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Tufts Online MSDS: Understanding the Admissions Process

January 29, 2024

Global data creation is accelerating at a remarkable rate; McKinsey & Company forecasts a threefold increase in data generation between 2020 and 2025 and sets 2025 as the year by which most corporate employees will regularly leverage data to support their work. At that point, data will impact nearly every business decision, interaction, and process. 

Business is just one of many sectors that the data revolution will transform. Data-driven decisions will equally influence government, healthcare institutions, education, and nonprofits, among others. It would actually be easier to list sectors that will not be affected. That would be a short list.

As more institutions focus on making data-driven decisions, the demand for data science professionals grows. Fifty-three percent of senior executives have identified data and analytics as their top investment priority in the next two years, a 50 percent increase over 2020. In line with this trend, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment of data scientists to grow 35 percent over the next decade (the forecast change in employment in all occupations during this period is 3 percent). 

The data boom has created a significant job market for professionals who process, manage, and interpret data. However, aspiring data scientists need advanced training and skills to qualify for the best jobs. A Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) program can deliver both. 

Tufts University offers an online MSDS, enabling you to earn your master’s degree from anywhere in the country. If you’re considering applying to the Tufts online MSDS program, this article will help you understand the admissions process and provide tips on assembling an impressive application. 

Are You a Good Fit for the Tufts Online MSDS Program?

The ideal Tufts MS in Data Science student is driven, eager to innovate, and motivated to be part of the next generation of leading data scientists. Candidates must demonstrate strong analytical skills and an aptitude for math. When evaluating candidates for the online MSDS program, the admissions committee considers candidates’ academic history and professional experience. 

While your bachelor’s degree does not need to be in a specific field, most successful applicants have a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) and have completed courses in upper-level mathematics, statistics, or data science with a strong GPA (3.0 or higher). A robust programming background and coding experience can compensate for shortcomings elsewhere in your application. 

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Tufts Online Master of Science in Data Science Program Application Materials

The Tufts online MSDS admissions process is competitive. To apply, you must submit the following materials: 

  • Online application form
  • Transcripts from each educational institution attended where credit was earned toward an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement (up to 2,500 words)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Digital portfolio (optional)

GRE scores are required only for applicants whose degree is from an institution outside the U.S. or Canada; applicants with a degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian institution may voluntarily choose to submit GRE scores. Test results should demonstrate a favorable quantitative reasoning score, typically in the 90th percentile or higher. 

If you earned your bachelor’s degree outside of the U.S., you must have your transcript translated into English by a certified translator; translation by the degree-granting institution is acceptable. Non-native English speakers must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test.

You can improve your chances of admission by following the tips offered below.

Submit Effective Letters of Recommendation

Tufts requires three letters of recommendation from most MSDS candidates. However, Tufts undergraduate, graduate, and certificate students, alumni of Tufts degree programs, and juniors, seniors, or alumni of bridge schools need only submit two letters. Bridge schools include Lafayette College, Olin College, Smith College, Union College, and Wellesley College.

To solicit quality references, choose recommenders with whom you have a positive relationship and who can provide a candid assessment of your character, abilities, and academic background or professional work experience, such as university professors and work supervisors.

Ask your recommenders to cite specific examples of episodes that illustrate your skills and qualifications in their letters. Recommendation letters should be written on official letterhead or contain a written signature.

Presenting a Compelling Personal Statement

Your personal statement provides an opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee. Use it to explain how the program aligns with your career goals and values and to express your enthusiasm for the degree and program. Cite any relevant work and leadership experiences that make you a strong candidate. Keep your statement concise; stick to the 2,500-word limit. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to help you edit and proofread your statement before submission.

You may supplement your personal statement with an optional digital portfolio consisting of a video presentation (two minutes maximum) of a design, product, or research you created. Non-native English speakers are encouraged to submit a digital portfolio to demonstrate their English proficiency.

Organize Your Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Your resume or CV should include dates and details of your academic history, employment, academic honors, scholarships, publications, community involvement, volunteering, internships, and other activities. Increase your chances of gaining admission by organizing your resume to highlight your academic history and work experience relevant to the program. Tufts seeks candidates with strong mathematics backgrounds and coding experience; emphasize any evidence of either, providing specific examples of involvement where possible. Edit and proofread your resume before submission and ask a trusted friend or colleague to do the same to ensure it is error-free.  

Consult With a Tufts Enrollment Advisor

An enrollment advisor (EA) understands the MSDS admissions process. They can advise you on how to acquire transcripts and complete your application. They also provide guidance on application deadlines, financial aid, and the enrollment process. Finally, EAs can offer crucial advice regarding what the admissions team seeks in applicants and how best to craft your application to reflect your strengths (and address any potential weaknesses).

Why Earn Your MSDS Online from Tufts?

As global data creation and collection accelerates, companies increasingly need expert data scientists to process information and extract insights. While some data science jobs are available to those with a bachelor’s degree, more and more employers want data scientists with advanced degrees. About 40 percent of data scientist and advanced analyst job postings ask for a master’s degree or higher.

An MS in Data Science from Tufts University can help you accelerate your career by adding an in-demand credential—alongside the skills and knowledge you will acquire—to your resume. The Tufts online MSDS program curriculum intentionally aligns with industry demands to cover big data, artificial intelligence, data analysis, and statistics. The coursework emphasizes innovation and discovery, preparing you to pursue sought-after jobs such as machine learning engineer, database architect, and analytics manager. 

In addition, the Tufts MSDS program is offered 100 percent online and can be completed part-time, meaning you can study wherever you are and continue working. If that sounds like the career boost you’re seeking, contact our admissions office today to schedule a conversation with an enrollment advisor. 

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