Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Data Science

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Data Science

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Data Science is designed for students seeking expertise in methods of managing and analyzing Big Data in a short four-course program. This program is ideal for students who do not want the commitment of a full-fledged Masters of Science degree. Normally completed in 2 semesters, Data Science Certificate students are free to pursue the program on a part-time basis or attempt three to four courses during a single semester. The certificate is typically completed through on-campus coursework, however, distance learning options are available through UNITE. Distance learning courses require that students participate simultaneously with regular on-campus students, will appear as any other course on a transcript and award the same graduate credits. The decision to offer a course remotely through UNITE is made by the department offering the course and the instructor. We can not guarantee that a specific course will be offered remotely in a given semester but we do try to accommodate when possible. Some visits to campus will be needed even if all courses are taken through UNITE. All courses taken as part of this Certificate can be applied to the Masters of Science in Data Science if you are accepted into that program at a later date.

Admissions Requirements

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. 

How to Apply

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.

Academic Requirements

To satisfy all program requirements for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate admitted students must complete the following: A minimum of four courses (at least 12 credits) to include one Tier 1 course from the Statistics track, one Tier 1 course from the Algorithmics track and one Tier 1 course from the Infrastructure track, plus one additional elective course chosen from the complete list. The elective course should be determined with consultation from the program advisor or Director of Graduate Studies. All qualifying courses are listed on the Courses page.  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 when offered 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.

Transfer to the M.S. Degree

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.