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.
To be eligible to apply for any of the UBC Master of Data Science programs, you must meet the academic, pre-requisite, English proficiency and professional requirements below.
At the minimum hold the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from UBC or similar university with a minimum B+ (76% at UBC) average in your third and fourth-year courses.
Proof of completion of at least three (3-credit) prerequisite courses, in each of the following:
- one course in programming (e.g., similar to UBC CPSC 103, CPSC 110 or APSC 160), AND
- one course in probability and/or statistics (e.g., similar to UBC STAT 200 or STAT 241/251 or STAT 302), AND
- one course in calculus (e.g., similar to UBC MATH 100) or one course in linear algebra (e.g., similar to UBC MATH 221). Completion of a course in both calculus AND linear algebra is recommended.
For students interested in the MDS in Computational Linguistics option*, there is, in addition to the technical background required for all MDS students, the expectation is that candidates will have a degree and/or other significant experience relevant to language. 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.
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 undergraduate degree was not completed at an English-speaking university, proof of English-language proficiency is required as this program requires 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 Yosemite 10.13.X (High Sierra) or later, Ubuntu 16.X or later, Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise or Education (version 1803 or later). Please note that Windows 10 Home is not sufficient as not all the Software required for the program can be installed on that OS.
- 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 4 years old or newer at the start of the program
- uses English as the default language
If you are interested in applying to the UBC Master of Data Science we suggest you review the admission requirements, application process and deadlines, and gather the required information and documents. Read more application tips.
- Review the admissions requirements above.
- Gather information about your educational history.
Be prepared to provide names, locations and dates of study for all of the educational institutions you have attended.
- Select the UBC MDS program for which you want to apply.
You can apply for more than one of the UBC Master of Data Science programs, but you will be required to complete and submit a separate application for each program.
- Complete the online application
Follow the instructions on the UBC Graduate Studies website to complete your application. Allow yourself 45 to 60 minutes to complete the online application. This is where you will enter your biographical and educational information and other required information, such as descriptions of how you meet the pre-requisites and your resume. We encourage you to review the questions in advance and take time to prepare your responses. Once your application has been submitted, it cannot be changed. Unsubmitted applications will expire after 30 days of inactivity.
- Upload your admission documents
You are required to upload the following documents to the online application system:
- Unofficial transcripts for all courses, including but not limited to exchange courses, zero-credit courses and courses completed at an international institution
- Unofficial degree certificates for any degrees that are not indicated on your transcripts
- One page letter of intent describing your data science experience and interest
- Resume or CV detailing your qualifications and experience
- English language (TOEFL or IELTS) test scores (international students only)
- Unofficial documents are sufficient for the purpose of adjudication. Official versions of each document will be requested at a later date for admission to UBC.
Note: If you are a UBC student or alumni, please indicate your student number in your online application and the MDS Program Office will download your official UBC transcript directly
- Ask your referees to submit their letters of recommendation.
You are required to provide three letters of recommendation (academic and/or professional). To be considered official, letters must be submitted by referees in one of two ways:
- Online (preferred): To take advantage of this option, you must provide a valid institutional email address (no Gmail, Hotmail or similar addresses) for each referee when you apply. Referees will receive a secure link prompting them to upload their letters of recommendation directly to the online application system.
- Mail: Referees must mail sealed letters to the MDS office directly. More detailed instructions and mailing address can be found on the application form.
Note: Letters mailed by applicants and emailed letters sent are not acceptable and cannot be used to gain admission to UBC.
- Pay the application fee ($104 for Canadian applicants; $168.25 for international applicants).
After you Apply
We will inform you of our admissions decision within 4-6 weeks of the application deadline.
If you receive a conditional offer of admission and wish to accept, you must:
- submit a non-refundable $3,000 deposit to confirm your acceptance of the admission offer (this deposit will be credited to your first tuition payment);
- arrange to have your official transcripts sent directly to the appropriate UBC Master of Data Science office; and
- fulfil any other conditions described in your conditional offer of admission.
We will then send you an unconditional letter of acceptance.
If you have any questions about the admission process contact us.
*The UBC MDS in Computational Linguistics option is pending approval by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education. Subscribe for future news and updates.