The UBC Master of Data Science (MDS) helps you take your career to the next level, giving you the technical foundation and real-world data experience to effectively translate data into knowledge, communicate its stories and aid decision-makers to make the right choices.
We’re looking for students who have a passion for learning and for data science, a strong work ethic, a burning intellectual curiosity and good communication and technical writing skills.
The MDS program is offered at both the UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, or you can specialize with the MDS in Computational Linguistics.
Note that MDS is an intense professional graduate degree program. It is mandatory that you attend classes, labs, and events. As such, we do not recommend that you work while taking this program.
Applications for September 2021 closed on January 31, 2021. Applicants can expect an admission decision within 8-10 weeks of the application deadline.
To be eligible to apply for any of the UBC Master of Data Science programs, you must meet the academic, prerequisite, English proficiency and professional requirements below.
At the minimum hold the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from UBC with a minimum B+ (76% at UBC) average in your third and fourth-year courses.
At the time of application, you must have proof of completion or enrolment in the following prerequisite courses:
- one course in Programming (3 credits):
- one course in Probability and/or Statistics (3 credits):
- one course in Calculus (3-credit) OR Linear Algebra (3-credit)
NOTE: Completion of a course in both calculus AND linear algebra is strongly recommended.
For students interested in the MDS in Computational Linguistics, there is, in addition to the technical background required for all MDS students, the expectation that candidates will have a degree and/or other significant experience relevant to language (i.e. a major or minor in linguistics). Candidates should outline this language background in their letter of intent.
Note: The above prerequisites do not have to be taken at UBC but at an academic equivalent post-secondary institution.
Part of the MDS program consists of foundational material in Computer Science and Statistics. If you hold an undergraduate degree in one of these areas, please review our course offerings before making the decision to apply for the program.
Note: Online MOOCs/Coursera courses and adult education/continuing studies courses are not accepted but distance education courses are.
If you are not sure about your core knowledge in the areas of programming, statistics, probability or calculus, you can try our self-assessment test. You should be able to answer all of the questions in 1-3 hours (including referring to textbooks or online resources if you haven't encountered a topic recently). If you cannot do these questions with limited effort, you will likely struggle in the program without additional preparation. The test is for your own reference only and is not intended to represent the level of MDS content (which will be much higher!). You can download the self-assessment test answers here.
Although not required, preference will be given to applicants with relevant professional experience.
If your last (undergraduate or graduate) degree was not completed at an English-speaking university, proof of English-language proficiency is required as this program involves a significant amount of reading, writing and oral communication. See the International Students page for more information.
No Standardized Tests
The UBC Master of Data Science program does not require a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or any other academic test score for admission.
Applicants who do not meet the admission requirements stated above, but who have had other significant formal training, relevant professional experience, and/or otherwise possess demonstrable knowledge or expertise that would prepare them adequately for successful study in the graduate program, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the Program Director and the approval of the Dean.
Students in the UBC Master of Data Science program are required to use their own laptops. In particular, students will need to have a machine that:
- runs one of the following operating systems: macOS 10.15.X (Catalina), Ubuntu 20.04, Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise or Education; version 2004. Note that Windows 10 Home is not sufficient as not all the software required for the program can be installed on that OS. Also note that when installing Ubuntu, checking the box "Install third party..." will (among other things) install proprietary drivers, which can be helpful for wifi and graphics cards.
- can connect to networks via a wireless connection
- has at least 50 GB disk space available
- has at least 8 GB of RAM
- uses a 64-bit CPU
- Is at most 6 years old at the start of the program (4 years old or newer is recommended)
- uses English as the default language
- student user has full administrative access to the computer
If you have any questions about the admission process,