Detailed graduate admission requirements

All applicants for data science graduate degree programs are required to have a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university or foreign equivalent at the time of enrollment. This must be documented with a valid transcript. A bachelor's degree must be awarded by the time the students begins this program. Whatever the undergraduate major, the successful candidate must show the prerequisites for admission.

Application information

All degree applicants must apply online using the Office of Graduate Admissions system.

Education requirements

Minimum degree requirements

A four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in computer science, math, statistics, engineering, natural sciences, or a related field. Three-year programs are not considered for admission.

GPA

Students should self-report their own calculated GPA using the original scale of their school.  A minimum GPA of 3.5 (or the equivalent in other grading scales) in undergraduate coursework is normally expected to be considered for admission.

Prerequisite Requirements

Our data science program consists of rigorous courses in which the following prerequisites are the minimum needed to succeed. The following are the minimum requirements to apply, but applicants are expected to significantly exceed these minimum requirements in at least one area related to mathematics, statistics, or computer science, either through their coursework or work experience.  A lack of one or two prerequisites does not automatically preclude admission, but your Statement of Purpose would need to include your plans to fulfill a missing prerequisite.  In any case, a complete application must include a list showing how you have fulfilled each of the following prerequisites (list specific courses or experiences) or your plans to fulfill them before or after arrival.  Your admission may be conditional on meeting the prerequisites within a limited time.

  • Mathematics:
    • Calculus (2 semesters) Equivalents to MATH 1271 and MATH 1272 at the University of Minnesota
    • Multivariable Calculus (1 semester) Equivalent to MATH 2263 at the University of Minnesota
    • Linear Algebra (1 semester) Equivalent to either MATH 2142, MATH 4242, or CSCI 2033 at the University of Minnesota
  • Statistics (1 semester) Equivalent to STAT 3021 or a higher level STAT equivalent at the University of Minnesota
  • Computer Programing (2 semesters) or equivalent experience in a general-purpose programming language (e.g., C, C++, Java, Python), including basic algorithms and data structures equivalent to the first two semesters of beginning computer science courses as part of an undergraduate Computer Science degree. Equivalents to CSCI 1103 (java), CSCI 1113 (C/C++), CSCI 1133 (python), CSCI 1913 or 1933 (CS 2 with algorithms and data structures)
  • Experience with mathematical software environments such as Matlab, R or the equivalent is a definite plus, but not a total substitute for experience with a general-purpose programming language.  A class on advanced data structures is also a plus (Equivalent to CSCI 4041 at the University of Minnesota).

Students can find equivalencies at other schools by using transferology.

Documents to upload

Personal statement/statement of purpose

You must write a statement of purpose outlining your immediate educational and long-range career objectives in relation to data dcience and why you are applying to the University of Minnesota's Data Science program. Discuss any interests in specific research topics or faculty members' projects. In a separate section within the statement of purpose, concisely discuss your relevant educational, research, or industrial backgrounds as they relate to data science or data analytics, and the specific prerequisite areas (Calculus and related math classes, statistics, computer programming & related systems). If you have expertise in computing or another prerequisite field that is not reflected in your transcripts, please include a description. Include any unique experiences relevant to the research you have done, especially any data-driven projects. Give an example of the most complicated computer-driven problem you have solved or program you have implemented. There is a 4000 character limit on this statement (strongly recommended; does not include spaces; not strictly enforced). No other statements are required for the data science program.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Please include a curriculum vitae which includes educational institutions attended, degrees awarded, and employment history, with dates. If not listed elsewhere, include a table or list showing how you have satisfied each of the admission prerequisites listed at the bottom of this page - list specific courses or other specific experiences, even if listed elsewhere in this application. Lacking specific prerequisites does not automatically preclude admission, but your statement of purpose would need to include your plans to fulfill the missing prerequisites. Short descriptions of any special projects or experiences can be included here, though longer descriptions should be reserved for the statement of purpose submitted separately. You will have to upload separately complete transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended (informal copies are OK though official copies will be required upon admission before you can enroll).

Letters of Recommendation

Submit the names of three individuals who can speak to your ability to do graduate-level work in data science, ideally familiar with the background experience described in your statement of purpose. One of the three letters must be recent (in the last two years), and if you have been out of school for less than 5 years, it is encouraged for one of three letters to come from a faculty member. Note: for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate only one letter is required, though two are recommended.

Transcripts

Upload unofficial transcripts directly to your application per the instructions for submitting your application to the graduate school. Official transcripts will be required if you are admitted and wish to attend our program. No hard copies should be faxed or mailed as this will significantly delay the processing of your application.

Additional items

The following items are optional in your application:

  • Diversity statement
  • Extenuating circumstances statement
  • Writing sample
  • Description of research

Test scores

Please see below for information on test score requirements.

GRE

GRE scores are not required, but are recommended particularly for those applying from international institutions for the MS degree.

If submitted, the GRE is only one of many factors considered for admission, and no score will guarantee or preclude admission. Applications without the GRE will still be considered based on the material submitted.

Institution Codes

  • GRE institution code: 6874
  • GRE department code: N/A

English language proficiency

Detailed information on the English language proficiency tests and minimum scores are available through the Graduate School. The TOEFL is the most common exam and is preferred, but other tests are also accepted. The Data Science program accepts all language tests listed and follows the minimum scores listed for admission consideration. 

Please note that scores should be submitted directly to the Graduate School.

Institution Code

  • TOEFL institution code: 6874
  • TOEFL department code: N/A

EXCEPTIONS: Applicants who have completed 24-quarter credits or 16-semester credits (within the past 24 months) in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States (or other English-speaking countries) before entering the University of Minnesota may be exempted from this requirement. Applicants who have been working full-time in the United States in a data science related field for at least two years can inquire about an exemption. Even with these exceptions, applicants may want to consider having scores submitted as part of their application. Excellent scores may strengthen an international student's application for admission and will allow the department to consider the applicant for teaching assistant positions.