Admissions and Degree Information | Data Science


The master of science in data science program only admits students for the fall semester. Applicants are encouraged to apply earlier than the Feb. 1 deadline because space is limited in the program, and it may fill before all applications are read. The Admissions Committee typically begins reading applications no earlier than two months prior to the deadline. 

Online Application

Begin assembling your required application materials as electronic documents before completing the online graduate application. Do not mail any documents. Applicants must submit all materials directly to the University of Delaware Graduate College using the online admission process before admission can be considered. Admission applications are available here. Please submit a completed application by Feb. 1 to be considered for fall admission. 

Application Fee

A $75 application fee is due when you submit your online application.

Bachelor’s Degree

A four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree in any academic field from an accredited college or university is required. If you have a three-year non-U.S. degree, you may request a review for determination as to equivalency by emailing after you have uploaded your transcripts, recommendations, personal statement and TOEFL/IELTS scores to the application.

The ideal applicant has a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Background requirements

A major in mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, computer science or a field of engineering is a good background for this program.

A minimal background outside of these majors should include at least one semester apiece of

  • multivariable calculus
  • linear algebra
  • statistics and/or probability

and at least two semesters of

  • computer programming (data structures or CISC220 equivalent desirable)

Additional desirable courses include

  • ordinary differential equations
  • a first numerical analysis or methods course
  • an algorithms course
  • a logic and programming course
  • probability and statistics courses


Unofficial transcripts for all institutions attended are required with your application. You should visit the registrar’s page of your home institution (post-high school institutions only) to print an unofficial copy to create your scan. If your home institution does not provide this service, ask for a student copy to create your scan. Do not mail official transcripts during the applicant stage.

Please visit the Graduate College Admissions page on transcripts for more detailed information.


The GRE is not required in the application for admission. If you take the GRE, you may report the results if you wish.

Personal Statement/Essay

Applicants must submit a personal statement describing how their academic, professional and personal background has prepared them to be successful in the program and explaining how the completion of the degree will contribute to their professional goals.

Three Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the candidate’s academic and/or professional background and capabilities are required. Please provide names and email addresses for your recommenders; recommendation forms are emailed directly to them from the online application. Instructions are included as to how to return the completed forms electronically.

International Student Requirements and Programs

International applicants must submit one of the following:

  • proof of having earned a degree in either the U.S. or a country where the primary language is English
  • TOEFL score of 79 or higher and a minimum speaking score of 18
  • IELTS score of 6.5 or higher

The Graduate College provides more detailed TOEFL information.

Applications are evaluated based on a combination of record of academic achievement, recommendations and the applicant’s statement of professional goals and values. The Executive Committee will make admission decisions and assign accepted students to faculty advisors upon matriculation.

Combined bachelor's and MSDS 4+1 admissions requirements

Current UD students who wish to be admitted to the combined bachelor's/MSDS 4+1 program should submit an application during their junior year of academic study toward an undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware. Interested students should consult with an advisor from the MSDS program about the courses to be taken in order to fill out the “Graduate Course Approval Form for 4+1 Admission Approval” from the Graduate College. After submitting that form, the student may then apply to the bachelor's/MSDS 4+1 program. At a minimum, the applicant must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and a GPA of 3.4 in their undergraduate major. For any bachelor's degree, the applicant must have satisfied the coursework listed in the Background Requirements tab above by the end of the fourth year of undergraduate study. Two letters of recommendation from University of Delaware faculty and academic transcripts must be submitted. Neither the GRE nor the TOEFL exam is required for 4+1 program applications.

Applying to the 4+1 Bx/MSDS program

Students interested in applying to the combined 4+1 Bx/MSDS program should submit a graduate admissions application. In addition to the admissions application, students will also need to submit transcripts, a personal statement, a graduate course approval form and two letters of recommendation. You should email your graduate course approval form to and submit the rest of your application materials directly to the admissions portal. The GRE requirement is waived for students entering the MSDS program as 4+1 Bx/MSDS students.

The admission application will request contact information for three recommenders. You will enter two recommenders’ contact information in the first two places. For the third recommender, enter the MSDS program coordinator’s information (Jasmin Rivers, The MSDS program coordinator will upload your approved graduate course approval form, and this will be uploaded by the MSDS program as your third recommendation.

The graduate course approval form should be discussed with the MSDS program administration and the undergraduate advisor prior to submission. The courses planned in that form are the initial plan for earning the MSDS and for planning which two graduate courses will be applied to the bachelor’s degree.

Degree Requirements

To earn the M.S. degree in data science, students complete 33 credits of coursework. Students choose a thesis or non-thesis option. Up to six credits can be used for a thesis. The degree can also be obtained in conjunction with a limited number of bachelor's degree programs as a 4+1 combination. Dual degrees combining the M.S. with a Ph.D. in applied mathematics or mathematics are available as well.

Full details for the degree requirements can be found in the Program Policy Statement. Following their admission to the program, students can utilize the most recent version and any subsequent versions approved.





Required Courses

A total of 33 credits is required for the degree. If the student lacks background knowledge for one or more courses, prerequisite courses may need to be taken that do not count toward the degree. Expected semester of course offering is given below (F=fall, S=spring, J=summer); these are subject to change.

Core Requirements: 18 credits (See explanation of how courses in the core list may or may not be used toward elective requirements noted below):

At least six credits of core courses (two courses) are required from the following list of courses in the area of PROBABILISTIC AND STATISTICAL FOUNDATIONS (each course is three credits):

  • STAT611 Regression Analysis (F/S/J)
  • STAT613 Applied Multivariate Methods (F)
  • EDUC812 Regression and Structural Equation Modeling (S)
  • EDUC874 Applied Multivariate Data Analysis (S)
  • MATH630 Probability Theory and Applications (F)

At least three credits of core courses (one course) are required from the following list of courses in the area of DATABASES AND DATA MINING FOUNDATIONS (each course is three credits):

  • *CISC637 Database Systems (F/S)
  • CISC683 Introduction to Data Mining (F)
  • *STAT674 Applied Data Base Management (F/S/J)
  • CPEG657 Search and Data Mining (S)
  • EDUC875 Educational Data Mining (F)

At least three credits of core courses (one course) are required from the following list of courses in the area of MACHINE LEARNING FOUNDATIONS (each course is three credits):

  • CISC684 Introduction to Machine Learning (S)
  • #ELEG815 Analytics I - Statistical Learning (F)
  • #STAT617 Multivariate Methods and Statistical Learning (F)
  • #MATH637 Mathematical Techniques in Data Science (F/S)
  • #SPPA722 Machine Learning for Public Policy (S)
  • #PHYS661 Data Science for Physical Scientists (F, odd yrs)

At least three credits of core courses (one course) are required from the following list of courses in the area of MATHEMATICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL FOUNDATIONS (each course is three credits):

  • CISC621 Algorithm Design and Analysis (F/S)
  • $MATH612 Computational Methods for Equation Solving and Function Min (F)
  • $STAT603 Statistical Computing and Optimization (convex optimization and algorithms) (S)

Three credits (one course) are required from the following list of courses in the area of ETHICS:

  • PHIL 655 Ethics in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (F)


* - Only one of STAT674 and CISC637 may be taken for credit toward the degree.

- Only two of these courses may be applied as required courses toward the degree.

$ - Only one of MATH612 and STAT603 may be applied as required courses toward the degree.

Course descriptions for all of the University of Delaware's courses can be found here; be sure to check the year because there may be archived versions stored as well. Use the dialog boxes to select the semester of interest and the course. If one was interested in computer science courses, for example, one could enter "CISC6" in the third dialog box, hit enter and see all 600-level computer courses for the specified semester.


Fifteen credits of elective courses may come from a variety of courses on campus with relevant application or quantitative content. A list of example courses is given in Appendix A of the Program Policy Statement. The elective list is not meant to be exhaustive. The courses must be at the 600 level or above. A course from the core lists may be chosen as an elective, provided that it has not already been used to satisfy the core course requirement. The electives taken by the student must be approved by the advisor and the assistant director prior to registration. The student’s plan of study for the degree shall be approved, at the latest, by the advisor and by the assistant director prior to the beginning of the last semester.

Transfer Credits

Up to six credits may be transferred from courses applicable toward the degree, provided that the credits have not been applied to obtain a different degree. The transfer must be approved by the Executive Committee, and if necessary, in consultation with the department that offers the (potentially) equivalent course.

Thesis Option

A minimum of six credits (869) are required for the thesis option. The University requirements for master’s theses shall apply to the thesis in this degree. The committee for the thesis shall include three members with at least one faculty member outside of the department of the advisor.

Non-Thesis Option

Thirty-three credits of coursework are required. Up to three credits of Special Problem (866) or Research (868) can be applied toward the credit total. These courses may come from departments on campus or from the data science program. These Special Problem or Research credits may come from experience on campus or in industry, such as internships. Special Problem or Research credits must be related to the degree and must be approved by the advisor and the Executive Committee. Valid scholarly output from such credits are presentations (oral or poster), papers, reports or similar items that demonstrate related work in the field.

Advisor and Program of Study

An advisor will be assigned prior to the start of the first semester. The first semester courses shall be approved by the advisor prior to the start of that semester. The student and the advisor will develop a program of study, which will be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval prior to the end of the first semester of courses.

Changes to the Program of Study

Students may need to alter approved programs of study due to scheduling conflicts or the creation of new courses directly related to the student’s goals. Students who wish to make minor changes to their program of study must obtain permission from their advisor. Major changes to the program of study, such as the substitution of one or more core courses, must be approved by the Program Committee. All changes in a previously approved program of study must be approved by the program director.

Bx/MSDS 4+1

The MSDS can be obtained in conjunction with a limited number of bachelor's degree programs as a 4+1 combination. Here the x in Bx can be A for arts, S for science or other letters for other degrees. The bachelor's degrees available are as follows,

Any of the bachelor's degrees from the Department of Mathematical Sciences may be combined with the MSDS:

  • B.A. in mathematics or mathematics education,
  • B.S. in actuarial sciences,
  • applied mathematics,
  • mathematics and economics,
  • mathematics education,
  • quantitative biology,
  • or honors versions of any of them, HBx.

Similarly, any of the bachelor's degrees from CIS, electrical and computer engineering (ECE), mechanical engineering (ME) or physics and astronomy (DPA) are available for combining with the MSDS as a 4+1 program.

From CIS, these are:

  • computer science (B.A., B.S.),
  • information systems (B.S.)
  • and honors versions (HBx).

From ECE, these are:

  • computer engineering (BCpE),
  • electrical engineering (BEE)
  • and honors versions (HBx).

From ME, these are:

bachelor of mechanical engineering (BME)

and the honors version (HBME).

From DPA, these are B.S., B.A., HBS, HBA options in each of physics or astronomy as well as B.A. and HBA in physics education.

Up to six credits from the graduate coursework may be applied to the bachelor's degree that come from the area of the undergraduate major. For example, mathematics courses may be applied to a major from the Department of Mathematical Sciences; computer science courses can be applied to a major from CIS; and electrical engineering courses may be applied to a major from ECE.

Students who wish to be admitted to the Bx/MSDS 4+1 program should submit an application during the junior year of academic study toward an undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware as described in the "Admission Requirements" section.

Graduating as an MSDS 4+1 student

Students beginning the final semester of MSDS study (the +1 year) should complete a graduation application form by the deadline for that semester. In addition to the graduation application form, 4+1 students will need to submit a transfer of credit form indicating which undergraduate credits are to be applied to the graduate degree. Both documents should be forwarded to the Graduate College by the graduation application deadline (listed in the academic calendar).

By the end of the second week of the final semester of the MSDS, the student should express interest in the convocation ceremony for the MSDS to the program administration.

Awarding the Degree

The interdisciplinary M.S. degree is awarded by the dean of the Graduate College. The Executive Committee shall approve the program of study of the MSDS prior to the student applying for the degree (i.e., the forms submitted prior to graduation).

Timetable and satisfactory progress toward the degree

1. Academic load and satisfactory progress

The MSDS program will follow the University of Delaware Graduate College recommended policy for determining students’ failure to make satisfactory progress toward degree requirements and time limits for completion. Students may be enrolled on a full‐time (nine credits per term) or part‐time (fewer than nine credits per term) basis.

2. Grade and GPA requirements

Students must pass all of the core courses with a minimum grade of B or better, and a grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 or better in the six core courses, to continue in the program. The student may repeat a core course one time in order to earn an acceptable grade for the degree. All graduate‐numbered courses taken with graduate student classification at the University of Delaware are applied to the cumulative GPA. Credit hours and courses for which the grade is below B‐ do not count toward the degree even though the grade is applied to the overall GPA. Elective courses may not be repeated to apply to the degree.

3. Grievance procedures

Students concerned that they have received an unfair evaluation or have been graded inappropriately may file grievances in accordance with the student guide to University of Delaware policies. Students are encouraged to contact the program director prior to filing a grievance.

​Master of Science with a major in Data Science, and Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Mathematics/ Master of Science with a major in Data Science, and Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics​

The vibrant field of data science is rapidly growing with increasing demand for well-trained, knowledgeable graduates. Our interdisciplinary master of data science program provides a solid background in math, statistics and computer science. In addition, the Ph.D. in math/applied math is a research degree involving the extended study of a chosen topic in mathematics or applied mathematics. A key requirement is the writing and defense of a dissertation. The dissertation uses and is enhanced by knowledge gained from the data science coursework. Applicants are required to meet the admission requirements of both the Ph.D. and the MSDS. Students may choose to graduate with a Ph.D. in applied mathematics or mathematics.​

Contact information for the program: Pak-Wing Fok (​)​