MS – Data Engineering

Data engineers ensure that increasing amounts of data being generated and processed on a daily basis are usable by the time they reach data scientists and analysts. This program prepares students for employment in this exponentially growing field.

The MS in Data Engineering program focuses on the principles and practices of managing data at scale. It emphasizes the valid and efficient collection, storage, management, and processing of datasets to support computation and data driven systems important to data science and data analytics functions. Given the increasing amounts of data being generated and processed daily, almost all industries need data engineers to build and maintain robust data-handling systems. If you’re interested in making high-quality data accessible to scientists and analysts, this degree is for you.

For degree requirements and program details, see the UW-Madison Guide.

Ready to apply? Check out our admissions page!


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What is the difference between the MS Data Engineering and MS Data Science programs?

The MSDE and MDS pages have information that clarifies some of the differences between each program.

Can international students apply to the DE program?

Yes, international students are welcome to apply for the MS in Data Engineering (MSDE) program. International Student Services (ISS) guidelines state that international graduate students must be enrolled full time (8 credits) during fall and spring semesters. Summer coursework is optional.

I am an international student. May I participate in the program long-distance?

MSDE program is an in-person program with courses being offered at UW-Madison typically Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm. If you accept our offer of admission, the Graduate School will send an I-20 form that you can use to apply for a visa to come to the UW–Madison campus to study.

Is the GRE required for the MSDE application?


May I apply for financial aid?

Direct financial support from the Computer Sciences Department for MSDE students is not available. However, students can contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss federal loan programs and other lending opportunities, as well as financial assistance. The Graduate School also has funding information available.

Am I eligible for a graduate assistantship?

Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at UW-Madison. The Graduate School website has additional information.

Can I apply for the DE program and another program in the CS Department?

Yes. Students can apply for up to 3 graduate programs in the Graduate School application for the same fee.

How long does it take to complete the DE program?

The program is designed for students to be able to complete the requirements in 1.5-2 years.

Can I do an internship during the DE program?

Yes. Our graduate students in our other degree programs have often applied for and completed internships during the summer following the first year of study. We encourage our MSDE students to apply for internships to deepen their academic knowledge and to gain further work experience. If you complete an internship in the summer after the first year of study, it can be counted toward CS 702 (Cooperative Education) credits. (See the program’s degree requirements).

Do you offer many courses in the evening?

Most CS courses are offered Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm.

What is the cost of this program?

Costs for individual academic programs are listed in the Tuition Rates Workbook on the Bursar’s Office Tuition and Fees page.

Who can I contact with more questions?

The Professional Program Manager can be contacted at with any questions regarding the MSDE or CS professional programs.

How competitive is the admissions process for this program?

Computer Sciences graduate programs at UW-Madison are competitive, but we encourage any student who is interested and believes they are qualified to apply. We encourage you to review the Graduate School’s admissions and enrollment data.

I’m an international student and want to connect with other international students, experience US/Wisconsin culture, and maybe practice my English conversational skills. What resources are available?

International Student Services (ISS) on the UW-Madison campus has a number of resources for students interested in getting involved on campus, connecting with other students, practicing English, and cultural exchange. These include the Global Café, Practicing English And Cultural Exchange (PEACE), and more!

How does course advising work?

Students in the program are assigned both a faculty and general academic advisor. The faculty advisor is typically the one to make course recommendations, whereas the academic advisor is usually better able to answer questions regarding policies.

What resources do I have for finding housing in Madison?

The Graduate School maintains information for new graduate students, which includes information on housing.

I am an active-duty service member and am looking for some local resources for military service members. What resources exist?

Students can review the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium (WSRC) website for more information and resources at the campus, Madison area, and Wisconsin levels.

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Application Process for Add/Change Program (Current Students)

Students who have already begun graduate school (i.e. have completed at least one course as a graduate student) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and wish to switch into the MS in Data Engineering (MSDE) program must follow these instructions to apply.

Since MSDE is a professional program, students cannot be concurrently enrolled in MSDE and another graduate program, which includes PhD programs. A student who applies to MSDE while in another degree program will need to either:

  1. Finish that degree program by the admission term for MSDE, OR
  2. If they will not have finished their other degree by the admission term for MSDE, they will need to discontinue their current program and change to MSDE.

Application Materials & Process

Students will need to apply to add MSDE or change to the program.

Fill out the change or add program form via the Graduate Portal.

  • Candidates who would discontinue their existing program and change to only MSDE will submit a change program form.
  • Candidates who will complete their existing program before starting MSDE will submit an add program form.

Submit the following as PDF files via email to

  • Completed MSDE Internal Add/Change Program Application Form
    • This form can be filled out electronically.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • UW-Madison unofficial transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • Please have recommenders email the letters to directly. Recommenders should send letters via a verifiable work email and will ideally use company letterhead. Please have recommenders reference who their letters are for in the body of their email.
  • (Optional) Upload other materials to be considered with your application. Alternatively, you can supply URLs for additional materials via the internal form above.
    • (e.g. thesis, project, or research paper)

You must also have your current graduate program send a PDF copy of your original Graduate School application to

The deadline for Fall 2024 is March 15, 2024. Early decisions for Fall 2024 may be communicated if the application is received by February 15, 2024. MSDE only admits for fall terms. We do not consider applications for spring or summer term admission.

Questions can be addressed to the program manager at

NOTE: students who are admitted as internal candidates to MSDE will have their applicable credits from their current/previous program(s) evaluated on a case-by-case basis for use in MSDE.

Questions? Need more information? Email us!

Key Faculty and Staff Contacts

Kyle Martinez

Graduate Program Manager

Nibedita Pattnaik

Graduate Academic Program Specialist - PCP