MS in Data Science - Official Blog

December 26, 2018

Some Advice on Financing Your M.S. in Data Science Degree

If you are thinking about pursuing an M.S. in Data Science in the near future, chances are you are also exploring how to finance your studies. While the M.S. in Data Science degree is a great investment in your future, it may require some planning. The admissions team is here to offer information on what to expect and some additional options you may not have considered.

Research What Expenses to Expect. We suggest you start by looking at current tuition costs and fees at your target programs. Even if it is a year or two before you intend to enroll in a program, you can start by calculating an approximation of costs ahead of time. In addition to tuition and student fees, you should break down your cost of attendance to include estimates such as renting an apartment, buying a laptop, groceries, transportation, and health insurance. These are all expenses that most graduate students will have to consider.

Be Mindful of Cost-Saving Strategies. For example, if you can find a roommate, you can save a significant amount of money every month. Many students choose to leave their car behind and take advantage of Seattle’s public transportation. At the University of Washington, students have the advantage of living in a city that is more affordable than other major cities such as San Francisco, Boston or New York City.

Know Your Funding Options. In addition to applying for federal or private student loans, doing the research to learn about your funding options will pay off. Does your employer offer tuition benefits? Some companies may cover the full cost of tuition while others might cap tuition reimbursement at a certain amount each year. If you are a military service member or a veteran, you can learn more about your educational benefits by contacting the Veterans Benefits Officeat the University of Washington.

We also suggest researching the funding opportunities and resources available at your target programs. For example, the M.S. in Data Science program awards some partial scholarships to incoming and returning students on a competitive basis every year. These scholarships can help defray the cost of your master’s degree. Additionally, the Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP) at the University of Washington offers $1.5 million in funding to graduate students every year.

Do you belong to any professional associations, academic honor societies, Greek life organizations, or religious institutions that offer scholarship support to members? If so, it may be in your best interest to tap into the resources they offer. You could also use a big scholarship database like fastweb.com to research funding opportunities. In addition, the Graduate Funding Information Service at the University of Washington offers guidance and resources for graduate students looking for funding opportunities. Personal or family savings are another source of funding that may be worth considering.

Apply for Internships. Internships for students in the M.S. in Data Science program are extremely important. In addition to gaining industry experience and increasing your chances of a full-time job offer after graduation, pursuing paid internships is one way to earn money that will help cover your living expenses and/or pay down some of your tuition. Students in the M.S. in Data Science program have the advantage of living in one of the largest tech hubs in the world and can experience the convenience of applying for internships at major tech giants and innovative startups in their own backyard. Additionally, the M.S. in Data Science courses meet in the evenings, which frees up your time during business hours to pursue an internship at one of the many tech companies in the area. Many students also hold full-time internships during the summer when classes are not in session. Students enrolled in the M.S in Data Science reported full-time summer internship salaries ranging from $5,000 to $8,850 monthly.

If you are an international applicant, please note that you can learn more about eligibility for internships by visiting the International Student Services website.

Consider Our Part-Time Program. For prospective students who currently work in industry in the Seattle area, you may want to consider enrolling in our part-time program. Our part-time program would allow you to spread the cost of the M.S. in Data Science degree over 2.5 years. If your employer caps tuition reimbursement at a certain amount each year, the part-time program would also enable you to maximize your education benefits. You could space your courses over 2.5 years so that your education benefits cover most or all of your degree.

Understand the Return on Investment. LinkedIn recently published a report naming the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. The top two spots were machine learning engineer and data scientist. According to a 2018 alumni survey, graduates of the M.S. in Data Science program reported a salary range of $90,000-$130,000. This may help set your mind at ease when it comes to understanding the value of a master’s degree in data science.