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Foundations of Data Science

NC State's Master's degree in Foundations of Data Science will help meet the demand for a new breed of data science professionals.

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A Degree in Foundations of Data Science at NC State

Launched in Fall 2023, NC State’s Master’s degree in Foundations of Data Science (MSFDS) will help meet the demand for a new breed of data science professionals. MSFDS is a terminal professional degree program based on course work and integrated professional development activities. The program will equip its graduates with both depth and breadth, balanced across three core disciplines lying at the heart of data science. No research, thesis or comprehensive examination is required. MSFDS students are normally self-supported.

Domestic students, including foreign nationals with active visa status, can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis, and have available online options. International students must enroll on a full-time basis. The program can be completed full-time in three semesters. For international students on a F-1 visa, our program is designated as eligible for a 2-year STEM OPT extension. Current NC State undergraduate students interested in pursuing an Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) with the MSFDS program should contact for more information.

Dr. Mansoor Haider, Director, NC State’s Masters degree in Foundations of Data Science (MSFDS) talks about meeting the demand for a new breed of data science professionals.


The MSFDS degree may be pursued via a standard track or through one of three concentrations in Computer Science, Mathematics or Statistics. The core degree requirements (standard track) are shown below:

Degree Requirements

Required Courses21
Statistics Core
ST 503
Fundamentals of Linear Models and Regression
ST 517
Applied Statistical Methods I
Mathematics Core (choose two of the following)
MA 523
Linear Transformations and Matrix Theory
MA 540
Uncertainty Quantification for Physical and Biological Models
MA 542
Convex Optimization Methods in Data Science
Computer Science Core
CSC 505
Design and Analysis Of Algorithms
CSC 540
Database Management Concepts and Systems
Machine Learning core (choose one of the following)
ST 563
Introduction to Statistical Learning
CSC 522
Automated Learning and Data Analysis
Concentration Electives9
Total Hours30

Degree Concentrations

Foundations of Data Science (MS): Computer Science Concentration

Foundations of Data Science (MS): Mathematics Concentration

Foundations of Data Science (MS): Statistics Concentration

Prerequisites and Admissions

Essential requirements for admission to the program are undergraduate-level knowledge of single and multivariable calculus and matrix or linear algebra. Coursework in probability and statistics, and a course in data structures or algorithms will make applicants more competitive for admission to the program. Exceptions may be approved by the MSFDS Director of Graduate Programs (DGP). Submission of GRE General Test scores is optional.

For Fall 2024 admissions, applications will be considered on a rolling basis until program capacity is reached (see also NCSU Application Deadlines). Applicants may be contacted for an admissions interview.

Applicants should also review the Graduate School admissions requirements.

Advisor and Graduate Degree Planning

Each MSFDS student will be assigned an academic advisor to assist with course selection, policies and procedures of the graduate school, and timely progress through the program. After enrollment, each MSFDS student will use the Graduate Planner tool to outline the courses they will take to fulfill their degree requirements.


There are no comprehensive examinations required for the MSFDS degree (beyond regular tests, exams or projects required in each course applied towards the degree).

Continuous Enrollment, Academic Standing and Time Limits

While pursuing a graduate degree at NC State, all students must be registered every Fall or Spring semester until completion of the degree.  Otherwise, a student must request an official leave of absence from the Graduate School.  To graduate, a student must have at least a 3.00 GPA. All masters students at NC State must complete their degree requirements within six (6) calendar years of starting their graduate program. 

Apply Today

Applications are open for Fall 2024 admissions to MSFDS.

Tuition and Fees

MSFDS students are normally self-supported. Domestic students, including foreign nationals with active visa status, can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis, and have available online options. International students must enroll on a full-time basis. See current NC State graduate tuition rates.

On-campus, domestic students coming from out-of-state may be eligible to establish North Carolina residency for tuition purposes after one year of study. Successfully establishing NC residency allows students to pay in-state tuition/fee rates and could lead to significant overall cost savings. Students should review all important information regarding Residency to ensure they are taking the necessary steps as soon as possible.

Cost of Attendance At a Glance

Select an option below to view 2023-2024 tuition rates for graduate students. Please note Online and Distance Education (DE) tuition charges are based on the student’s academic program and registration.

On Campus

HoursTuitionTuition IncrementRequired FeesTotal
HoursTuitionTuition IncrementRequired FeesTotal

Online and Distance Education

HoursTuitionTuition IncrementRequired FeesTotal
HoursTuitionTuition IncrementRequired FeesTotal

An additional $1,392.40 Mandatory Health Insurance charge will be included on your account unless you waive out of the semester premium charge.

All new on-campus graduate students will automatically be assessed an orientation fee in their first semester of enrollment. All new international graduate students will automatically be assessed an additional international orientation fee in their first semester of enrollment. This one-time fee is mandatory and covers all orientation activities as well as other events, programs, and workshops during your time at NC State.

Please note it is the student’s responsibility to review charges on their student account after registration.

International Students

NC State University is home to over 6,000 International Students from 129 different countries. As part of our Global Pack understanding the cost of living in the United States and the city in which your university is located is fundamental to thriving both as a student and a member of the broader community. Please visit our Cost of Living in the U.S. webpage that offers a list of expenses and other financial considerations.

Foundations of Data Science Contact

If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about the Foundations of Data Science program, please fill out our interest form above or email

For specific questions related to NC State graduate education, please email us at: