Master of Science in Business Analytics | Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Our goal is to help you stay as informed as possible throughout the application process

Can't find the answer to your question? Feel free to contact the MSBA Office at

General Questions

The Merage program leverages its existing MBA curriculum to offer a unique program that balances technical data management and analytics subjects with a deep understanding of business context. It is unique in offering three flexible curricular tracks in data analytics, marketing analytics and operations analytics. It also offers a 6-month capstone project that allows students to work on a real-world data-analytic problem with a local company.

The MSBA program is STEM-designated and eligible students have the option to apply for up to 36 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) upon graduation. This longer duration is especially attractive to companies interested in providing immigration sponsorship to international students. For more information about OPT and OPT STEM eligibility, please visit the International Center website.

The MSBA Program is an 11-month (four-quarter) full-time program. It requires eight core courses and five electives, for a total of 52 units to complete the program Elective courses are organized into three curricular tracks, however, the tracks are flexible and students can mix and match electives across the tracks. All MSBA students are expected to complete the program within four consecutive quarters during a consecutive 11-month period.

Students complete a group experiential Capstone Project in the winter and spring quarters. The project would be drawn from industry and would involve solving a real business analytics problem for a company, typically based in Southern California. The School has developed partnership opportunities with companies (e.g., Coca-Cola, Experian and IBM) utilizing business analytics in areas that align with the curricular tracks.

Students can choose their electives to specialize in one of three tracks: data analytics; marketing analytics; and operations analytics. The tracks are flexible in that there are no strict credit requirements, and you can mix and match electives to design a custom curriculum that fits your own career goals.

The MSBA Program can be completed in either 4 or 5 Quarters. Regardless of which option you choose, the program starts in the summer and the curriculum is the same. Both the 4 and 5 Quarter Option will include a minimum of 52 units or 13 classes including the Capstone Project that is completed in the Spring.

The benefit of choosing the 4 Quarter Option is to complete the program in under 12 months. MSBA has been designed as a 4 Quarter Program to jumpstart your career upon finishing the Capstone, aligning with traditional student hiring timelines. The benefit of choosing the 5 Quarter Option is an extended term to complete your coursework. Students that select the 5 Quarter Option will need to be proactive in seeking networking opportunities within the Orange County business community.

Admissions Questions

We are looking for students that want to become “data scientists” or “business analytics specialist”; i.e., professionals with the training and skill set to handle big data and gain intelligence from it in order to create business value at companies across a range of industries. We evaluate and take into account a number of criteria including test scores, academic performance, essays, resume, work experience, and letters of recommendation. An Admissions Committee will balance the diversity of education, work experience, background, and leadership potential to build a diverse and high quality classroom environment. We encourage you to apply if you have a genuine interest in the program.

No, but a strong quantitative background including coursework in subjects such as mathematics, computer science, economics, statistics, engineering, and physics is encouraged. Moreover, if the undergraduate training is not sufficiently quantitative, three or more years of work experience, in a field related to business analytics, is recommended.

The program will accept students with and without work experience. In either case, you would need to make a strong case in your essay why a Master of Science in Business Analytics is the right choice given your background and career aspirations.

If you submitted an application to a Merage Master’s program within the last two years, you are considered a re-applicant. The first step towards reapplying is to contact the Recruitment and Admissions office of your program of interest and request instructions to re-apply.

You may only apply to one program at the Merage School in a given admissions year. If you are uncertain which program you would like to pursue, our admissions team is happy to discuss your background and career interests to determine which program would be the best fit. If you have already started an application, submitted an application, or received an admissions decision from one program but wish to apply to a different program, please contact the admissions office associated with the program you initially applied to. The admissions office will provide further guidance and instructions.

Applications will be processed when the minimum requirement of two recommendations has been met. If you would like to hold your application for review until we receive an additional letter of recommendation, please email our program office.

No. Our program staff handles all transcript evaluations and do not accept WES evaluations. WES services are non-binding, meaning they do not have the authority to overrule the evaluations conducted by UCI's Graduate Division. WES is considered a suggested guide and is not considered an official evaluation of your credentials.

Applicants with a 3-year bachelor's degree* (except for the United Kingdom) need either an additional 1-year master's degree, a 1-year Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in the same field of study as the 3-year degree, or a 2-year master's degree in any field to be recognized as equivalent to a 4-year bachelor’s degree from the United States. We also accept the Chartered Accountant Final Examination certificates as postgraduate coursework when it is combined with a 3-year bachelor’s degree in accounting.

*For example: Degrees from India, Australia, Italy, etc. If you have any questions about your 3-year degree, please contact us at: