FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


Preparation

How much mathematics coursework should I have to be successful in this program?

Students who apply should have taken two semesters of single variable calculus in high school or college, and it is essential to have taken a full course in multivariable (vector) calculus and done well in it (B or better). Linear algebra is highly desirable but not required. If you have questions, please contact the program.

How much experience with statistics should I have to be successful in this program?

Applicants should have taken a calculus-based statistics course that covers elementary probability, properties of random variables, common discrete and continuous distributions, expectations, the central limit theorem, parameter estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and possibly elements of linear regression. It is desirable if you have used a computational statistics package in this class, for example SPSS, R, or Stata. If you have taken the first course of a statistics sequence for economics majors (the second course would then be econometrics), you may also be adequately prepared. If you have questions, please contact the program.

How much computer science experience should I have to be successful in this program?

R and Python are used extensively throughout the program. R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics, and Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Students should have working experience or have taken coursework on these languages prior to admission. In addition, introductory computer science coursework focusing on C++ and/or Java will help familiarize students with general programming.

I haven’t taken a programming course in college, but I became proficient with programming language while working for my current employer and am now spending most of my time coding in that language. How should I document my computer science proficiency?

Although we prefer live (classroom-based) courses, you can take an online certificate program in R or Python and upload the certificate with your application to demonstrate proficiency. You can also ask a supervisor to submit a letter of recommendation in which your coding work could be addressed.

I expect to have some time available before I enter the program this Fall. How can I better prepare during the summer?

The Georgetown Data Science & Analytics program gives an online course in programming preparation that covers R, Python, and command line use in the summer prior to matriculation. The course is equivalent to three credits, is designed for matriculating MS Data Science & Analytics students, and is offered free of charge. It is required for all incoming students. This course runs during the Georgetown Summer Session. Students must complete this course to matriculate in the fall. If you are comfortable with R, Python, and the command line, a good next step would be to take a course in data structures or to learn this topic on your own. Your preparation should cover topics such as basic data structures (lists, stacks, queues, trees, hashing, heaps, disjoint sets, graphs, self-adjusting data structures).

I have only taken Calculus I and Calculus II. Can I get admitted to this program?

Please contact us to discuss your level of preparation. You can take our required courses at a local college before applying. Many community colleges offer these courses at convenient times. Georgetown University also offers these courses through its School of Continuing Studies (new window) during the summer. We’ll work with you to prepare a plan. You should also refresh your calculus knowledge before enrolling in our required courses.

I don’t have any programming experience. Can I get admitted to this program?

You should not submit an application at this time, but rather contact us. You can acquire this experience in a number of ways, including college courses and company training. Georgetown University also offers such courses through its School of Continuing Studies (new window) during its summer session.

I am currently taking prerequisite coursework to fulfill program admission requirements. Can I apply for admission before I have completed the course(s) and be admitted to this program?

Although you are permitted to apply without the prerequisites, you should be aware that you will be competing against applicants who have already completed the prerequisite courses and can provide final grades for them. If you are taking prerequisite coursework when you apply, please indicate on your application that these courses are “in-progress.” When you have completed the courses, please be sure to upload a new transcript reflecting the course grades.

I have not taken one or more prerequisite courses. Can I take these classes over the summer before Fall classes begin?

Although you are permitted to apply without the prerequisites, you should be aware that you will be competing against applicants who have already completed the prerequisite courses and can provide final grades for them. So while you have a chance of being admitted if the rest of your application is strong, your application will not be as competitive as those who have already completed the required courses. You would have a much better chance of being admitted if you complete all prerequisites before applying.

I took Econometrics in college, and we did a good deal of statistics in that course. Am I prepared adequately?

This preparation is usually sufficient. To make sure, please send us more detail about your preparation, including perhaps a syllabus or information about the textbook that was used.

Is there a minimum GPA for applicants?

The Graduate School expects a B-average (3.0 or better) for applicants. We want to make sure that entering students can meet or come close to this requirement. For a successful application, evidence of success (A-grades) in advanced mathematics, statistics and/or computer science courses is even more important. If the application shows this, a student with a slightly lower GPA may still have a chance of admission.


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Course Planning

How many courses can I take at a time?

Three courses per semester is the normal load for full time students. Part time students who also have a full-time job may take either one or two courses per semester. Working full time and taking three graduate courses is not recommended as you will most likely perform poorly both in your job and in your classes.

Can I be a part-time student?

Yes. This is possible for students who are not on a student visa. This may be a good option for students who wish to continue their full-time job while attending the program, especially if they receive financial support from their employer. Graduate School rules state that students admitted to a master’s degree program are allowed three years from matriculation to complete all requirements for the degree. Talk to your advisor if you think you might take longer, since there are ways to get an extension.

Is it possible to switch between part-time and full-time status?

Yes. It is possible to switch back and forth between full-time and part-time status, and many students do this depending on their desired balance of work and study. However, international students must remain on full-time status throughout and may only switch to part-time status during their last semester. In addition, students should keep in mind that they are required to complete the program within three calendar years.

How long can I take to complete the degree?

Graduate School rules state that students admitted to a master’s degree program are allowed three years from matriculation to complete all requirements for the degree. Talk to your advisor if you think you might take longer, since there are ways to get an extension.

Do graduate students have academic advisors?

Yes. All graduate students will receive individual advising, usually from the Director of Graduate Studies.

Does the program offer graduate courses during the summer?

Yes, the Data Science & Analytics program typically offers one to two classes during summer semester. Students may also take coursework from other programs to satisfy elective requirements during the summer.

I plan to continue working full time. How long can I take to complete the degree?

Graduate School rules state that students admitted to a master’s degree program are allowed three years from matriculation to complete all requirements for the degree. Talk to your advisor if you think you might take longer, since there are ways to get an extension.

When and where will classes be offered?

All classes will be offered on Georgetown University’s Main Campus. View directions to the Main Campus (new window) and campus maps (new window). Classes in this program usually meet one day per week, often in the late afternoon (3:30 – 6:00pm) or evening (6:30 – 9:00pm), although we also offer morning classes.

How easy is it to take courses in other programs or departments?

You should always inquire with the instructor to see if the class is appropriate for you and if there is room for you, as there may be restrictions. Also, check with your advisor to see whether the class satisfies degree requirements.

Is it possible to take courses out of sequence?

We strongly recommend against it. The curriculum has been carefully designed to maximize your experience and your performance.

How often are the core and elective courses offered?

The required core courses and the elective courses are offered every year. ANLY-501: Introduction to Data Science is always offered in the fall.

What is the typical number of students in a graduate class?

The class size will typically be capped at 25-30, but classes will also run with smaller sizes.

Will I be able to get a seat in the course I want to take?

You will always be able to get a seat in core Data Science & Analytics courses. Popular electives in the Data Science & Analytics program sometimes fill up to capacity, but this is rare.

Can I take elective courses before completing the core courses?

Yes. This is possible, and you are encouraged to do so. Be sure to check the prerequisites of any course that you wish to take.

How can I find out whether a course offered by another Georgetown program counts towards the degree?

We have developed a list of pre-approved elective courses offered by the departments of Computer Science and Mathematics. For other programs, please inquire with your advisor.

I have taken graduate courses elsewhere. What are the rules for transferring credit?

The Graduate School allows students to transfer up to 25% of the curriculum for qualifying graduate courses from other institutions, as long as these courses have not been used to satisfy requirements for a previous degree and the grade is at least a B. In practice this means that two courses (6 credits) could be transferred. Please contact us to determine which of your courses qualify. We will require details such as a syllabus, information about the textbooks that were used, etc. For the actual transfer, an official transcript will be needed.

Can I take courses in the Computer Science Department or in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics to satisfy the degree requirements?

Yes. This is possible, as long as the course is on the list of pre-approved electives, there is room in the class, and you have instructor approval (if applicable).


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Internships

Is there an internship requirement for the degree?

There is no internship requirement, but many students seek internship opportunities during the summer.

Am I guaranteed an internship?

There is no guaranteed internship placement, but the graduate program will help students find internships with external partners, according to their interests and time constraints. Students are also encouraged to find internships on their own. In addition, the Graduate Career Center (new window) is a good resource available to all Georgetown graduate students.

How does an internship actually work?

An internship takes place off campus, at a location and in an environment that is not connected to Georgetown University. It could even occur outside of the Washington, DC area. Summer internships are usually full-time and normally last about eight weeks. They may continue into the academic year on a part-time basis. Internships during the academic year are usually part-time. Internships do not carry academic credit.

Can I get paid for an internship?

Interns are usually paid for their work. However, there is no guarantee. Keep in mind that the financial benefit of an internship may come later, when you apply for a job and can reference your past experience.


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Financial Aspects

What kind of financial assistance is available for students?

The Data Science & Analytics program offers merit-based scholarships to both incoming and continuing students. There are also opportunities for student employment as a research assistant or teaching assistant. You can learn about how assistantships work by visiting the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Financial Support (new window) page. As a returning student in your second year, you will be eligible to compete for a merit-based scholarship (new window).

What other possibilities are there for student employment?

There are Research Assistant (RA) and Teaching Assistant (TA) opportunities on campus. Assistantships are generally awarded to continuing students who have performed well academically. These positions are usually found through word-of-mouth or via Georgetown’s Student Employment Office (new window); you need a NetID to log in, which can be found in your offer letter.

Will I receive an automatic offer of financial assistance when I get admitted?

Our scholarships are merit-based and are not determined based on financial need. All applicants are considered for merit-based scholarships.


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General Questions

You may wish to review the Graduate Admissions F.A.Q. page (new window), which contains useful information about graduate admissions and programs for prospective students.

Does Georgetown University provide housing for graduate students?

While there is no on-campus housing for graduate students, the Office of Neighborhood Life (new window) is a great resource to learn more about off-campus options. There’s also a wealth of housing and student life information on the Graduate School of Arts & Science’s website (new window).

I live in the Washington area. What is the best way to get to campus?

Directions to campus may be found here (new window). To attend evening classes, you can usually find legal parking north of the Georgetown campus. You can also take the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS) (new window), Washington Metrobus (lines D2, D6, G2, and a Circulator line) or bike (there is a Capital Bikeshare (new window) station at the main entrance of the campus). The nearest subway stop is in Rosslyn and is served by a GUTS bus.

Is there a Georgetown University bus system that students can use?

Yes. It is called Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS) (new window) and is free for students and University employees. It serves Dupont Circle, Arlington, Rosslyn, and several other locations.

I may have to miss some classes due to my travel schedule. Will this be a problem?

This can usually be handled, if it doesn’t happen too often. Please inform your course instructor before you have to miss a class. Try to obtain notes from other students and use the online course material.

Is it possible to have a part-time job while being a full-time student?

Yes. This is something that many graduate students in related fields do, for example after a successful summer internship. International students are eligible for on-campus employment, but their employment opportunities off campus are restricted.

Is it possible to have a full-time job while being a full-time student?

Students are strongly discouraged from doing this. You are putting both your job performance and your academic performance at risk when you attempt this.

I am about to finish my first semester with an average that is less than the required B. Am I in trouble?

You will receive a notice and should talk to your advisor. You can improve your average by doing better in subsequent courses. The B-average must be achieved when you are applying for graduation.

I have a GPA that is slightly worse than a B and plan to improve it by having a graduate course transferred in which I received an A. That works, doesn’t it?

No, that does not work. Grades for transferred courses are not counted when calculating a student’s overall GPA.

Is there a thesis requirement for the degree?

No. There is no thesis requirement.

Can I write a thesis instead of completing courses?

There is currently no thesis option for the degree. However, students may find instructors and work with them on research projects. Such research may then lead to publishable papers.


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International Students

All answers are to the best of current knowledge. They are subject to change and do not constitute legal advice or commitments. Please review our International Student Resources (new window) page for detailed information for incoming and current international students.

Where can I get advice about visa, work restrictions, etc.?

Your main point of contact is the International Student and Scholar Services (new window) group in the Office of Global Services (new window). You will be able to meet with an advisor from that office when you first arrive on campus.

Is this program of study STEM-eligible?

Yes. International graduates of this program have the opportunity to extend their Optional Training Program (OPT) from 12 to 24 months, assuming all other requirements are met. The CIP number of this program is 30.3001 (Computational Science).

Can I take an internship during the summer?

Yes, this is possible. We offer a 0.25 credit course titled ANLY 905-Internship that can be taken during the summer which will allow you to apply for CPT. Another option would be to utilize OPT during your internship.

I plan to go home to visit my family during the summer and will not be able to take a summer course. Will this be a problem?

No. The only required summer course will be taken online, prior to starting the program in the Fall. Other summer courses will always be electives, and will not be required for graduation.

Can I become a grader or course assistant?

Yes. International students are eligible for on-campus employment within certain limits.

Are international students eligible for financial aid?

Yes. International students will also be considered for scholarship offers.

Application

Can I waive the TOEFL?

If you earn your degree from an accredited institution in which English is the primary language of instruction, you do not have to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores.

Will you consider TOEFL MyBest score?

Yes, we will accept the TOEFL MyBest Score. 

Can I update my TOEFL/IELTS score after submitting my application?

You can resubmit your TOEFL/IELTS scores, but if you do so after December 15th, it can affect your status as a priority applicant. If you are aiming for the January 15th deadline, you can update your scores before the final deadline.

How do I edit a recommender’s personal information or change my recommender?

Log in to the application portal (new window), and then navigate to your application status page and click the link below the checklist to get to the recommendations page. Select the recommender you would like to edit or update. To change the email address of a recommender, click on their name on the recommendations page then click “exclude.” Then re-add the recommender using the updated email address.

My recommender is unable to receive the link or submit their letter – what should I do?

Please have your recommender double check their spam folder for the link. If all else fails, they may email their letter to the Office of Graduate Admissions at gradmail@georgetown.edu (new window).

How should I submit my WES evaluation?

You will not need to send your WES report to our school at this time; instead, you should ask WES to send the evaluation directly to you, and then you should upload the evaluation directly to the online application. An official transcript will be required if you are offered admission to the program.

How can I check to see if all of my application materials have been received?

You can check the status of application materials, including test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. by navigating back to our online application (new window) and viewing your application status page. Please note it can take up to 24 hours for the system to process materials and reflect this on your status page.

When can I expect to receive my admission decision?

If you applied by our priority deadline of December 15, you can expect to receive a decision by February 15 or earlier. If you applied by our final deadline of January 15, you can expect to receive a decision by March 15 or earlier. If you applied after our final deadline, your application will be reviewed and you will receive a decision, but we cannot guarantee that you will receive your decision by a particular date.

Can I apply to your program and another GU program?

Georgetown does allow prospective students to apply to multiple graduate programs, but you must submit two separate applications and pay two separate application fees.

I have two majors, how should I fill out the application history part of the application?

Our admissions committee will carefully read your transcript and resume, and they will see that you have two majors. However, in the interest of completing the online application, it is suggested that you choose your main focus or the subject area that is most relevant to our program.

Can I get an application fee waiver?

Unfortunately, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not offer application fee waivers. If you would like to learn more about the financial support you can receive at Georgetown, please check here. (new window)

Can I be admitted for Spring semester?

Our program does not offer Spring admission.

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