Best Online Master’s in Data Science

by TBS Staff Writers, Holland Webb
• 0 min read
reviewed by TBS Rankings Team
TheBestSchools.org

thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Online Data Science Masters Rankings

Data science is among the fastest-growing and most in-demand fields, a trend likely to continue for more the decade to come.

The rate of data creation continues to rise astronomically, and companies need skilled professionals to capture, manage, and interpret this data.

An online master's degree in data science can qualify graduates for lucrative, in-demand, data-related jobs, like database administrator.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for database administrators to grow 10% between 2019 and 2029. These professionals also earn above-average salaries, making a median salary of $93,750 per year.

Featured Masters in Data Science Programs

Best Online Master’s in Data Science Programs

#1 Online College in Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

School Information
Location Baltimore, Maryland
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 93%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Accredited By: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Johns Hopkins' data science master's program online prepares students for specialized careers, such as statistical analysis and data pipeline and storage. Studying under senior-level engineers and data scientists, learners explore game theory, data visualization, machine learning, and large-scale data systems.

In this online master's in data science, students take two foundation courses, five required courses, and three electives. Enrollees who have not completed three prerequisites — calculus, advanced math, and Java or Python — may do so through Johns Hopkins. The program does not require the GRE for admission.

Johns Hopkins also offers a post-master's certificate in data science for students who already hold a graduate degree.

Available Scholarships: The National GEM Consortium Fellowship

#2 Online College in Illinois

Northwestern University

School Information
Location Evanston, Illinois
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Concentrations Available: Analytics and modeling; analytics management; artificial intelligence; data engineering; technology entrepreneurship

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Students in Northwestern's master's in data science online gain critical skills in open-source systems, analytics software, and databases. The program also teaches students to make predictions using both machine learning and traditional statistics. Northwestern's data science degree features three computer languages — R, Python, and Go.

Northwestern's master's in data science online requires 12 courses, which include a specialization sequence and a capstone project or a thesis. Students take courses, such as practical machine learning, math for data scientists, and data science and digital transformation.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Northwestern accepts new enrollees four times a year.

Available Scholarships: Northwestern University Employee Circle Scholarship

#3 Online College in Texas

The University of Texas at Austin

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Admission Rate 32%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

In a partnership between the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences and the Department of Computer Science, UT Austin offers an online degree in data science. Students learn both statistical theory and its computer science applications.

The program requires 10 courses spread over 1.5-3 years. Courses include deep learning, natural language processing, and advanced predictive models for complex data. New students can take classes on a part-time or full-time basis.

Students may complete lectures on their computers or mobile devices at their convenience. They also interact with professors and peers through video conferencing and social media workspaces. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in a related field and a strong GPA. 

Available Scholarships: Gates Millennium Scholars

#4 Online College in California

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Accredited By: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Located in Los Angeles, California, USC offers a master of science in computer science (data science). The program requires 32 credits composed of three core courses, at least one course in data systems, at least one course in data analysis, and a series of electives. 

Elective course options include data visualization, numerical methods, and building knowledge graphs. Through their learning experiences, students develop a deep understanding of specialized algorithmic, statistical and systems in order to visualize real-time data. In turn, they learn to apply this data in professional domains, such as health, medicine, energy, and the environment.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree showing proficiency in computer science.

Available Scholarships: DEN@Viterbi Scholarship

#5 Online College in Massachusetts

Tufts University

School Information
Location Medford, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 15%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 3% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Accredited By: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Students in Tufts' master's in data science online program prepare for next-generation careers in data mining, machine learning, or probabilistic system analysis. This interdisciplinary program first launched in 2021 as a cooperative effort by the computer science, engineering, and mathematics departments.

This degree requires nine courses, including three required courses and a two-course capstone project. Students must take big data, probabilistic system analysis, and introduction to machine learning and data mining. For the capstone, students propose, complete, and present a substantial data science project.

Applicants need to submit three letters of recommendation along with their unofficial transcripts.

Available Scholarships: Double Jumbo Alumni Scholarship

#6 Online College in Virginia

University of Virginia-Main Campus

School Information
Location Charlottesville, Virginia
Admission Rate 24%
Graduation Rate 95%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

UVA's online master of science in data science helps prepare students to solve complex problems as pioneers in the field of data science. In this program, students take an integrated curriculum taught by an interdisciplinary faculty.

This online degree in data science requires 32 credits across five terms. Learners study asynchronously for 10-12 hours per course per week and participate in one hour of live synchronous time per course. Courses include statistical learning, deep learning, and Bayesian machine learning, along with a capstone.

Applicants need an undergraduate degree. Prospective students without a STEM background must complete a series of prerequisite courses. 

Available Scholarships: Need-based Fellowship

#7 Online College in Florida

The University of West Florida

School Information
Location Pensacola, Florida
Admission Rate 31%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Analytics and modeling; analytics of business decisions; health analytics

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Located in Pensacola, Florida, UWF offers a master of science in data science online to bridge data science with applied disciplines, such as biology and business. Graduates can pursue a career in data science or apply to a doctoral program.

UWF's 30-credit online master's in data science requires nine credits of core courses and 21 credits in a concentration track. Core courses are statistical modeling, modeling in regression, and advanced statistical modeling. Each course lasts 8-16 weeks, and the entire program takes 24 months.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA or better. Prospective students who have not completed all prerequisites may receive provisional admission. 

Available Scholarships: UWF Graduate Grant

#8 Online College in Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

School Information
Location Champaign, Illinois
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 85%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Illinois offers an online master of computer science in data science in partnership with Coursera's massive online open course (MOOC) platform. This online master's in data science is a coursework-only degree requiring 32 credits composed of eight four-credit courses.

Students must take at least one course from each of the following areas: machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and cloud computing. In addition, Illinois requires four advanced courses, which could include scientific visualization or advanced Bayesian modeling. 

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.2 or better GPA. They also need experience with algorithms, object-oriented programming, linear algebra, statistics, probability, and data structures.

Available Scholarships: Microsoft Research Women's Scholarship

#9 Online College in Massachusetts

Boston University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 19%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Accredited By: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHC)

BU's online master of science in applied data analytics prepares students with a computer science or information technology background to focus on analytics. Throughout the program, students gain exposure to R, Python, cloud packages, database systems, and data mining tools.

This master's in data science online requires 32 credits and takes 16-24 months to complete. Students take six core courses and two electives, each worth four credits. Core courses include data mining, analysis of algorithms, and data science with Python. 

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in any field. In addition, BU requires a background in computer science or five prerequisite courses.

Available Scholarships: University Scholarship

#10 Online College in Colorado

Colorado State University-Global Campus

School Information
Location Aurora, Colorado
Admission Rate 99%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

CSU-Global's online master of applied statistics – data science specialization prepares graduates to apply statistical analysis to professional business problems. This program requires 30 credits, plus two noncredit courses.

Courses include statistical consulting, experimental design, machine learning, and business visual application development. Each course lasts eight weeks, and full-time students can complete the program in one year. Teaching faculty members hold terminal degrees in statistics, applied mathematics, or biostatistics.

Applicants to CSU-Global's online degree in data science need a bachelor's degree with three semesters of calculus, a course in linear algebra, and a course in statistics. They must also submit scores from the GRE or the math entrance exam.

Available Scholarships: The Information Science and Technology Center (ISTeC) Inspire to Innovate Scholarship

Best Online Programs - Master’s in Data Science

Online Master’s in Data Science Programs 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.

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

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
Median Salary: $90,070 Projected Job Growth: 9%

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.

Mathematicians and Statisticians
Median Salary: $88,190 Projected Job Growth: 30%

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.

Computer and Information Research Scientist
Median Salary: $118,370 Projected Job Growth: 16%

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.

Computer and Information Systems Manager
Median Salary: $142,530 Projected Job Growth: 11%

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.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office