In the simplest context, data science is a field of study that combines domain experts with programmers and mathematicians to extract meaning from data. As society today relies on technology, it also follows that people need this interdisciplinary program to digest and understand all information.
Organizations can take existing data that may not be very useful alone and combine it with other data concepts and strategies to produce insights that can assist them in learning more about their customers and audiences. Businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and other industries and organizations use data science for many reasons.
Data Scientists Today
Data scientists are essential to developing, producing, and shipping more efficient products. They make cities more livable through the use of data. Did you know that data science field experts help professional sports teams win championships? So much of our lives are affected by data, but few people know how to use and interpret it!
With their expertise in computer science, data mining, machine learning, data engineering, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, statistical analysis, big data, and data analytics management, data scientists can turn seemingly random and chaotic information into actionable insights that directly impact their employers’ business decisions.
Whether you’ve finished a degree in data science and are looking to pursue a master’s degree or shift to a different scope of higher education, it could be right for you if you intend to be a leader in the field. Being a data scientist can be an enticing role for you, but this isn’t the only job prospect for you once you enroll in a graduate degree in data science. Master’s degree data science students learn to analyze and utilize large, complex datasets known as “Big Data.”
So what’s Data Science worth? Many ways exist for data science to improve quality of life and standard of living. Through it, people can make better decisions, find solutions to problems, and gain new insights into their world. By transforming raw data into meaningful insights, data science helps businesses identify market trends and help them grow. Data Science has become a lucrative career with so few qualified Data Scientists available, which means Data Science degree holders will be sought-after!
At the master’s degree level, data science is an excellent option for people keen on establishing a successful career in this field. Businesses from various industries need data scientists to harness the data and use it for strategic planning. It is this need that has propelled the growth of the field.
Students pursuing an M.S. in Data Science, with knowledge of information technology and business intelligence, will be ready to tackle all the challenges and seamlessly make data-driven decisions. It’s time to learn more about what’s in store for you once you pursue a master’s degree in Data Science.
Obtaining an online Master’s of Data Science degree pays off—and it matters where you earned it from! The country is home to some of the best programs offered by outstanding graduate schools that welcome undergraduate degree holders.
The reputable graduate schools on our list impress with their Master’s of Data Science graduate programs, which have all these features in common:
- Delivered 100% online or on a hybrid learning strategy, with some core courses requiring students to attend in-person sessions,
- Feature the most up-to-date Data Science project theories, principles, and strategies in their rigorous coursework and a range of elective courses, to prepare students for real-world applications in professional settings.
- Provide students access to student support, top-of-the-line learning facilities, resources, and tools thru a robust learning management system and online learning platform,
- Financial aid options for eligible online Master of Data Science students,
- Faculty members that boast credentials and experience as Data Science professionals,
- Accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), and similar organizations advancing Data Science as a discipline,
- Positive reviews from educational agencies and stellar feedback from students and alumni.
See our Methodology page for more information.
10 Best Online Master’s of Data Science Graduate Schools
University Of Denver
The University of Denver offers the same exceptional learning experience and curriculum in their online Data Science master’s program as they do in their full-time, on-campus program, but their online program is more convenient. Expect to be working with Ritchie School faculty, including leading researchers in database management, algorithms, and statistics, and receiving feedback in real-time.
Within 18-24 months, you can graduate and enroll in the program with different start dates every year. There is no GRE requirement or programming experience required, but students without a background in computer science can take three bridge courses.
Get started learning programming without prior experience with the following three bridge courses, including Python syntax lessons, data science mathematics, and more. These courses are not required, but data science students may test out of them.
Did You Know?
- The University of Denver campus, founded in 1864, is among the country’s most beautiful and has a history dating back 149 years. Campus buildings date from the 1860s and have been replaced for more than half a billion dollars.
- The online M.S. in Data Science program at the University of Denver is ranked No.12 by Fortune.
Southern Methodist University
The curriculum developed under the online Master of Science in Data Science offered by SMU is curated by Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, and Meadows School of Arts. Students will learn statistics and develop computer science and data visualization skills as part of their coursework. They can select a specialization within this program that closely aligns with their goals as they progress in their studies.
Students gain the different skills required to develop data-driven decisions across various industries through data science online and face-to-face classes and collaborative coursework. Using case studies, workshops, and networking opportunities, their curriculum combines industry-connected professionals with the technical skills of data science.
SMU’s online Data Science master’s classes and coursework emphasize statistics as well as data visualization and computer science. By the end of the online classes, you will have mastered more advanced concepts and have the opportunity to select a specialization with a curriculum tailored to meet your individual needs.
The program allows you to choose from two specializations: Machine Learning and Business Analytics.
Those interested in the Machine Learning Specialization will learn how to build self-optimizing systems and solve problems or processes within organizations.
Business Analytics is a specialization designed for students seeking to develop analytical tools for synthesizing qualitative data and communicating results to key stakeholders to aid in strategic decision-making.
It will take you as little as 20 months to complete this 33.5-credit course.
Online data science programs at SMU follow the same academic rigor and standards as campus-based programs. Learners develop expertise in managing and analyzing data and determining strategic choices. In addition to SAS, Python, and R, top-level courses also cover data mining, programming, and network security.
A high emphasis is placed on networking from day one of the data science programs so that students can form close relationships with current and aspiring data scientists. A minimum of one on-campus immersion is required during the program. The first immersion should be attended in the first term.
Students will participate in collaborative workshops, panel discussions, lectures, and information sessions with peers, faculty, industry leaders, and employers during the three- to four-day experience. After the program, students will present their Capstone projects on campus.
Did You Know?
- Nine libraries are available at SMU! It’s impossible to run out of places to study here, and for those who are lucky, they can even access the Southwest’s most significant private archive of research materials.
- A Spanish art collection outside of Spain can be found at the Meadows Museum of Art at Southern Methodist University.
Loyola University of Maryland
The Data Science Master’s program at Loyola University Maryland immerses students in an evolving field of study. Statistics and business are carefully woven into the course curriculum. Using computer programming skills, the students will learn to create an orderly, understandable image from disorganized web data.
Students will be able to use statistical modeling using R to address unlimited data issues in their respective organizations. Loyola’s 31-credit program will provide graduates with a strong foundation in data science. Two specializations are available. One is technical, and the other is analytics.
A Master of Science in Data Science provides students with comprehensive data science training through a 31-34-credit program comprising ten or eleven three-credit courses and one one-credit course. Summer, fall, or spring semesters are available for admission. With this degree, students will be able to apply their statistical and computational skills in any field.
The curriculum includes courses in business, computer science, and statistics and one credit of design research for the capstone project in conjunction with industry, government, or nonprofit partners. By earning the SAS certification, students studying the SAS micro-credential program or business analytics specialization will become competent in using SAS statistical tools to prepare, analyze, and visualize data.
The Master’s program in Data Science is delivered 100% online. There are two specializations available: Technical (31-34 credits) and Business Analytics (31 credits). It will cost you $895 per credit for its tuition fee.
Loyola’s M.S. in Data Science program allows students to customize their curriculum by choosing courses that align with their goals and interests. Data science online students have the option to choose any specialization.
This program requires a practicum within two semesters and can include an internship during the summer. As part of the practicum, students apply the data science techniques learned during the program to solve a practical problem with their local partners.
The first semester involves students designing the project and presenting it to the Board; this could be a funded internship. The program director will create a strong advisory board composed of representatives from industry, government, and not-for-profit organizations to create opportunities. A student’s project is implemented and presented to the board for approval at the end of the second semester.
Did You Know?
The Loyola University of Maryland consistently ranks among the nation’s best graduate business schools in accounting, marketing, finance, and management.
Texas Tech University
The Master of Science in Data Science program teaches students how to manipulate big data using advanced technologies, interpret the data using rigorous statistics, and formulate business strategies that an organization can implement. Students can take courses in technology, business, and statistics. Upon graduation, students can expect to land a job in business analytics, business intelligence, and big data, some of the fastest-growing areas in both business and medicine. Rawls College offers students an excellent return on investment through its low tuition rates and one-year completion time.
Students applying to Texas Tech University’s online Master’s in a data science program do not need to submit GRE scores. There are no recommendation letters needed either. However, TOEFL scores are required for international applicants.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, 53% of applicants were accepted into the program. The average undergraduate GPA was 3.3.
Students enrolled in the MSDS program need to complete 36 credit hours of specialized data science courses. As concepts build on one another, it is a lock-step program that requires students to take classes in a specific order.
Summer courses last between four and five weeks, and the program begins each summer. Spring and fall courses last between seven and eight weeks. Students can complete their coursework either on-campus or online during the year-long program. However, the two-year data science programs are only offered online.
In 2022, Rawls College’s Master’s in data science (MSDS) program was ranked #3 best online, non-MBA programs in the nation. Graduates of this program will gain the technical expertise needed to lead in the digital frontier. Learn to manage, analyze, and understand complex data with their 36-hour, STEM-designated program. You’ll graduate with the skills and knowledge to become a data scientist capable of making impactful decisions across various industries and business settings.
Did You Know?
- A beautiful and large campus awaits you at TTU! This university covers 1,839 acres of land, making it one of the larger campuses in the country.
- The campus is greeted by a 9-foot-11 and 3,200-pound statue of a horse and rider dedicated in 1950.
Bay Path University
Students with a background in math or statistics can enroll in Bay Path University’s online Master of Science in Applied Data Science program. A completely online program, the program is designed to give students the background necessary to work with data scientists and analysts. Students enter the program in October or February and take classes over eight weeks. They usually complete it within a year or two. If students take two classes per eight-week session, they can complete the degree within one year.
The data science teams require both generalists with an understanding of data science and technical specialists who can put it into practice. No matter your background or experience, Bay Path University will prepare you for a career in data science.
Their Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Data Science program is one of the first to offer two tracks: the generalist and specialist.
- Generalist Track: The program prepares students to become skilled, well-rounded, collaborative data scientists and analysts regardless of their disciplinary background or previous work experience. Taking courses in this track prepares you for a career in the fast-growing field of data science.
- Specialist Track: Students in this track are prepared for technical roles on data science teams, such as data modelers, data mining engineers, or data warehouse architects.
Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 and a degree in Math, Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering, or Finance. When applying, you need to secure two letters of recommendation.
Applicants to Bay Path University’s online Master’s in applied data science program do not need to submit GRE scores. The TOEFL is not required for international applicants either. All 36-credit courses are offered online. They learn in an interactive, small, intimate, highly dynamic, and intimate online community. You can choose to enroll full-time or part-time.
Did You Know?
This neighborhood receives its name from the Bay Road, a footpath used by Native Americans in the past. After decades of educational and financial success, it has become one of its largest and most respected business schools.
Oklahoma State University
Online programs are an option offered by the Spears School of Business as a way for working professionals to earn a degree. Every student should have access to a high-quality, affordable education, no matter where they live or their schedule. Various multimedia content and virtual activities are used in online courses to promote student collaboration. Business Analytics and Data Science master’s degree candidates will complete 33 credits during their studies.
The total program cost for 33 hours is $15,878 for residents and $20,175 for non-residents.
The admission panel considers work experience and strongly encourages it. For those with five-plus years of relevant work experience, probationary admission may be available without GRE or GMAT scores.
Applicants must have a minimum GMAT or GRE score of the 51st percentile in each test area. Three letters of recommendation are required upon application.
In this program, the average undergraduate GPA was 3.45, and the average GMAT score was 545. International applicants must submit TOEFL scores unless English is the language of instruction in their country of residence.
Did You Know?
From being named the nation’s top public university to being called America’s Healthiest Campus, OSU’s awards and rankings highlight the value of its academic programs, campus culture, and quality of life.
The MS in Applied Data Science program from Syracuse University School of Information Studies—the nation’s first iSchool4—allows students to learn leading-edge coding and techniques to gain insights into modern business environments. The course will enable you to develop data mining and machine learning skills and enhance your ability to use Python and R to manipulate sizeable unstructured data sets. Learn how to combine business and technology knowledge through a top-ranked online course.
You can finish the program in as short as 18 months and be able to make an impact on society.
The degree provides a solid foundation in data science and the option to specialize in three different areas: Data and Business Analytics, Language Analytics, and Data Pipelines and Platforms.
Syracuse values your expertise and ambition in technology without requiring the GRE. Through a strong foundation in data science, Syracuse University’s iSchool prepares you to make an impact on business. You can select one of three specializations. Through their faculty’s years of experience in the industry, you will learn the business skills you need to lead data-driven solutions in an organization of any size.
Did You Know?
- President Joe Biden also graduated from Syracuse University Law School.
- Women have been supported and given opportunities at Syracuse University since 1857. Belva Ann Lockwood was the first woman to argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Sarah Logeun became the first African American woman to become a physician in the U.S.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
The Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) online Master of Science in Data Science program prepares you to analyze data to gain new insights and develop innovative solutions to improve how we live, work, and interact with the world around us. The core curriculum includes courses that teach the fundamentals of data science and electives that let you customize the program according to your own unique career goals.
Your online Master’s degree in data science with WPI will provide you with skills in database management and analysis and machine learning and data mining algorithms. As a result, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of statistics and be able to use diverse data-analysis software. Your degree will be rounded out by WPI’s interdisciplinary approach, which develops both interpersonal and storytelling skills.
- To qualify, you need to have a GPA of 3.0 in your undergraduate degree.
- Submit three letters of recommendation and a resume.
- Possess basic programming knowledge in Java, Python, and C++.
To be considered for admission to Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s online Master of Science in Data Science program, applicants aren’t required to submit a GMAT or GRE score. Data science programs typically accept students with a 3.52 undergraduate GPA. International prospective students from non-English speaking countries must take TOEFL or IELTS exams.
Did You Know?
Robert Goddard, Class of 1908, is among WPI’s best-known and most historically significant alumni. Affectionately known as the “Father of Modern Rocketry,” Goddard used liquid propellants as rocket fuel for the first time on March 16, 1926, at Auburn, Mass. He is credited with the successful launch of the first liquid-fueled rocket from that location.
Clemson’s School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences &Department of Management has jointly developed the online Masters of Science in Data Science & Analytics (DSA). In the MBA program, 30 credit hours are required. The School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences is responsible for 15 hours, and the Department of Management is responsible for 15 hours.
As part of this unique degree program, working professionals receive a degree in data analysis and management while taking courses in decision sciences. Manufacturing, government, military, and healthcare administration are possible career paths for program graduates. Each cohort begins in the summer.
- Clemson University does not require applicants to submit GRE scores for consideration for admission to its Master’s program in Data Science and Analytics online.
- To apply internationally, TOEFL scores must be submitted.
- Two letters of recommendation are also required.
Did You Know?
- You must wait until you graduate before reading the words on the statue at the base of Tillman Hall.
- In years past, football games were played at one o’clock on game day. Every team member wears a tiger paw on their left cheek every game day.
University of North Dakota
In energy, cyber security, big data, health care, and autonomous systems, UND graduate students are leading the way. They offer a unique mix of theory and application. With your interdisciplinary training in analytics, you will stand out in the field of data science. By earning a data science master’s, you will be able to join a highly-skilled workforce which is vital to advancing data science-related industries. Having an advanced curriculum that combines computer science with data science and business analytics ensures that you’ll have a well-rounded perspective on one of the fastest-growing areas in computing.
You can expand your interdisciplinary knowledge in data science and earn a basic foundation in data analytics. You’ll also experience leading data science research as a master of science student in data science. Through elective courses, you can study various areas, such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, and scientific visualization. Perform research and expand existing studies using big data and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
Learn how to work with large data sets in various industries and settings and gain graduate-level knowledge and expertise.
- UND’s Master’s in data science can be completed entirely online or on campus.
- The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited UND.
Did You Know?
Leaders continue to be developed at UND. Their academic programs have received national recognition. Among all nonprofit, flagship universities in the eight-state region, they serve the most exclusive online students.
What is a Master’s Degree in Data Science?
First off, you need to identify what it means to get a master’s degree in Data Science. An interdisciplinary master’s degree in Data Science prepares students for careers in data analysis. Data science students study mathematics, statistics, and computer science. You can choose full-time or part-time study based on your timeline and budget.
In most cases, data science students can complete a full-time master’s degree program in data science in 18 months or less. The number of part-time programs and distance learning programs opens excellent opportunities for working professionals. They can use this degree to leverage their current job titles, transfer to top management levels, or join top-tier research organizations. With a master’s degree in data science, you can do more.
Looking at the data provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics will tell you that computer and research scientists are continuing its high demand and are projected to grow 22% from 2020 to 2030. Their current median salary is $131,490 annually, which is a decent way to earn a living. It’s an excellent time to become part of the field and enjoy strong wages and above-average job growth! Overall, there are many jobs related to data scientists, and different industries are increasing their employment.
Considering an online degree but not sure if it’s right for you? A master’s degree in data science earned online carries the same weight as a campus-based degree on your resume. Earning an online degree may help you balance your work and personal lives more effectively. Eliminating the commute to campus may also lower your total costs.
What Can A Graduate Do with a Master’s Degree in Data Science?
Currently, data science is one of the fastest-growing careers. This is an exciting area to learn skills if you want to advance your data science career or change it. Many industries require data scientists. A business produces increasingly large amounts of valuable data, causing a surge in job openings. Market trends are predicted, sales conversion rates are increased, costs are reduced, and new products are designed with the help of experts.
Check out some of the most popular job positions that have high demands in different sectors today:
The objective of a data scientist is to transform large amounts of data into actionable insights that a business or organization can use. These specialists are extremely valuable to a company. Professionals in this field provide the information needed to make informed decisions for companies and organizations.
Many industries employ data scientists, including large corporations and government agencies. These professionals are in high demand. Finding a job doesn’t have to be difficult if you have a master’s degree in data science and have higher skills than your competitors.
Data managers need to understand the business side of data more than data scientists. As key players in achieving business objectives, they oversee data flow, processes, and even coordination of people where appropriate. An enterprise or department’s data is under the control of a data manager. During the data lifecycle, you should ensure that users can efficiently access the information.
Data engineers are the professionals tasked with working with raw data. Making data available to data scientists for further processing is the responsibility of the data engineer. Hence, it’s a requirement for data engineers to be familiar with different programming languages like Python, Java, SQL, Apache Spark and Hadoop, and C++.
A data engineer must process raw data generated by machines, instruments, or humans. Data engineers usually work with complex data or data that has not been adequately validated. The file is unformatted and may contain codes unique to different systems, making it more challenging to work with.
As a data analyst, you are responsible for analyzing and interpreting data. Due to the combination of skills you possess, you make organizations’ decision-making processes much more effective. Employers hire data analysts and depend on them for business decision-making to increase revenue and reduce costs.
Data analysts utilize specific methods during the data collection and analysis process. In addition to collecting statistics, they turn them into readily understandable and actionable information that businesses can use to their advantage. Finally, data analysts have to report their findings to support business decisions.
Reasons to Pursue a Master’s Degree in Data Science
There are so many online self-study resources and guides to expand your knowledge and skills in data science, so you can’t help but wonder if a master’s in data science will be worth your time and money. The steps to advance your career as a data scientist must be carefully considered for a rewarding career. It’s not a light decision to make, so it’s best to consider more aspects like the benefits that await you, like the ones below:
Stay ahead of the competition.
To succeed in data science, you must earn an advanced degree. In the first place, you should expect your competition to hold a graduate degree. According to data by the United States Census Bureau, 21 million people over the age of 25 have a master’s degree as the highest educational achievement. And over 4.5 million people hold a doctoral degree. Hence, it would make sense to stay ahead or at least in line with your competitors by having advanced education in data science.
Earn real-life experience.
It is not just about professional experience that makes a good researcher. A master of science in data science will also allow you to impact society. As a data scientist, you can produce predictions of public policy outcomes, contribute to governmental decisions and planning, advance research and innovations, and study how social issues can be resolved through data and solutions. It is possible to gain much more than just a core set of skills from a master’s program in data science. Data science should also provide you with meaningful experiences to fully demonstrate your impact.
Improve your professional earnings.
A huge salary in the data science field should result from using education to improve your credentials! Compensation continues to rise for data science jobs. Currently, the average salary for a data scientist is around $102,312, making it higher than other job titles. With experience, expertise, and skills, compensation demands increase.
Grow your computer science and data science skills.
Python, R programming, other programming languages, data wrangling, machine learning, and data visualization are all relevant to data science. By enrolling in a master’s program, you can grow and expand your data science skills. You can also nurture your talents for future purposes to analyze and gather different types of data and recognize their trends effectively. Throughout the course curriculum, you will find opportunities to practice these skills, and you will also be able to conclude from real-world data sets.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the curriculum of a Master’s in Data Science program?
You can expect your data science coursework to be as demanding as traditional courses, if not more. You must pursue equally challenging coursework as formal coursework when pursuing an online degree in data science. You can expect the curriculum to include class presentations using virtual tools, follow strict deadlines, and participate in team-based practicums.
You’ll also have access to chat rooms and opportunities to prepare your portfolios. Analyze the online data science master’s curriculum compared to the campus version and see if it fits your bill.
Will Data Science continue to have high demand?
It is estimated that the world’s total data will reach 181 zettabytes by 2025. Due to this growth, the demand for data scientists has gone even beyond the capacity of colleges and universities to train them. In fact, according to the ranking list of Glassdoor’s 50 Best jobs in America for 2022, the data scientist ranks third.
How are students successfully admitted to a Master’s of Data Science program?
Every Master of Science in Data Science program is typically intended for students interested in developing their technical skills and acquiring rigorous training in data science. The candidate should have some technical background but should also be passionate about statistical inference and computation methods, along with an eagerness to advance within industry, government, and academia.
What are the courses covered in a Master of Science in Data Science program?
Computer science courses are balanced with statistics-based data science courses in this program. By combining skills from statistics, data analysis, and machine learning, this program offers working professionals the opportunity to develop expertise to drive decisions and strategy. Expect to learn diverse courses such as linear models, programming languages, data ethics, simulation, hypothesis testing, probability, visualization, and longitudinal data. Also, there are some courses taken in the computer science field like deep learning, algorithm design, neural networks, and model optimization.
How do graduates apply for Data Science jobs?
Go straight to the source when looking for a data science job that’s right for you. You can reach out to companies that fit your industry and the unique data scientist role you’d like, or you can follow their job postings to be notified when positions become available. You may think of job listing sites as the first resource for finding a job in your field. The boards are prevalent since they are the first places most people go, so there is a lot of competition and often many mixed-quality listings.
You can find data science jobs by networking, especially ones relevant to the field and industry you are interested in. By networking with the right people and companies, you can explore opportunities related to your career goals and interests. A conference or other event can be the perfect setting for networking. Always be on the lookout for job hiring and opportunities, and you’ll land a job anytime after graduating with a master’s degree.
To become a Data Scientist, you must study programming, statistics, and linear algebra as the basics of the discipline. To succeed in data science, you must pursue deep learning of business intelligence, artificial intelligence, practical machine learning, database systems, data structures, data analytics, and natural language processing. Obtaining an online Master’s in Data Science is your ticket to gaining a competitive advantage and becoming a sought-after professional in this field!
Most data science degree courses and graduate programs enroll diverse students representing different industries and backgrounds. The key is to meet all the requirements such as an undergraduate degree with a general data science track, and test scores. Complete the prerequisite courses in the data science field, never skip your online classes, and complete your capstone project!
Agencies and organizations need to hire Data Scientists and similar expert workers. Because master’s degree holders are more likely to be hired by employers, it pays to bolster your credentials with an online Master’s degree in Data Science.