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Program FAQs

How is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program different from a Master's in Data Science?

Business Analytics starts from a business need and uses statistics, machine learning, optimization, and experimental methods to solve real-world business problems. In contrast, Data Science generally starts from methods and models and then looks for applications across a broad range of domains that can be solved using these tools. As such, students in a master’s program in Data Science will spend more time working through the mathematical and theoretical underpinnings of methods and tools. Students in Business Analytics and Data Science learn the same tools and methods and develop extensive programming skills to work with data and build models. However, Business Analytics is much more focused on solving practical business problems directly related to a company’s challenges, goals, and objectives.

How is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program different from an MBA?

The coursework in our MSBA programs is designed to create a level of proficiency in data analysis and programming that is not feasible in a general management education you would receive from an MBA program. If your aim is to develop the ability to use sophisticated analytics for data-driven business decision-making, our MSBA programs will help you achieve these goals. However, an MSBA does not provide the broader perspective on management and leadership that Rady’s MBA program offers.

How does Rady’s MSBA program differ from other MSBA programs?

Our MSBA programs were developed by Rady faculty specifically to meet the growing need for highly skilled professionals that can solve complex business problems using data, statistics, and machine learning. Our curriculum is designed to teach students how to apply a set of sophisticated methods and tools to real-world business cases. The program culminates in a Capstone Project in which a team of MSBA students collaborate with a client company to solve a pressing business problem. Students gain not only a robust technical skillset but also the ability to apply the analytical tools they have mastered in practice and create value for both customers and companies.

Can Rady’s Full-Time MSBA program be extended by FlexMSBAor a year?

Our Full-Time MSBA program is designed to be completed in as little as 11 months. If your work and/or life schedule makes it infeasible to commit to studying full time, please consider the FlexMSBA program instead.

What is the difference between the Full-Time and FlexWeekend MSBA programs?

Our Full-Time MSBA program is designed to be completed in as little as 11 months. If your work and/or life schedule makes it infeasible to commit to studying full time, please consider the FlexMSBA program which meets on Saturdays every other week. In sum, the rigorous curriculum is the same for both Full-Time and Flex students; only the schedules are different.

What are the days and hours of the MSBA program?

For our Full-Time program, classes can be scheduled on Monday-Thursday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. A course load of 12-14 units would translate into approximately 9–11 hours of classes each week.

Is it possible to complete a dual MSBA & MBA at Rady?

Rady does not currently offer dual-degree programs.

Are there opportunities to take classes in other departments at UC San Diego?

Students demonstrating academic success within the Rady MSBA program may petition to enroll in classes in other departments at UC San Diego, e.g., Computer Science, depending on departmental permission and availability.

Can I start the program in the winter/spring?

Rady's MSBA programs are offered as a summer (August) start only.

Can I transfer credit from another graduate program?

The Rady MSBA program does not accept transfer credit from other graduate programs.

Program Eligibility

Is work experience required for admission to Rady’s MSBA programs?

Work experience is not required for our MSBA programs but is preferred. If you do not have work experience, we will want to know why you believe now is the right time to pursue the MSBA degree and we will look for excellent academic records, relevant internships, and clear career goals.

Do I need a business background to apply to the program?

Business experience or coursework is not required for our MSBA programs. However, we do look for applicants with a keen interest in using analytics to drive business decisions.

Does the Rady School accept students with advanced degrees?

We welcome applications from individuals who have already completed an advanced degree in science, engineering, technology, or other quantitative disciplines. Our program can help you to transfer the skills you have already developed and apply them to address important business problems.

What are the knowledge prerequisites for the MSBA program?

Coursework in subjects such as calculus, linear algebra, econometrics, and advanced statistics and probability will prepare you for our MSBA programs. It is also very important to have (some) experience with programming (e.g., Python, R, SQL, C/C++) and statistical applications (e.g., R, SAS, STATA). Accepted applicants are required to complete the Python and R programming coursework listed below before the start of the program in August.

  • Introduction to Python
  • Pandas Foundations
  • Intermediate Python for Data Science
  • Introduction to R
  • Intermediate R
  • Intermediate R: Practice
  • Reading Data into R with readr
  • Introduction to Shell for Data Science: Manipulating files and directories

I don't have a (strong) background in some areas. Can I still apply to and be successful in the MSBA program?

Long-term success in business analytics requires both strong quantitative foundations and an interest in solving business problems. Applicants that are stronger in one area or the other can still very much be successful in the program. We will also ensure that all students develop the required skills to start a promising career in business analytics upon completion of our MSBA programs.

How does the STEM certification make this degree different from other graduate business programs?

The STEM certification allows international students on an F-1 visa the opportunity to extend their post-graduation time in the U.S. beyond the regular one-year OPT. Eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees who finish their program of study and participate in an initial period of regular OPT (up to 12 months) have the option to apply for STEM OPT extension. The STEM OPT extension provides an additional 24-month period of temporary training in the U.S. This allows international students the opportunity to gain additional work experience in the U.S. in their field of study.