Elmhurst University Online Master of Science in Data Science, Illinois

Why Elmhurst University? 

 The online Master of Science in Data Science program at Elmhurst University provides a balance of structure and flexibility for applicants wanting to learn the fundamental concepts and skills and data science. Elmhurst, a small private liberal arts college affiliated with the United Church of Christ, is located in Elmhurst, Illinois, in the western suburbs of Chicago. Applicants to the program should have some quantitative background, but less than is required by some other data science master’s programs. Applicants should have passed basic statistics and taken computer science coursework during their undergraduate degree.

Applicants without this background can take non-credit classes offered by the University to cover the necessary material. Elmhurst also requires applicants to have at least a year of professional experience, which no doubt makes the in-class discussion more informed and relevant to workplace realities. No standardized test scores are required, except the TOEFL if applicants are international. The program indicates no minimum GPA. 

Program Snapshot

University Name Elmhurst College
Location Elmhurst
State Illinois
Niche.com Grade B
Name of Degree Master of Science in Data Science 
School or Department Administering Program Computer Science
Credits 30
Cost per credit $885
Tuition for Entire Program $26,550
Test Requirements TOEFL if applicable
Minimum GPA None indicated
Prerequisite Courses and Skills Passed basic statistics, taken computer science coursework, or taken non-credit classes offered by the college to cover this material and have at least a year of professional experience
Campus Visit Required? No
Typical Time to Complete Two years
When Can Students Start the Program? Fall, Spring, Summer
Program Concentrations None
Synchronous classes No
Required Courses
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Data Warehousing
  • Data Mining and Business Intelligence
  • Data Mining Project
  • Programming Languages and Environments
  • Analytical Methods
  • Advanced Data Mining and Analytics
  • Research Methods in Data Science
Does the Program Include a Capstone? Yes
Does the program include a practicum or internship? No
Other Features that Make the Program Unique
  • focus on business skills
  • take one course at a time, including summers, and complete program at a steady pace
  • summer data mining project in the first summer
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the application) This innovative curriculum gives you technical prowess in statistics, analytical methods, and programming tools while powering up your vital business skills.
Program Description This 30-credit program develops expertise in statistics, analytical methods, and programming tools. It also offers training in essential business skills such as data mining for business intelligence.   

What will I Learn?

The Elmhurst Master of Science in Data Science curriculum consists of eight required courses and two elective courses. The program is designed to build powerful skills in statistics, analytical methods, and programming tools. The emphasis throughout is on the practical application of skills and techniques and building the knowledge and capabilities needed in the business environment. 

Students learn fundamental concepts behind the practice of data science in required courses on Quantitative Methods and Research Methods. The problem of data storage and management is covered in a course on Data Warehousing. Essential industry techniques are covered in Data Mining and Business Intelligence, and these skills are applied in a required Data Mining Project course. The Data Mining project course is offered during the student’s first summer semester, allowing the student to cement knowledge learned by that point in the program.

Students attain more advanced skills as they progress through the suite of required courses on Programming Languages and Environments, Analytical Methods, and Advanced Data Mining and Analytics. They also take two elective courses chosen from Elmhurst’s graduate-level offerings.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within two years and pay $885  per credit for a total of 30 credits, or just over $26,500 for the entire degree.

How does the program fit into my life?

The Elmhurst University MSDS program can be completed 100% online, and no campus visits are required. All courses are asynchronous, meaning that instructors create learning materials such as lectures, activities, quizzes, assignments, and group discussions in weekly modules, and students are responsible for completing the module on their schedule within the given week.  The program is usually completed in 2 years. Students can enter the program in Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters. Because of the project-based nature of the program, students can expect to need to schedule time to work with classmates or meet with instructors. Accelerated courses allow students to focus intensely on the subject matter, which may make organizing your workload easier as you balance online education and personal and professional responsibilities. 


The Elmhurst University program provides the flexibility of an online program alongside the advantages of a smaller university with a relatively small online student population. Students who have less quantitative preparation may find the degree more welcoming than some other programs that require undergraduate engineering or computer science degrees or equivalent experience. The University’s affiliation with the United Church of Christ may be a pro for some applicants, but a con for others. Students who already have extensive business experience are likely to find the Elmhurst experience less relevant to their needs. If you are looking for a program with an intensive research focus or a wide variety of electives, you will likely want to look elsewhere.