Graduate Certificate Program - Data Science Foundations

Offered Jointly by the Departments of Computer Science and Statistics

This online/on-campus program is primarily intended for working professionals who have some formal training in Computer Science and/or Statistics and wish to acquire a basic understanding of data science to improve their on-the-job experience and career prospects. Students have the option of completing the certificate part-time, e.g., by taking one course per semester.


A summary of the curriculum requirements for the Data Science Foundations (DSF) Graduate Certificate is below:

(students must select at least two)
CSC 505Design and Analysis of Algorithms
CSC 541Advanced Data Structures
ST 517Statistical Methods I
ST 563Introduction to Statistical Learning

(students must select at least one)
CSC 522Automated Learning and Data Analysis
CSC 540Database Management Concepts and Systems
CSC 591Data Driven Business Intelligence
CSC 591Graph Data Mining
CSC 591Spatial and Temporal Data Mining
ST 540Applied Bayesian Analysis
ST 564Statistical Thinking and Big Data
Note: Certificate credit cannot be given for both CSC 522 and ST 563.

Academic Performance Requirements

  1. The DSF Graduate Certificate requires a total of 12 credit hours.
  2. At least three (3) credit hours towards the DSF Graduate Certificate must be fulfilled from courses with prefix ST, and at least three (3) credit hours must be fulfilled from courses with prefix CSC.
  3. Students must take at least two core courses and at least one elective course.
  4. Certificate credit cannot be given for both CSC 522 and ST 563.
  5. To receive a Graduate Certificate, a student must maintain a minimum 3.00 grade point average (GPA) on all coursework taken at NC State. All grades on courses taken towards the Graduate Certificate in courses numbered 500 and above are included in the GPA. Any courses taken at the 400 level and below are not eligible for certificate credit.
  6. All courses taken for certificate credit must be completed with a grade of "B-" or better.
  7. All courses at the 500- or 700-level taken for certificate credit must be letter-graded. Credit-only courses cannot be used for certificate credit.
  8. Transfer credit from other institutions is not allowed for the Graduate Certificate. All coursework must be registered through NC State University.
  9. Up to three (3) hours of PBS coursework, if not already used in another graduate program, may be transferred into the Graduate Certificate. All transfer credit must carry a grade of B or better.

Students admitted to the DSF Graduate Certificate program will be charged the Computer Science tuition premium on all their coursework, including non-CSC courses. Tuition rates for Graduate Engineering programs are available here.


An application for acceptance into the Graduate Certificate is required for all new students. Students must complete the Graduate School application, found here.

Application deadlines:

  • Fall admission: May 1
  • Spring admission: October 15

Students currently enrolled in an NC State graduate degree program are not eligible for this Graduate Certificate, but may apply for admission upon completion of their current degree.

Requirements for Admission

Students must meet ONE of the following requirements for admission into the DSF Graduate Certificate Program:

  1. Have a BS degree in Computer Science from an accredited four-year college or university, and have an overall (or major) GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale.
  2. Have a BS degree in Statistics from an accredited four-year college or university, and have an overall (or major) GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale.
  3. Have a BS degree in the sciences or engineering from an accredited four-year college or university with an overall (or major) GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale and relevant experience in Computer Science and/or Statistics.

International applicants who are not degree-seeking students in an NC State University graduate program must provide valid TOEFL or IELTS scores.


An academic advisor assists all Certificate students with Graduate School procedures. For questions about Computer Science courses and requirements contact; for Statistics courses and requirements contact


Certificate students should apply for graduation in MyPack before the University deadline in the semester in which they meet the Certificate requirements.


There are no comprehensive examinations required for the Graduate Certificate.

Continuous Enrollment and Time Limits

All Graduate Certificate requirements must be completed within four (4) calendar years, beginning with the date the student commences courses applicable to the Graduate Certificate. A one-semester leave of absence may be granted if the student is unable to enroll in a course due to extenuating circumstances. The leave of absence must be approved in writing by the CSC DGP before the start of the semester.

Pursuing Masters Degree

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate may apply for admission to a Masters degree in Computer Science or Statistics.

Academic success in the DSF Graduate Certificate might have a strong bearing on admission to a graduate degree program. However, completion of a Graduate Certificate program in no way guarantees entry into a graduate degree program, which must be done through a separate application process.

The transfer of Graduate Certificate courses taken prior to enrollment in a Masters degree program is limited to 12 hours (note: transfer totals from all sources shall not exceed 12 hours).

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