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Common Questions  

FAQ for Students in India Only

SMU (Southern Methodist University) is highly respected university in the United States with the #4 Data Science ranking.   As a potential student, you will be part of an elite and unique community that will create long term value throughout your career and life.

As a prospective student, you may have many questions. Here are some of the most common questions we hear from candidates.

I have done a 3 year degree from an Indian University. Will I be eligible for doing the MSDS program?

As per SMU, an applicant with an undergraduate degree recognized by the regulatory authorities – whether of 3 years or 4 years duration – is eligible to apply for MSDS

Do I need a GRE score/ IELTS score to apply for the course?

There is no requirement of submitting a GRE score. IELTS would be required to be taken. The score must be 6.5 or above.

I am not an engineering graduate, nor do I have any background in programming. Can I join MSDS and complete the course successfully?

You need not have any background in programming. Tools that are taught as a part of the syllabus are easy to use and people from all backgrounds can learn to use them. The MSDS program is not restricted to engineering graduates. Anyone with numerical aptitude – irrespective of their undergraduate qualification – can join and benefit from the program. It is important, however, that you are comfortable with numbers and with quantitative subjects. We can figure that out together – even before you take the decision to join or not

I do not follow the American accent. Will I be able to follow the sessions taken by SMU faculty members? What if I have not understood something?

As you listen to the faculty members speak, you will gradually start understanding their accent and will be able to comprehend better as the program progresses. Since your career after MSDS might involve interacting with colleagues of different countries, we would recommend that you learn how to deal with different accents. However, at any time you are not able to follow some portions of the class, we have scheduled interactions with Indian faculty members who will be able to help you out with parts that you have not understood.

I am a fresh graduate. Will I get placement support after doing the course?

Our partner institution in India will provide you with placement support.

Why is the course fee pegged at USD 31,000? What should I compare this with?

This is a full-fledged Master’s program which highly rated (#4 amongst online MSDS courses being offered in 2021). The course content is the same as that of an on-campus MSDS program. The tuition fee of an equivalent on-campus MSDS is around USD 60,000. If you consider the living and other expenses, the total cost of doing an on-campus MSDS program is around USD 75000. Compared to that MSDS from SMU is available to students at USD 31000 (excluding the travel and stay costs for the immersion program). You can immediately see that it will cost you much less, in fact, to do this program.

I am a working professional. How much time will I need to spend on the course every week? How will I find time to complete the course requirements? What if I fall behind?

SMU estimates that it takes approximately 12 – 15 hours of work every week for completing coursework related to MSDS (including attending interactions with Indian faculty members). In our experience, most working professionals are able to complete the course requirements. In case you fall behind in any course/ module, recordings and other course support material will be made available to you – for you to catch up. The Indian faculty member will also help you out. Please note, however, the key success factor is your drive and discipline to find the time and complete the course requirements.

Will I be able to apply for a PhD after doing this course?​

Yes. The program leads to a Post-graduate Degree. The alumni of the program are treated on par with alumni of any other MS courses.

How do I compare this with a program from a premier Indian Institute?


In the rapidly growing field of Data Science, there is a mushrooming of institutes offering courses at different price points. Majority of Indian institutes, including the premier ones, offer a PG Diploma at best. This is not comparable to getting a full-fledged MS degree – in terms of course curriculum and the depth of coverage of various subjects.


Those that claim that they have a tie-up with a reputed US University do not offer a qualification (leave alone a full-fledged degree) from their collaborating Universities. At best, they offer qualifications from the distance education arm or executive education arm. Add to that the fact that an MS from a reputed US University has universal recognition amongst employers.


This investment will help you throughout your career – in whichever part of the World you choose to work. There is simply no comparison. The only valid comparison is with other MS Programs offered by US Universities.

I am a person working in IT sector in India. Why should I do the MSDS program?

There are two aspects to our response. First, Data Science is one of the top three areas where there is a combination of growing demand and an acute talent shortage. This situation is likely to continue for the next five years. Thus, there is tremendous opportunity for anyone making a shift to a career in Data Science.


On the other hand, Economic Times estimates that approximately 2.2. million jobs will be lost over the next five years in the IT and ITeS sectors precisely because of the advances in Data Sciences, AI & ML that will make legacy jobs in the Industry redundant. Therefore, it would be wise – from the opportunity and from the threat perspective – to acquire a qualification in Data Science now.


There is nothing better than getting a formal post-graduate qualification from a reputed US University to secure your future in a new career. For working people, the added attraction is that of getting the qualification without having to move out of your current job.

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