Frequently Asked Questions


  • What background is required for the program?

    Applicants should have a background or familiarity in the fields of Informatics, Information Science, Computer Science, Engineering, or Statistics; however, we do not require a specific major or background. Most of the coursework in the program requires working knowledge of Python, R, and statistical principles. Please contact the Data Science Program Directors at dsadvise@indiana.edu if you have questions on your educational background.

  • Are the GRE and TOEFL required?

    The GRE is required for all master's programs in Data Science.

    The Data Science Admissions Committee may waive test scores for qualified applicants with appropriate academic and professional experience for our Online MS program. Students with the following credentials may qualify for a waiver:

    Applicants who have graduated with a graduate degree (PhD, MS, MBA, JD, MD, etc.) from an accredited US institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in a STEM field(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)

    Applicants with five years or more years of postgraduate professional work experience in aSTEM field

    Applicants who demonstrate strong evidence of programming or statistical language training (Python, R specifically) through professional training, accredited coursework, certificate, etc

    Please submit a GRE Waiver statement outlining how you meet the academic and professional requirements mentioned above. Note: You must officially apply to the Online MS program before requesting a GRE Waiver. You may forward your statement to the Data Science Graduate Office to attach with your application. Your request will be reviewed at the time of admission with the support of your other supporting materials.

    Please note that if you do not meet all of the following criteria, you will be required to submit official GRE scores that are no less than 5 years old and are valid at the time of admission.

    Additionally, the TOEFL is required for the Residential program and we expect a minimum score 100. English proficiency is very important for all graduate programs. If you have graduated from an accredited US college or university, the TOEFL will be waived for the admissions process. Effective August 1, 2016, we do not accept IELTS scores for admissions to our graduate programs.

  • What GRE score is required for entrance into the program?

    For the Data Science program, we take a very holistic approach to reviewing applications. We do generally look for scores around Q-160, V-153, and AW-4.0. For TOEFL, we look for a minimum score of 100.

  • What GPA is required for admission into the program?

    The Data Science Program generally requires a 3.0 GPA for admission into the program. If your GPA is lower than 3.0 GPA, you are still welcome to apply. You will need to submit a supporting document to your application indicating the extenuating circumstance surrounding your GPA.

  • Where can I get help with writing my Statement of Purpose?

    If you need assistance with your Statement of Purpose, you may utilize the Writing Tutorial Services (WTS) at Indiana University Bloomington.

  • Do we offer conditional admission?

    While anyone is welcome to apply, we do not offer conditional admission to any student. If a student would like advice on how he/she can improve his or her application to be more competitive, he or she may contact the Program Directors at dsadvise@indiana.edu.

  • Can I take classes as a graduate non-degree student to make my application more competitive?

    You are certainly welcome to take graduate courses as a non-degree student before applying to the Data Science Program. Up to 9 credit hours of non-degree work may be applied to the Master's program at IUB. Find more information on how to become a Non-degree student.

  • How do I provide academic transcripts or their equivalent?

    As indicated, we require all applicants to submit copies of all official transcript(s), mark sheet(s), and degree certificate(s) for the admissions process. These will be considered unofficial documentation.

    If offered admission and you accept our offer, you will be required to send official academic records to Indiana University at that time.

    Domestic Applicants: We require domestic applicants to request official academic documentation directly from the post-secondary institutions. The registrar or record-keeping official from the institution may mail transcripts to our office or send electronically through a secure site to datasci@indiana.edu. Most often, degree-conferral information can be found on the US or Canadian transcript; as such, we typically do not require diplomas. 

    International Applicants: For a clear overview of degree equivalencies, please follow the requirements from the Office of International Services. We generally require international applicants to provide individual mark sheets highlighting courses by semester or year and degree certificates showing the final class placement/grade and month/year of award. We would appreciate complete descriptions of the institutions grading scale or other standard of evaluation.

    Photocopies of original documents must be properly certified by the registrar or record-keeping official from the institution. Please also note we do not accept WES or other third-party evaluation services as official transcripts.

    We advise students to bring additional copies of their official academic documentation if it is deemed irreplaceable. If you have further questions, please contact the Data Science Graduate Office at datasci@indiana.edu.

    Please note that any documentation submitted in support of a Data Science application becomes the property of Indiana University. This means documentation is non-returnable, forwarded, copied, or released to the student or to a third party.

  • What is the departmental code for reporting the TOEFL and GRE?

    To report GRE and TOEFL you should only need the Institution Code of 1324 for Indiana University. If you would like to use a departmental code, we recommend 0000 for Undecided or 0403 for Data Processing.

  • Do you accept the GMAT?

    While the GRE is required, we can accept the GMAT on a case-by-case basis. If you wish to apply with only GMAT scores, please contact the Data Science Graduate Office for more information at datasci@indiana.edu or (812) 856-5953.

  • What is the TEPAIC? Any tips for passing it?

    The TEPAIC is a Test of English Proficiency for International Associate Instructor Candidates. A passing TEPAIC score is required for all non-native English speakers in order to be considered for an AI position in the event a position becomes available.

    The Data Science Graduate Office must give permission for a student to take the TEPAIC. To register for the TEPAIC, we provide the TEPAIC Department your name, your IU ID#, your IU email address, and your TOEFL scores. Once your name has been submitted to the TEPAIC Department, you will receive information on what to do next.

    There will be two English evaluators conducting the TEPAIC. It will be a casual conversation. The English evaluators will be assessing (1) how clearly and fluently you speak; (2) how effective are your interactional communication skills; and (3) how effectively you explain concepts.

    Try not to be nervous! Engage in the conversation as you would when talking with friends. Here are a few other tips:

    1. Enunciate clearly
    2. Speak slowly.
    3. Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question.
    4. Avoid “yes” or “no” answers to a question as it is best to explain why your answer is “yes” or “no.”
    5. Engage in conversation as you would when talking with friends.
    6. Try not to be nervous.
  • Is financial documentation required for the application?

    The financial documentation is not part of your application. International Services strongly recommends that applicants submit their financial documentation using iStart once they have submitted an application. By having your financial documentation uploaded into your iStart account, it will expedite the processing of immigration documents in the event you are admitted to our program and accept the offer of admission. If you have further questions about the financial documentation, you will want to email the Office of International Admissions at newtoiu@indiana.edu.

    If you are an international student and need cost information for visa documentation, please visit the Office of International Services’ Graduate & Professional Program Expenses.


  • What is the total duration of the program?

    While there is no current minimum duration requirement for the Data Science program, we highly recommend that full time MS students complete their degree requirements in 1.5 to 2 years. Per University Graduate policy, domestic students have a maximum of 5 years to complete our programs. International students will need to speak with the Office of International Services as this is dependent on visa requirements.

  • Can I transfer some courses to count towards the program? What type of classes are accepted?

    As a standard practice, we will allow up to 9 credit hours to transfer from another program or school. Courses such as Data Mining, Statistics, Machine Learning, and Algorithms are generally approved for transfer.

    Please be aware that these credits cannot have counted towards another program where you received a degree or certification. You must consult with the Program Directors on which specific courses you would like to transfer.

  • Is the program completely online?

    Our Online MS and Online Certificate are completely online and there is no requirement that online students come to Bloomington during their studies. We do however offer Immersion Weekends twice a year for Online MS students. During these optional weekends, students will participate in live presentations by faculty and other national experts; receive hands-on experience using industry data, and network with other students, faculty and administrators.

  • Does the program offer scholarships or assistantships?

    We do offer fellowships to select students depending available funding and program (Residential, Online, Certificate). Find more information on fellowships.

    At this time the Data Science program does not offer any additional assistantships. Students are eligible to apply for any available opportunities during their first semester with the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. Students will receive an email about available assistantships in August and December.

    The University Graduate School offers several internal and external Fellowships and Awards.

  • Is the program STEM eligible or accredited?

    As the Data Science program is an interdisciplinary and applied program, it is STEM eligible via the U.S Department of Education.

    International students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation may be eligible for a STEM extension. For more information, please speak to an International Advisor at the Office of International Services at ois@iu.edu.

  • Do you have a dual degree program?

    At present, we do not have any dual degree programs with other units on campus. We do have courses approved to count towards the degree in information science, informatics, computer science, and statistics.

  • Do you have a Ph.D. degree program?

    We currently do not have an approved PhD in Data Science. We are in the process of submitting the proposal for the degree, but the final approval may not come for a couple of years.

  • Which program should I choose: online or residential?

    The online M.S. is geared towards working professionals with prior experience in databases or data analysis who want to expand their employment opportunities.

    The residential M.S. is directed towards recent graduates looking to advance their education before entering the workforce or individuals with a few years of experience in industry.


  • Orientation

    Orientation is an important part of your academic program. If you have any questions about orientation or the graduate programs at IU, send an email (datasci@indiana.edu), call (812) 856-5953, or stop by the Data Science Graduate Office (711 N. Park Ave).

    If an extreme situation prevents you from attending the entire New Student Orientation, contact the Data Science Graduate Office immediately to ask about your options and the repercussions of missing part of Orientation.

  • Early Registration

    Returning residential and online students are assigned an "Enrollment Date" in One.IU. New students will register during the Open Enrollment period starting November 21st. International students will register during the International student orientation period. Nine credit hours (three 3 credit hour classes) is considered full-time for graduate students. Plan for about nine hours of homework per week each 3 credit hour class.

International Students

  • How may I participate in an Internship and Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)?

    The Data Science program believes practical training opportunities can provide valuable experience by refining and adding to the skills you are learning within the current curricula. As many of you pursue available opportunities, our office would like to reaffirm some very important information!

    To clarify, in order to be eligible for CPT authorization, you must meet all of the following criteria for eligibility:

    • You are a full-time student for at least one full academic year (excludes summer terms).
    • You have F-1 status.
    • You have an offer letter outlining the training opportunity integral to your Data Science curriculum.
    • You will register for an appropriate course that covers the duration of the training that you seek.
  • What do I need to provide after getting an Offer Letter?

    After you receive an offer letter, please ensure the following information is provided on official company letterhead:

    • The specific start date with the phrase "or date of authorization
      • For example: "The candidate will begin the training opportunity on May 6, 2017, or date of authorization, whichever is later."
    • The specific end date for training
    • The number of hours you will train per week. It will not be sufficient for the letter to state “part-time” or “full-time.” The number of hours per week has to be provided.
    • The physical location (street address, city, state, and ZIP code) where the training will be conducted. P.O. boxes are not accepted for this requirement.
    • A detailed description of the duties entailed in your training

    You will be responsible for notifying the Data Science Graduate Office after you have received this offer letter. Our graduate office will then review your email request for CPT authorization, request you to submit the Graduate Internship Form (see below), and provide guidance on the appropriate course for enrollment. Keep in mind the credit hours are unique to each student’s situation. We will then ask you to complete the OIS processes included below.

  • Where do I submit my Offer Letter?

    Read and follow instructions carefully when uploading your letter. When OIS approve the offer letter they will notify you by email with instructions for completing the Academic Advisor Form.

  • What do I do once I am in iStart?

    Report Kayla Scroggins (knscrogg@indiana.edu) as the Academic Advisor for this process, as she is the point of contact for any OIS-related communications.

    Important points to remember:

    • The approval process cannot be rushed or completed out of order. Your completed application for CPT needs to be submitted to OIS in iStart at least two weeks before the employment is expected to begin.
    • Employment must not begin until the date authorized on the I-20 issued by OIS.
    • Students are required to review the guidelines from SICE Career Services found here: https://www.sice.indiana.edu/career/students/recruiting-guidelines.html

    Upon successful completion of your internship, students are required to provide the Faculty member on file (Professor Wild or Professor Ding) a report detailing their experience throughout the term. An exit letter – a formal letter from the employer stating the terms of employment or internship were satisfactorily completed – must also be submitted with the report. If either portion is not received, an incomplete “I” grade will be posted.

    Please find the Graduate Internship form here.

      Effective August 1, 2016 for all students – the opportunity must be taken for credit (1-3 credits). Per OIS policy, you must be on the Bloomington campus the semester in which you complete your degree requirements – no exceptions.

    o   The number of credit hours will be dependent on the number of on-site hours worked. For every 160 credit hours worked, you will be authorized for 1 credit hour of Graduate Internship. You will not be granted more than 3 credit hours of internship credit for the experience.