Simon Fraser University SFU Big Data Admission Requirements

By | March 10, 2018

Simon Fraser University SFU Big Data Admission Requirements

Admission to the professional master’s in big data is competitive: only the best qualified applicants are offered a seat. Therefore, it is imperative that students familiarize themselves with the admission requirements in order to ensure they submit a strong application. Since conditional and qualifying admission offers are made rarely and only in exceptional cases, students who qualify for regular admission have higher chances of acceptance than those who only qualify for conditional or qualifying admission.


Regular admission is the preferred route for the professional master’s in big data. To qualify, students must satisfy the big data admission requirements laid out here as well as the University’s admission requirements for a master’s program, as stated in SFU Graduate Regulation 1.3.3.

Students must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in computer science or a related field with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 3.00/4.33 (B), or a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.33/4.33 (B+) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses. All graduate work is also considered. It is expected that successful applicants have strong programming skills, particularly in languages like Java, Python, and C++. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship. Please do not contact us about waiving the requirement. Instead, use your application materials (your CV, statement of purpose, etc.) to make the case that your professional experience is relevant and should be considered along with your GPA.

Students who completed their degrees outside of Canada should refer to the equivalent academic requirements listed here.


The language of instruction, examination, and communication in the big data master’s program is English. Students whose primary language is not English must meet SFU’s English proficiency requirements as set out in the Graduate General Regulation 1.3.12. Applicants who have completed a degree at a recognized post-secondary institution where the language of instruction and examination is English in a country where English is the primary language are not required to submit proof of English proficiency.

All other applicants are required to provide proof of English proficiency. For more detailed information on the requirements, please visit the Graduate Studies page on English Language Requirements.


The School’s Graduate Admissions Committee may, at its discretion, offer admission to the program to exceptional students whose undergraduate degree is not in computer science or a related field. Such students typically make up for the lack of program-specific education through relevant work experience, course work, or certificates, diplomas, etc. The minimum required for conditional or qualifying admission is a demonstrated competence in computer science at a third-year level equivalent to CMPT 300 (Operating Systems I), CMPT 307 (Data Structures and Algorithms), and CMPT 354 (Database Systems I) – see below for course descriptions. Students who receive a qualifying offer take these three courses in the summer semester prior to the start semester of the program. If the courses are completed with a satisfactory average (usually at least B), the qualifying student is admitted into the Professional Master’s program in Big Data.

Conditional admission is normally granted to students who are required to take specific graduate courses and achieve a defined grade or grade point average in their first or at the latest, their second term of enrollment in their graduate program.

Qualifying admission is normally granted to students who are required to take specific undergraduate courses and obtain a defined grade or grade point average in order to be considered for admission to the graduate degree program to which they have applied.

For more information on qualifying and conditional admission, please view Graduate Admissions Regulations 1.3.6 and 1.3.8.

Please note: Conditional and qualifying admission are offered only in exceptional circumstances.  

In addition to the formal requirements outlined here, candidates must submit relevant documentation with their application. Click here for more information on the application process.