Data Science: Admissions Requirements

Cathy Wu

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. The applicant shall specify a specialty at the time of application (CIS, AES or DMS). Please submit a completed application by Nov. 15 to be considered for spring admission or April 15 for fall admission. Application review begins six weeks before the application deadline.

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 msds-info@udel.edu 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.

Prerequisite 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 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,
  • and both probability and statistics courses.

Transcripts

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.

GRE

Generally, the MSDS program requires that applicants take the GRE for admission. The program will also accept the GMAT if the applicant requests substituting for the GRE during the application process. Any subject GRE in a STEM field may be used as well. The GRE is waived if the student has another master’s degree or if the student has completed a graduate certificate that has 12 or more graduate credits in a STEM or quantitative field. Applicants with more than five years of work experience that is directly related to degree program topics may request a waiver during the application process. The decision regarding the waiver rests with the MSDS program and cannot be appealed. Applicants for the 4+1 Bx/MSDS option are not required to take the GRE and should request a waiver during the application process.

*THE GRE HAS BEEN WAIVED FOR STUDENTS ENTERING THE PROGRAM IN SPRING 2022.*

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 master of science in data science 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 100 or higher and a minimum speaking score of 18; or
  • 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.

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. At the time of writing, the bachelor's degrees available are as follows. Any of the bachelor's degrees from the DMS may be combined with the MSDS: B.A. in mathematics or mathematics mducation, B.S. in actuarial sciences, applied mathematics, mathematics and economics, mathematics education, or 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 DMS, 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 below. 

 

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 the 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 completed the background requirements listed 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 msds-admin@udel.edu 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 (Tiffany Harrison, msds-admin@udel.edu). 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.

 

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.