Admission Requirements

For more information about the application process or to apply to the Data Science MS please visit the Admissions page.  

There may be a limited research opportunity in Astrophysics for an exceptional Data Science applicant with interest and/or background in pursuing research in Astrophysics.  The funding opportunity is limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and is conditioned on budget approvals.  If you have interest and background in this topic, indicate so in your Statement of Purpose and CV.

Documents to Upload

Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose
You must write a statement of purpose outlining your immediate educational and long-range career objectives in relation to Data Science and why you are applying to the University of Minnesota's Data Science program.  Discuss any interests in specific research topics or faculty members' projects.  In a separate section within the Statement of Purpose, concisely discuss your relevant educational, research, or industrial backgrounds as they relate to data science or data analytics, and the specific prerequisite areas (Calculus and related math classes, statistics, computer programming & related systems).  If you have expertise in computing or another prerequisite field that is not reflected in your transcripts, please include a description. Include any unique experiences relevant to the research you have done, especially any data-driven projects. Give an example of the most complicated computer-driven problem you have solved or program you have implemented. There is a 4000 character limit on this statement (strongly recommended; does not include spaces; not strictly enforced). No other statements are required for the Data Science program.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Please include a Curriculum Vitae which includes educational institutions attended, degrees awarded, and employment history, with dates.  If not listed elsewhere, include a table or list showing how you have satisfied each of the admission prerequisites listed at the bottom of this page - list specific courses or other specific experiences, even if listed elsewhere in this application.  Lacking specific prerequisites does not automatically preclude admission, but your Statement of Purpose would need to include your plans to fulfill the missing prerequisites.  Short descriptions of any special projects or experiences can be included here, though longer descriptions should be reserved for the Statement of Purpose submitted separately.   You will have to upload separately complete transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended (informal copies are OK though official copies will be required upon admission before you can enroll).

Letters of Recommendation
Submit the names of three individuals who can speak to your ability to do graduate-level work in Data Science, ideally familiar with the background experience described in your Statement of Purpose. One of the three letters must be recent (in the last two years), and if you have been out of school for less than 5 years, it is encouraged for one of three letters to come from a faculty member. [For the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate only one letter is required, though two are recommended.]

Upload unofficial transcripts directly to your application per the instructions for submitting your application to the graduate school. Official transcripts will be required if you are admitted and wish to attend our program. No hard copies should be faxed or mailed as this will significantly delay the processing of your application.

The following items are optional in the application:

  • Diversity Statement
  • Extenuating Circumstances Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Description of Research

Test Scores

Applicants must submit test score(s) from the following: 

There are no minimum GRE scores. GRE scores are just one factor when we review files. A high GRE score will not automatically admit you to our program nor will a very low GRE score automatically cause your application to be rejected. However, we do expect to see scores in the upper percentile. [For the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, the GRE is only recommended, not required.]

Institution Codes

  • GRE Institution code: 6874
  • GRE Department code: NONE

International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:


Instructions from the graduate school for submitting scores

Send official TOEFL scores (international students only) to the Graduate School. Indicate the U of M Institutional code, which is Institution Code: 6874

EXCEPTIONS: Applicants who have completed 24-quarter credits or 16-semester credits (within the past 24 months) in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States (or other English-speaking countries) before entering the University of Minnesota may be exempted from this requirement.  Applicants who have been working full-time in the United States in a Data Science related field for at least two years can inquire about an exemption. Even with these exceptions applicants may want to consider having scores submitted as part of their application. Excellent scores may strengthen an international student's application for admission and will allow the department to consider the applicant for teaching assistant positions

Test minimum requirements:


Internet Based - Total Score: 79
Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
Paper Based - Total Score: 550

Please note that applicants with a TOEFL speaking score below 23 may not be competitive for admission.

Total Score: 6.5

Part 1 (Composition) score: 80

The TOEFL or IELTS is required of all applicants whose first language is not English, regardless of U.S. Citizenship status.

Institution Codes

  • TOEFL Institution code: 6874
  • TOEFL Department code: NONE

Education Requirements

Minimum degree requirements
A four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in computer science, math, statistics, engineering, natural sciences, or a related field. Three-year programs are not considered for admission.

Students should self-report their own calculated GPA using the original scale of their school.  A minimum GPA of 3.5 (or the equivalent in other grading scales) in undergraduate coursework is normally expected to be considered for admission.

Prerequisite Requirements

Our Data Science program consists of rigorous courses in which the following prerequisites are the minimum needed to succeed. The following are the minimum requirements to apply, but applicants are expected to significantly exceed these minimum requirements in at least one area related to mathematics, statistics, or computer science, either through their coursework or work experience.  A lack of one or two prerequisites does not automatically preclude admission, but your Statement of Purpose would need to include your plans to fulfill a missing prerequisite.  In any case, a complete application must include a list showing how you have fulfilled each of the following prerequisites (list specific courses or experiences) or your plans to fulfill them before or after arrival.  Your admission may be conditional on meeting the prerequisites within a limited time.

  • Mathematics:
    • Calculus (2 semesters) Equivalents to MATH 1271 and MATH 1272 at the University of Minnesota
    • Multivariable Calculus (1 semester) Equivalent to MATH 2263 at the University of Minnesota
    • Linear Algebra (1 semester) Equivalent to either MATH 2142, MATH 4242, or CSCI 2033 at the University of Minnesota
  • Statistics (1 semester) Equivalent to STAT 3021 or a higher level STAT equivalent at the University of Minnesota
  • Computer Programing (2 semesters) or equivalent experience in a general-purpose programming language (e.g., C, C++, Java, Python), including basic algorithms and data structures equivalent to the first two semesters of beginning computer science courses as part of an undergraduate Computer Science degree. Equivalents to CSCI 1103 (java), CSCI 1113 (C/C++), CSCI 1133 (python), CSCI 1913 or 1933 (CS 2 with algorithms and data structures)
  • Experience with mathematical software environments such as Matlab, R or the equivalent is a definite plus, but not a total substitute for experience with a general-purpose programming language.  A class on advanced data structures is also a plus (Equivalent to CSCI 4041 at the University of Minnesota).

Students can find equivalencies at other schools by using transferology.