Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently Asked Questions

Students who are an ideal fit for the MADS program desire a career in a fast-paced, high-growth industry in the United States immediately following graduation. MADS graduates have successfully gained positions as data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers in diverse industries such as banking, sports, health care, government, and tech. 

There are a variety of programs at CMU for students who are interested in related specific statistical graduate study topics and related outcomes. The Master of Science in Computational Finance (MSCF) is a program for students specifically interested in quantitative finance, and the Master of Science in Machine Learning is a program for students specifically interested in advanced study in machine learning.

We welcome all majors yet we ask that students demonstrate academic success in the prerequisite courses in order to maximize success in the program. Please see the prerequisites below.

The program is highly rigorous and intense. We want our students to be set up for success in the classroom. At the time of applying to the MADS program, successful applicants are highly encouraged to have: 

  • Two semesters of calculus-based probability and mathematical statistics (CMU prerequisite classes are 36-225 and 36-226)

    Topics should include: random variables, distribution functions, joint and conditional distributions, functions of random variables & their probability distributions; maximum likelihood estimation, properties of estimators, hypothesis testing, interval estimation.

    Typical Textbook: Mathematical Statistics with Applications - Wackerly, et al. or equivalent
    CMU classes are: 36-225 and 36-226
  • One course in linear regression analysis (a CMU prerequisite course is 36-401)

    Topics should include: exploratory data analysis, linear regression models, validation and interpretation of models

    Typical Textbook: Applied Linear Regression Models - Kutner, et al. or equivalent. A good Econometrics course is an acceptable substitute.
  • Familiarity/exposure with matrix algebra and/or linear algebra

The tuition for the MADS program for the 2023-2024 academic year is $56,630 plus mandatory student fees of approximately $960.

MADS students are typically not permitted to take courses outside of the Department of Statistics & Data Science. Normally, all the MADS students take core requirements together as a cohort. Electives are offered on a rotating basis. Alternative courses within the Department of Statistics & Data Science may be allowed as a substitute should a comparable course of study already have been successfully completed prior to entry into the MADS program — any substitutions are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Department of Statistics & Data Science.

We do not offer a financial aid package for the MADS program. In some cases, we may have very limited scholarships. Subject to eligibility and qualifications, all admitted MADS students will receive the offer to work as an educational assistant or teaching assistant in the Department of Statistics & Data Science. MADS students receive a stipend for their role as educational assistants or teaching assistants.  

Please refer to our How to Apply section to learn more about funding opportunities that are independent of the program.

If you apply by November 3, 2023, the application fee is $50.00. From November 4, 2023 to January 15, 2024, the program application fee is $75.00. All application fees are paid at the time of application submission. The online application system accepts payments via credit card only. Please be advised that we do not accept cash or checks. For additional questions, please contact

All non-native English speakers are required to submit valid, non-expired TOEFL scores. A desirable total TOEFL score is 105 or higher. Speaking TOEFL scores should be at least 26. IELTS is also acceptable, with a desirable speaking score of at least 9.

We understand that in some cases it may not be possible for an applicant to test for TOEFL or IELTS. If you are not a native English speaker, and despite your best efforts are unable to test for TOEFL or IELTS, we will accept the Duolingo English proficiency test. A score of at least 135 overall is desirable.  We will give consideration to those with the following subscores and above:

  • Literacy: 135
  • Conversation: 130
  • Comprehension: 145
  • Production: 113

All scores must be uploaded and received before the deadline in order to assure an equitable review of your application.

Previous studies at a U.S. high school, college, or university are NOT grounds for a language-test waiver.  Additionally, previous studies at a non-U.S. English language instruction high school, college, or university are also NOT grounds for a language-test waiver.

If you need to retake your TOEFL, IELTS and/or GRE for this application, we highly recommend you take the exam no later than November 29, 2023. Reportable scores can take two weeks to process and we may not be able to review any scores that arrive after our deadline.

Our TOEFL codes are 2074 (Institution) and 59 (Department).

While we require a GRE score with your application submission, we are interested in the applicant’s entire application package, including coursework, statement of purpose, and recommendations. 

Our institution and department codes are:
Institution Code: 2074
Department Code: 0705

A completed application must include:

  • Application fee
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts of all institutions where you have attended and/or graduated
  • A statement of purpose
  • A resume
  • Three recommendation letters uploaded by recommenders (two of which should be faculty recommendations)
  • GRE test scores. Our GRE codes are 2074 (Institution) and 0705 (Department).
  • If applicable, TOEFL, IELTS test, or Duolingo scores. Our TOEFL codes are 2074 (Institution) and 59 (Department) 

To ensure a complete and equitable review of all applications, we will review only those applications completed by the deadline.

Please contact