MSA students working at a table

Applied Analytics Practicum

Every MSA student is required to take the Applied Analytics Practicum course (CSE/ISYE/MGT 6748) before graduating. This six-credit course gives all of our students an opportunity to do an important applied analytics/data science project with a company or organization that really cares about the results.

Most of our students use an analytics/data-science internship as their project for the course. US citizens and Permanent Residents may also use a full-time permanent analytics/data-science job for the course. Companies also bring projects to us for our students to work on in teams each semester. One way or another, before graduating every MSA student gets experience working with a company/organization applying the data science and analytics skills they’ve gained through the MSA curriculum to an important real-world problem.

The Applied Analytics Practicum course also includes lessons on issues of professional analytics and data science practice from experts in things like ethics, leadership, change management, etc. Students also have access to faculty, TAs, and alumni mentors to help guide them through the course of their projects, as needed.


  • CSE 6242 Data and Visual Analytics
  • MGT 6203 Data Analytics in Business
  • A total of at least 7 (preferably 10) courses toward the MS Analytics degree
  • A company or organization’s advanced analytics or data science project, approved by the MS Analytics program

Course Goals

The course is designed to give students experience in how to:

  • properly define and scope an advanced analytics or data science project to fit the needs of an organization
  • apply appropriate analytics ideas, methodologies, and tools
  • create value, insight, and knowledge using data science skills and principles
  • manage a project
  • present results professionally in writing and orally

Project Types

There are three types of projects that students may do in this course:

  • Employer Project, Internship, Graduate Research Assistantship, etc.: Individual students working at a company or other organization for the semester on a data science project that has been approved for use in this course. Students who wish to pursue this option will receive career search support from MSA Career Services but are responsible for finding their own internship. Internships are typically paid at industry standards for graduate data science talent. For international students, this employment must meet visa status requirements; international students are advised to contact Georgia Tech’s Office of International Education.
  • Sponsored Practicum Project: Small teams of ~3-4 students working with a company or other organization on a data science project they have submitted to Georgia Tech. Teams will work remotely from the company site (e.g., at Georgia Tech). Sponsored Practicum Projects will be provided by MSA Career Services each semester and are always available to students upon request. Students will get to choose among submitted projects, space permitting (with the constraint that, whenever possible, only one team may work on each project). Students will not be paid for remote practicum projects. Teams will meet regularly with the sponsoring company and will also be paired with an MSA alumni mentor.
  • Full-time Role (NOTE: This option is only available to US Citizens and Permanent Residents): Individual students working full-time in a permanent position at a company or other organization for the semester on a data science project that has been approved for use in this course. Students who wish to pursue this option will receive career search support from MSA Career Services but are responsible for finding their own full-time position.


There are three main requirements of an applied analytics practicum project:

  • Methodology: The project must require the use of advanced analytics/data science skills and knowledge learned in the MS Analytics curriculum, or built upon that knowledge. The purpose is for students to get significant project experience using what they have learned.
  • Value: The project’s goal should be to create significant value, insights, and/or knowledge for the company or organization.
  • Magnitude: The project should be significant enough to require the full semester allotted.


It is expected that the student(s) and employer will agree on a communication schedule, and that students are responsible for making sure communication is timely and smooth. A supervisor on the company/organization side will be asked to submit an evaluation form at the end of the semester; this evaluation can be a significant contributor to the student’s grade.

Additionally, students must submit the following reports during the semester:

  • Certification Form: Students must complete a certification form at the beginning of the semester confirming participation in the practicum and summarizing the work they’ll be doing.
  • Midterm Report: A midterm progress report must be submitted in the form of a slide deck. The midterm progress report should explain the purpose of the project, what the student has completed thus far, and what they plan to accomplish by the end of the semester.
  • Final Written Report: The final report should explain the purpose of the project, the student’s approach to solving the problem, and what the results, insights or recommendations are.
  • Final Presentation: Students must give a final presentation to company representatives. This is the student’s opportunity to present their approach and findings and answer any questions the company may have about their work.

Common Questions

General Practicum Questions

Can a GRA count as the practicum?

Typically, no. In rare situations, it’s possible a GRA could count as the practicum if you’re planning to pursue a PhD or the GRA work is tied directly to a company and has business impact.

Can students do the practicum in any semester?

Yes, students can do the practicum in summer, fall or spring, but they must have completed at least 7 (but preferably 10) MSA courses prior to being eligible for the practicum. Specific prerequisites courses include CSE 6242 and MGT 6203.

How do I register for the practicum?

Once an internship or FT job has been approved by your career advisor or you have let your advisor know you’ll be doing the on-campus practicum, you should register for the MSA Practicum Course (MGT/CSE/ISYE 6478) during either Phase I or II registration. We recommend registering for the section aligned with your MSA Track, but if that section is full, it is acceptable to register for another section.

How do students get approval to count their internship or full-time job as their practicum?

Students should speak with their career advisor to gain approval to count their internship or full-time job as their practicum.

If I would like to use my full-time job as my practicum, do I need to start my job by a specific date?

Yes, you will need to work at least 8 weeks prior to the last day of summer semester or 14 weeks prior to the last day of fall semester to count your job as the practicum for that specific semester. If your job starts too late to fulfill this requirement, you can wait until the following semester to register for the practicum. (I.E. If your full-time job starts in late June, you should wait until fall semester to register for the practicum.

Is there tuition associated with the MSA Practicum?

Yes, there are 6 academic credits of tuition associated with the MSA practicum regardless of which practicum option students choose.

What are the options to satisfy the MSA Practicum requirement?

All students can use an internship or do an analytics project provided by MSA Career Services, which we call the ‘on-campus practicum’, as their MSA practicum. Students who are US citizens or Permanent Residents can also use a full-time position as their practicum.

What are the practicum deliverables?

All students must submit the MSA practicum certification at the beginning of the practicum to verify that the project will satisfy course requirements. Additionally, they will be asked to submit a mid-term PPT deck and final report as well as present their finding to the organization at the end of the term. The practicum syllabus provides additional details.

What types of internships/jobs can count as the practicum?

In order for an internship or full-time job to count as the MSA practicum, the work must allow the student to apply the data science and analytics skills gained through their MSA coursework to a real-world business problem.