M.S. in Business Analytics Admission FAQs

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How is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program different from a Masters 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 FlexWeekend or 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  FlexWeekend MSBA program instead.

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

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 FlexWeekend MSBA program which meets on Saturdays every other week. In sum, the rigorous curriculum is the same for both Full-Time and FlexWeekend 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 9am and 5pm. A course load of 12-14 units you would translate into approximately 9-11 hours of classes each week.

For our FlexWeekend program, classes are scheduled on Saturdays between 8am and 5:30pm every other week. A course load of at least 8 units per quarter allows you to balance your work/school/life schedule. 

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.


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.

What are the minimum GMAT or GRE scores for the Rady MSBA program?

There is no minimum requirement; however, we do look for strong performance in the quantitative sections. Only the most recent GMAT or GRE score will be considered. It is also important to note that the GMAT/GRE score is only one of the many things we look for in a successful applicant.

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 DataCamp.com 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 admissions. 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 opportunities to gain additional work experience in the U.S. in their field of study.

The Application

Will the application be reviewed before or after the program deadline?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so once the Rady Admissions staff confirm all the pieces of the application, the MSBA Admissions Committee will begin reviewing the application.

Will I be interviewed as part of the application process?

Interviews are a required part of the MSBA admissions process and are by invitation only. Interviews for the Full-Time MSBA are completed via an online and asynchronous interviewing platform. Interviews for the FlexWeekend MSBA are conducted as live interviews via Skype or Zoom. The Rady Admissions Office reserves the right to request live interviews in certain cases for the Full-Time MSBA program if additional follow-up information is needed.

Is there a word limit on Statement of Purpose?

The Statement of Purpose should be no longer than 500 words, double-spaced, 12-point font.

Is English proficiency required for international applicants?

Demonstrated proficiency in the English language is required for all international applicants, unless the applicant meets the UC San Diego English Language Proficiency policy waiver requirements.

In order to meet the waiver eligibility, applicants must have completed studies as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States (or other English-speaking country such as Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or Canada with the exception of Québec) for at least one full academic year while maintaining a “B” average before entering UC San Diego. These applicants are automatically exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. If this is the case, simply leave the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE sections of the online application blank.

Costs, Fees and Financing

Are fellowships available?

Rady provides limited fellowship support to exceptional individuals. All domestic and international admitted students are considered for merit-based fellowships upon admission. No additional application is required.

How are the fees for the Master of Science in Business Analytics program broken down across the four quarters?

Please refer to the UC San Diego Financial Aid & Scholarships estimated cost of attendance webpage for further tuition and fee information for the MSBA program.

Is an admission enrollment deposit required?

Yes, admitted students who want to reserve a seat in the incoming class must officially accept the admissions offer in the application system and must pay the deposit fee. The required deposit is $1,500 USD. This fee is non-refundable and is applied towards tuition and fees in the first term. Deposit deadline and payment instructions are provided to students who are extended an admissions offer. The $1,500 deposit payment is required if requesting a one-year deferral.

Housing, Careers, Etc.

What resources are available to help students obtain internships and jobs?

MSBA students will receive career support from Career Management Center. Through personal coaching, an array of programs and resources, and a commitment to creating access to opportunities, we will help you launch your career in analytics.

Are Master of Science in Business Analytics students eligible for internships?

MSBA students are encouraged to pursue internships or full-time employment after completion of the program. Matriculated students interested in an internship during the program should speak with Student Services and the Graduate Career Center during their program.

What are housing options for graduate students?

Graduate students at UC San Diego have a variety of housing options, including on-campus and off-campus accommodations. Visit the UC San Diego HDH Graduate and Family Housing webpage for on-campus housing information. On-campus housing is limited; students wishing to live on-campus are encourage to submit a housing application as soon as they receive an admissions offer. All on-campus housing is managed by UC San Diego Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH); the Rady School is unable to answer on-campus housing related questions or request prioritization of housing applications.

Please visit the UC San Diego off-campus housing webpage for more information about off-campus accommodation options.