For Applicants

 Applications for the 2017-2018 cohort is now closed. 


Applicants need to have a completed undergraduate degree in hand by the start of the program. A specific undergraduate major or program of study is not required and we have students from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds including: economics, statistics, engineering, computer science, math, hospitality management, history and others. However, there is prerequisite knowledge needed for the MSDS program. Students need to have completed each of the below courses by the start of the MSDS program:

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

For descriptions of the UVA sample prerequisite courses, please see the UVA Course Catalog.

There are many other ways to acquire the prerequisite knowledge. For instance, you may be able to take needed courses during the UVA summer session, or at some other school, or even via a MOOC or other online course. We are happy to work with students, so if you have specific questions about your background just ask the MSDS program director for an assessment.


Applications opened on October 15, 2016. To guarantee full consideration, applications must have be completed and submitted by January 18, 2017, 12:01 a.m.


A complete application for the MSDS program consists of the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A personal statement that briefly states how the MSDS program fits into your long- and short-term educational and career goals.
  • Scores for either the GRE or the GMAT. You are required to self-report your GRE or GMAT scores in the application system. Official scores are required to be sent only after acceptance of an offer made by the program.  If you wish to have your official test scores sent, then GRE scores should be submitted via ETS using institution code 5820 and any department code. GMAT scores should be submitted by requesting that GMAC send an official score report to UVA, searching under "University of Virginia" and then selecting "Data Science" as the program. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about GRE and GMAT scores.
  • Transcripts from all previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are requested on the application and official transcripts are required to be sent only after acceptance of an offer is made by the program.
  • Two letters of recommendation. It is preferable (but not required) that a least one letter comes from an individual with substantive knowledge of your academic accomplishments.
  • All international students must self-report TOEFL or IELTS scores in the application system. 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. 
  • 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 requirement will automatically be waived for an applicant who submits an application indicating these circumstances. (See the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, including minimum score requirements)
  • An application fee of $85.00.  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.

Please note that MSDS admissions are run through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, but admissions decisions are handled by the Data Science Institute. For questions about the online application, please contact For specific admission questions, please contact the Data Science Institute administrative staff @434-297-7954