Graduate Data Science Certificate Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: New academic requirements are in effect for students who are accepted to the program after Oct., 2022. Students who have already enrolled in the program by Oct., 2022 will still follow the previous requirements.

Who is eligible to apply to the certificate program?

  • All UM graduate students (Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint) are eligible to apply and be admitted to the MIDAS Graduate DS certificate program. However, students enrolled in non-Rackham graduate programs would need to submit a Rackham Grad School application and pay the application fee (~$90).
  • In terms of tuition, there is no other tuition fees for completing the graduate certificate program. Special processing may be required for students paying tuition at Dearborn or Flint campuses – students would present their UM Dearborn/Flint billing statement to the Ann Arbor Campus Registrar’s Office showing proof of their enrollment and fees assessed at Dearborn/Flint and their Ann Arbor bill would be adjusted to only be the tuition difference, if any. 

As I am a new student to UM, may I apply immediately or do I have to wait till my first semester grades are in?

Yes, you must hold off on applying until your first semester grades are posted.

How should I choose courses among the three categories?

Each student is different. Some might have already taken, or plan to take, courses in one category through their own programs. Others might be new to courses in all three categories. We expect that students are exposed to all three categories. Therefore, you should take one course from each category, unless you have already taken, or will take, courses in a category within your own program.

How should I choose courses among core and electives?

We require that each student takes at least two core courses.

I have already taken several courses listed in the DS Certificate Program. Can I count these and go through the program quickly?

Yes, if you already have taken some of the courses (remember, you can only double-count one course with your core graduate program), you may be able to quickly satisfy the remaining DS Certificate requirements. Register for the program and be sure to go through the complete checklist to ensure you do receive your certificate upon graduation.

When the program description says “Only one course may be double-counted with another Rackham degree program,” does that mean I need to take an additional 2-3 courses that don't count towards my graduation from my own program?

Yes, you need a total of 12 credits. Of these, 3 credits are experiential (e.g., internship or a hands-on research project) and a maximum of 3 credits of appropriate course work may be double-counted. The remaining 6 credits are other courses from the approved courses list.

What does the data-science related experience/project involve?

This is either an internship with an external mentor/organization or a research project with a U-M faculty mentor. It must involve substantial data-handling and be equivalent to 3 credit semester course (~140 hrs of work).

Regarding the experiential/practicum Data Science project, should the project be outside of my own research or can it be part of my own research?

The project scope and deliverables are determined on a case-by-case basis (in discussion with MIDAS DS Program Chair). The project must have a significant “data science” (modeling, analytics, visualization) aspect to it with a clearly defined end-product (e.g., software, paper, report, app, service, learning module, DB, platform, infrastructure, etc.)

Is it possible to decide on a practicum later on in the program?

Yes, most students determine their hands-on experiential requirements while they are enrolled in the program.

What should I write on the application in the “Data Science related Practicum Experience” section now, if I have no idea yet?

Include your current preliminary plan, what you would like to do for the practicum. Specifics can be determined later while enrolled in the program and after reviewing the MIDAS opportunities.

Can the practicum (experiential requirement) be another course?

Technically speaking, yes. However, you can’t double-count 2 courses and it’s generally better to have the 3 credits experimental training be hands-on data emersion. It can be a project, internship or rotation with a faculty, collaborator, or industry partner.

How do I find a data science related project to fulfill my data science certificate requirements?

You may find a project by signing up through the MDP Program ( and/or search the MIDAS Faculty site ( for faculty with your preferred data science focus and inquire if they have a project. Be sure to contact Prof. Ivo Dinov ( to alert him of the data science capstone project you are working on.

Will a lack of prior data science experiences influence whether my application is accepted?

No, prior experience is not a criterion for admission into the graduate Data Science certificate program. Motivation, hard work, and drive are more important.

Is attendance at the MIDAS Seminar Series a requirement?

Yes, attendance at the MIDAS Seminar Series is a requirement for the Certificate and the Masters program students.  Students are required to register for one-semester of attendance at the Seminar Series which is listed in the course catalogue as EECS 409.

I am a Masters student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Are all 9 credits required for the Certificate in Data Science in the engineering department?

  • If you are in EECS, you should look for Data Science (DS) courses outside Engineering. You would normally take your CoE core courses and look other schools (e.g., statistics, biostatistics, health sciences, etc.) for additional DS courses (1 course can be double-counted, if necessary).
  • Try to select data-intensive courses that are relevant to your future career.
  • If you want to take a DS course that is not on the MIDAS course-list ( let us know; we’ll review and possibly add it to the course-list.

If I decide halfway through that the workload is too much (or that the extra courses are too inconvenient), how difficult would it be for me to discontinue attempting to complete the certificate?

You do not have to complete the program. If you don’t, you should let MIDAS and Rackham know and you won’t receive the certificate at the end of your study (core program).

If I am a student in the Biostatistics department, would I be able to take courses in the department of Statistics and have it satisfy the certificate requirements, since I am not technically in the department of Statistics?

Yes, you can take appropriate courses in any UM School/College. In general, it’s better to take courses in Mathematics, Engineering, Health Science, but some statistics courses may also be appropriate.