An online master’s in data science provides students with a flexible and affordable path toward lucrative data scientist jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment growth of 9% for database administrators between 2018 and 2028, with the median database administrator salary currently sitting at $90,070. Meanwhile, computer occupations are expected to grow 9% during that same period, and data scientist salary figures across the board keep trending upwards of six–figures. The increasing popularity of database administration and data analytics done by a third party over the internet adds to this increase in employment for data scientists at cloud computing firms. Students entering data science can pursue administration and analytics careers or explore a variety of other opportunities in the field of computer and information technology.
Online Master’s in Data Science Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected these accredited Data Science 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 Master’s in Data Science Programs
1. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
USC Online offers more than 100 degree options, including the master of science in computer science (data science). Totaling 32 units, the USC program trains students in computer science fundamentals, enabling them to retrieve, store, analyze, and visualize data. Graduates of the online master’s in data science program are equipped to data science jobs in diverse industries like healthcare, transportation, and energy. USC facilitates online learning through the Den@Viterbi platform, which blends asynchronous and synchronous models for its online college courses. Distance learners view the same lectures as on–campus students. Those who join live classes can ask professors questions in real time.
Full–time students can earn their data science degree in as few as 18 months, while part–time students obtain their data science degree in 2–3 years. Core topics of the data science curriculum include database systems, algorithms analysis, and artificial intelligence foundations. Data science degree students choose three advanced electives from data systems or data analytics topics.
University of Southern California is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
UNC provides an online master of business administration with a data analytics and decision making concentration. Through research–based seminars, online data science master’s students create, implement, and communicate data–driven business strategies. To earn their data science degree, candidates must complete 66 credits. Distance learners usually take two online college courses per quarter, completing the program in two years. Graduate emerge prepared for a variety of data science jobs, including database administrator.
Students take one core class in analytical tools. The remainder of the online master’s in data science plan consists of electives, with options like digital marketing, information modeling, and information management. Distance learners may also take courses at UNC partner universities. Furthermore, the university offers MBA candidates worldwide immersion opportunities. During immersions, data science degree students collaborate with peers, teachers, and industry leaders in hands–on learning.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3. University of California – Berkeley
Drawing from a multidisciplinary pedagogy, UC Berkeley’s online master of information and data science trains students to design innovative services, applications, and business solutions. Students use data analytics tools to work with complex data and solve real–world problems. Online master’s in data science degree candidates can pursue their degree through full– or part–time enrollment. An accelerated path could earn students an online master’s degree in as few as 12 months.
The 27–unit curriculum consists of online college courses in statistics, machine learning, data engineering, data analytics, and research design and application. A 3–4 day immersion on UC Berkeley’s campus is also required. Students without adequate object oriented programming experience must complete a Python for data science class. Online master’s in data science degree candidates finish their program with 3–4 advanced electives and a capstone course. UC Berkeley accepts applications on a rolling basis.
University of California – Berkeley is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
4. University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
The University of Illinois Online offers 90+ academic programs and enrolls more than 72,000 students worldwide. The catalog includes the fully online master of computer science in data science, a 32–credit program centering on cloud computing, machine learning, data mining, data analytics and data visualization. Students earning their online master’s in data science also develop skills in statistics and information science, empowering them to extract and apply meaningful information from vast, unstructured data. Students emerge prepared for a variety of data science jobs, including database administrator.
Illinois students pursue a non–thesis degree plan with advanced online college courses like practical statistical learning, Bayesian modeling, and data cleaning and curation. Though not required, data science graduate students may round out the curriculum with a capstone project. The university facilitates asynchronous distance learning through the Coursera MOOC platform. All online students enjoy the same affordable tuition rate. They may further reduce costs by transferring up to 12 credits of previous graduate coursework. Degree candidates apply for spring or fall admission, with respective deadlines at October 15 and May 30.
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. University of California – Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
UCLA enrolls over 13,000 graduate students every year. Many students pursue distance education, including the online master of science in engineering with certificate of specialization in data science engineering. Through integrative training and research, online master’s in data science students work with massive data systems and create technological solutions to scientific and business challenges.
This 36–unit online master’s in data science program includes four core online college courses in machine learning algorithms, big data analytics, and large–scale social and complex networks, among other topics. Students also take guided electives and a comprehensive exam. UCLA offers fall and spring admission. Data science degree applicants must hold a bachelor’s in physics, engineering, or mathematics from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.
University of California – Los Angeles is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
6. Villanova University
Villanova offers a fully online master of science in analytics that prepares students to leverage business intelligence in the expanding global marketplace. Online master’s in data science degree candidates learn to identify, collect, and implement data. The Villanova program only offers part–time enrollment, which greatly benefits working professionals seeking to advance data science jobs. Students take two online college courses each semester, earning their online master’s degree in two years.
The 36–credit program includes online college courses in business intelligence, multivariate data analysis, enterprise data management, and analytical methods for text and web mining. The curriculum culminates in a data analytics practicum. All distance learners enjoy the support of Villanova’s Center for Business Analytics, which provides research and conference opportunities.
Villanova University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The online MS in analytics receives programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
7. University of Wisconsin – Madison
A global leader in research and education, the UW–Madison College of Engineering offers 10 distance education programs, including the online master of engineering: engineering data analytics. The online master’s in data science program emphasizes data collection, analysis, and presentation, enabling students to apply information to engineering processes with ease. UW–Madison offers fall and spring admission.
Totaling 30 credits, the degree typically spans 2–3 years. Degree candidates take five core online college courses in topics like industrial data analytics, high–performance computing, and elements of software engineering. The remaining credits are advanced electives in seven concentration areas: management, manufacturing, engine systems, controls, powers, polymers, and professional development. Online master’s in data science students do not need to complete a thesis or capstone and there are no on–campus visits required. Distance learners gain access to the university’s academic libraries, which collectively hold 10% of the world’s library resources.
University of Wisconsin – Madison is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8. Pennsylvania State University – World Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania
Penn State stands as a preeminent research university and, through its World Campus, offers over 50 online master’s degree programs. This academic catalog includes the online master of professional studies in data analytics, a 30–credit program that centers on big data and database design. Through a comprehensive curriculum of totally online college courses, data science students solve business challenges involving large–scale structured and unstructured data.
Degree candidates take three core classes in data mining, applied statistics, and predictive analytics. The rest of the online master’s in data science degree plan contains prescribed and open electives, empowering students to personalize coursework for their career trajectory and prepare for a wide array of data science jobs, such as database administrator or database analyst. Graduate training culminates in a capstone experience where students design and implement data systems using prescribed best practices and contemporary tools with the assistance of a faculty advisor. For admission to the Penn State online master’s in data science program, data science degree applicants must hold a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Pennsylvania State University – World Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
9. Columbia University
New York, New York
Founded in 1854, Columbia is a private Ivy League school that enrolls over 32,000 students annually. Through its multidisciplinary Data Science Institute, Columbia provides an online master of science in data science, a 30–credit program full–time students can finish in 18 months. This hybrid program combines remote coursework through the ColumbiaX platform with evening classes on campus.
Degree candidates fill 21 credits with core classes. Topics comprise probability theory, machine theory, and exploratory data analysis and visualization. Data science students also need to complete an ethics–focused capstone. With the sponsorship of a faculty member or local organization, students synthesize knowledge and skills to solve real–world challenges in government, industry, or the nonprofit sector. The remaining nine credits are open electives. Data science degree admission requirements include academic transcripts, three recommendation letters, a personal statement, resume/CV, and GRE scores.
Columbia University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
10. Johns Hopkins University
John Hopkins operates highly renowned distance education programs, including the online master of science in data science. Balancing theory and practice, the John Hopkins program trains students to analyze, transform, and apply complex data sets using formal modeling and abstraction techniques. Distance learners can earn their online master’s in data science degree entirely online through the Coursera platform, or through a hybrid learning experience, benefiting from both asynchronous online college courses and on–campus training at the Applied Physics Laboratory.
The 30–credit degree plan consists of required topics like data visualization, computational optimization, and statistical models and regression. Beyond these core classes, online data science master’s students enjoy the flexibility of guided and open electives. In addition to a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA, John Hopkins requires completion of certain prerequisite courses. Data science degree applicants must demonstrate skills in discrete mathematics, multivariate calculus, data structures, and Java/C++.
Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
11. University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland
Through its prestigious Joint Program in Survey Methodology, UMD offers the online master of professional studies in survey and data science. The 30–credit online master’s in data science program trains students in advanced data generation, data analytics, and quality assurance. Students also develop strong management and communication skills, necessary for professional success in a variety of data science jobs. Prospective students can apply for fall or spring admission.
Data science degree candidates take 19 credits of required online college courses in five concentration areas: data output/access, data analysis, data curation/storage, data generating process, and research question. Students complete the remaining credits with electives, chosen with the close guidance of a faculty mentor. UMD distance learning synthesizes asynchronous and synchronous elements. While data science degree students access course materials at their leisure, they must meet once a week at a designated time for instructor–guided discussion.
University of Maryland is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
12. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Through the Canvas learning management system, WPI facilitates 12 distance education programs for graduate students, including the online master of science in data science. By engaging in practical, purpose–driven coursework and projects, data science students learn to derive business intelligence from complex data. The online master’s in data science develops holistic business skills, such as team leadership and stakeholder interest negotiation, necessary for success in a variety of data science jobs, including database administrator and database analyst.
Online college courses in the data science degree program largely operate asynchronously. Totaling 33 credits, the online data science master’s plan contains core classes like mathematical analytics, integrative data science, and data access and management. Beyond these requirements, students craft their own concentration with open electives. They also choose between a thesis or capstone project. Worcester does not require GRE scores for admission, and all distance learners benefit from affordable tuition and financial assistance.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
13. University of Missouri
Mizzou Online provides over 100 distance education programs, including the online master of data science and analytics. This 34–credit program prepares students for data science jobs as business problem solvers who use data analytics and visualization to turn big data into smart data. Data science degree candidates engage in a hybrid learning experience that combines asynchronous online college courses with two week–long intensive collaboration sessions at the Columbia campus.
Students in the online master’s in data science program take 19 credits of core courses, covering topics such as big data security, information ethics, and data analytics. They also pursue advanced classes in concentration areas, including biotechnology and strategic communications/data journalism. Students round out their studies with a capstone project. The university does not require GRE scores for admission. Online data science degree students enjoy low tuition rates and financial support, like the Military Tuition Award.
University of Missouri is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
14. Northwestern University
Northwestern enrolls over 13,000 graduate students every year. In addition to a comprehensive catalog of on–campus programs, Northwestern provides flexible online degrees. The online master of science in data science uses an interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares students for data science jobs, retrieving, evaluating, and applying data for strategic business purposes. Students also develop practical skills in open–source systems like TensorFlow and Python.
Online master’s in data science degree candidates take 12 online college courses, covering topics such as generalized linear models, applied statistics, and data analytics. Specializations in data engineering, analytics management, and analytics and modeling, as well as a generalist track, are available. The data science degree plan ends with thesis research or a capstone project. The Northwestern master’s in data science program offers part–time enrollment, so students generally finish in 2–3 years. GRE scores are not required for admission.
Northwestern University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
15. Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York
Through the Syracuse online master of science in applied data science program, students develop the technical and analytical skills to drive strategic business decisions. DataScience@Syracuse students come from diverse professional backgrounds, making coursework a collaborative and interdisciplinary experience as they prepare to advance in data science jobs. Distance learners take synchronous online college courses that emphasize interactivity with peers and instructors. Most students earn their master’s in 18 months.
The 36–credit master’s in data science curriculum centers on four key learning competencies: capture and organization; technical analysis; visualization and communication; and practical application. While most the data science degree plan contains required classes, students do get 12–15 elective credits to pursue individual interests. As online master’s degree candidates complete classes, they document projects in a portfolio, submitted for faculty evaluation during the final term. Prospective data science degree students may apply for January, April, or July admission. Application materials include academic transcripts, two recommendation letters, a resume, a personal statement, and GRE scores.
Syracuse University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
16. Oregon State University
As a leader in distance education, OSU offers 19 accessible graduate degree pathways, including the online master of science in data analytics. Comprising 45 quarter–credits, the OSU online master’s in data science degree equips students with the quantitative methods to gather, analyze, and implement large–scale data. Online data science degree studen ts take asynchronous classes through Canvas, collaborating with peers to solve real–world problems.
The program’s core online college courses include time series, multivariate, and advanced data analytics. Degree candidates also take three computer science classes and four electives. Furthermore, they can apply said electives toward a health analytics concentration. The curriculum culminates with a capstone project. OSU offers graduate admission for fall, winter, and spring quarters. The university does not require GRE or GMAT scores for admission. Distance learners also benefit from low per–credit tuition and financial aid opportunities from Oregon State.
Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
17. Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech offers 13 graduate programs, including the online master of science in analytics. Data analytics learners take fully online college courses through Blackboard Learn, developing the mathematical and analytical skills to extract relevant information from data streams. Georgia Tech provides fall and spring admission for graduate students and offers one of the lowest online tuition rates for U.S. graduate students.
Totaling 30 credits, the online master’s in data science degree plan consists of required classes in data analytics computing, modeling, and business fundamentals. Beyond these core topics, students take classes in a specialization, choosing from analytical tools, business management, or big data. Data science degree candidates round out the curriculum with a capstone project, working with an external firm to develop real–world experience.
Georgia Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18. Southern Methodist University
The innovative SMU online master of science in data science uses a skill–based curriculum that combines self–paced online college courses with live weekly classes and collaborative projects. The online master’s in data science degree centers on statistics and visualization, training students to mine, analyze, and apply data to make strategic business decisions. Students generally earn their master’s in 24 months, but can reduce the timeline by four months with an accelerated path.
SMU’s online master’s in data science curriculum totals 33.5 credits and includes online college courses in applied statistics, network security, and quantifying the world. Students also take electives chosen from specializations in machine learning or business analytics. Graduates emerge ready to advance in a variety of data science jobs, including database administrator and database analyst. Degree candidates must complete a capstone, comprised of independent research and a 3–4 day immersion experience. SMU offers thee start dates each year. To apply, data science degree candidates must submit GRE scores, possess adequate skills in quantitative mathematics, and have fluency in a programming language.
Southern Methodist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
19. Rochester Institute of Technology – RIT Online
Rochester, New York
Founded in 1829, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) enrolls over 3,200 graduate students in accessible academic programs, like the online master of science in data science. This 30–credit data science degree program emphasizes experiential learning and career development. Online master’s in data science students cultivate theoretical knowledge and practical skills through problem–based assignments. Admission criteria include a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
The online college courses for the master’s in data science cover topics including regression analysis, statistical data mining, data analytics, and time series analysis and forecasting. Degree candidates also work with Python through classes dedicated to probability, random variables, machine learning, and MDL entropy. In their final year, students complete a capstone where they develop a data system or create their own research approach. RIT students generally earn their master’s in two years, but may take up to four. Graduates emerge prepared to advance in a variety of data science jobs, including database administrator and database analyst.
Rochester Institute of Technology – RIT Online is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
20. Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Rutgers offers an online master of business and science in analytics and data science that synthesizes management and financial skill development with topics in data mining and machine learning. Through a comprehensive 43–credit curriculum, data science degree students analyze and model large data sets to support organizational decision making. Students in the master’s in data science programs complete most their online college courses through an asynchronous format. However, they do need to attend a weeklong campus meeting once per year.
Online data science degree students take 24 science and 19 business credits. Course options include cloud computing, market assessment, accounting principles, and data warehousing. Students also train in program languages and technologies, such as R, SAS, Python, SQL, tableau, and matlab. The online data science master’s plan ends with a science and technology management capstone where students work in project teams to create business plans and analyze technological innovations. Distance learners generally earn their master’s in two years.
Rutgers University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
21. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Through its e–campus, UW–Eau Claire offers over 60 graduate programs, including the online master of science in data science. This 36–credit data science degree program draws from a multidisciplinary curriculum where students use data science and data analytics methods to gather information from structured and unstructured data sets. The fixed master’s in data science degree plan includes online college courses in data science ethics, prescriptive analytics, advanced programming, and big data. As the culminating experience, online data science master’s students pursue a capstone project that requires them to develop research methods and present findings clearly to an audience unfamiliar with data science.
UW–Eau Claire offers fall, spring, and summer admissions. To apply, students must hold a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree, earned with at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA. Applicants also need to demonstrate, through undergraduate coursework or job experience, skills in elementary statistics, computer databases, and programming concepts.
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
22. Boston University
The BU online master of science in computer science with a concentration in data analytics prepares students for a variety of data science jobs, including information architect, engineer, database administrator, and database analyst. Through the 40–credit data science degree curriculum, students apply statistical analysis and probability theory to unstructured text and hidden data patterns. Distance learners take asynchronous classes powered by Blackboard Learn, earning their master’s in 18–24 months.
The online master’s in data science degree plan evenly divides into core and concentration requirements. Core online college courses include topics like database design, business data communications, and Java information structures. Concentration courses include data mining and web analytics. Boston University does not require on–campus, internship, or capstone experiences. In addition to a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree, online master’s degree applicants must display proficiency with computer information systems. The university provides affordable per–credit tuition for part–time students, while full–time students pay a flat rate each semester.
Boston University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
23. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
La Crosse, Wisconsin
UWL offers 11 distance education programs, including an online master of science in data science. Through a fully remote curriculum delivered by the Desire2Learn platform, online master’s in data science students learn to identify and analyze rich data sources. They also develop management and communication skills necessary for data science jobs and leading teams through the entire data project cycle.
Online master’s in data science students take 36 credits. Topics include statistical methods, data warehousing, data communication, data analytics, and strategic decision making. Students also complete a capstone project, where they work with real–world data to answer a complex research question. To apply, candidates need a minimum cumulative 2.85 GPA. The UWL program operates a unique home–campus model. Students apply to one of six partner institutions within the University of Wisconsin system, which then acts as their administrative and academic support center. Applicants must have completed elementary statistics, and introductions to programming and databases either with UWL or through an undergraduate degree.
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
24. University of Denver – University College
DU’s University College offers career–driven graduate programs, including the online master of science in information and communications technology with a concentration in database design and administration. Students create and maintain databases, applying modeling and warehousing techniques to improve business performance. Online data science degree students can earn their master’s in as few as 18 months. DU offers a fully online curriculum, with asynchronous courses powered by Canvas. Alternatively, students can pursue hybrid learning with evening classes on campus.
The online master’s in database management degree plan totals 48 credits. Students take online college courses in topics such as technical foundations, enterprise architecture, and web–enabled information systems. Students also pursue four electives chosen with the help of an academic advisor. Online master’s degree candidates finish their training with either a capstone project or seminar/thesis. Graduates emerge prepared for data science jobs such as database administrator. Applicants do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores.
University of Denver – University College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
25. University of North Texas
Through the UNT online master of science in advanced data analytics, students synthesize statistics, data visualization, and big data skills to bolster organizational and professional growth. Operating out of the New College at Frisco, an offsite instructional facility, online data science degree students earn their master’s through an interactive hybrid learning method. Learners benefit from training with expert faculty and industry partners, earning their degree in just 12 months, and rapidly preparing for advanced data science jobs.
The 30–credit degree plan consists of five core online college courses, including discovery and learning with big data. Online master’s in data science students take advanced coursework in their concentration, choosing from health analytics or a generalist track. All students must complete an interdisciplinary capstone. Prospective students may apply for fall, spring, or summer admission. UNT offers fellowships and scholarships of up to $34,000. Graduate students also benefit from research and teaching assistantships.
University of North Texas is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
26. Oklahoma State University
OSU offers over 20 distance education options for graduate students, including the online master of science in business analytics. A 33–credit program, the online data science degree helps students develop business acumen and proficiency in multi–platform data analysis. Students prepare for a variety of data science jobs, including database administrator and database analyst. In addition to comprehensive academic training, OSU provides in–house tutoring to help students pass Statistical Analysis Software certification exams.
Online data science master’s students take 22 credits in core classes, including descriptive business analytics, programming, and advanced database management systems. The remaining credits go toward electives, which students can use to pursue a specialization in statistics, marketing analytics, healthcare analytics, human resources analytics, or optimization. Beyond classroom instruction, online data science students develop their skills through industry projects and internship opportunities. The OSU admission process requires GRE or GMAT scores unless a candidate possesses five or more years of relevant work experience.
Oklahoma State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online MSBAN receives programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
27. University of Illinois at Springfield
UIS enrolls 2,500 graduate students in 20 programs each year, including distance education tracks like the online master of science in data analytics. This interdisciplinary data science degree program provides advanced mathematical and computer science training, enabling students to preprocess, interpret, and represent data sets. Online master’s degree program eligibility requirements include a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and completion of seven prerequisite courses. UIS offers generous financial aid and over 70% of students receive yearly awards.
Online master’s in data science students enroll every fall, taking 36 credits in online college courses like big data analytics, statistical computation, and advanced database conceptions. Degree candidates also train in operations research methods, which leads into the data analytics capstone. This culminating experience tasks students with applying appropriate theories and tools in a real–world organizational setting. Graduate emerge prepared for data analytics and data scientist jobs, such as database administrator or database analyst.
University of Illinois at Springfield is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
28. Robert Morris University – RMU Online
Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Located in Moon, Pennsylvania, RMU provides 17 graduate programs for distance learners, including the online master of science in data analytics. Totaling 30 credits, the RMU program emphasizes data management within an organizational setting, preparing students for data science jobs like database administrator. Students learn to transform data into actionable insight that helps businesses make better strategic decisions. RMU offers a free application, and online students benefit from institutional scholarships and awards.
Online master’s in data science degree candidates take 7–8 core classes in topics like computer network security, geographic information systems, and data integration for analytics. They complete the remaining hours in their chosen concentration, with options of enterprise systems, internship, or a generalist track. The internship specialization greatly benefits working professionals, who can integrate current careers into their graduate education.
Robert Morris University – RMU Online is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
29. Saint Leo University Online
Saint Leo, Florida
Saint Leo offers over 70 distance learning programs through the Blackboard learning platform. This wide catalog includes an online master of business administration with a concentration in data analytics. The Saint Leo MBA trains students to increase organizational efficiency, reduce costs, and make quick strategic decisions through data examination in data science jobs like database administrator. Distance learners typically earn their master’s in under two years.
The 36–credit data science degree plan contains coursework in core business and data analytics topics, including managerial economics, global business management, web analytics, and applied statistics. Saint Leo’s online master’s in data science program does not require internship or capstone experiences.
Saint Leo provides affordable tuition and financial assistance, like the MBA Online Academic Achievement Scholarship. To apply for this $6,000 award, students must meet all admission requirements and hold a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25.
Saint Leo University Online is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
30. Clarkson University
Potsdam, New York
Based in Potsdam, New York, Clarkson offers a comprehensive online master of science in data analytics. The 33–credit program spans two years and empowers students to turn big data into smart data. Required online courses include topics such as information visualization, optimization methods, data analytics, and database modeling, design, and implementation. The data science degree plan also leaves room for personalization with four open electives. Students round out their graduate education with a capstone experience, where they work in interdisciplinary teams on a sponsored project.
Clarkson requires master’s in data science candidates to submit GRE/GMAT scores, three letters of recommendation, response essays, and a resume. The school does not dictate a minimum GPA, and students may apply for standardized test exemption if they have excellent academic credentials. Distance learners can earn their master’s in data science entirely online or can pursue hybrid learning by taking classes on campus. Based on capstone project specifics, students may need to engage in on–site intensive fieldwork.
Clarkson University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
What is Data Science?
Data science is an emerging, interdisciplinary field that incorporates aspects of mathematics, statistics, analytics, software, computer technology and machine learning. Because of its potential for maximizing systems efficiency (and, in turn, maximizing profits), data scientists, database analysts, and database administrators are lately in high–demand by everyone from federal agencies to universities to private corporations. To provide a concise definition of a massive topic: data science examines patterns and trends in all sorts of data to solve complex problems, answer pressing questions, untangle logistical knots, and mitigate impending unseen disasters.
What is Data Analytics?
A component of data science, data analytics is the practice of analyzing and drawing conclusions through modeling, inspecting, and transforming data sets. Data science professionals use data analytics as a way of both posing and answering questions, with a wide array of goals. For example, data analytics can be used to solve logistical problems for international businesses, to plan public health initiatives for national governments, and determine 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 a sub–field of data science that focuses specifically on systematically applying data analytics methods to massive data sets. The clue is in the name; these data sets are too big to be handled by traditional data–processing software. Major international corporations, governments, and software and technology firms rely on talented data science professionals to make sense of big data to solve problems and, in many cases, increase efficiency to make more 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, simply, is someone working professionally in the data science field. 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, 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 Do You 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.
How Do You Choose an Online Master’s in Data Science Program?
Students pursuing their online master’s in data science balance theory and fundamentals with industry–relevant projects and applications. Learners explore data analytics and data science concepts while maintaining ethical standards in data management. Upon graduating, students can create infographics and visualizations to explain data, identify patterns and trends in data, and use data to find new revenue sources to define business strategies. Students study a variety of important topics, including database administration, data warehousing design, data analytics, big data, and technical foundations.
Some data science programs allow students to choose a concentration and tailor their degree to meet their interests. While every data science program differs, each provides students with a solid skill set and knowledge base to thrive in the field. Some programs require students to complete a thesis, final project, or other on–campus component prior to graduation.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Data Science Program?
Students in an online master’s in data science program explore topics that prepare them for successful careers. Learners study different aspects of data science, including data analytics, administration, data warehousing design, database design, implementing databases, and web–enabled information systems. Some programs place more emphasis on business and management, while some focus more on the technical and scientific aspects of the field. While course topics vary by program, students can examine key components in their area of interest.
Curriculum for a Master’s in Data Science Degree Programs
- Database Administration
- The database administration course introduces students to the roles, responsibilities, critical knowledge, and skills necessary for database administrators.
- Data Analytics
- Focused on investigating and understanding data, data analytics courses develop fundamental concepts for students who anticipate working in big data, including modeling, mining, hypothesizing, transforming, and cleaning data.
- Data Warehousing Design
- Focusing on the implementation of data warehouses, the data warehousing design course teaches students fundamental concepts, including record of source, metadata, granularity, and partitioning. Students learn how data warehousing can support various roles in the field.
- Database Design and Implementation
- Focusing on the relational database model and logical, conceptual, and physical phases of database development and design, the database design and implementation course allows students to discover emerging data warehouse technologies.
- Web Enabled Information Systems
- Introducing the design of web–enabled information systems and reviewing programming principles, the web–enabled information systems course teaches students about object–oriented principles. Students learn about web applications, exploitation of technology, and data retention and integrity.
- Technical Foundations
- Providing students with a substantive review of technology, the technical foundations course reviews networking technology, hardware, databases, applications, and information services. Students learn about data in transit, data at rest, and data being processed.
Data Science Jobs
Graduates of online master’s in data science degree programs can find work in many lucrative careers. Most graduates pursue careers as database administrators or managers, finding employment in a variety of work environments, but a wide selection of data scientist jobs exist.
- 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: $90,070
- Projected Growth Rate: 9%
- 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: $88,190
- Projected Growth Rate: 30%
- 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: $118,370
- Projected Growth Rate: 16%
- 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: $142,530
- Projected Growth Rate: 11%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics