How long is the program?

Master of Science: The M.S. program requires 30 credits to be completed part-time (less than 12 credits per semester) or full-time (12 or more credits per semester). All degree requirements must be completed within five years of the beginning of graduate study.

Certification of Professional Achievement: The Certification program requires 12 credits (4 courses) to be completed part-time. Most students complete the program in one year (two courses in the fall, two courses in the spring), but can take two years to complete the program.

Will courses be offered online?

The M.S. in Data Science program is an on-campus program only. To accommodate working students, most of our core courses are offered in the evening. The Certification of Professional Achievement program in Data Sciences is offered both on-campus as well as online.

What programming languages are preferred?

Data scientists need to be versatile and often code in multiple languages. Courses may require R, Python, shell scripts, C and Java. If you are proficient in one language it will be easier to learn others. Students with a demonstrated quantitative background and no programming skills must gain proficiency in one language before registering for Algorithms for Data Science.

Can Data Science students pursue a dual degree?

We do not offer a dual degree with the M.S. in Data Science at this time.

Will CPT or OPT be offered for the Master of Science program to international students?

CPT: Our students follow Columbia's Department of Computer Science's CPT guidelines which allow one fieldwork credit per semester and a maximum of three credits. Please see for further information.

OPT: The M.S. in Data Science is a government-designated STEM degree and so international students may be eligible for the 24-month F1 OPT (optional practical training) extension.

Further information on CPT and OPT is provided by Columbia's International Students and Scholars Office:

May I transfer credits from my current school towards Data Science Institute academic programs?

No, Columbia Engineering's policy prohibits the transfer of courses completed outside of Columbia University to be counted towards the minimum degree requirements. Students that have completed courses that potentially overlap with core requirements may seek advisor approval for a waiver and substitute said credits with additional electives.

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