General Program Information
Yes, the online MS-DS program falls under the University of Colorado Boulder's overall accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and was approved by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE).
No, the diploma that MS-DS on Coursera students earn is the same as the diploma for our on-campus program. There are no "online" or "Coursera" designations.
You can enroll right away into a series of 3 one-credit pathway courses with a focus on either statistics or computer science. No transcripts or applications are required. To get started, fill out our enrollment form to select and enroll in a pathway course and pay your tuition.
To enroll in the non-credit versions of the MS-DS curriculum, sign up for an account on Coursera, find the course you are interested in, and click the Enroll button to audit the course.
No, the MS-DS is a non-thesis degree that requires 30 credit hours of coursework only.
The degree does not currently include a capstone project.
This degree is self-paced. Students who take 3 courses per 8-week session (equivalent to a full-time graduate-level course load) typically complete the degree in about 2 years. However, you can take more courses per session to complete the degree more quickly. Or you can take fewer courses per session if you prefer a slower pace. Please note that you must complete all courses within 8 years.
Yes, students who successfully complete the online MS-DS degree will be invited to campus for graduation.
Degrees are conferred three times annually. Check the graduation calendar for semester-specific dates. Diplomas will be issued electronically. Paper diplomas are available upon request for a small fee. See Order a Diploma or Certificate.
Students who graduate from the program and earn the MS-DS degree are welcome to attend on-campus graduation ceremonies but are not obligated to do so.
This program is designed for working professionals in the industry. It is not intended to train Ph.D. students or research students. Other institutions and universities may accept transfer credit from the online MS-DS program at their discretion.
Eligibility and Admissions
There are no formal prerequisites for the MS-DS on Coursera, but you should be knowledgeable in the following:
Complete your pathway with a 3.0 GPA average or better to demonstrate your proficiency and be admitted to the program.
If you do not yet feel ready to complete your pathway courses, we suggest reviewing courses on the Coursera platform and/or enrolling in a pathway specialization as a non-credit learner, which gives you the option of previewing course content. Then, you can upgrade to the for-credit version and pay tuition when you are ready. Any assignments you complete in the non-credit experience will be automatically applied to your for-credit experience after you upgrade. Due to their interactive nature, discussion board posts and peer-graded assignments may not transfer from session to session when you upgrade. Be sure to save your work off-platform.
There are no formal prerequisites for the MS-DS. However, you should be knowledgeable in the following:
You must complete your pathway courses with a 3.0 GPA average or better to demonstrate your proficiency and be admitted to the program.
If you would like to brush up on your programming skills, we recommend that you try the following:
If you are not sure if you are ready to complete your pathway courses, we suggest reviewing courses on the Coursera platform. You can enroll in a pathway specialization as a non-credit learner, which gives you the option to preview course content. Then, you can upgrade to the for-credit version and pay tuition when you are ready. Any assignments you complete in the non-credit experience will be automatically applied to your for-credit experience after you upgrade. Due to their interactive nature, discussion board posts and peer-graded assignments may not transfer from session to session when you upgrade. Be sure to save your work off-platform.
No. This program uses performance-based admissions, which means you must complete 3 pathway courses for credit with a 3.0 GPA average or better. This demonstrates your proficiency and allows you to be admitted to the program.
Yes. This program is delivered 100% online.
Due to current restrictions imposed by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, webcourse delivery cannot be provided to the following areas: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Syria and the Crimea Region of Ukraine.
You do not need to submit anything. Because this program uses performance-based admissions, you do not need to submit transcripts, test scores (like GRE or TOEFL), essays, or even an application fee. You must complete 3 pathway courses for credit with an average GPA of 3.0 or better to demonstrate proficiency and be admitted to the program.
Yes! The MS-DS on Coursera is open to students around the world. However, due to current restrictions imposed by U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, we cannot provide online courses to the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea Region of the Ukraine. See CU Online Course Delivery Restriction for details.
No. To be admitted to the MS-DS as a degree-seeking student, you must enroll in and complete your pathway with a 3.0 GPA or better. Your pathway is a series of 3 one-credit courses with a focus on either statistics or computer science – you choose the pathway that is right for you. The courses in your pathway are part of the required curriculum, so you make direct progress toward your degree as you complete your pathway.
No. Because this program is entirely online, students are not eligible for a student visa (e.g., F-1 or J-1 visa) or Form I-20. Students who are already in the US on an H1-B visa need to work with their sponsor to determine if they are eligible to participate in this correspondence course.
You must reach out to the Registrar at email@example.com to request that you be changed to an MS-DS student. This is an important step to ensure you are able to enroll in classes, earn admission to the MS-DS degree program, and receive Data Science communications.
Remember that only MS-DS courses count toward the MS-DS degree. Other CU classes on Coursera (like MS-EE courses) do not count toward 30 credits needed to earn the MS-DS degree.
Yes, you must maintain a 3.00 average throughout the program to remain in good academic standing. The MS-DS degree cannot be awarded until the minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA has been achieved. See the MS-DS Student Handbook for details, including what happens if your cumulative GPA falls below 3.00.
A specialization consists of 3 one-credit courses linked together to more fully cover a topic.
We recommend you complete courses using one of our two Recommended Learner Journeys; however, you may complete courses in any order. Please note that to be formally admitted to the program, you must complete a pathway specialization with a 3.0 GPA or better. If you have already completed coursework and have received academic credit for your work prior to completing a pathway, your completed credits will be applied to your degree progress and academic transcript once you are formally admitted.
No. The degree is designed to be flexible. You will complete 21 credits of core coursework in statistics, computer science, and general core concepts as well as 9 credits of elective coursework. You may complete courses in any order, but we recommend following one of our two Learner Journeys.
For every one credit hour you take, you may spend 4–6 hours per week depending on your knowledge and skill. This includes videos, discussions, readings and assignments.
This degree is self-paced, and there is no minimum or maximum number of courses required per session. We recommend new students take one class in their first session as they adjust to the demands of this graduate-level program. In subsequent terms, we recommend students take 3 or fewer courses per session, which is equivalent to a full-time graduate-level course load. Students who take 3 courses per session complete the degree in about 2 years. You must complete all courses within 8 years.
Look for the graduation cap icon and “Part of the Master of Science in Data Science degree” on Coursera’s course description page. Remember that only courses with this notation fulfill MS-DS degree requirements. Other CU classes on Coursera (e.g., those offered in the MS-EE degree) do not count toward 30 credits needed to earn the MS-DS degree.
See Curriculum to find MS-DS courses and view course details.
Pathways are a series of three 1-credit courses with a focus on either statistics or computer science. Complete your pathway with a 3.0 GPA or better to be admitted to the program.
Choose one of the following pathways:
Data Science Foundations: Statistical Inference
Data Science Foundations: Data Structures & Algorithms
Yes, all students must complete the courses in both the Data Science Foundations: Statistical Inference pathway and the Data Science Foundations: Data Structures & Algorithms pathway to complete the degree. To gain admission, you only need to complete one pathway, and you can choose the pathway that is right for you. Start with the Data Science Foundations: Statistical Inference pathway if you are strong in statistics. Start with the Data Science Foundations: Data Structures & Algorithms pathway if you are strong in computer science.
Note that you cannot "mix and match" pathways to earn program admission. You must complete all 3 courses within one pathway to gain admission. (E.g., you cannot complete 2 courses in the Data Structures & Algorithms Pathway and 1 course in the Statistical Inference for Data Science Pathway to earn admission.)
If you do not complete each pathway course with at least a C grade or do not earn at least a 3.0 GPA average for the pathway, you can pursue another pathway. If you successfully complete this second pathway, you will be admitted to the degree program.
To successfully complete a pathway and earn admission to the program, you must:
You can also preview the second pathway option as a non-credit learner, and then upgrade to for-credit when you are ready to pay tuition and complete the final exams.
After admission to the degree, your cumulative GPA will include all attempted for-credit coursework. This includes any courses you failed before gaining admission to the degree. However, you are allowed to retake your original pathway courses and try to improve your grade. See the MS-DS Student Handbook for details about course repetition and grade replacement.
After you pass 3 courses in one of our pathway specializations with a 3.0 GPA or higher, you will automatically be admitted to the program. All admitted students receive an official offer letter via email.
Courses are open for 8 weeks. There are 6 enrollment sessions per year. Each enrollment window starts 2 weeks before the first day of class and ends 2 weeks before all coursework is due. All for-credit coursework is due by the last day of the 8-week session.
Courses are self-paced; however, all for-credit coursework must be submitted by the last day of the 8-week session.
Non-credit courses have no time limit.
If you have accessed restricted content (usually the final exam), you will receive a letter grade for the course based on the work you completed before the end of the term. This includes an exam grade—even if you did not finish the exam.
If you have not accessed restricted content nor received a course grade, you can drop or withdraw from a course, depending on your timeline. See the Registrar's Special Programs page for information and forms related to drops, refunds, and withdrawal.
Tuition payments cannot be rolled over to future sessions.
Courses may include project-based assessments and/or online proctored exams that use ProctorU, an online proctoring service that ensures exam integrity and accountability. ProctorU requires a computer, Internet connection, and webcam and monitors students in three ways:
Students who are worried about succeeding in a particular class have multiple options to consider, depending on the exact circumstances. Options include:
Please see Options for MS-DS Students Worried About Course Grades for an outline of the above options. The MS-DS Student Handbook has more details.
Yes, lectures are recorded on video and available on demand. You do not need to worry about attending a live lecture in a different time zone.
No, instructors create videos specifically for Coursera. These lectures are designed with online learners in mind.
There may be group work. Assignments vary by course and may include individual and group work assignments.
Non-Credit and For-Credit Options
No, the non-credit courses carry a monthly subscription fee. The monthly subscription fee is paid to Coursera, not to the University of Colorado Boulder.
No. The Coursera degree and the on-campus degree are not interchangeable. If you start the Coursera degree, you cannot later switch to the on-campus program.
To enroll in the non-credit versions of courses, sign up for a Coursera account, find the courses you are interested in enrolling in, and click the Enroll button. Once you enroll, you will be able to either audit the course for free or pay a certificate fee to earn a Course or Specialization Certificate. Some courses offer a free trial during which you can try out the course for free before committing to paying the certificate fee.
You may upgrade from non-credit to for-credit at any time during the enrollment window. Each enrollment period starts 2 weeks before the first day of class and ends 2 weeks before all coursework is due.
Please note that if you start a non-credit course within the same month that you upgrade to the for-credit version, you will not receive a refund for the monthly subscription associated with the non-credit course. The monthly subscription fee is paid to Coursera, not to the University of Colorado Boulder.
Yes, the work you complete in the non-credit version of a course transfers over to the for-credit version when you upgrade and pay tuition. You will complete a final project or exam. You can upgrade from non-credit to for-credit at any time during your learning journey. You have up to 8 years to complete the full program.
If you are taking a non-credit class, you only pay the monthly Coursera subscription fee. If you are taking a for-credit class, you only pay the $667 per credit hour tuition fee. Please note that if you started a non-credit course within the same month that you upgrade to the for-credit version, you will not receive a refund for the monthly subscription associated with the non-credit course. The monthly subscription fee is paid to Coursera, not to the University of Colorado Boulder.
Yes, students can earn a Course Certificate from Coursera for non-credit courses and specializations. This non-credit certificate of completion does not earn transcripted credit from the University of Colorado Boulder, nor can it be applied to the degree.
Yes, you can always start with a non-credit version of a course on Coursera and later upgrade to the for-credit version and pay CU Boulder tuition.
The cost of the Master of Science in Data Science is $667 per credit hour. The program requires 30 credit hours of coursework.
When you pay CU Boulder tuition for a for-credit course, you do not need a Coursera subscription. However, non-credit courses carry a monthly subscription fee. This means that if you start in the non-credit version of a course on Coursera and later upgrade to the for-credit version, you will also have paid Coursera's monthly subscription fee.
No. Because this program is 100% online, the tuition is the same for all students regardless of where you live.
We accept the following forms of payment:
No, tuition payments cannot be rolled over to future sessions.
No. When you pay CU Boulder tuition for a for-credit course, you do not need a Coursera subscription. However, non-credit courses carry a monthly subscription fee. This means that if you start in the non-credit version of a course on Coursera and later upgrade to the for-credit version, you will also have paid Coursera's monthly subscription fee.
You pay per credit hour. You may drop a class if you are within 14 days from the class start date or enrollment date (whichever is later), and you must not have accessed restricted content in the course. A refund will be returned to your credit card within 7-10 business days. When a course is dropped under these conditions, it will not appear on your student record. Visit the Office of the Registrar for more information.
No, exam proctoring costs are included in your CU Boulder tuition.
No, this program is not eligible for the employee tuition assistance benefit.
CU Boulder Resources
Course facilitators hold weekly office hours so you can connect with them and ask questions about the material being covered in the program.
Online MS-DS students do not have access to campus facilities but can access online resources including CU Boulder libraries, Career Services, and ForeverBuffs Alumni Services.
Tutors are not available at this time. We highly encourage you to work with your peers.
Yes, students taking for-credit classes receive an official @colorado.edu email address.
Yes, students taking for-credit classes receive an IdentiKey, which includes your CU Boulder login name and password. Your IdentiKey uniquely identifies you and acts as your student identification number. Students do not receive a physical Buff OneCard (student ID card).
There are not currently opportunities for local students in the online program through Coursera to meet with professors.
Careers in Data Science
No. There are currently no internships available.
Students who have been admitted into the degree program will have lifelong access to Handshake through CU Boulder Career Services. Handshake is an online employment platform where employers post jobs and hold virtual events. Alumni can also use Handshake as a networking tool to connect with other alumni.
Admitted students also get access to VMock online resume-review. This tool leverages data-science, machine learning, and natural language processing to provide personalized feedback on your resume based on criteria gathered from employers and global best practices.
As a University of Colorado Boulder graduate, you will join the alumni association, Forever Buffs.
Graduates from CU Boulder go on to work at top companies including Amazon, Apple, Boeing, Disney, Google, IBM, Lockheed Martin, NASA, NBC, Twitter, and Yelp.