Data Science

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Science (M.S.), Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

The explosion of data in today’s world is rapidly shaping the landscape of our lives. This has led to an urgent need to process massive amount of information and obtain meaningful insights. Data scientists are trained to meet such challenges. Through a structured curriculum that provides foundational knowledge as well as application skills, students in the Data Science program learn how to confront the most complex problems across both government and private industry using data-driven decisions.

Data Science is an emerging field that aims to draw actionable conclusions from data. It uses techniques and theories from the broader areas of statistics, computer science, and mathematics. Its applications are in many fields including business, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and health care.

The STEM-designated Master of Science (MS) degree in Data Science provides a deep foundation in statistical analysis and programming. It also offers knowledge of the application domain, in addition to project management skills. Graduates of the MS in Data Science apply data science techniques to the solution of real world problems, communicate findings, and effectively present results using data visualization tools.

Developed through a collaborative effort between the Departments of Statistics, Mathematics, Physics, Economics, Geography and Political Science, the Data Science Program gives students cutting-edge tools for analyzing “Big Data” and teaches them how to extract the insights that are changing the way we live, work, and communicate.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines*:

Fall – M.S: April 1  (February 1 for assistantship/fellowship consideration)
         Certificate: 1 July

Spring – October 1

Applications received after the above dates will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Standardized Test Scores:

GRE is not required.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 


Minimum scores for the M.S. program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0; or
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 53


Applicants to the M.A. who do not meet minimum English language requirements may be eligible for our full-time Applied English Language program.

Recommendations required:

M.S. Two (2) academic letters of recommendation

Graduate Certificate: One (1) letter of recommendation 

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

Please note: international students who require a student visa from GW are not eligible to apply for admission to the certificate program.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday