Due to the high volume of emails we are currently receiving, inquiries about the Data Science Programs may take up to 2 business days to be answered.
Please carefully read the following for the most common questions and answers regarding admissions, degree requirements and more.
I am considering studying Data Science at the University of Waterloo
I do not have a background in CS or Statistics, but I am interested in getting into the data science field. Please suggest a path for me.
The Data Science programs and specializations currently offered through the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo require applicants to have a solid quantitative background with emphasis in computer science, statistics and mathematics studies. Please read through our admission requirements section carefully to ensure that you meet the admission requirements for the data science program you are interested in.
If you are currently lacking the prerequisites for these programs, you can consider looking into other data science programs. For example, the Data Analytics Diploma program is offered as part of the Master's of Management Sciences (MMSc) Program at the University of Waterloo.
Do I need to have work experience to succeed in this program?
No, this program is designed to be academically challenging and quantitatively rigorous. The ideal applicant will have a strong mathematical/statistical and/or computer science background. You do not need work experience to be successful in this program, however, strong communication skills are crucial.
What is the difference between the Master's of Mathematics - Data Science and the Master of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence programs?
The distinctions between the two programs are as follows. First, the MMath students will partake directly in supervisors' funded research projects and will write a thesis, whereas MDSAI students will be educated primarily in the classroom. The MMath students are funded while the MDSAI students are not funded. On the other hand, MDSAI students have the opportunity for co-op (i.e., industry internship as part of the degree). These distinctions exist because the programs are aimed at distinct career objectives.
What is the anticipated demand for students with a data science degree?
There is a growing and widely recognized need for highly qualified personnel in this emerging area of data science. The gap between demand for and supply of Data Scientists is well documented. For example, an article from Datanami (Tracking the Data Science Talent Gap”, Alex Woodie, Datanami, March 25, 2016) noted the following: "Back in 2012, the research firm Gartner said there would be a shortage of 100,000 data scientists in the United States by 2020. A year earlier, McKinsey put the national gap in data scientists and others with deep analytical expertise at 140,000 to 190,000 people by 2017, resulting in demand that's 60 percent greater than supply. In 2014, the consulting firm Accenture found that more than 90 percent of its clients planned to hire people with data science expertise, but more than 40 percent cited a lack of talent as the number one problem". Recently the government of Ontario has made significant investments to address this shortage. From the investinontario.com website: “In Ontario, we recognize that a knowledge economy is only as good as its talent. That's why we're strengthening our AI talent pipeline by committing to graduate 1,000 AI-related master's grads per year by 2023, while simultaneously increasing the number of annual STEM grads by 25% to over 50,000.
How will this program prepare me for a career?
Together, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence develop and share methods and tools designed to address problems increasingly central to our everyday life, business, society, and the environment. The methods of data science and artificial intelligence involve elements of statistics, computer science, and optimization. Other Ontario institutions offer data science and/or artificial intelligence content, however, this program differs in its offering of both data science and artificial intelligence and the inclusion of a co-op work term. The 9-course requirement in addition to the co-op experiential work term will provide MDSAI students with the breadth and depth necessary to prepare them for a career in industry. The Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo has a wealth of internationally-recognized expertise. Students from the program are expected to achieve a specialized skill set making them exceptionally competitive in the career market.
I have questions before I submit my application
Can you review my application documents before I apply to let me know if I qualify for admission?
No. The selection process will take into account your academic background, work experience, information provided in the supplementary information form, and references. There are several factors that go into the admission decision process. We cannot provide weighting of these factors as the completed application is reviewed as one package taking each document into consideration. We cannot review application documents before the complete application has been submitted through the online portal. This is both due to the volume of such inquiries and the complexity of factors that go into the admission decision making process. We encourage you to carefully review the requirements listed on the program website before submitting your application.
When do you start accepting offers and what are the deadlines?
|Master of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (co-op)|
|Master of Mathematics in Data Science||MMath in DS GSPA Website|
Do I need a GRE to apply for this program?
We do not require GRE scores for admission to our data science programs. However, we encourage you to submit your scores to supplement your application and set yourself apart in this competitive program.
What is the program tuition and fees?
The most up-to-date UW fee schedule for 2019 graduate students is listed under graduate fee schedules.
The program tuition plus graduate incidental fees (co-op fee is required for this program during students' co-op work terms) are paid per term for three terms per year. You will find MDSAI’s tuition per course listed in the above link under the appropriate table.
MMath in DS
Please review the graduate fee schedules. The program tuition for this research-based master's program plus graduate incidental fees will be paid per term.
Do you allow winter admissions (Jan start) for the MDSAI program (or for any of the Data Science programs?)
We do not currently allow winter admissions for the MDSAI co-op program.
Do I need to find a supervisor before I apply?
For MMath in Data Science, applicants do not need to have a supervisor before applying but it is encouraged. If an offer were to be made, a supervisor would be assigned at that time. However, you may find more information about finding a supervisor here: https://uwaterloo.ca/discover-graduate-studies/admission/find-your-supervisor.
MDSAI is a coursework program and therefore students do not have supervisors.
Can my application be considered for both MDSAI and MMath in Data Science?
No, an application can only be considered for one program, unless you wish to complete another OUAC application and submit the required documentation for the new program.
Can I get more information about the requirements for reference letters?
We require a minimum of 2 academic references and 1 professional reference is permitted. If you have been away from university for more than 5 years, you can submit 2 professional references and 1 academic reference. For more information on effective references and tips on selecting your referees, please visit our Discover Graduate Studies Website.
After you officially apply, you will receive an email with instructions for uploading supporting documents, including the supplemental information form (SIF). This SIF includes a 500-word statement of interest. Below is a list of the questions that will be asked. For more information, please visit our Future Students Website and Instructions Website.
For Q2-Q4, for relevant comparable UW courses, please see our admission requirements.
- Provide a short statement (up to 500 words) outlining your interest in this graduate program.
- Please describe all linear algebra and calculus courses you have taken, the main topics covered in each course, and the number of lecture hours for each course. Please indicate how these courses are named and numbered in your transcript (e.g. Math 136 – Linear Algebra 1 – 36 hours [elementary matrices, eigenvalues, …])
- If you do not have a Computer Science degree, please specify your computer programming experience including Computer Science courses taken, the main topics covered in each course, and the number of lecture hours for each course, and programming languages you are familiar with. Please indicate how these courses are named and numbered in your transcript. Indicate N/A if this does not apply.
- If you do not have a Statistics degree, please describe your experience in Statistics and courses taken on probability and statistics, the main topics covered in each course, and the number of lecture hours for each course . Please indicate how these courses are named and numbered in your transcript. Indicate N/A if this does not apply.
- Please provide any other comments which you consider will help clarify the picture of your academic background.
- If you are not currently enrolled in an educational institution, please describe your professional activities since leaving school. Indicate N/A if this does not apply.
- Do you have any work experience in the area of Data Science? If so, please provide details.
Does the MDSAI program have a part time option?
We are currently awaiting approval to offer direct admission to the part-time MDSAI non co-op program.
I have just submitted my completed application
When can I expect a decision on my application?
We plan to share admission decisions for Fall applications by the end of April. Please keep in mind that decisions may be available sooner depending on the complexity of each application package and fluctuating application numbers.
I am an international student and have questions about admission requirements
Is my degree from my country equivalent to a four-year Honours Bachelor's degree?
What are the English language requirements for this program?
If you meet the requirements for ELP exemption then you do not have to submit ELP test scores. Otherwise, please visit the University of Waterloo’s graduate studies academic calendar for an overview of the English language proficiency requirements for graduate programs.The minimum IELTS (academic) score requirement for the MDSAI program is a 7.5 overall, with at least a 7.0 in writing and speaking. The TOEFL requirement is a score of 100 overall, with a minimum score of 26 in writing and speaking. For the Master's of Mathematics in Data Science, the minimum IELTS (academic) score requirement is a 7.0 overall, with at least a 6.5 in writing and speaking. The TOEFL requirement is a score of 90 overall, with a minimum score of 25 in writing and speaking.
I am a transfer student
Can I have credit for past courses?
Academic credit for graduate courses taken at another institution may be awarded provided that proof can be shown that the courses have not been used for credit toward a previous degree. Normally, at most one half of the required courses can be transferred from another institution. For transfer consideration, the student must submit their course descriptions and their official transcripts to the Computer Science Graduate Office for review at the time of departmental recommendation for admission.
For more information see our credit transfer page.