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Graduate Program

MS in Data Science for Current PhD Students

Starting in fall 2018, the University offers an option for a small number of highly-qualified PhD students to earn an MS in Data Science with a full MS tuition scholarship.

A masters in data science can be a valuable complement to a PhD in many other disciplines, including:

  • Education
  • Humanities
  • Sciences
  • Medicine

Students gain skills in computational methods for data mining, machine learning, and statistical analysis that could strengthen their PhD research. The MS in data science would also expand the range of career opportunities open to the students.


To apply for the tuition scholarship, the faculty PhD advisor for the student should email the following information to

  • A description of the student's PhD plan of study and research, and why it would be valuable for the student to earn an MS in data science in conjunction with the PhD.
  • A description of the broader impact this would have on the faculty's department.
  • A statement explaining why no resources are available to the student or faculty advisor to pay MS tuition.
  • A copy of the student's CV and University of Rochester informal transcript.
  • A bridging plan if the student does not already meet the educational requirements for admission.

If the application for the tuition scholarship is approved, the student will be notified and told to apply to the data science MS program. Admission to the MS program is not guaranteed until the full application has been received, reviewed, and approved.

Applicants who do not have the background necessary to immediately begin the MS program will be offered conditional admittance, contingent upon successful completion of their bridging plans. Successful completion generally means that the student earns a grade of B or higher in every bridging course. 

PhD students interested in earning an MS in data science should consult with their PhD advisors and apply for a tuition scholarship as far in advance as possible. The number of students who receive full tuition scholarships is limited, and many students will require two semesters of bridging courses before entering the MS program.

Please note that an application for a tuition scholarship must come from a student's PhD faculty advisor, not the student. If an application for a tuition scholarship is unsuccessful, students can earn an MS in data science by paying tuition as described above.