The UW Master of Science in Data Science is a unique degree, bringing together six different departments to develop well-rounded professional data scientists. To be successful in the program, students need a solid background in mathematics, computer programming and communication.

Application Dates and Deadlines

Applications to the Master of Science in Data Science program open on September 1, 2016. The application deadline is January 20, 2017, and applicants will be notified of a decision by March 31.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or its equivalent from a foreign institution
  • A minimum 3.2 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 graded semester credits or the last 90 graded quarter credits
  • Completion of prerequisite coursework or evidence of equivalent experience
  • Qualifying GRE General Test scores (in the 70th percentile or above on the Quantitative section and 50th percentile or above on Verbal)
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English

Prerequisite Coursework and Skills

Applicants to the MSDS program must demonstrate core competencies in three areas -- mathematics, computer programming and communication.

Mathematics: At a minimum, you should have completed a three-class calculus sequence and a linear algebra course, equivalent to UW's MATH 124/125/126 and MATH 308.

Computer Programming: You should have completed a two-course introductory sequence in programming, equivalent to UW's CSE 142/143, or be able to demonstrate equivalent proficiency. If you took computer programming at a Washington state community college, see course transfer equivalencies for CSE 142/143.

In addition to completing prerequisite coursework, successful applicants typically show evidence of work on substantial software projects on their resume or CV. These projects usually go beyond analysis work in MATLAB or R and involve the development of tools, libraries or systems for others to use. While some applicants may have professional experience as a developer, this is not the norm for applicants and is certainly not required.

Communication: The personal statement is the most important demonstration of your communication skills. If you’re not a native English speaker, you must also demonstrate English proficiency. 

Application Materials

  • UW Graduate School online application and fee
  • Unofficial transcripts from every college or university where you have earned a degree
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE General Test scores
  • Personal history statement (optional)
  • Proof of English language proficiency if English is not your native language

Application Steps

To apply to the Master of Science in Data Science, you submit your application materials online through the UW Graduate School website. We recommend you begin your application early in order to complete all requirements on time.

Step One: Prepare to Apply

Get transcripts from each college or university where you have earned a degree. Download unofficial transcripts or scan printed copies.

Update your resume or curriculum vitae.

Write your statement of purpose. In a narrative statement of about 700–1,000 words, provide your reasons for seeking a master’s in data science. What are you career objectives, and how will this graduate program help you achieve them? The statement of purpose is your chance to tell the department about yourself beyond what’s in your transcripts or test scores, as well as demonstrate your communication skills.

Identify people who are willing to write letters of recommendation for you. You’ll need to submit three letters of recommendation as part of your application. Make sure the people you choose can speak to your mathematical, programming and communication skills and your ability to learn new things or to bring together different approaches. You’ll need your references’ email addresses for the Graduate School application.

Take the GRE. You must submit GRE scores with your application, even if you have significant work experience. GRE scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) using institution code 4854 for the University of Washington. No department code is required. To be valid, GRE scores must be less than five years old.

Schedule your GRE test early to allow sufficient time for scores to be reported. The ETS generally takes four to six weeks to report scores. You can self-report your unofficial scores in the Graduate School online application and your official scores will be matched to your application once the UW receives them.

Write your personal history statement (optional). In a one-page statement, describe how your experiences, such as your cultural or economic background, have influenced your intellectual development, interests and career plans. 

Step Two: Apply

Start your online application to the UW Graduate School. You can save your application and come back to it at any time to continue working on it.

Select "Data Science Interdisclipinary Group (MS in Data Science)" as the program name.

Upload all required documents. Do not mail any materials to the department.

Designate the people who have agreed to write letters of recommendation for you. Each of these people will be sent an email directing them to a secure website where they will submit their letters.

Pay the nonrefundable application fee and submit your application.

You can check on the status of your application at any time by logging into the application page. Applications will be reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Data Science Group.