FAQs



 

 

• Program Questions

10 course units (minimum) are required for the Master’s of Science and Engineering (MSE) degree in Data Science. For more information on the requirements of the MSE degree in Data Science, click here.
To get SEAS information/criteria regarding submatriculation, click here. To get detailed information about applying to submatriculate with the Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science program, click here.
Yes, it is an option. To get SEAS information/criteria regarding dual degree, click here.
Transfer requests can occur only after end of 1st semester at Penn, but no later than the add/drop deadline of 3rd semester.
Any course relevant to the Data Science Program can be transferred. The time it takes a student to complete the degree depends on the number of relevant courses taken and is decided on a case-by-case basis for admitted students. A list of the relevant courses can be found on the program of study page. The page will be updated as new courses are found.
Yes. An accepted transfer student can decide to go back to their original program if they are selected for the Data Science Program but realize it will take longer than expected.
Yes, you may apply to transfer. To get detailed information about applying to transfer with the Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science program, click here.
It is strongly suggested that applicants have completed at least two of the courses listed in the Background, Core, and/or Depth areas with an A- or higher grade. Backgrounds in technical, engineering, or informatics disciplines will also be favored.
We strongly discourage students from pursuing these double majors due to the large overlap between the programs.
CIS 545 Big Data Analytics was specifically developed for the Data Science Program. A number of machine learning and data science courses are also being developed across campus.
Through a matching process, highly proficient students will have the opportunity to participate in Data Science projects proposed from across campus, particularly through the various institutes and centers that Penn offers.  Students should have taken at least one elective course in the target application domain before embarking on the project. The student will be mentored jointly by the Program Director and by an advisor in the area of the project. For more details, click here.
The expectation is that it will take two consecutive semesters to complete the Thesis/Practicum. However, it is also possible to do a one-semester practicum as the “depth” of a course in one of the buckets.
The Scientific Computing Program expects students to take courses and have relevant experience in a scientific or engineering field while the Data Science Program does not.
No, the Data Science curriculum is designed to be a program with classes taught in the spring building upon material taught in the fall. Due to this sequence of course offerings, candidates cannot start in the spring semester.
Yes, the MSE degree in Data Science is a STEM degree.

 

 

• Application Process and Decision Timeline Questions

The MSE degree in Data Science has two application rounds each year with two key dates for each round. Application cycle 1 deadline: November 15 Application cycle 2 deadline: March 15
Yes, applicants that apply by the Nov. 15 deadline have a smaller pool of candidates to compete against. If you are serious about attending the Data Science Program, we encourage you to apply by the Nov. 15 deadline. If you are admitted during this time, we recommend that you send in your decision and deposit prior to the initial Feb. 16 cut off. Otherwise, you will not be able to make your deposit until the 2nd round of decisions, after the March 15 deadline. In addition, we strongly recommend that international students apply as early as possible and make their decision soon, as it can take several months to complete the Student Visa process.
Yes, you may apply to multiple master's program. To apply to more than one program, you must complete and submit the application for the first program you are applying to before you can begin an application for any additional program(s). You can apply using your same account and login information. However, you will need to pay a separate application fee for each application you submit. Noting on the application that you "would like to be considered for other programs," does not mean that you will be considered by those other programs. It is only so that departments with other programs that would like to review your application may do so without first contacting you for permission to do so. You can use supporting documents, such as official test scores and transcripts, for multiple applications. Please email gradstudies@seas.upenn.edu and indicate that you would like to use your supporting documents for your multiple applications. For all other parts of the application, we recommend submitting information specific to each program.
Yes, you can potentially pursue the Data Science Program part-time. Once you have been admitted, you can discuss this with the Program Director. It will depend on the flexibility of your schedule and the requirements of the program. During part-time enrollment, you can typically take one course a semester. However, note that all Data Science courses are regular graduate-level courses that are scheduled during the academic term. We do not currently offer evening courses, but some courses are taught as late as 4:30pm-6pm. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for part-time study in the program.
Your personal statement should be typed and double-spaced. It should be written by you alone and represent your original work.

To help us better determine your candidacy for admission into the Data Science Program, your personal statement should clearly discuss your background while placing special emphasis on your coursework and/or your professional experience relevant to the Data Science Program. It should further elaborate your future plans and how they make you an ideal fit for the program.

If you are looking to transfer or submatriculate or do a dual degree, your personal statement also needs to explain the reasons behind your choice to do so.
It is not mandatory for the applicants to have relevant work experience. However, we do look for practical experience with Data Science, either through project work in a course or job/internship. Special emphasis is placed on there being a fit between candidate’s interests and the Data Science Program.
Yes, we require a CV or Resume from all applicants.
The application fee is $80. The fee may be waived at the Directors discretion, due to applicant hardship. Please email gradstudies@seas.upenn.edu for more information. We do not normally grant fee waivers for financial hardship.
You must first accept our offer and pay the deposit. Afterwards you must contact us at admissions2@seas.upenn.edu. You should include the specific reason for the deferral and indicate the fall term that you are planning on attending. The deadline to request a deferral is the last day before classes begin for your first graduate semester.
Applicants to the Data Science Program that have submitted a completed application should receive an admission decision within four to six weeks following the application cycle deadline. Please note that this is not a guarantee, but we strive to issue decisions within this timeline. You will be notified by email that a decision is available to be viewed online. You will need to log into your application to view the actual decision.
No, the letter you view online is your official letter and our system allows you to print a copy to use as needed.
If you were admitted following the November 15 application deadline, you must submit your enrollment form by February 16. Otherwise you will not be able to enroll until after the March 15 application cycle. If you were admitted following the March 15 application deadline, or admitted following the November 15 deadline, but did not accept before February 16, the deadline is June 1.

 

 

• Financial Aid Questions

Typically, the department provides no financial aid for master’s students. Some special fellowships may be given to eligible applicants with exceptionally good backgrounds. For more information, click here.
Yes, it is. For more information about the cost of our program, click here.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science does not provide financial assistance for master's students including those in the Data Science Program . Students may apply for a limited number of positions as research assistants and teaching assistants. Most positions require that you complete one semester of your program and being in good standing. Upon enrollment to a master's program, students may contact the program department to check availability.

 

 

• GRE Questions

All applicants to the Data Science Program must take the GRE. The test results must be valid at the time of the application submission and the exam must have been taken by the application deadline.
All applicants are required to have taken their GRE before the application deadline.
You can still apply even if you do not have your official scores yet. Please enter the test scores you received upon completion of the exam into your application and make sure that your official scores are also sent to Penn Engineering (code 2888). Your self-reported scores will be used for the review process. You will not immediately receive your Writing score, but that is fine for initial submission of your application.
You must have taken the GRE within five (5) years. If your scores are older than five (5) years, you must retake the exam.
Applications are evaluated as a whole portfolio and not on a single criterion. Hence, there are no minimum score requirements for the GRE. Since this is a new program, we have very little history of GRE scores of admitted candidates. Over the first admission cycle, successful applicants had high GRE scores averaging around the following numbers:
Verbal Reasoning: 158
Quantitative Reasoning: 167
Analytical Writing: 4
For information regarding the average GRE scores of candidates applying to the Master of Science in Engineering in Computer & Information Science programs, click here. This is to provide an idea about what is expected from candidates applying to the Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science Program.
The institution code is 2888. If you have used our previous code of 2926, we will still receive your results. If you have to use a department code, please use 99. If you use another code, there may be a delay, but we will still receive your scores.
No, we do not accept GMAT in lieu of GRE.

 

 

• TOEFL/IELTS Questions

The TOEFL/IELTS requirement is not required for US Citizens/Permanent Residents. It can be waived if an applicant has completed at least three (3) years of academic work on a full-time basis by the time of matriculation at a school where English is the language of instruction. The academic work can be at a university-level institution in the United States, in a country in which English is recognized as the official language or where the medium of instruction is English. If you have less than three (3) years, it will not be waived. If you have questions about this, please email gradstudies@seas.upenn.edu. The international transcript must note that the medium of instruction was in English in order for you to have the test waived. If this information is not noted on the transcript then your university will have to send official verification to our office.
TOEFL/IELTS scores are only available for the last two (2) years, so you must report scores taken within that time period. If your scores are older than two (2) years, you will need to retake the TOEFL/IELTS exams.
A minimum of 100 is recommended.

 

 

• Letter of Recommendations and Transcript Questions

We only require official documents to be mailed to the admissions office if you accept the offer of admission and submit your enrollment form. Please send your official, final transcripts and certificates of graduation (when the transcript does not list the degree earned), from your university/college. We must receive transcripts for all courses that you received course credit. These documents must be sent to us, either in sealed envelopes from each institution you have attended, or electronically by the issuing institution. Opened documents are not official and will not be accepted. No other documents are necessary as all other required documentation should be entered online. In addition, the final transcript must be in English. If you enrolled or were enrolled at an institution in China, we encourage you to use the CHESSIC Document translation service. Please request the transcript and the graduation verification certificate. We must receive both documents. Please note it may take at least 20 business days for documents requested through the CHESSIC services to be transmitted electronically. To find additional information, click here.
You are required to send your official transcript(s) upon receiving your offer of admission. We must receive an official, final transcript from each institution where you earned course credit. You must also send a graduation verification certificate, if it is not stated on the final transcript from your degree granting institution. All final trancript(s) must be received prior to your matriculation date. We prefer receiving them transcripts and test scores electronically. If your final transcript and/or test results will be delivered by mail, they should be sent to the below address: University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering & Applied Science Graduate Admissions 109 Towne Building 220 S. 33rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 If your institution uses electronic transcripts, the institution should send the transcripts to the below administrator: Sherry Ferraiolo, admissions2@seas.upenn.edu
Once you have submitted an application, you can log in to your application at any time to check the status. However, due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to verify your documentation in a timely manner. We use the unofficial information you submit in the application to begin the review process.
Due to the volume of applications we receive, we may be unable to verify all of the documentation we receive in a timely manner. Therefore, the system may still say "materials needed," though we have already received your materials. Processing time for received documents varies based on the time of year and mail delivery times, which are out of our control. Documents requested using the CHESSIC transcript service for Chinese Institutions may take up to 20 business days to be transmitted electronically. If you are using the CHESSIC transcript service, please make sure to check your document status on the application checklist before emailing the Admissions Office.
Recommendations should be submitted online. If it is not possible for your recommender to use the online system, a paper letter may be submitted. Please note that it will take longer to process and be uploaded to the system, due to the large volume of documents we receive. Please email gradstudies@seas.upenn.edu for the link to the offline paper recommendation form.
No. The MSE degree in Data Science only requires two (2) recommendations. Once we have received two (2), (including one faculty recommendation) that requirement is fulfilled. Please note all recommendations must be received by the application deadline for your application to be reviewed. If more recommendations come in before the application has been selected for review, then all of the recommendations received will be reviewed. Please note that our current system has a limit of three (3) letters of recommendation.
The application system asks you to input the name and correct email address for each recommender. If they have not received an email after you have completed your application, please follow the below instructions: Make sure you have provided a valid, correct email address for each recommender. Notify the recommender that they should check their junk/spam mail folder, in case it was marked as junk/spam by their email provider. Re-notify your recommender through your application.

 

 

• International Students

If you are admitted, you will be emailed the information and web address for beginning the I-20 application process. Please allow one week from the date of acceptance to submit the I-20 application to ensure your record is in the system. Admitted students should address all matters related to the I-20 process with the University's International Students and Scholars Services Office.