Admissions Requirements

SMU considers all applications holistically, without placing emphasis on any one specific factor. Your admission decision will be based on our assessment of your ability to succeed in the program and considers your undergraduate grades, test scores and work experience.

In order to be considered for the Master of Science in Data Science program, you must meet the following requirements:

Bachelor's degree

Hold a bachelor's degree or its recognized equivalent from a regionally accredited institution.

GRE scores

Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required. The GRE requirement can be waived if you have three or more years of industry experience in a related field or a previous master's degree. The SMU school code is 7478 for GRE scores. If an applicant cannot produce a GRE score they may submit a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score instead. Test scores can take up to three weeks to reach the University, so please plan accordingly.

Math or Programming Addendum

Applicants who waive out of the GRE or lack undergraduate coursework in math are strongly encouraged to submit a one-page math addendum. In this addendum, applicants should discuss how their experience has prepared them for the quantitative rigor of the program.

Similarly, applicants should consider submitting an addendum discussing their programming experience and ability to take on the technical challenges of the program. Applicants may also submit supplemental materials such as project examples and course certificates to demonstrate programming proficiency.

Quantitative skills

This should be demonstrated by at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in a quantitative discipline such as statistics, applied mathematics, computer science or engineering;
  • College-level coursework in statistics, calculus I and II or another quantitative methods course; or
  • Work experience involving data analysis or data management.


Have a basic understanding of a programming language, such as SAS, JAVA, C, C++, Python or R. In particular, a basic understanding of how to use and program in Python and R is strongly recommended.

A completed application must include the following:

  • Online application
  • $75 application fee
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Professional résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of purpose
  • All official transcripts
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Official TOEFL scores (if applicable)

Online Application

You must complete the entire application form and provide all required documents to be considered for admission to the program.


Application Fee

A nonrefundable $75 application fee, which can be paid online, is required.

Letters of Recommendation

One letter from a professional or academic reference is required. You may submit up to three letters of recommendation total. 

Applicants should be thoughtful about selecting recommenders for their application. Your recommender should know you well and be able to speak to your ability to succeed in a master's degree program. When possible, your recommenders should speak to your technical skills, including programming proficiency and quantitative ability. Finally, you should have at least one recommendation from an individual responsible for overseeing your work, such as a direct supervisor, team lead or former professor.

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

A professional résumé or curriculum vitae is required. Include all relevant professional experience (highlight technical and programming experience), trainings, and notable projects.

Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose should explain your interest in earning your M.S. in Data Science from SMU. The statement should include how your educational and professional background have prepared you to succeed in a master's degree program and how you will be an asset to the SMU community.

Official Transcripts

You must submit official transcripts from every institution you have attended, including study abroad and community college programs. Transcripts can take time to process, and we recommend you request your transcripts as soon as possible.

Many schools issue transcripts electronically, either through their own web services or through vendors. If this option is available through the institutions you attended, please specify that your transcript(s) be sent to as this will expedite the delivery of your transcript(s) and the completion of your application.

If you would like your transcripts to be sent by mail, please use the following address:

Application Processing Services
7900 Harkins Road
Suite #501
Lanham, MD 20706

International Students


Applicants whose native language is not English must provide Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (90+) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores (6.5+). The SMU school code is 7493 for TOEFL scores. Applicants may be exempt from the English proficiency exam if if he or she meets one of the following criteria:

  • Is a US Citizen or Permanent Resident;
  • Has lived and worked in the US for 5 or more years;
  • Has earned a bachelor's or graduate degree (minimum 2 years of study) from an English speaking institution.

International Transcript Evaluations

Applicants who have earned the equivalent of a four-year undergraduate degree from a non-U.S. institution must submit all official transcripts to one of an approved credentials evaluator below. The evaluation must then be included with official transcripts to be considered for the Master of Science in Data Science program.

Official Transcript Evaluators: