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MSAN Frequently Asked Questions

Program details

Q: What is the length of the MS in Analytics program?
A: This is a full-time, intensive, 12-month program. The program starts in early July and runs until the end of June in the following year. 

Q: Do you offer night classes or is there a part-time option to the program?
A: There are no night classes or part-time option at this time.

Q: Do you offer online classes?
A: There is no online option at this time.

Q: What is the expected class size?
A: The cohort will be approximately 30 students in size.

Q: What does the class schedule look like?
A: Class schedule is Monday through Friday 10am-5pm with 3-4 classes running simultaneously each semester. One day per week is devoted to practicum work.

Q: What is the purpose of the analytics bootcamp?
A: Because students come from a variety of academic backgrounds, students take 3 five-week courses starting in early July to bring everyone's background up to a similar level. All students take the Introduction to Data-Driven Business Strategies course and then take two of the following: computational analytics, linear algebra, or probability/statistics according to their strengths and weaknesses. The boot camp is a way for students to quickly decide whether they have the appropriate background to succeed and whether they are truly interested in a highly technical analytics degree. Every year a few students do not continue with the program.

Q:  What is the total cost of the program? Is financial aid available? 
A: Please click here for information about tuition costs, living costs and financial aid.

Q: Does the program offer any scholarships?
A: The Analytics Program awards a limited number of partial scholarships to our top applicants. For the class of 2013-2014, the median fellowship was $3,500 (range $2,000-$8,000). Forty percent of enrolled students were given some level of fellowship money. You do not need to fill out a separate application to be considered for a fellowship; all students are considered.

Q: This program is expensive! Why isn't more financial aid available?
A: We are proud to run a program that, with high probability, significantly increases the earnings power of our graduates over the long run. Some students from our first cohort have already paid off all of their loans from cash bonuses or other forms of deferred compensation received. We are confident that the return on investment associated with this particular professional program is superior to the return on investment from many other forms of professional training (law, medicine, etc.). There is a shortage of data scientists on the job market right now, and that shortage is projected to get far worse before it gets better.

Q: When is my tuition payment due?
A: You must either pay in full or sign up for a payment plan by the due date each semester. Your admission deposit is applied to your tuition payment plan. Tuition due dates are May 1 for Summer semester, August 1 for Fall semester, and January 2 for Spring semester. If you fail to pay by the due date, a hold is placed on your account and you are not be able to register for classes until payment is received.

Practicums and job placement

Q: Which companies do MSAN students work with as part of their practicum?
A: One of the major advantages of USF's Analytics Program is that students work on real projects in real companies for 9 months of their 12 month program. Most practicum companies are within walking distance from USF's downtown campus. Students in the 2012-2013 cohort worked with Survey Monkey, Cisco, PayPal, Mozilla, and Thomson Reuters, among others. See project opportunities for more details.

Q: What is the job placement rate for graduating students?
A: Students graduating from the University of San Francisco's MS Analytics Program are literally sitting in the world's largest concentration of technology companies. Graduates find it easy to get challenging and well-paying jobs. For example, our Computer Science Program, that supplies 3 Analytics faculty, is recognized as having one of the highest returns on investment in the country, even above MIT. 

Within approximately three months of graduation, 11 of 12 students from the 2012-2013 cohort have taken positions. (100% employment at 5 months.) Students received an average of 1.78 job offers (range: 1-3 offers). The median initial salary (not including deferred compensation) was $85,000.00 per year among those students who reported an initial salary. The maximum base salary offer was in excess of $100,000.00 per year. The job titles assumed by our graduates include: Data Scientist, Big Data Analyst, Consultant II Health Intelligence Reporting Manager Data Analysis, Senior Software Engineer -- Algorithms, Data & Quality Hacker, and Business Intelligence Data Analyst.

Program admission: requirements and timetables

Q: What are the key background requirements?
A: You can learn more on the application page, but students must have high grades in prior coursework in probability and statistics, linear algebra, and computer programming (for example, Python, Java, C++, MATLAB, etc.). Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree. Typically, though not always, our applicants majored in mathematics, engineering, economics, statistics, or computer science. Forty-one percent of the 2013-2014 cohort was already in possession of a master's degree in a technical field.

Q: I haven’t completed all of the program requirements. Can I complete the requirements during the program?
A: You must have completed all required prerequisites before the program begins. The program is very intense and there is no time to take extra courses.

Q: Does USF offer courses that will satisfy the prerequisites for the program?
A: Yes. Please consult the catalog for more information on computer science and mathematics. You can take these as a visiting student prior to applying for the analytics program.

Q: What kind of programming experience do I need to satisfy the requirements?
A: Programming experience is necessary to be successful in the analytics program. Evidence can be in the form of a formal transcript or practical experience, but we definitely prefer students whose code has been evaluated by a college-level instructor as part of a traditional programming course. Note that HTML, web design, PHP and so on might be valuable, but they do not count towards programming experience. We prefer knowledge of programming languages like Python, Java, C#, C++, Matlab, or Mathematica.

Q: I'm only missing one of the prerequisites for your program, and I'm in the middle of taking a Coursera or other online course that will substitute for that prerequisite.
A: Given the uncertainties surrounding online coursework, and the failure of many online courses to provide a mechanism by which student code is checked for plagiarism and evaluated, students should show in-person coursework on transcripts from two- or four-year accredited academic institutions to have a competitive application.

Q: What GRE or GMAT scores are you looking for?
A: The students enrolled in the class of 2013-2014 had the following relevant scores:
Median Quant GRE percentile   90% (range 68%-99%)
Median Quant GMAT percentile   85% (range 63%-92%)
While the GRE exam is not a perfect measure of academic achievement or potential to be a successful data scientist, prospective students scoring strictly less than 160 on the quantitative portion are increasingly non-competitive for the Master of Science in Analytics program.


Q: What is the minimum GPA required?
A: We do not have a minimum GPA requirement but we examine transcripts carefully (median undergraduate GPA is typically >= 3.3).

Q: What is the typical acceptance rate?
A: For the 2013-2014 cohort, there were 113 applicants with fully complete applications of which 33 were sent formal acceptance letters (29%). We anticipate that the acceptance rate for the 2014-2015 cohort will be between 10% and 20%.

Q: What are the programming languages used in the program?
A: We mostly use R and Python, though we use SAS as well. To be competitive in a wide variety of jobs after graduation, our students are required to pass the SAS Base Programming Certification Examination.

Q: Is there an early admission deadline?
A: Yes. We review the existing pool of completed applications during the first week of December each year. A limited number of seats in the each cohort will be reserved for students who apply early, successfully complete our interview process, are admitted, and place a deposit in a timely fashion.

Q: Are admission decisions made on a rolling basis?
A: Yes. Starting in January of each year, we process applications on an ongoing basis. Some applicants are summarily denied. Some applications are placed on hold until the main March application deadline. Other applicants are interviewed and admitted to the program before the main March application deadline. In general, we advise prospective students who are highly motivated to join our program to apply as early as possible in the admissions cycle.

International students

Q: Is the Analytics Program open to international students?
A: Yes, the program welcomes international applicants. The 2013-2014 cohort of students is 50/50 U.S./international.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL score that you will accept? 
A: The program seeks applicants with TOEFL scores of 90 or higher. The 
class of 2013-2014 has a median TOEFL score of 103 (range 93-113).

Q: I have completed an undergraduate degree at a college or university in a country where English is the official language. Do I still need to take the TOEFL?
 The TOEFL is waived for applicants who have completed a Bachelor's Degree, a Master's Degree or two years or more of studies in a degree program in English at a higher education institution in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. The TOEFL is also waived for applicants from Norway.

Q: Are there loans or scholarships available for international students?
A: The graduate admissions office provides a list of organizations that offer financial resources for international students. You can find more information on financial aid or loans available to international students at the One Stop office.

Q: Will I be able to request CPT or OPT? Is the Analytics program a STEM major?
A: International graduates typically apply for OPT (Optional Practical Training) after they graduate. MSAN qualifies as a STEM major. International students apply for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) during the academic year if their practicum assignment is paid (some practicums are paid and some are not at the discretion of the client company). Please direct all further questions regarding CPT, OPT, or STEM to the office of International Student and Scholar Services at

Q: What is life like in the United States?