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What Does A Top University Look For In A Student For MS In Data Science: Rutgers University

What Does A Top University Look For In A Student For MS In Data Science: Rutgers University

  • Students learn important theory and core concepts that allow them to be lifelong learners and practitioners of data science irrespective of what the current trendy tools are available now or will be available in the future.

For the latest in our series on MS In Data Science Program in the US for Indian students, Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is an academic, health and research powerhouse and one of the US’s oldest and largest universities. The university has a network of 500,000 active alumni.  

AIM: How does Masters in Data Science Program stand out, making students industry ready?

Rutgers: The MS in Data Science at Rutgers University is a professional MS program that prepares students to be job-ready upon graduation. It is a rigorous program that is offered by the Department of Statistics, to be completed in three full-time semesters. While many data science programs are very wide and shallow, Rutgers MSDS is narrow and deep. Students learn important theories and core concepts that allow them to be lifelong learners and practitioners of data science irrespective of what the current trendy tools are available now or will be available in the future. 

As a professional program, practical training is its core aspect, making MSDS one of the few programs in the US to provide international students with day-1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training), or the ability to take a relevant internship opportunity as soon as they join the program, compared to the typical one year waiting period. In addition, the Department of Statistics has established the Office of Professional Programs that is dedicated exclusively to providing internship, part-time and full-time opportunities to students in the program; this is in addition to students having access to the office of Career Exploration and Success that is available to all Rutgers students. 

In addition, our location in New Jersey with close proximity to New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut makes us an attractive hub for companies recruiting from these areas. 

AIM: What are the key aspects that the University looks for in a student during the admission process?

Rutgers: We look at applicants in a holistic manner and consider all aspects of the application when making admission decisions. This includes college transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation and personal essays. Having said that, MSDS is an academically rigorous quantitative program that requires a strong background in math and statistics. Admission decisions favour those applicants who can demonstrate strong proficiency in math, statistics and knowledge of a programing language. 

AIM: Do you place any specific emphasis on foreign students, especially from India?

Rutgers: We welcome applications from both domestic US students and international students from across the world. When considering international students, English proficiency and communication skills in English are important. Students from India historically score well on those two aspects.

AIM: How well is the university linked with industry to facilitate on-campus placements?

Rutgers: The Department of Statistics has established the Office of Professional Programs that is dedicated to finding employment opportunities specifically for MSDS students. MSDS students get exclusive full-time job and internship opportunities from corporate partners of the program. This is in addition to Rutgers’ University-wide career services office, one of the biggest in the country, that is also available to all Rutgers students, including MSDS students.

Students have found employment in financial services, consumer, pharmaceutical, technology and consulting industries in data science-related positions once they graduate.

AIM: Can you share with us the placement record of the college, specific to the data science program for students?

Rutgers: We don’t carve out employment numbers by student type (international or domestic); however, 85 percent of our graduates find full-time employment, and that too within six months of graduation, while a small percentage chooses to pursue further graduate studies, including a PhD. Our international students typically make up 60 percent or more of our students. Important to note that previous full-time work experience is not required and that a majority of MSDS students enter the program with less than one year of full-time work experience.

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An overwhelming majority of students find internships. Typically, many students get internships as soon as they start the program in the Fall via existing corporate relationships that the program has with employer partners.

AIM: Who can apply to the course? Any requirements specific to Indian students?

Rutgers: MSDS is open to all students who have completed an undergraduate degree and have fulfilled the program’s academic prerequisites in math, statistics and computer programing listed below:

  • Multivariate Calculus
  • Linear Algebra
  • Introduction to Probability
  • Theory of Statistics
  • Two courses in statistical computing or computer science, including advanced programming. For further info, one can visit here.

Rutgers: The department of Statistics does not offer any scholarships or financial assistance. However, students are eligible for external scholarships. In addition, there are some grader and other paid on-campus opportunities available to students in the program.

All admission inquiries should be addressed by email to the Director of Admissions at msds@stat.rutgers.edu directly. 

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