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Master’s Degree in Data Science from The University of Texas at Austin

Data science and analytics is a booming field with various applications across industries, from information technology to business analytics to artificial intelligence. Be prepared for the fastest growing, highest demanded job prospect in recent history before you have work experience.

About the program

  • In demand skills for a growing market: Data science and analytics is a booming field with various applications across industries, from information technology to business analytics to artificial intelligence. This program ensures that graduates have the skillset to be competitive candidates in the job market as data scientists.
  • Top-ranked for Innovation: University of Texas at Austin is ranked as the #10 Most Innovative Public School. U.S. News & World Report, 2021.
  • Multidisciplinary learning: The University of Texas at Austin's Department of Statistics and Data Sciences has partnered with the Department of Computer Science to offer a Master of Science in Data Science online. This new online master's degree program embodies the defining principles of data science, combining the leaders from both fields to present a curriculum designed from the ground up.

The degree program for data science offers foundational knowledge in statistical theory while preparing students to apply their skills in the computer science realm for wide industry applications. With a curriculum that includes courses such as simulation, data visualization, machine learning, and optimization, students can expect a rigorous curriculum that combines ideas and methods from both a statistical and computer science perspective.

Our data science program is designed to prepare you for the fastest growing, highest demanded job prospect in recent history before you have work experience. Step into the world of data-driven models and multi-dimensional datasets. Use computer programming and applied data science to find answers in the areas of bioinformatics, linguistics, industry, academia, government, healthcare, and nonprofits to name just a few.

About The University of Texas at Austin

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities and six health science centers. Student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2013 academic year. The U. T. System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s health care professionals annually. The U. T. System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With 89,000 employees, the U. T. System is one of the largest employers in the state.

As the flagship campus of the U. T. System, The University of Texas at Austin is offering a number of showcase courses from some of our most accomplished faculty. 

At The University of Texas at Austin, we say: “What starts here changes the world.” Be that change with enrollment in the online master's degree program. Prepare yourself for a career in the data science field with high-quality, flexible online courses.

Start your application today.


This is a 30 hour program (3 credit hours per course). There are 3 required core courses and 7 additional required courses for a total of 10 courses. The core requirement will be satisfied with 3 foundational courses which will provide online students with a broad, foundational understanding of the field and will also establish the basis for some of the prescribed electives. They include:

DSC 381: Probability and Simulation Based Inference for Data Science

DSC 382: Foundations of Regression and Predictive Modeling

DSC 395T: Data Structures & Algorithms

Non-core requirements include the following courses:

  • DSC 383: Advanced Predictive Models for Complex Data (Pre-requisite of DSC 382)
  • DSC 384: Design Principles and Causal Inference for Data-Based Decision Making (No Pre-requisite)
  • DSC 385: Data Exploration, Visualization, and Foundations of Unsupervised Learning (No Prerequisite)
  • DSC 91L: Principles of Machine Learning (Pre-requisite of DSC 382)
  • DSC 395T: Natural Language Processing (No Prerequisite)
  • DSC 395T: Optimization (Pre-requisite of DSC 388G)
  • DSC 395T: Deep Learning (Pre-requisite of DSC 382)
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Application requirements

Our Master of Science in Data Science program will target enrollees who would like to build their technical competency and receive rigorous training in the field of data science. The ideal candidate will have some technical background but have a driving interest in both computational methods and statistical inference, who are excited to advance their career opportunities within industry, government, academia, and nonprofit organizations.

A typical MSDS applicant will:

  • Have a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree in: statistics, computer science, computer engineering, mathematics, electrical engineering, or similar.

  • Competitive applicants have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

An atypical MSDS candidate will:

  • Have a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field (a field not listed above).

  • Need to use their CV and personal statement to convey their passion for data science and demonstrate their functional use of data science through work experience

  • Need to have certain coursework prior to enrolling in the program: - Math (Calculus and linear algebra), including: Multivariable Calculus (eg. MATH 408D) and Linear Algebra (eg. MATH 341 or equivalent) - Statistics (College level introduction to statistics), including: Introduction to Statistics (eg. SDS 302, 304, 306 or equivalents) and Biostatistics (eg. SDS 328M or equivalents) - Some experience in at least one of the following programming languages: R, Python, C++

It is the responsibility of the applicant to be prepared for the program prior to starting and to convey that preparedness in their CV and personal statement.

Admissions take into consideration the following application materials:

  • Bachelor’s degree (see prerequisites)

  • CV/Resume

  • Statement of Purpose

  • Transcripts from all universities attended

  • Preparedness in Mathematics & Programming Preparation Form*

  • Quest Assessment

  • TOEFL or IELTS - Required for International Students***

  • GRE scores - Currently Optional**

  • Letter(s) of recommendation (optional)

Since it is a twofold process to apply to UT Austin’s MSDS program, we strongly recommend that applicants complete their application before the priority deadline to allow for their required materials to be received and processed by the final deadline.

All materials are due no later than the final application deadline. Please submit the “Request Info” form above to receive additional information on the MSDS program as a whole including detailed resources for your application materials and the admissions process.

*Applicants must provide relevant information regarding coursework taken in the subject areas of linear algebra, multivariate calculus, introductory statistics, and programming. The Mathematics & Programming Preparation Form can be found in the Application Materials section of the Admissions & Application tab of the MSDS website.

**GRE Score Requirement: As the world grapples with COVID-19, many students are facing challenges taking the GRE. Submitting GRE scores is optional for admittance consideration for all applicants through Fall 2023. Please keep in mind:

  • We encourage all applicants to submit your official GRE scores in an effort to bolster your application.

  • If you do not have a relevant or related degree (as clarified above), or have not been in school for over 10 years, a GRE score will assist the Admissions Committee in their review.

**TOEFL or IELTS: The minimum scores considered acceptable for admission by the Graduate School are:

  • TOEFL: 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT)

  • IELTS: An overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination

Application Deadlines for January (Spring) 2024

Priority Application Deadline

August 15, 2023

Final Application Deadline

September 15, 2023

*All application materials are due no later than the final deadline.

Frequently asked questions

  • No applicant will be automatically admitted to the online program. All applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee to make certain those admitted have the ability to succeed in the data science master’s degree program.

  • There is no minimum GRE test score, however applicants admitted to the DS graduate program usually have high quantitative and verbal GRE scores and a math background that includes study through some discrete math. If you feel that your test scores are not valid indicators of your ability, you should explain your concerns in your statement of purpose.

  • GIAC MyStatus: This is the status check site for the Graduate International Admissions Center (GIAC). GIAC verifies application information, test scores, residency and admissions GPA calculations/equivalencies. If you have questions about the information your MyStatus page, please contact GIAC.

  • All application materials must be submitted by the application deadline. This includes the application fee, transcripts, applicable and optional scores, CV, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.

  • No. Unfortunately, we cannot accept GMAT scores in place of GRE scores.

  • Yes, you may apply for more than 1 program at UT Austin but you must fill out two separate applications and upload documents for each program.

  • For GRE and TOEFL scores, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) institution code for UT-Austin is 6882. It is not necessary to use a department code. There is no institutional code for the IELTS examination. For IELTS scores, have an official paper score report sent to the Graduate and International Admissions Center.

  • Yes, the TOEFL or the IELTS is required for international applicants. The minimum TOEFL score considered acceptable for admission by the graduate school is a 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT). For the IELTS, a student must have an overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination. International applicants who are from a country where English is the only official language are exempt from this requirement. Additionally, applicants are exempt from the requirement if they possess a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution or an institution in a country where English is the only official language. The requirement is not waived for applicants who have earned a master’s – but not a bachelor’s – degree from a similar institution.

  • A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.

  • Through the ApplyTexas system, you will be given the opportunity to submit three recommenders and provide contact information. The system will send an email to your recommenders directing them to a website where they may upload their letters. In addition, the MyStatus page of ApplyTexas offers a self-service feature you can use to resend the request email to your recommenders, if necessary. Use it to supply an alternate email address if your recommender’s spam filter blocks the original request or has removed the link. You can also add a new recommender or revise your right-to-view status from “retained” to “waived.”

  • The online master of science curriculum will consist of ten courses total or 30 hours. Students will take a combination of foundational coursework and elective options. Through completion of the foundational coursework, students will gain a broad understanding of the field. As courses continue to be added to the program, students will also have elective flexibility.

  • Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS).

  • Yes, your diploma will read exactly as that of an on-campus graduate.

  • 30 credit hours, which equals 10 courses.

  • The program can be completed in 1.5-3 years and the curriculum is highly flexible. Students may participate in the program on a part-time or full-time basis.

  • US-based students in Option III programs are eligible only for federal guaranteed loans and some private sector loans. The Office of Financial Aid can advise Option III students on availability of these loans and required procedures for applying. Please contact Financial Aid. Please note students taking 3 hours are not aid eligible. Please note that with Option III programs students are not eligible for grant loans. Students in Option III programs are not eligible for Hinson-Hazelwood Act Exemptions (for Texas ex-servicemen and their children), but may be eligible for GI Bill benefits. Please direct questions to and or

  • Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the course of the program. If a student drops below 3.0, he or she will have one semester to bring up the GPA. If the student fails to do this, they will be dismissed from the program.

  • A student may take up to five courses each semester. The online master’s degree program courses are of comparable rigor to the traditional courses. For working professionals we recommend taking one to two courses per long semester.

  • Currently there are no specializations available but in the future we may offer specializations which might include offering elective in data engineering, cybersecurity, analytics management, etc.

  • We accept applications for both fall and spring entry.

  • No, there is no capstone project.

  • The program will follow the timeline of the traditional semester. The university calendar can be found here

  • Interaction between instructors and/or TA’s will be available through email, online discussion boards, and virtual office hours.

  • Yes, UT Austin also offers the Master of Computer Science Online on the edX platform.

  • Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this program: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this program in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.