An online bachelor’s of data science provides graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to tackle complex data problems in many settings. In the technology–driven market, databases have become the foundation of many businesses and organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects database management jobs to grow 11% by 2026, faster than the national average for all occupations. To maintain productivity, businesses and organizations across industries need qualified professionals to develop user–friendly datasets. Graduates with a data science degree contribute to technological innovation in a growing field.
Data science professionals such as database administrators and database analysts develop, maintain, and organize new databases. They also monitor and tailor datasets to suit community needs and department productivity. Most importantly, data science professionals protect company data by implementing security measures. After earning a data science degree online, graduates emerge prepared for a career managing and protecting important data.
Online Bachelor’s in Data Science & Analytics Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected these accredited data science and analytics programs based on the quality of the program, types of courses provided, faculty strength, school awards, rankings and reputation, including the reputation for providing online degree programs.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Data Science & Analytics Programs
1. Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, Utah
Western Governors University offers an online bachelor’s of science in data management/data analytics program that teaches students about database management, data wrangling, data science, data analytics, and visualization. Tech professionals seeking a data science degree to further their careers benefit the most from this program. Individuals with prior working experience can take assessment tests to bypass familiar material and move through the program rapidly. This data science online degree also offers multiple IT certifications from companies like Oracle, CIW, and CompTIA. Additionally, students receive a Udacity Nanodegree, which includes resume support, employment guidance, and networking opportunities that continue after graduation.
WGU charges a flat–rate tuition for each six–month term, and learners take anywhere from 6–36 months to graduate, depending on their background experience and number of transfer credits from previous institutions. This online bachelor’s of data science program requires students to complete 35 online college courses, each of which focuses on a set of clearly defined competencies that students learn by completing tests, papers, projects, and other assessments. Once an individual demonstrates mastery of a subject, they move on to the next course, without needing to wait for a new term to start. WGU provides all courses asynchronously. Course offerings include web development foundations, data wrangling with MongoDB, and spreadsheets. Students must also complete an IT capstone written project before graduation. Applicants should possess a high school diploma or its equivalent and be able to demonstrate some IT experience.
Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
2. Webster University
Webster Groves, Missouri
Webster University is a global institution with a main campus in St. Louis and satellite campuses in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Webster offers a fully online bachelor’s of science in data analytics that helps students understand the foundational methodologies, concepts, and technologies used in the data analytics process.
Students pursuing this data science degree online must complete 128 credits, including 36 major–related core credits. Major online college courses in the program include topics such as decision support systems, data science, data warehousing, and electronic commerce. Students must take at least 18 of these core credits and all higher–level courses at Webster. The university boasts small, asynchronous classes of around 24 students, ensuring ample personalized attention from professors. Learners log in at their convenience to complete assignments and/or participate in class activities. Students access their classes through the WorldClassRoom portal, powered by the Canvas learning management system. The online data science bachelor’s degree program offers classes in eight–, nine–, and 16–week formats, and individuals should allot 3–4 hours per credit for readings, participating in course activities, contributing to class discussions, and completing assignments and projects. Webster suggests that working students take only one course per term to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
The university considers applications for admission on a rolling basis, and out–of–state students pay the same tuition as residents of Missouri.
Webster University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. New York University
New York, New York
New York University provides an online bachelor’s of science in applied data analytics and visualization. Graduates of this program can pursue a range of careers at government agencies, corporations, service industries, political organizations, consulting firms, or nonprofit organizations in positions such as database administrator or database analyst.
This data science degree online program requires students to earn a total of 128 credits in online college courses, including core curriculum requirements, foundation classes, data science and visualization courses, and electives. Major topics include visual analytics, data analytics, cultural and legal implications of digital technology, and business intelligence. Bachelor’s of data science students also complete a four–credit senior project in the form of a seminar or an internship as a capstone experience.
Online college courses follow an asynchronous format where distance learners contribute to class discussions, complete homework assignments and readings, and engage in team activities at their convenience. Professors supplement online lectures and coursework by offering office hours through live web conferencing.
The data science bachelor’s degree program accepts continuing–education students with at least 60 transfer credits or an associate degree from a previous institution of higher education; NYU recommends that applicants have a GPA of 3.3 or higher. Prospective students also need to provide a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. The school of professional studies at NYU does not charge an application fee.
New York University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Programs in NYU’s school of professional studies are registered with the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
4. Arizona State University – ASU Online
Arizona State University, located in the suburbs of Phoenix, offers a fully online bachelor’s of science in business data analytics program that prepares students to manage large–scale data analytics for businesses. Students pursue this data science degree online through ASU’s nationally recognized business school.
Graduates achieve a deep understanding of data warehousing, data science, large data analytics solutions, dimensional modeling, and visualization methods. They also gain a basic foundation in predictive analytics and data mining. Classes take place over accelerated, 7.5–week periods. Students must complete 120 credits of classes, including 51 credits of upper–division coursework. Distance learners need to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA to graduate. Online college course offerings include enterprise analytics, business data mining, and business data warehouses and dimensional modeling. Bachelor’s of data science students also complete a final capstone course, which focuses on incorporating ethical business practices in a global setting and how institutions impact countries around the world.
Freshman applicants to the data science bachelor’s degree program must be in the top 8% of their high school class or have a GPA of 3.6 or higher in specific competency courses (as defined by ASU). All students pay the same tuition, regardless of their state of residency. Transfer students must hold a cumulative transfer GPA of 3.0 or higher and complete at least 30 credits at ASU to earn their degree.
Arizona State University – ASU Online is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and its business school is regionally accredited by the AACSB.
5. Baker College
Located in Flint, Michigan, Baker College provides an online bachelor’s of computer science in database technology for students interested in gaining a comprehensive understanding of Oracle database software. Graduates who earn this data science degree gain a solid foundation in internet communications, data science, data analytics, software development, basic computer science, and database programing.
Students complete 120 hours to graduate, with 72 hours of major courses, 30 hours of general education classes, and 18 hours in their specific concentration. General education courses give students a chance to learn about a range of topics, including oral communication, philosophy of ethics, and cultural diversity. Major–related online college courses include unit testing and interfaces, advanced database topics, trends in computer science, and programing for mobile devices. A final work requirement lets students demonstrate their newfound skills by completing a 150–hour work experience over a 10–week period.
Applicants to this data science bachelor’s degree program must provide minimum assessment verification based one or more of the following: high school transcripts; ACT, SAT, ASSET, COMPASS, or FASTRACK scores; or waiver tests. Baker also rewards some students an adult transfer scholarship, which covers half of their tuition for up to three years if they maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA. To qualify for this scholarship, transfer students must have an associate degree and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. Out–of–state students pay the same tuition as residents of Michigan.
Baker College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The college is also an Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) participant.
What Is Data Science?
Data science is the interdisciplinary approach to understanding all kinds of data sets that rely on computer technology, software, machine learning, analytics, mathematics, and statistics. Because data science can maximize efficiency, which translates to saving money, utilizing resources fully, and maximizing profits, data scientists are in high demand by employers in diverse fields. Business and governments rely on data science to make sure everything is running smoothly. The ability of data scientists to recognize patterns and trends, and use this information to solve and prevent complex problems is revolutionizing how just about everybody does business this millennium.
What Is Data Analytics?
Data analytics is the practice of analyzing and drawing conclusions through modeling, inspecting, and transforming data sets. Data analytics is a subset of data science.This aspect of data science is used to both discover and answer questions, including solving logistical problems for international businesses, to planning public health initiatives for national governments, and determining the best SEO practices for generating traffic for a website (like in the case of Google analytics). Wherever it is applied, data analytics is part of the new frontier of applied sciences.
What Is Big Data?
Big data is the collection of massive amounts of data that require powerful computing processes for interpretation. Sometimes data is massive — too massive for traditional processing software to handle — and is referred to as big data, which generates major business opportunities for governments and corporations. Data science professionals are hired to make sense of big data, and figure out how to solve problems, and save or make money. With the rise of social media, big data has become a household name, and big data analytics a more common profession.
What Is a Data Scientist?
A data scientist is a professional who builds and analyzes data theory. Because data science professionals are in such high demand in nearly every area of employment (due to a near–universal reliance on information technology) the specifics of data scientist jobs are varied from employer to employer. However, generally speaking, data science professionals gather, analyze, and draw answer from data sets. Because of the high–demand of the profession, data scientist salary figures are high (often over $100,000) and continue to increase every year.
How to Become a Data Scientist
Potential data scientists need to be highly trained and educated in the field, with a balanced background in mathematics, statistics, logic, computer science, machine learning, and data analysis. A master’s in data science is typically a prerequisite for the job; fortunately, many quality data science degree programs exist online.
Choosing an Online Bachelor’s of Data Science Program
Students earning a data science bachelor’s degree online learn programing and technological fundamentals. Students customize coursework through specializations or concentrations tailored to their skills and career goals. Although curricula vary, most data science degree programs require coursework in database queries, BASIC programing language, Structured Query Language, data gathering and research design, and analytic approaches. During technology courses, students become familiar with network classifications, communication protocols, and cybersecurity techniques. This foundation prepares students for upper–level coursework in data analytics. Many programs also require a capstone course, during which students apply skills to a research project.
Data science professionals are curious about technological innovation and processes. Data science degree programs foster critical analysis skills to prepare students for positions in software development, computer network architecture, database administration, data analytics, big data analytics, and information security analysis. After earning a data science degree online, graduates work with databases using evolving data acquisition and analysis techniques.
Data Science Jobs
Graduates of bachelor’s of data science programs can pursue numerous data science career opportunities across diverse industries. Below are a few of the many positions available to graduates with a data science bachelor’s degree. These professionals organize and analyze data, while constantly innovating. They may collaborate with professionals and institutions to project trends in database management.
- Market research analyst
- Market research analysts project future trends and marketing strategies. They compile data from consumers and the market climate to help clients make sound marketing decisions.
- Median Annual Salary: $62,560
- Projected Growth Rate: 23%
- Mathematicians and Statisticians
- Mathematicians and statisticians gather data, analyze it for patterns, and crunch numbers as a way of solving problems, answering questions, and predicting future goals and needs. They use computer technology and software and data science principles to design studies and collect the information necessary for making key decisions in a variety of professional settings, including federal agencies, universities, private companies, and research firms.
- Median Annual Salary: $84,760
- Projected Growth Rate: 33%
- Database Administrator
- Database administrators use specialized software to organize and store data, including customer shipping records and financial information. Database administrator jobs require these professionals to backup and restore data to prevent loss. Database administrators work in computer systems design, insurance, data processing, and educational services.
- Median Annual Salary: $87,020
- Projected Growth Rate: 11%
- Computer and Information Research Scientist
- This high–earning and fast–growing category includes data scientist jobs and database analyst jobs. Individuals in this area of specialization use computer technology solve complex problems, improve technology systems, and maximize efficiency. Professionals in big data utilize principles of analytics, including Google analytics, to better understand how systems should function toward achieving their stated goal. Individuals in this field can find employment in federal government agencies, private computer technology and consulting companies, colleges and universities, and research.
- Median Annual Salary: $114,520
- Projected Growth Rate: 19%
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Responsible for analyzing their organization's computer needs and suggesting potential upgrades for top executives to consider, computer and information systems managers also direct and plan the installation and maintenance of computer software and hardware. These managers ensure the security of their organization's electronic documents, data, and networks. The largest employers of computer and information systems managers remain manufacturing companies, information companies, finance and insurance agencies, and computer systems design organizations.
- Median Annual Salary: $139,220
- Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics