Graduate Certificate Program in 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. Whether to improve their on-the-job experience or career prospects, one can expect to acquire a basic understanding of data science through this certificate program. Applicants admitted to the certificate program can enroll part-time, completing one class per semester, or enroll full-time at 9 or 12 credit hours.


The Data Science Foundations graduate certificate requires a total of 12 credit hours of graduate-level computer science and/or statistic courses taken for a grade. Students may take a combination of courses tailored to their interests from among the available Core and Elective courses list below, subject to course prerequisites.

(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 588Data Science for Statisticians
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.
Who Is Eligible To Apply?

This online or on-campus certificate is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents (Green card holders), United States military personnel serving overseas, and foreign nationals residing in the U.S. on qualifying non-student visas. (Foreign nationals must first contact before submitting an application.)

Although there is no fixed deadline to apply for the certificate, applicants are admitted for their desired term only if sufficient time remains for full clearance and enrollment when an admission decision is made.

Applicants 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 (foreign nationals residing in the U.S. on qualifying non-student visa) must meet the Graduate School’s English Proficiency Requirements and provide valid TOEFL or IELTS scores.

How To Apply

Applicants interested in the graduate certificate must complete the Graduate School application, found here.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis for admission to spring, summer 1, and fall terms. Applicants can indicate their desired admit term on the application.

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.


The DSF graduate certificate program incurs a tuition premium on all coursework, including non-CSC courses.

For graduate tuition rates, expand the “Master of Computer Science” section. For online tuition rates, see the “Graduate Engineering Online – Computer Science” section.


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 and complete a graduate degree audit 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 five (5) semesters (fall/spring), 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 program director before the start of that semester.

Pursuing Masters Degree

Students who complete the graduate certificate may apply for admission to the Computer Science department’s masters program.

Academic success in the CS graduate certificate might have a strong bearing on admission to a graduate degree program. However, completion of a certificate program in no way guarantees entry into a graduate degree program, which requires a separate application process.

The transfer of certificate courses taken prior to enrollment in a masters degree program is limited to 12 credit hours, and transfer totals from all sources shall not exceed 12 hours. Only graduate courses of grade B or better will be considered for transfer.

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