies. In addition, we plan to have regular visits and presentations by potential employers of MSDS graduates, along with opportunities for students to talk with recruiters.  As much as possible, we will try to help our students make connections with potential employers that can lead to job opportunities.

How many students are currently in the program?

The 2016-2017 cohort is 47 MSDS students.

Is there a preference for students who have just finished their undergraduate degrees, or those who have work experience?

There is no specific preference, and we expect to have students who have just finished their degrees and students who have been working professionals and are returning to school.

Is the program offered in an evening/weekend or distance format?

Not at this time. The program is currently only available in a full-time format.

Can the program be started at times other than the summer?

No.  Many of the program courses are integrated with each other, so it is important that participants begin with the summer courses and complete the program in order.

Is financial support available?

The MS in Data Science is a professional program, similar to Law or an MBA.  As such we do not have fellowships or assistantships, but many students are able to secure loans.  Please see the Student Financial Services page for information, at

Can  you provide an informal  unofficial evaluation of my credentials to let me know my chances of being admitted?

No. We are only able to evaluate completed and submitted applications.

Do I have to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores?

The TOEFL/IELTS is not required of applicants who have or will have obtained a degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement will automatically be waived for an applicant who submits an application indicating these circumstances.  All other international applicants must self-report either a TOEFL or IELTS score on the application.(Either type of IELTS exam is fine.)

Official scores are required to be sent only after acceptance of an offer is made by the program.  If you wish to have your official test scores sent, then TOEFL scores should be submitted via ETS using institution code 5820 and department code 99.  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.  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. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution.

Are there minimum TOEFL and IELTS scores?

Yes.  The minimum internet-based (iBT) TOEFL score requirements is 90 (including sectional minimums of 22 in speaking, 22 in writing, 23 in reading, and 23 in listening).  The minimum paper-based TOEFL score requirement is 600.  Applicants may submit scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) instead of TOEFL scores.  The minimum IELTS score requirement is 7.0 in each section. (Either type of IELTS exam is fine.) In any case, the date of the reported test must fall within two years of the application deadlines.  The admission committee will not consider applications with scores that do not meet the minimum requirements.

What is the minimum required GRE score?  What is the average GRE score?

There is no predetermined minimum required GRE score. We do not make available average GRE scores, but in the past admitted students typically had scores of at least 80th percentile on the quantitative part and 60th percentile on the verbal part.  However, please keep in mind that the GRE is only one part of the application.

Do you take the GMAT in place of the GRE?  How do I submit my GMAT score?

We do. You must self-report either your GRE scores or your GMAT scores on the application. Official scores are required to be sent only after acceptance of an offer made by the program.  If you wish to have your official  GMAT scores sent, then request that GMAC send an official score report to UVA, searching under "University of Virginia" and then selecting "Data Science" as the program. 

What is the average GPA for admitted students? The average TOEFL?

We do not make this information publicly available.

What companies have hired your students?  How many students got jobs?

Current employment stats can be found under the Career Services tab.

Is a three-year undergraduate degree acceptable?


Can the GRE be waived if I have a graduate degree?

Not generally, but we can use an old GMAT/GRE score even if ETS will no longer issue a report, provided you have a copy of the score report.

Do you admit students transferring from other graduate programs?

Students in other programs are welcome to apply, but are considered the same as other applicants.  In particular, work from other programs cannot be applied to the MSDS program.

Is the MSDS a STEM program?

Yes. The CIP code is 11.0802.

I went to school at an institution that does not use a 4.0 grade scale. How do I convert my GPA?

Applicants can use the WES free GPA conversion tool, available at

Applicants also can pay for a WES evaluation, but that is not required.