University of Michigan


Who is this degree for

This degree is designed for candidates who want to take on real-world data challenges and gain a comprehensive understanding of how data is collected, processed, analyzed, visualized, and reported across a variety of industries. Applicants should be proficient with statistics and Python. Students will learn how to apply these skills in ways that help organizations become more effective, strategic, ethical, and successful.

We are interested in applicants with a history of academic and/or professional success, who demonstrate creativity and a commitment to sophisticated problem solving, and who exhibit persistence, leadership, and initiative.

Applicants for the degree program must have:

  • An undergraduate degree
  • Strong knowledge of Python programming language basic and introductory statistics (Applicants will take two assessments)
  • TOEFL exam for non-native speakers of English
  • No Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or other exams required

Note: if you have completed a three-year bachelor’s degree, please email to inquire if this would be recognized as an equivalent degree.

Application Process

Applications for the Winter 2021 cohort are now closed.

You must submit an application linked through the University of Michigan School of Information website, and include the following with your application:

  • Transcript(s)
  • Resume
  • Short essays (3)
  • At least one letter of recommendation
  • Students whose primary language is not English will need to submit a TOEFL score

Our aim is to learn about your personal motivation and skills, and to understand how the program will help you achieve your professional goals.

For more information, see more about the admissions criteria.

Application requirements


  • One scanned or electronic transcript uploaded to the online application or mailed directly to us for all undergraduate and/or graduate programs from which you have degree(s).
  • We will accept unofficial transcripts for application review. Official transcripts will be required later if you are admitted.


  • A copy of your current resume/CV.


The MADS Program requires three short essays to get to know our applicants in more depth. Typically, we inquire about personal background, programming experience, and interest in data science and the UMSI MADS program. Example questions we’ve asked in the past include:

  • Why are you interested in the Master of Applied Data Science degree with UMSI, and what do you hope to gain with this degree?
  • Describe a data-oriented problem you've solved, or problem you'd like to solve. What steps did you take, or could be taken, to identify, design, and implement a solution?
  • What do you believe is the greatest potential value and greatest potential harm of data science?


Python and Statistics Proficiency Requirements

After applying to the Master of Applied Data Science program applicants are required to demonstrate their foundational Python fluency (roughly equivalent to UMSI’s Python 3 Programming MOOC) and basic statistics knowledge. Applicants may do this in one of two ways:

1: Take a combined Python and Statistics Assessment

  • We expect this assessment can be completed in about 1.5 hours and contains questions similar to the practice assessments applicants are encouraged to take as they prepare for the assessment. Generally, applicants take at least two weeks to prepare and successfully complete this assessment.

2: Submit a certificate of completion of the Python 3 Programming MOOC and take a Statistics Assessment

  • If applicants have already completed the entire Python 3 Programming specialization that is offered on Coursera by the time of application, applicants will only be tested on introductory statistics material. Please upload your Python 3 Programming specialization certificate at the time of application submission.

We strongly encourage applicants to take the practice assessments hosted in the assessment course shells to understand the foundational level of proficiency in Python and statistics that are necessary to be successful in the program. We also provide links to free or low-cost online courses and resources for those who do not already have the necessary experience in these areas, or those looking to refresh their knowledge.

View sample Python and statistics assessment questions here.

For those applying for Fall 2020, the practice assessments and entrance assessment will be made accessible to you within 7-10 business days of submitting your application. Applicants receive two attempts to pass. Those who submit on or by the priority deadline will have a deadline of April 1st to complete their assessment, and those who submit on or by the final deadline will have a deadline of June 3rd to complete their assessment.

Non-Native English Speaker Assessment

We require the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if English is your non-primary language. A score of at least 100 on the Internet-based test (IBT) is required. Applicants holding a Bachelor's or Master's degree are exempt from taking an English proficiency examination if one or more of the following criteria is met:

  • You are a native English speaker;
  • You completed all of your undergraduate and/or graduate education and earned a degree at an institution where all classes are taught exclusively in English;
  • You are a current University of Michigan student.

If, for example, an applicant completed two years of an undergraduate degree program at a non-English speaking institution and then transferred to an English speaking institution, they do not meet the criteria for exemption. Similarly, being a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking TOEFL. If the applicant’s first language is not English, the applicant must meet the exemption or submit their TOEFL score.

No Additional Tests Required!

We do not require the GRE or any other additional tests as part of our admissions process.

Letters of Recommendation

  • One letter of recommendation from people who can best speak to your ability to be successful in the program. Either academic or professional references are welcome.

Application Fees

  • $75.00 USD for U.S. citizens and permanent residents
  • $90.00 USD for international applicants applies.

We offer fee waivers for those who qualify.

Each member of the University of Michigan School of Information’s scholarly community comes from a unique background, making our school stronger and helping us to fulfill our mission of building a better world through technology and information.

Our students come from the following undergraduate areas of study:

MADS Education Background

Coursera does not grant credit, and does not represent that any institution other than the degree granting institution will recognize the credit or credential awarded by the institution; the decision to grant, accept, or transfer credit is subject to the sole and absolute discretion of an educational institution.

We encourage you to investigate whether this degree meets your academic and/or professional needs before applying.