Program Details

What is the length of the M.S. in Analytics program?

This is a full-time, 12-month program. The program starts in early July and continues through the end of June in the following year.

Do you offer night classes or is there a part-time option to the program?

There are no night classes. There is no part-time option at this time.

Do you offer online classes?

There is no online option at this time. At USF, you will interact frequently in person with both your instructors and the other students in your cohort.

What is the expected class size?

The fifth cohort will be approximately 50 students in size. Beginning with the academic year 2015-2016, some MSAN classes will be scheduled in such a way that each week, students will attend two large class lectures (with all of their peers) and one of two smaller discussion sections led by the course instructor. These discussion sections will usually be focused on problem-solving skills, group projects, or additional examples. There are no teaching assistants leading class lectures or class discussions in our program.

What does the class schedule look like?

The schedule of classes is typically Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with 3-4 classes running simultaneously each module. (A “module” is approximately half a semester.) One to two days per week are devoted to practicum work. The practicum starts in mid-October.

What is the purpose of the analytics boot camp?

Because students come from a variety of academic backgrounds, students take three five-week courses starting in early July to bring everyone's background up to a similar level. All students take the Exploratory Data Analysis course and then take two of the following: computation for analytics, linear algebra, or probability/statistics. We encourage students to choose boot camp classes based on course content that they most need to review. The boot camp is a way for students to quickly decide whether they have the appropriate background and the proper motivation to succeed. Every year a few students do not continue with the program after the end of boot camp.

Financing Your Education

What is the total cost of the program? Is financial aid available?

The total tuition cost of the 35-unit, 4 semester M.S. in Analytics program is $43,575 in the academic year 2015-2016.

Please see our Financing Your Education page for more information on Financial Aid.

Does the program offer any scholarships?

The Master of Science in Analytics (MSAN) program awards a limited number of partial scholarships to our very best applicants. For the class of 2015-2016, the median fellowship (among those students given fellowships) was $3,000 (range $2,000 - $10,000). Over fifty 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.

Does the program offer teaching assistantships or research assistantships?

No. Teaching assistantships and research assistantships are typically reserved for doctoral students at research-oriented institutions. The time that might ordinarily be allocated, in a doctoral program, to supporting a faculty member's research or to helping a professor teach a course is allocated to practicum projects in our program. Some practicum positions are are paid and some are unpaid, depending on the company.

I've already taken similar courses to those offered in the program. Do you accept transfer credits?

No. Our curriculum is specifically designed for our MSAN students. Students take courses together as a cohort and all students must complete all 35 units of required coursework here at USF in order to graduate.

This program is expensive! Why isn't more financial aid available?

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.

When is my tuition payment due?

Tuition is due at the beginning of each semester. The university offers a payment plan for those who wish to make monthly payments.


Which companies do MSAN students work with as part of their practicum?

One of the major advantages of the MSAN program at the University of San Francisco is that students work on real projects with real companies for approximately 9 months out of their 12-month experience. Many practicum companies are within walking distance from USF's downtown campus at 101 Howard Street. Students in the 2014-2015 cohort worked with Williams-Sonoma, Dictionary.com, AutoGrid, GE, MyFitnessPal, Zephyr Health, DataFox, ChannelMeter, and Uber, among others. Learn more about our Practicums.

Do students need to find their own practicum companies?

No. The program matches students with companies based on interest, skill set, and project.

Do students typically get paid by their practicum companies?

The decision to provide compensation for practicum work is up to each individual company. Some projects are paid and some are unpaid.

What are the employment outcomes?

Our most recent cohort will be 100% employed with a median base salary of $100,000. See our careers page for more details on student outcomes.


Program Admission: Requirements and Timetables

What are the key background requirements?

Learn more on the How To Apply page

Applicants 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. Twenty-seven percent of the 2015-2016 cohort was already in possession of a master's or doctoral degree in a technical field at the time of matriculation.

I haven’t completed all of the program requirements. Can I complete the requirements during the program?

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.

Does USF offer courses that will satisfy the prerequisites for the program?

Yes, in some cases. You can take these as a visiting student prior to applying for the analytics program, if you do not require a student visa to study in the US. USF is not able to issue I-20s for visiting students. Please consult the catalog for more information on mathematics and computer science courses.

Where can I take the prerequisite courses if I can't take them at USF?

We encourage prospective students to examine the offerings of accredited colleges or universities local to them. Many applicants complete our prerequisites at a community college. If you are unable to complete the courses locally, the following institutions offer one or more courses via online or distance learning format that will satisfy our prerequisite requirements. Courses at these institutions are taken for a grade on a transcript and require a proctored final exam.

I'd like to take a course at the University of San Francisco to satisfy the linear algebra prerequisite. Which course should I take?

You should take MATH 230 (Elementary Linear Algebra). The Department of Mathematics typically offers this course course every year in the fall semester. MATH 202 (Linear Algebra and Probability) satisfies neither the linear algebra nor the inferential statistics prerequisite for the MSAN program.

I'd like to take a course at the University of San Francisco to satisfy the inferential statistics prerequisite. Which course should I take?

You should take MATH 101 (Elementary statistics). The Department of Mathematics typically offers this course every semester. There are other courses at the university that satisfy the inferential statistics prerequisite, such as MATH 102 (Biostatistics), MATH 103 (Statistics for the Social Sciences), or ESS 200 (Statistics). We will also accept two-course sequences in probability theory and mathematics statistics for mathematics majors as satisfying the inferential statistics prerequisite. For example, at the University of San Francisco, this sequence is composed of MATH 370 (Probability with Applications) and MATH 371 (Statistics with Applications).

I'd like to take a course at the University of San Francisco to satisfy the computer programming prerequisite. Which course should I take?

You should take CS 110 (Introduction to Computer Science I). The Department of Computer Science typically offers this course every semester. CS 110 features Python, a preferred programming language for the MSAN program. However, our more competitive applicants have also taken the equivalent of CS 112 (Introduction to Computer Science II), a second course in computer programming that typically features Java and requires students to build more sophisticated and larger programs.

What kind of programming experience do I need to satisfy the requirements?

Programming experience is necessary to be successful in the MSAN program. While practical experience is valuable, we require that applicants complete at least one programming course at an accredited college or university. Note that HTML, web design, PHP, Microsoft Excel, VBA, etc. 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.

Will you accept courses taken on sites like Coursera and edX in fulfillment of the prerequisite requirements?

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, applicants should show in-person coursework on transcripts from two- or four-year accredited academic institutions to have a competitive application. 

What GRE or GMAT scores are you looking for?

The students enrolled in the class of 2015-2016 had the following relevant scores:

  • Median Quant GRE score = 165
  • Median Quant GMAT score = 51

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.

What is the minimum GPA required?

We do not have a minimum GPA requirement but we examine transcripts carefully. The median undergraduate cumulative grade point average exceeds 3.40.

What is the typical acceptance rate?

For the 2015-2016 cohort, there were 311 applicants with fully complete applications of which 55 were sent formal acceptance letters (i.e., an acceptance rate of approximately 17%). We anticipate that the acceptance rate for the 2016-2017 cohort will again be between 10% and 20%.

What are the programming languages used in the program?

We mostly use R, Python and SQL, although we also use SAS. To be competitive in a wide variety of jobs after graduation, our students are required to pass the SAS Base Programming Certification Examination.

Is there an early admission deadline?

Yes. Our deadline for Priority Scholarship consideration is December 4. We review the existing pool of completed applications in December each year. A limited number of seats in 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.

Are admission decisions made on a rolling basis?

Yes. Starting in January, 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

Is the MSAN program open to international students?

Yes, the program welcomes international applicants. Under 50% of the 2015-2016 cohort is composed of international students. These international students hail from India, China, Ireland, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Spain, South Korea, and Turkey.

What is the minimum TOEFL score that you will accept?

The program seeks applicants with TOEFL scores of 90 or higher. The 2015-2016 cohort has a median TOEFL score of 105 (range 90-116).

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 and Iceland.

Are there loans or scholarships available for international students?

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.

Will I be able to request CPT or OPT? Is the Analytics program a STEM major?

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 for their practicum assignment. Please direct all further questions regarding CPT, OPT, or STEM to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.