Data Science Masters

We’re delighted that you are considering applying to the University of Washington Master of Science in Data Science program!

Our application deadlines for the Autumn 2023 intake are January 12, 2023 @ 11:59pm PST for international applicants, and January 19, 2023 @ 11:59pm PST for domestic students. We do not accept late applications for any reason. Please note that we admit students once per year for the Autumn quarter only. The next application cycle begins in late-September 2022 for the Autumn 2023 intake.

Admissions Requirements

4-year U.S. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent

Applicants are required to have a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States or its equivalent from an international institution. If you have a 3-year undergraduate degree, please contact the central UW Graduate School to clarify if your education will meet the requirement.

3.0 Minimum GPA from last 2 years of graded full-time study

Applicants are required to have a GPA of at least 3.0 for the last 60 graded semester credits or the last 90 graded quarter credits of their schooling (U.S.), or roughly the equivalent of the last two years of graded study (undergraduate and/or graduate). If you need help converting an international GPA to the 4.0 U.S. scale, you can use the grade conversion tool provided by the UW Graduate School, or you can use a GPA from another international GPA translation service (WES, Scholaro, etc.) if your grading system is not represented on the UW Graduate School tool.

If you have less than a 3.0 GPA for the last 2 years of graded full-time study, it is still possible to be admitted if you are an otherwise outstanding candidate for our program. If you are in this situation, please use the “Optional Essay” section to address what happened that caused a lower GPA, and why you might be a successful graduate student in our program despite a lower GPA. This 3.0 minimum is a requirement of the central UW Graduate School for all graduate school applicants, and we can petition for an exception for candidates we wish to admit with a lower GPA. We have successfully petitioned for exceptions to this requirement in the past.

No GRE or GMAT used in our holistic admissions process

We found that the GRE/GMAT were not good indicators of success in our program, and in fact reinforce structural biases in education around gender, race/ethnicity, class, and other equity factors we seek to reduce with our holistic admissions process. Our admissions committee seeks to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the MS in Data Science program and in the data science field.

There is no benefit to providing GRE or GMAT scores with your application.

Prerequisite equivalent completion: Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, and two Intro to Programming Classes

Applicants must complete and have grades for the following prerequisite coursework (or equivalent) by the application deadline:

  • Multivariable Calculus III (UW MATH 126)
  • Linear/Matrix Algebra (UW MATH 208)
  • Two Introduction to Programming courses (UW CSE 142 and 143). Please note that UW CSE 160 and 163 have recently been approved for fulfilling for these prerequisites.

Courses must be completed at a regionally-accredited two- or four-year college or university (or international equivalent) for credit and a grade before applying, as we use grades from these in the admissions process. You cannot have courses in progress, or complete them after applying. Programming courses need to be in Python, Java, Javascript, C#, or C++. Computational tools such as R, MATLAB, and SQL are not enough to demonstrate programming proficiency.

We do not accept Coursera/Udemy, MOOCs, boot camps, GitHub, self-study, or non-credit/ungraded certificate classes for these.

Professional Programming Experience Equivalency. Some applicants may demonstrate programming skills through five years or more of substantial, practical experience with Python, Java, JavaScript, C#, or C++. If you believe you satisfy the programming prerequisites through practical experience instead of coursework, please provide a recommendation from a technical colleague describing your coding contributions at work.

Deadline Policy: no late applications or materials accepted

The UW MSDS program accepts students once per year for the autumn quarter intake. Applications must be received by January 10, 2022 at 11:59pm Pacific time for international students, and January 18, 2022 at 11:59pm Pacific time for domestic students. All materials must be submitted by the deadline, with the exception of recommendations which may be received up to 2 weeks after the respective deadlines. We do not have rolling admissions or priority deadlines.

We do not accept late/incomplete applications, or late application materials.

Application Materials

Online UW MyGrad application

Applicants are required to upload all application materials to the online MyGrad application.

Essays: Four required, one optional

PLEASE NOTE: The following are essay questions for the 2022-23 MSDS Admissions cycle. Be advised that our admissions essay prompts change between cycles and may not match our previous questions. Read and answer carefully!

Four short essays are required and one is optional. Your short essays are an opportunity to articulate your candidacy for the Master of Science in Data Science program at the University of Washington. The best essays are clear, succinct, thoughtful, well-written, and engaging. Your essays play an important role in our holistic admissions process, and we expect that they are your own original work. Learn more about how to start your essays.

Essay 1: Why UW MSDS? (350 words maximum)

The UW MS in Data Science is a professional master’s degree program designed for students seeking Data Science careers, rather than academic research. What leads you to pursue an MS in Data Science and what draws you to the University of Washington’s program? Why is the University of Washington the best place for you to earn your degree? (This should not be a general statement of purpose.)

Essay 2: Data Visualization (500 words maximum)

The UW MS in Data Science program places a premium on strong communication skills. In addition to excellent quantitative abilities, good Data Scientists must be able to communicate their findings in a way that makes them meaningful to a variety of different audiences.

Select an example from the list of data visualizations and sonifications below. For the example you have selected, please write an essay addressing the following three questions:

  1. Who is the intended audience of your example?
  2. How does the communication method enhance or suppress accessibility in this example?
  3. What do you learn about data communication from this example?

Visualizations and sonficiations:

Essay 3: Teamwork and Conflict Resolution (350 words maximum)

Professional Data Scientists need not only strong technical skills, but also need to collaborate and communicate effectively with others. Please describe a time you had a conflict with another person on a specific team, at work, at school, or somewhere else. What actions did you personally take to improve your collaboration with this person? How did this improve your working relationship?

Essay 4: Diversity and Equity (500 words maximum)

The MS in Data Science program is committed to developing a community of Data Science leaders who will promote and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession. How will you personally make Data Science more equitable, anti-racist, and inclusive if admitted, and what unique perspectives would you bring to the field?

Optional: Additional Information (350 words maximum)

Is there anything else you would like the admissions committee to know about you?

It will not impact your application if you leave this section blank. Please do not upload a personal statement.

Unofficial digital transcripts

Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts/marksheets from every institution where they earned a degree or completed prerequisite courses. These are are generally .pdfs, scans or other images. Transcripts and degree documents that are in a language other than English must be accompanied with an official English translation (translated by a university, government official/organization, or a certified translation service, example: American Translators Association).

Read about some transcripts tips from former Admissions Specialist, Samantha Turner, on our blog. 

We do not need or accept paper/official transcripts or other documents during the initial admissions process. If you are admitted and accept your offer, the central UW Graduate School will contact you about where/how to send official materials sometime during the summer.

Short resume or CV

We are looking for a concise summary of your professional and other credentials. It is strongly recommended that applicants limit their resume to one page, single-sided. Read about our resume tips from former Admissions Specialist, Samantha Turner, on our blog.

Letters of recommendation: 2 required, 3 preferred

Letters of recommendation are collected by our recommendation system, once you have entered your recommenders in the online MyGrad application. Recommendations can be submitted independently of your application, before OR after you have submitted, as long as you have designated recommenders in the system–so designate recommenders early!! Each recommender receives an email invitation to submit their recommendation via the UW Graduate School’s online recommendation portal. They may upload a .pdf or .docx letter of recommendation, or cut&paste or type the text of their recommendation into a text box. The portal includes additional questions for your recommender about your candidacy as well, so it collects more than just standard letters of recommendation.

Read advice on selecting and coaching your recommenders, from former Admissions Specialist, Samantha Turner, on our blog.

Note: Interfolio and other recommendation aggregators are not directly compatible with UW’s recommendation system. It’s best to use the MyGrad recommendation system when applying to programs at UW, as recommendations submitted through our system provide a more complete picture of your candidacy.

Proof of prerequisite equivalency completion

All applicants—both international and U.S. candidates—are required to show how they meet the prerequisite requirements in the Additional Information section of the online application. To show proof of completion, you must list the following information for each prerequisite requirement: course title, grade received, the semester or quarter you completed the course, and the name of the institution where you took the course. Please provide a brief course description and/or a URL link to a short course description.

Proof of English proficiency (for non-native English speakers)

There are many ways to prove English proficiency, as noted in UW Memo 8 which spells out the UW English Proficiency Requirement. Please note that the UW MSDS program’s requirements are slightly different/higher than the central UW Graduate School. Here are the main ways to prove English proficiency for the MSDS application:

  • An undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally-accredited institution located in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, or other country where English is the official language, and English is the medium of instruction.
  • Official documentation from the applicant’s undergraduate institution verifying that all of their instruction was completed in English. Usually this shows up as a note on a transcript or separate letter from the institution that simply states that “the medium of instruction was English.”
  • TOEFL scores with a minimum 106 total score and 25 in each area test. Official test scores must be sent directly to UW from ETS, using institution code 4854. UW does not use department codes, as all scores go through the central UW Graduate School. You may choose any department code and scores will be transmitted to all programs to which you apply via the MyGrad online application at UW. *Please note that transmission of electronic scores is not instantaneous and applicants should transmit their scores as soon as they can.
  • DuoLingo scores with a minimum 125 total score. Official test scores must be sent directly to UW from the testing company.
  • Electronic IELTS scores sent directly from the testing company, with a minimum score of 7.5. Applicants using ILETS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s Recognizing Organizations (RO) ID 365. *Please note that transmission of electronic scores is not instantaneous and applicants should transmit their scores as soon as they can.
  • Applications without proof of English Proficiency within two weeks of the international deadline (i.e., by January 26, 2023 @ 11:59pm PST) cannot be considered for admission.

Many international applicants do not realize that if they have completed their undergraduate education entirely in English, and can document this, UW does not require any test scores at all. All you need to provide is the documentation of this in the form of a note on your transcript or separate letter from your undergraduate institution that your “medium of instruction was English.” In this case, providing test scores has no benefit at all for your application.

If this documentation is in the form of a separate letter, you can combine this with your transcripts into a single file/.pdf and upload that in the transcripts section of the online application.

$85 Application fee

The central UW Graduate School collects an $85, non-refundable application fee for all graduate program applications to UW. Application fee waivers are available from the UW Graduate School to some domestic students who demonstrate financial need. Unfortunately, international students planning to study on a student visa are not eligible for these fee waivers. (The MSDS program does not offer fee waivers on the program/department level.)

Important Links and Information for Applicants

Tuition, Costs, Financial Aid/Scholarships

Our Tuition, Costs, and Financial Aid/Scholarships webpage provides information about current MSDS tuition, estimates of quarterly fees and other costs, as well as external sources of financial aid, scholarships, and assistantships.

UW Graduate School application fee waiver page

The central UW Graduate School offers application fee waivers to domestic students who demonstrate financial need, in certain circumstances. Application fee waivers are not available to international students who plan to study on F or J visas.

2021 Class Profile information

Discover data about the demographic and other composition of our incoming 2021 cohort.

Resources for international students

Read information for international applicants about the UW English Proficiency Requirement, visa questions, CPT/OPT, and International Student Services (ISS).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Check out Frequently Asked Questions about curriculum, admissions, international student status, tuition & financial aid.