Master for Smart Data Science

The Master for Smart Data Science at ENSAI is a unique and innovative program taught entirely in English. It combines advanced notions in Statistics, Applied Mathematics, and Computer Science and includes several units specific to this program which can be used in developing Artificial Intelligence. This one-year degree prepares graduates for exciting careers as highly-qualified Data Scientists in numerous sectors and opens the door to PhD studies for a career in research.

This Master’s program (Diplôme National de Master) is accredited by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation in partnership with Institut Agro Rennes-Angers, the University of Rennes, and the University of Rennes 2.

The Master for Smart Data Science Ranked 4th in Eduniversal’s 2023 “Best Master’s in Big Data & Data Science” Ranking.


The Master for Smart Data Science is composed of a semester of full-time coursework at ENSAI (September through February), followed by a 4 to 6-month internship in France or abroad within the professional world or academia/research laboratories (March through August). Master’s thesis defenses and graduation ceremony take place in September N+1.

Prior to the start of the Academic Year, the students will attend courses designed to reinforce different notions in Computer Science, Statistics, and Mathematics. After the beginning of the semester, students will learn methodologies and practical skills, acquire core concepts of data management, and learn how to use the tools necessary to assess, treat, and analyze massive amounts of heterogeneous data. Students will develop mastery of mathematical models and algorithms allowing them to extract important data and develop deep understanding and create insight. The curriculum at ENSAI will allow them to become specialists in Data Science and AI, and to work in various sectors like retail, manufacturing, financial markets, insurance, healthcare, energy, and public administrations. Graduates can also pursue a PhD to pursue a career in research or academia.

To ensure that the curriculum remains up-to-date, ENSAI reserves the right to make minor changes to the proposed curriculum between the period of admission and the start of the academic year.

Curriculum 2023-2024    

Course Catalog 2023-2024    

Short course description    




The final phase of the Master for Smart Data Science program is a 4-6 month paid* internship, which can take place anywhere in the world, in businesses or academic/research laboratories. This experience allows students to apply the statistical and computer science theory and methods that they have learned during the semester of coursework. Students have done previous internships in a wide array of companies (Orange, Expedia, ENGIE, Groupe Yves Rocher…) and research institutes such as INRIA. These rich professional experiences often lead to employment opportunities.

Students must write a Master’s Thesis in conjunction with their internship and defend it in front of a jury.

*If the internship is carried out in France, by law it must be paid.

Admissions & Prerequisites

The Master for Smart Data Science is open to students of all nationalities. 

All applicants must have a minimum of 4 years of higher education equivalent to 240 ECTS credits (at least a 4-year Bachelor’s degree or the first year of a Master’s degree). A strong statistical, mathematical, and computer science background is required. Candidates with additional professional experience are welcome. 

Successful candidates are selected based on degrees, academic results, and skills. 

Smart Data Prerequisites page

This Program is taught entirely in English. Non-native English speakers must provide proof of a minimum B2 level (CEFR scale) in English by providing valid results from a recognized language certification such as the TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS, CLES, etc. 

Non-French speakers are highly encouraged to attend intensive French language courses (Université d’été) in August prior to the beginning of the semester. Students may also follow weekly French language courses in the evening at ENSAI. 

Application & Selection Procedures

Application Period and Procedures

All applications for the Master for Smart Data Science at ENSAI for the 2024-2025 academic year must be completed and submitted online between: 

1st wave: December 15, 2023 (at 18:00 GMT+1) and February 1, 2024 (at 23:59 GMT+1)
2nd wave: February 2, 2024 (at 00:00 GMT+1) and April 1, 2024 (at 23:59 GMT+1) 
3rd wave: April 2, 2024 (at 00:00 GMT+1) and May 31, 2024 (at 23:59 GMT+1) 

Every year, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply during the first round of admissions. All application materials and documents must be submitted electronically during this time period. No paper applications will be accepted.

During the application process, candidates are invited to complete an online form and submit all the requested documents in .pdf format.

List of application documents

Candidates should click here to apply and follow the on-screen instructions.

ENSAI’s budget office requires candidates to complete bank transfers for application fees. Applicants must cover any and all costs associated with transfers.

Smart Data Application Fee Payment


Tuition and Fees

The Master for Smart Data Science program cost is fixed at: 

  • €4,000 for tuition and fees if students correspond to one of the six criteria below:
    1. Citizens of European Union member states, of another state that is part of the European Economic Area, or the Swiss Federation;
    2. Holders of French titre de séjour with the mention « Carte de séjour de membre de la famille d’un citoyen de l’Union/EEE/Suisse »;
    3. Holders of residency cards delivered under Chapter IV of Title I of Book III of the CESEDA or the same residency card delivered within the framework of an international agreement applicable to the French Republic, or a minor under 18 years of age who is a direct descendant of a cardholder;
    4. Foreigners having fiscal residency or attached to a fiscal householder in France for at least two years as of January 1 preceding the beginning of the academic year for which admission is requested;
    5. Beneficiaries of Refugee status or subsidiary protection or a person whose father, mother or legal guardian benefits from such a status;
    6. Citizens of states having concluded an international accord applicable to the French Republic which requires the payment of the same fees that are applicable to French citizens or exempts citizens of said state from the obligation to have a residency card or titre de séjour in France.
  • €6,000 for tuition and fees if students do not correspond to any of the above criteria.

Students following this Master’s program are not eligible to apply for need-based financial aid.

Cost of Living

Cost of Living

Additional Costs

All Master for Smart Data Science students must pay the national student fee (CVEC) of about 100€.

Student health insurance is free for all students in France, regardless of their nationality.

Université d’été (Intensive French Summer Program):

Non-French speakers also pay around €880 for a 1-month Intensive French Summer Program: the Université d’été; this cost includes courses and program fees. Students pay the organizing language center, CIREFE at the University of Rennes 2. Accommodation costs are not included in the above mentioned fee.

Professional Outlook

Graduates of the program are skilled Data Scientists who have numerous career opportunities in international corporations and data start-ups in many fields including:

Artificial Intelligence

Business Analytics

Internet of Things

Personalized Medicine

Smart Grid Optimization

Smart Society

Social Networks Analysis

Supply Chain Optimization

Additionally, graduates can pursue a PhD for a career in research or academia. ENSAI proposes a PhD in Applied Mathematics (Statistics and related fields). ENSAI PhD students are enrolled in the Matisse Doctoral School, which is operated jointly by several regional institutions of higher education including the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Rennes, Centrale Supélec Rennes, INSA Rennes, the Institut Agro Rennes-Angers, the University of Rennes, and the University of Rennes 2. ENSAI also proposes joint PhD programs in Economics and Computer Science in collaboration with partner establishments from Rennes, Paris Saclay, or institutions abroad. 

PhD students at ENSAI take advantage of the dynamic, interdisciplinary research environment of the renowned CREST  research lab and its team. The CREST laboratory is characterized by a strong attachment to quantitative methods, data, mathematical modeling, and the continuous movement between theoretical models and empirical evidence to analyze concrete scientific, economic, and societal problems.   

Master for Smart Data Science brochure    


François PORTIER
Associate professor - Head of the Master for Smart Data Science
02 99 05 32 41
Academic Affairs and Admissions - Master for Smart Data Science and PhD programs
+33 (0)2 99 05 32 08
Head of the Office of International Relations and Department of Humanities - Equality and Diversity Ombudsman
+33 (0)2 99 05 32 44
Focus: Master Smart Data

Valentin Patilea, former Head of the Master, and Catriona Mitchison, class of 2019, answer all of your questions.


Eduniversal Ranking

The Master for Smart Data Science Ranked 6th in Eduniversal’s 2024 “Best Master’s in Big Data & Data Science” Ranking

classement eduniversal data science

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Pursue a PhD at ENSAI

The Matisse Doctoral School offers PhD students a stimulating interdisciplinary environment.

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