Application Checklist

Applications to HDSI graduate programs must be submitted online using UC San Diego’s Application for Graduate Admission

Statement of Purpose

An applicant’s statement of purpose is very important and is given careful consideration in the selection process. For additional guidelines, please refer to Statement of Purpose. There is no specific word limit, but be concise and specific in preparing your statement, giving information that demonstrates your level of preparation and potential for success in graduate school.The statement of purpose must be submitted online through the UC San Diego Application for Graduate Admission.

NOTE: Requests to update the Statement of Purpose are not granted after submission. Please carefully double-check edits prior to official submission.


An applicant’s Curriculum Vitae or Resume is used to gain a better understanding of the individual’s potential for success in this program. It should highlight details such as academic history, relevant work experience, skills, publications, honors/awards, etc. A resume or curriculum vitae should be uploaded to the  UCSD Application for Graduate Admission.

Three Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. Additional letters may be submitted, however, you must submit a minimum of three (3) letters.

LORs are submitted via the online application only. For additional information about the procedures and policies for letters of recommendation, please review the UCSD Graduate Division guidelines at Procedures for Letters of Recommendation.


Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded online to the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission. More information about how to upload unofficial transcripts can be found on this website: Academic Records and Transcripts

Official transcripts from all prior higher education institutions attended will be required AFTER an applicant receives their official offer of admission from UCSD. Applicants who attended any campus of the University of California, including UCSD, must provide official transcripts of the UC coursework. Transcripts from UCSD may be ordered by an applicant from the Office of the Registrar. There is no charge for UCSD transcripts of record sent to departments in support of an application for graduate student.

Test Score Reports


Applicants for Fall 2024 Admission to the Data Science Graduate Programs (MS and PhD) will not need to provide a GRE score with their applications for Admission.

If applicants have already completed the GRE and would like to include their scores with their application, they can include these scores when submitting the application for review. Applicants with valid test scores should request that ETS submit the scores directly to the UC San Diego institution code 4836; the department codes are not needed. Information about the GRE is available from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website.

English Language Proficiency 

Demonstrated proficiency in the English Language is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English.

UC San Diego accepts both the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores.  To learn more about the minimum score requirements and possible exemptions, please visit UC San Diego’s English Language Proficiency website.

Students may us the following Institution code when submitting official scores: 4836. The Department code can be left blank.

Application Fee

Applicants will be required to pay the application fee for each application submitted or to request a fee waiver at the end of the online application. Your application cannot be reviewed until this fee is paid.

  • US Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Undocumented Applicants: $135.00
  • International Applicants: $155.00

Applicants may submit multiple applications for the same term. Please note that each application must be submitted to a different department and to only one degree level (Master or PhD) per department.

For information regarding fee waivers, please review the Graduate Division website.

After You Apply

  • The HDSI admissions team reviews applications as they are received. There is no need to follow up with the admissions team, you will receive communication regarding your status around March.

Dates and Deadlines: Fall 2025 Cohort

  • Application Opens: October 2, 2024
  • Application Closes:  December 2, 2024
  • Fall 2025 Quarter Begins: September 22, 2025


In order to provide the tools and resources needed to achieve academic, professional, and personal development goals, the Data Science program has a committed staff available to support students and their needs.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding admission, please reach out to our team via


What are the requirements for admission to the program?

Our program does not have specific prerequisite courses or undergraduate degree requirements for admission. Our aim is to build a diverse cohort with a range of expertise and interests.

More information regarding the courses required once admitted can be found on our MS Program Requirements and PhD Program Requirements webpages.

What is the cost of attendance for a graduate program at UCSD?

The tuition and fees breakdown for the in-person MS and PhD programs can be found on the UCSD Graduate Division Tuition & Fees webpage.

Are the in-person MS and PhD programs in Data Science STEM designated?

Yes, Our in-person graduate degrees are STEM designated.

For more information about the designation or OPT Extensions, please visit the UCSD Graduate Division STEM OPT Extension webpage.

I am having trouble submitting part of my application, who should I contact?

If you are a current or former UC San Diego graduate student, you will not be able to submit your application online. Please make sure your application is complete, then email HDSI’s Graduate Team ( so that our staff can submit your materials for review.

For non-UC San Diego applicants, please reach out to UC San Diego GEPA office via email ( or by visiting their website for more contact information.

I am a current undergraduate student at UCSD, how do I apply to a graduate program in Data Science?

Please fill out an application online using UCSD’s Application for Graduate Admission. Note that admission into our graduate program is conditional until the undergraduate degree is completed. Courses that apply to a student’s undergraduate degree requirements cannot be counted towards a graduate degree.

I am a current graduate student at UCSD, how do I change my program of study to Data Science?

Please complete the following steps:
1) Fill out an online application for the FA25 cohort. Know that once you press submit you will see a failure notice! This is expected since you are already a UCSD graduate student. The application deadline is December 2, 2024 Please remain in your current graduate program until you receive an acceptance letter.
2) Complete the linked Google Form prior to December 2, 2024 so the department knows to process your application after the deadline.
**Internal students are not guaranteed admission and will go through the evaluation process same as all applicants.

Are GRE Scores Required?

No, GRE scores are not required for admission into the MS and PhD programs in Data Science. However, student are welcome to include scores in their application if they wish.

I am an international student with a degree from an international institution where English was the primary language of instruction. Do I need to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores?

Non-native english speakers may be exempt from the English Proficiency Requirement (TOEFL/IELTS) if they earned or will be earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree with grades of B (3.0) or better from either

  • A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, or
  • A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. You may verify whether your institution meets this requirement by looking up your institution in the IAU World HIgher Education Database (WHED).

More information can be found on the UCSD Graduate Division English Language Proficiency webpage.

What is the department looking for in a qualified applicant to HDSI's graduate programs?

Below is a brief description of elements that our admissions committee looks for in student applications:

  • Previous experience with the following topics: Linear Algebra, Programming, and Statistics.
  • Sustained academic success (we generally admit students with high GPAs)
  • A dedicated interest in Data Science, either through academics, personal projects, or professional work.
  • PhDs: Demonstrated research experience either in the professional or academic setting.

If you feel you are a qualified candidate, we encourage you to apply. HDSI is dedicated to fostering an interdisciplinary approach to data science. As such, we admit graduate students from all academic and professional backgrounds.