5-Year Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degree (Joint BS/MS in Data Science)

The Graduate College has approved the request from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on behalf of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science to establish a NEW U2G pairing for UI undergrads (UI UGs) with Master of Data Science (MSDS). This U2G will allow students from any UI UGs major to apply to the MSDS through the U2G option.

-Updated March 28, 2023-

Overview -  Iowa U2G—undergrad to grad in five years


The joint Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Data Science is for eligible students who seek to complete both the BS and the MS at the University of Iowa in five years. Students in the joint program must complete all requirements for each degree. A traditional MS in data science requires completion of 30 s.h. of graduate-level course work. The BS/MS program permits students to count 12 s.h. of credit (four courses) toward the requirements for both degrees. To complete the MS, an additional 18 s.h. of course work is required. The four courses that count toward both degrees must be taken before or during the fourth year of undergraduate study, after admission to the joint program, and must satisfy degree requirements of both the BS and the MS in data science.

When a student withdraws from the joint program before completing his or her bachelor's degree, credit earned in the four planned cross-credited courses is counted only toward the undergraduate degree.

Students are granted the BS when they complete all requirements for the undergraduate degree.

Students generally apply for admission to the joint program during the spring semester of their third year as undergraduates and enter the program at the beginning of their fourth year—becoming both an undergraduate and graduate student at that time. 

Why offer this U2G?

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science (SAS) offers the Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) with the goal to train data scientists who have the analytical and technical skills to explore, formulate and solve complex data-driven problems in science, industry, business and government. 

  • The program focuses on the theory, methodology, application and ethics for working with and learning from data.
  • With an emphasis on statistical thinking and foundations, the MSDS program rigorously prepares its graduates with the abilities to develop and implement new or special purpose analysis and visualization tools. 
  • The program will promote a fundamental understanding of how to quantify uncertainty in data-driven decision-making. 

Who can apply?

In order to be eligible for admission, candidates who enter the program represent a wide range of undergraduate degrees, with the majority from STEM majors. This degree program will target students in a number of allied disciplines but is not limited to undergraduates completing specific majors.

  • must already be enrolled at The University of Iowa
  • must have completed a minimum of 80 s.h. at the time of admission to the joint program, with at least 30 s.h. earned at The University of Iowa
  • must have a cumulative University of Iowa GPA of at least 3.25.
  • must have discussed the program with their undergraduate advisor and have the advisor's support for being admitted to the program

Application Process

Students interested in the program must submit the BS/MS dual degree program application to the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Application to the Department should be submitted during the second semester of the junior year by February 1st. Since it is a new program we are happy to review applications beginning this fall!

Each applicant must:

  • Complete and submit the Application Form to the Department
  • After being recommended by the department (above application) complete the University of Iowa Graduate College application
    • Submit a statement of purpose including professional goals
    • Once you apply you will be asked to submit three names of recommendors that the University will contact on your behalf.  You can ask people to expect this request. 
    • GRE is not required

Application Comparison

The U2G program requires that students be in good standing and receive the undergraduate degree before entering their fifth year of the MS program. The student will apply to the Master’s program by February 1st of the second semester of the junior (equivalent) undergraduate year. The following table shows a comparison of the MS’s regular admissions criteria with the proposed admissions criteria for U2G students:

Regular Admissions Requirements  U2G Admissions Requirements 
Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university, or an equivalent degree from another country.  Completion of 80 hours of undergraduate work and declaration of a major by the end of the semester of application. A student who did not start their academic career at the University of Iowa must have completed 30 semester hours at Iowa prior to application. 
Minimum 3.0 GPA or the foreign equivalent. Minimum 3.25 University of Iowa GPA upon application. Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA upon completion of undergraduate degree. 
Personal statement  Same 
Three letters of recommendation.  Three letters of recommendation from University of Iowa faculty.  
TOEFL/IELTS scores for international applicants without a U.S. degree and whose first language is not English. The TOEFL minimum is a score of 85 or higher on the Internet-based version of the test.  As the student is a current University of Iowa student, they are considered TOEFL exempt for the U2G program. International students must also submit TOEFL to the Graduate College before continuing in the dual-degree program after conferral of the BS degree. 
The GRE is required as evidence of a student’s quantitative aptitude.  GRE is not required.
Two semesters of college calculus, one semester of college linear algebra, prior formal coursework in computer science (equivalent to an introduction to computing course in the standard computer science curriculum).  Calculus I, II and III, Linear Algebra and Computer Science I; see plan of study for specific course codes. 
No video conference or in-person interview required for admission  Video conference or in-person interview required for admission 


Students enrolled in the joint degree program will pay undergraduate tuition and fees through their fourth year. Starting with their fifth year, students will be assessed tuition and fees at the graduate rate and thereafter. Please note: If award of the bachelor’s degree is delayed beyond the first two semesters of the program, students will continue to pay graduate tuition. However, students in the combined program will be eligible to hold graduate assistantships starting their fifth year. Any student holding an assistantship of 25% or grader will be eligible for a full tuition waiver and other benefits as mandated by the graduate student collective bargaining agreement.

Sample Plans



Courses to fulfill degree



For more information please email your questions and concerns to data-science@uiowa.edu or see Margie in 241 SH.