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Graduate Program

Frequently Asked Questions

This page covers frequently asked questions on the following topics:

We also direct you to review the FAQ's from the Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs website. 

If you still have questions please email

GPA and Standardized Tests

What GPA, TOEFL/IELTS, and GRE scores should I have to be considered for your program?

See our application page for more details about the standardized test scores we are seeking.

If my GPA, TOEFL/IELTS, or GRE score is below the minimum specified in your page, do I have a chance of being admitted?

Yes, if the other parts of your application are particularly strong. The committee will look at your application as a whole.

Do I need TOEFL or IELTS scores if I am enrolled in a program in the US or other English-speaking country?

If you have completed a bachelor’s, master's or PhD degree from an English-speaking school located in one of the countries listed below, then the TOEFL/IETLS/PTE academic requirement is automatically waived.

List of countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

If your university degree is from a country not listed above, we do require the TOEFL or IELTS. 

Applicants whose native language is not English are strongly encouraged to upload a one page essay written in English. Pursing an advanced degree takes enormous effort, particularly when the language and culture are not your own. We encourage you to share information about your experience with the English language, including formal study in English, time spent in an English-speaking environment, and your comfort level speaking and writing English.

In rare exceptions, you can petition the department to waive the English Language Exam Requirement. Please contact the department’s graduate coordinator to request a waiver.

Is the GRE test required?

No, we do not require a GRE score. However, many applicants take the test and submit scores.

Is the verbal part of the GRE important?

Yes, all parts of the GRE are important.  Since data science has a large component of communication, verbal and analytical writing are important in addition to quantitative skills.

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Bridging Course

How will I know if I need the summer bridging course?

Your offer letter will state whether or not you need to take the summer bridging course. This requirement is based on previous coursework, employment, and grades.

Is the summer bridging course an introductory level computer science class?

No, it is an intermediate-level course in data structures. If you do not have introductory-level programming knowledge, additional courses may be recommended for entry into the program.

What if I can’t start in the summer in order to take the bridging course?

If for some reason, you are unable to make it to the University of Rochester during the summer semester and your offer required matriculation for the summer bridging program, the Graduate Admissions Committee reserves the right to rescind your acceptance. Please contact our office to discuss options if you are unable to make it for the summer.

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MS Program

Can I take longer than two or three semesters to complete the program?

The program is designed to be cohort-based so all full-time students must complete the program in two or three semesters. Full-time students are not able to extend to a fourth semester.

In rare circumstances, we allow a student to take the program with part-time status. Part-time students are not allowed to take more than two courses per semester and should have a flexible schedule as courses are not typically offered at times convenient to a working professional. A matriculated part-time students will not receive tuition discounts.  The degree must be completed within five years of matriculation to the program.

Students considering part-time status should contact the education program coordinator to seek advice on the program of study before applying.  

Can I apply for spring admission?

At this time, our applications for a fall admission cycle. 

Only students who are internal within the University of Rochester may be considered for spring admission and should contact the education program coordinator in October and apply before Thanksgiving break to discuss consideration to be admitted for the coming spring semester.

Can I take the program at night or online?

Courses for this program are only offered during the day and all require in-person attendance.

What is the typical cost of the MS program?

Tuition and fees for the current year are available on the Office of the Bursar website

  • Tuition: Our MS program is typically completed with 32 graduate credit hours. The amount of tuition for the MS program will vary depending on whether a partial tuition waiver is offered within the acceptance letter.
  • Mandatory graduate fees: (approximately $350/semester in 2020) include the activity, health, and transportation fees.
  • Health insurance: Students can either enroll in the UR Student Health Insurance Plan (Aetna) or they can waive this plan if their health insurance plan meets University Insurance Criteria.
  • International students will also pay an international fee (currently $50/semester in 2020.)
  • Room, board and books:  Incoming students should plan on approximately $8000/semester for personal living expenses.  Graduate students are not required to live on university housing or use dining plans so this amount is an estimate.

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes. Partial tuition discounts are offered for qualified students, but we do not offer full scholarships. You do not have to fill out any extra paperwork to be considered for a scholarship.  It is part of our application.

Do you offer any teaching assistant or research assistant opportunities?

We do not guarantee any additional financial assistance.  We typically have one or two teaching assistant opportunities to MS students in the second or third semester of the program but not during the first semester of study. We do not offer research assistantships to MS students. Some students find opportunities paid positions within departments on campus or by becoming an intern at the Rochester Data Science Consortium.

How can I find research opportunities in data science?

Watch this video for a presentation on student research opportunities in data science.

I'm also interested in applying for another MS degree at the University.  Can you duplicate my application?

If you are interested in applying to the MS in business analytics from the Simon School of Business, our programs are from separate schools and do not share application portals so you must apply to each program separately.

If you are interested in the MS in computer science or the MS in technical entrepreneurship and management (TEAM) programs which are also offer in the School of Arts, Sciences & Engineering (ASE), you may request the departmental coordinator to duplicate your application and waive the applications fee. 

If I get accepted into the MS in data science, can I transfer into MS in computer science?

While there are several overlaps in the curriculum in our programs, the data science and computer science programs operate separately.  It is extremely rare to get permission to transfer between programs.  We recommend you apply only to the programs you are seeking to enroll in.

I am completing an MS or PhD and some courses in my program are also part of the data science curriculum.  Can I overlap courses and also complete a MS in data science? 

While there are several overlaps in the curriculum in our programs, data science can only share two courses from another degree in the Arts, Sciences & Engineering School and up to 10 credits from another school per the transfer credit/dual use policy.

Does your program provide placement for internships and jobs?

The Greene Center for Career Education and Connection is a resource students in our program use to prepare themselves for careers and assist with their job search. The Greene Center offers many activities such as:

  • Preparation workshops
  • Information sessions
  • Career fairs
  • A robust job postings database

What are the career outcomes of students who have completed your program?

Many of our students get jobs in industry while several of our students go on for further study to complete PhD programs. The university’s career outcomes website can give you a sense of where our graduates are now working. In addition, you can search for many of our graduates on LinkedIn.

Is your program STEM-certified?

Yes. Because we are STEM-certified, an international student on an F-1 visa is eligible for the STEM Extension OPT which grants an additional 24 months period to work in the US, following an approved and unexpired 12-month OPT period.

I am an international applicant, and after completing the MS degree I want to get a job in the US. Are jobs more restricted for foreign citizens?

It depends on the industry you are seeking to gain employment. Some companies and national laboratories do require US citizenship or permanent residency (green card), or have limited offers for foreign nationals.

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Admitted Student Questions

International Students: How much funding do I need to show to get my I-20?

After you are admitted, we will provide you with a estimated amount which you need to provide recent financial statements.  These estimates are for immigration purposes only and may differ from the student’s ACTUAL billed expenses for tuition, fees and living expenses. These estimates are updated every year. In general, you should have approximately $50,000 USD in funds ready. 


International Students: I have been admitted to the program of study for the MS in Data Science, yet my major on the I-20 form says Computational Science. Is this a mistake?

The Major1 for the program of study on your I-20 will say Compututational Science 30.3001.  Computational Science is how the US Department of Education has assigned the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code for the data science program at the University of Rochester.  This is only used on your I-20 paperwork. Your final diploma from the University of Rochester will say Data Science.