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

Practicum Questions Specific to International Students

Can I graduate in summer if I do an internship as my practicum?

Yes! Students who complete their 10 MSA courses in fall and spring can then do a summer internship as their MSA practicum in order to graduate in August.

Do I have to count a summer internship as my practicum?

Students who have completed all 10 MSAs courses during their first fall and spring semester who accept a summer internship must count it as their MSA practicum and then graduate in August. Students who have not completed all 10 MSA courses, can choose to either count a summer internship as their practicum or wait until fall to do their practicum.

If I wait until my second fall semester to do the practicum, what are my practicum options?

If you wait until your second fall to do the practicum, you can do a part-time (20 hr/wk) fall internship or an on-campus practicum project as your MSA Practicum. Please do keep in mind that part-time fall internships aren't very common. Be sure to talk with your career advisor if you’re interested in seeking a part-time fall internship.

What do I need to keep in mind if I want to graduate in December?

International students who want to extend their graduation until December must hold at least 1 required MSA course for their second fall semester. Note: They can choose to do their practicum in either summer or their second fall semester.

What is the process to count an internship as your practicum?

You will need to register for both the 6-academic credit MSA practicum course (MGT/ISYE/CSE 6748) AND register your internship with the Career Center through CareerBuzz. When you register your internship with the Career Center, you will automatically be enrolled in a 12-audit credit INTN course, and the Career Center will submit your information to OIE to start the process for CPT approval.