Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Data Science
The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate is a program designed for those who seek expertise in methods of managing and analyzing Big Data in a short four-course program, without the need to pursue a full-fledged Masters of Science degree. Normally completed in 2 semesters, the student is free to take this part-time one course per semester or (if extremely ambitious and well-prepared) squeeze three or all four courses into one semester. The certificate can be pursued on campus, but the student has the option to complete it entirely by distance learning using our regular courses taken over UNITE. The distance learning courses are taken simultaneously with regular on-campus students and carry the same graduate credits as on-campus courses. Some visits to campus will be needed even if all courses are taken through UNITE. All courses taken as part of this Certificate can count toward the Masters of Science in Data Science.
Successful candidates must hold a baccalaureate degree in Computer Science, Statistics, Engineering, or a closely related STEM field with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (or the equivalent). Whatever the undergraduate major, the successful candidate must show they satisfy the prerequisites for admission: 2 semesters of computer science fundamentals as coursework or equivalent experience, and 4 semesters of math/stat (including linear algebra and/or multivariable calculus) -- as outlined on the Admissions-Requirements page. Non-U.S. students must meet a minimum level of proficiency in English as outlined on the Admissions-Requirements page for the M.S. degree. In contrast to the M.S. degree, the GRE is not required, but if supplied will be taken into account in the admissions process. Only one letter of recommendation is required, though two are recommended.
Other than the GRE, the procedures and required documents for admission to this Post-Baccalaureate Certificate match those for the M.S. Degree as outlined in the M.S. Admissions page. Only one letter of recommendation is required for admission to the Certificate, but we recommend at least two letters, one familiar with your current situation and (if within 3 years) one familiar with your academic background. Submit your application electronically here. Applicants to the certificate should apply by March 1st for fall consideration and October 1st for spring consideration. These are priority deadlines. We can't guarantee that your application will be considered if you apply after these deadlines.
The academic program for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate consists of 4 courses (at least 12 credits) consisting of one Tier I course from the Statistics track, one Tier I course from the Algorithmics track and one Tier I course from the Infrastructure track, all listed on the Courses page, plus one listed course chosen by agreement between the student, the student's advisor and/or Director of Graduate Studies. Students must maintain a minimum GPA set by the Program (currently 3.0), including any courses taken to fulfill a missing admissions prerequisite (though these latter courses do not count toward the certificate). All courses may be taken on-campus or remotely via UNITE. A student taking only UNITE courses during any given semester pays graduate tuition at the resident rate plus a UNITE fee, regardless of where the student resides.
Students enrolled in the Certificate program are encouraged to apply for the M.S. and will receive priority consideration, though admission is not guaranteed. Any courses taken as part of this Certificate program can be used if the student is later admitted to the Data Science M.S. degree. However, the M.S. degree requires a minimum GPA of 3.25, higher than that required for the Certificate. A student maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.25 in their courses for this Certificate may apply for the M.S. degree using the usual procedure, and they may use all the same application material originally submitted for the application to this Certificate, plus a letter from a U of MN faculty member, and may apply for a waiver of the requirement for the GRE.
We will be happy to answer further questions. Please see our up-to-date Contacts page.