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Data Science

Extract, analyze and communicate essential data. Open your mind—and career path—to infinite possibilities.

Graduate Degree

Program Components Expected Duration
MDS Coursework/Project 10 months

Data. Knowledge. Action. The Master of Data Science (MDS) program provides students with the skills to complete this sequence in real-world situations.

Data is changing how we work, how we live and how we think about the world. Data science is widely recognized as one of the fastest growing career fields in Canada and the world. At the same time, it’s one of the widest skills gaps in the current job market. Companies and institutions need data scientists and they need them now.

Through your coursework and a capstone project, you will gain those skills and be ready to seize exciting and rewarding opportunities—all within a calendar year.

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The MDS at UBC Okanagan is a 10-month, full-time, professional program.

Key features of the MDS program are its fast-track timeline, project experience, and expanded opportunities in one of the most in-demand skills in the modern economy. Forbes ranked Data Scientist as “the third best job for work/life balance” in 2016 and one of the Top-10 toughest jobs to fill for 2017. Data Scientist is also frequently cited as one of the best paying careers.

Our professional MDS program is for students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than Data Science, who want to deepen their skills in data analytics and data science. For example, prospective MDS students can be BSc majors in biology or chemistry; BA majors in psychology or English; Bachelor of Management majors; or Bachelor of Applied Science/Engineering majors; but are not limited to these subjects.

The MDS degree is 30 credits, delivered through 24 one-credit courses and a six-credit capstone project course, which allows students to practice their skills in a real-world setting.

Other Professional Programs at UBC

Outcomes & Careers

UBC Okanagan’s Master of Data Science program covers all stages of the data science value chain.

In this accelerated professional program, you will learn how to extract data for use in experiments, how to apply state-of-the-art techniques in data analysis and how to effectively present your extracted knowledge.

Expected skills and other outcomes include:

  • Analyzing data from database systems, files and web resources
  • Software building
  • Programming and scripting to automate and speed up data analysis
  • Evaluating data quality and confidence
  • Performing data integration and fusion
  • Large-scale data manipulation with data warehousing and Big Data
  • Ad hoc reporting and analysis
  • Spatial data processing with geographical information systems (GIS)
  • Reporting and visualization
  • Team work and collaboration
  • Written and verbal communication

These are the kinds of technologies you will become proficient in while you work through the MDS program:

  • Analytical software: Excel, R, SAS, MATLAB
  • Database systems: Microsoft Access, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server
  • Cloud technologies: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google analytics
  • Data representations: relational, JSON, XML
  • Languages: SQL, Python, Java, PHP
  • Reporting/visualization: PowerPoint, Tableau, Visio
  • Collaboration technologies: Git, Jira, Slack

Modern organizations of all kinds need people with data skills to help inform their business decisions. Graduates of this MDS program will be well-positioned to thrive in one of the world’s most in-demand fields. They will be prepared for positions mainly in industry and business, with potential opportunities in government, education and consulting in Canada and around the globe.

Typical positions include:


  • Decision support advisor
  • Health policy analyst
  • Electronic medical record analyst
  • Data analyst health surveillance
  • Clinical informatics analyst
  • Sports analyst

Science (chemistry/environment/geology/physics):

  • Environmental scientist/advisor
  • Water data analyst
  • Forest technician/technologist


  • Risk management analyst
  • Business analyst
  • Operations coordinator
  • Quality control analyst
  • Marketing research analyst
  • Supply chain data analyst

Government/legal/policy (often BA majors):

  • Program administration officer
  • Issues analyst
  • Policy and research analyst
  • Data and privacy analyst

Faculty Expertise

MDS students learn from UBC faculty who are experts in their fields. These leading researchers are passionate about their work and committed to student education.

MDS students will gain project experience through opportunities such as the capstone project. The project allows students to apply their skills to real data. It is not only a great learning opportunity, but a key selling point to potential employers.

Jeff Andrews | | 250.807.9931
Research interests: Clustering and classification via mixture models, with applications to bioinformatics.
  • Data Science
  • Modelling
Heinz Bauschke  | | 250.807.9931
Research interests: Convex analysis; optimization; monotone operator theory.
  • Data Science
John Braun | | 250.807.8032
Research interests: Computational statistics, with applications to fire science; statistical process control; statistical education.
  • Computational Statistics
Yong Gao | | 250.807.9503
Research interests: Algorithmic and computational problems in artificial intelligence and network science; applications in social media and computational biology; graph theory and probabilistic method.
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis
  • Artificial Intelligence
Paramjit Gill | | 250.807.8795
Research interests: Sports analytics; statistical stylometry; social networks models.
  • Computational Statistics
  • Social Network Models
Warren Hare | | 250.807.9873
Research interests: Mathematical optimization; nonconvex analysis; derivative-free optimization; bundle methods; applications in road design.
  • Data Science
Bowen Hui | | 250.807.9353
Research interests: Learning analytics, computer science education, decision making under uncertainty, probabilistic user modelling, human-computer interaction cost models, experiment design and analysis.
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
Ramon Lawrence | | 250.807.9390
Research interests: Database systems, data virtualization, data integration and warehousing, embedded databases, and Big Data analysis.
  • Databases
Jason Loeppky | | 250.807.8795
Research interests: Design and analysis of experiments for both physical processes and computer based simulation models; applications include environmental and industrial statistics.
  • Computational Statistics
  • Design and Analysis of Experiments
  • Modeling
Yves Lucet | | 250.807.9505
Research interests: Computational mathematics, optimization and convex analysis; modelling; model road design to minimize construction costs under safety and environmental constraints; creating algorithms for computer-aided convex analysis; visualizing operators in 2D, 3D, and 4D.
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis
  • Modeling
  • Optimization
Shawn Wang | | 250.807.9524
Research interests: Variational analysis, convex analysis, optimization and classical analysis; optimization applications in signal processing, statistics and communications.
  • Data Science
UBC profs. Ramon Lawrence, John Braun and Jeff Andrews
How can the MDS program help your career?
Assoc. prof. Ramon Lawrence
Is data science right for you?

Admission Requirements

Domestic student applicants to the MDS program are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, with a minimum average of B+ or better in their third or fourth-year classes, and have taken one course in each of the following: computer science (programming), mathematics (calculus), and statistics.

All applicants must also meet the general admissions requirements for UBC Master’s Degrees set by the College of Graduate Studies, as outlined in the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar.

Applicants who do not meet the admission requirements stated above, but who have had other significant formal training, relevant professional experience, or otherwise possess demonstrable knowledge or expertise that would prepare them adequately for successful study in the graduate program, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the MDS Program Director and the approval of the Dean of the Irving. K Barber School of Arts and Sciences.

Applications are welcomed and encouraged from international students who hold a credential deemed academically equivalent to a four-year bachelor's degree from UBC and who demonstrate superior academic standing.

International student applicants to the MDS program are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, with a minimum average of B+ or better in their third or fourth-year classes, and have taken one course in each of the following: computer sience (programming), mathematics (calculus), and statistics

All applicants must also meet the general admissions requirements for UBC Master’s Degrees set by the College of Graduate Studies, as outlined in the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar.

If your undergraduate degree was not completed at an English-speaking university, proof of English-language proficiency is required as this program requires a significant amount of reading, writing and oral communication.

  • TOEFL (IBT) overall score requirement: 100
  • IELTS overall score requirement: 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking sections

Applicants who do not meet the admission requirements stated above may still be granted admission if they have had other significant formal training, relevant professional experience, or otherwise possess demonstrable knowledge that would enable them to be successful in the program. No special or additional action is needed on the part of the applicant. Evaluations will be made based on a case-by-case review of applications by the  MDS Program Director, and approvals will be made by the Dean of the Irving. K Barber School of Arts and Sciences.

Required Grades and Credential Guide

Grades and degree credentials required by UBC vary by country. Search the Required Grades and Credential Guide — a guide to assist international students in estimating their eligibility.

International Advisors

An international student advisor can answer questions about immigration, medical insurance and the transition to UBC's Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Go to the International Programs and Services website to meet the team.

Tuition and Fees

Application fee

$102 CAD, domestic; $165, international. The application fee is paid online using VISA or MasterCard at time of application submission and is non-refundable.


$1,000 CAD; paid once you receive your admission offer; the amount is credited toward your first tuition instalment.


$31,212 CAD, domestic; $42,436 CAD, international. Tuition fees are typically collected in instalments; for more information please visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar.


Scholarships – UBCO offers two $5,000 entrance scholarships for the Master of Data Science program – one for a domestic student and one for an international student. These scholarships are designed to recognize students who have demonstrated academic and leadership achievements in their undergraduate or graduate program, field or industry.

The MDS is course-based, cohort program. Department funding in the form of teaching of researching assistantships is not available. Applicants are encouraged to seek external scholarships and funding, such as graduate scholarships and awards available from foundations, private companies or foreign governments (check with your country’s education authority).

How to Apply

Interested in applying to the Master of Data Science program at UBC Okanagan? Here's how to go about it.

  1. Review the admissions requirements above.
  2. Get ready to apply in advance. The application process will require:
    • Online application and application fee
    • Official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended
    • English language test or letter from previous university certifying that English was the primary language of instruction
    • CV or resume 
    • Three reference forms or letters
  3. Click any of the "Apply now" links on the page to start your application.

Applications for the 2018/2019 intake are now closed. 

UBC's Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the Data Science graduate program at UBC's Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

UBC Okanagan

UBC's Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of about 150,000 people—one of the fastest-growing populations in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna's cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the Top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university's respect for sustainability.

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Check out this 360-degree video: Kelowna From Above*.

* Best viewed using Chrome or Firefox (desktop), YouTube app (mobile)

Full-time UBC Okanagan graduate students can live in residence, which offers modern living with easy access to academic and personal support. Residences are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, plus panoramic views of the campus and valley.

The Student Residence website includes helpful information about Important Dates for living on campus, plus options and resources for Living Off Campus.

Kelowna Off Campus Student Housing is a public Facebook group that shares notes about housing options, finding roommates, and vacancies in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.*

* UBC does not verify or endorse information shared on this third-party website, which is offered here as a public resource only.

Join the club! Make friends with similar interests, and organize and participate in academic and recreational events in the Quantitative Sciences Course Union.

There are orientation events for all graduate students, including the College of Graduate Studies’ incoming graduate student orientation, Jumpstart for international graduate students, and the Create New Student Orientation series.

Stay active. Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and play—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre and our 1,561 square-metre gymnasium, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes and nationally ranked varsity athletics. Have a ball in Sports and Recreation.

Relax. The Graduate Collegium is a gathering place where grad students can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their fellow students, and attend or host special events. The lounge-style room is open seven days and week and is outfitted with comfortable furniture, kitchen facilities, and individual and group-work spaces.

The Aboriginal Centre is a home away from home for all Indigenous students by providing a sense of belonging and community, a place to catch up, wind down, make lunch, share opportunities and celebrate success.

Career Services

Map out your future and prepare to hit the ground running with resources and services provided by the Advising & Involvement Centre.

Tell your story with resumé and cover-letter strategies, and search Work Study jobs for experience relevant to your degree and career goals. You can also book an appointment to meet one-on-one with our career advisor.

alumni UBC

alumni UBC is a member-driven association that offers a variety of lifetime programming and communications to enrich the lives of UBC graduates.

The 'Your Next Step' program offers webinars, speaker series and professional development sessions. It is designed to provide advice, tips and resources in areas of career development to graduates for life after university.

Realize the promise of a global community with shared ambition for a better world and an exceptional UBC.


Mohanish Panchal
Graduate Advisor

Last reviewed shim6/26/2018 8:37:12 AM