Lewis University Online Master of Science in Data Science, Illinois

Why Lewis University? 

The Lewis University online Master of Science in Data Science program offers accelerated eight-week courses that cover the key topics of data science in both theory and practice. Lewis University, a small Catholic University in the southwest Chicago suburb of Romeoville, Illinois, was founded in the 1930s as a technical school and practical. Professionally oriented education continues to be a significant focus of the institution. In keeping with this hands-on emphasis, the Lewis MSDS program offers project-based courses that allow students to apply their growing skills to real-world datasets and organizational problems. The admission requirements of the program make it accessible to those without prior in-depth computer science coursework, as college-level calculus is the only prerequisite. GRE scores are also not required. 

Program Snapshot

University Name Lewis University
Location Romeoville
State Illinois
Niche.com Grade B
Name of Degree Master of Science in Data Science 
School or Department Administering Program Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences
Credits 32
Cost per credit $810
Tuition for Entire Program $25,920
Test Requirements TOEFL if applicable
Minimum GPA None indicated
Prerequisite Courses and Skills College calculus
Campus Visit Required? No
Typical Time to Complete 18-24 months
When Can Students Start the Program? Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Program Concentrations
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Computer Science
Synchronous classes No
Required Courses
  • Concepts of Statistics 1
  • Concepts of Statistics 2
  • Introduction to Data Mining and Analytics
  • Statistical Programming
  • Data Visualization
  • Large-scale Data Storage Systems
  • Machine Learning
Does the Program Include a Capstone? Yes
Does the program include a practicum or internship? No
Other Features that Make the Program Unique
  • Eight-week terms
  • optional project-based courses for some concentrations
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program) Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Concentration:  looks at data analysis from the perspective of biology and prepares students to develop solutions for computational biology and bioinformatics data management projects. Students will use data mining to design custom pharmaceuticals, track the spread of disease, and understand and apply genomic data. The courses will engage students in solving current problems in the healthcare industry that require the processing and presentation of large quantities of data. Also, it will give students experience in writing and presenting scholarly research in the form of a master’s thesis. 

Computer Science Concentration: approaches data analysis from a computational perspective. It prepares students to create large-scale data storage systems that meet the requirements of a given problem, including prescribing the hardware, software, and communication links that must comprise such systems. The courses will immerse students in the design and development of computing projects that enable the processing, interpretation, and presentation of large data sets. Students will demonstrate and document their expertise in designing and implementing data analysis solutions in the form of a thesis or project.

Program Description This 32-credit program requires students to take seven core courses across all areas of data science, with particular emphasis on foundational statistics concepts. Two concentrations are offered: computational biology and bioinformatics, and a more general computer science concentration.  In both concentrations, students use data storage, modeling, analytics, and visualization to solve organizational problems, but bioinformatics focuses their coursework specifically on data-intensive aspects of healthcare. Bioinformatics students must complete a research-based thesis, whereas computer-science students have the option to complete either a thesis or a final project.  The program can be completed within 18-24 months. 

What will I Learn?

The Lewis University MSDS program prepares students to use the tools of data science to solve organizational problems. All students must complete two core courses in statistics, as well as courses in data mining, statistical programming, data visualization, data storage systems, and machine learning. Students in the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics concentration focus the rest of their coursework on data analysis and data management for healthcare. Students will learn to use data mining to design custom pharmaceuticals, track the spread of disease, and understand and apply genomic data.  Students in the computer science concentration focus their study on learning how to create large-scale data storage systems designed to meet the needs of a given data-intensive organizational problem, including specifying the best use of hardware, software, and communication links. Project-based courses immerse students in the design and development of computing projects that enable the processing, interpretation, and presentation of large data sets. In both concentrations, students will bring together theory and practice to attack a specific problem in some depth. Bioinformatics students must complete a thesis, whereas computer science concentrators have the choice of either a thesis or final project. 

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within 18-24 months and pay $810 per credit for a total of 32 credits, or just under $32,000  for the entire degree.

How does the program fit into my life?

The entire program can be completed online, and there are no required visits to the Lewis University campus. Courses are asynchronous, meaning that instructors will prepare materials such as lectures, activities, assignments, and group discussions organized into weekly modules, and students can complete the modules at any time during the given week. Because of the project-based nature of the program, students will likely need to have some scheduled online meetings or work time with classmates. The program can be completed in 18-24 months, and students can start in Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter semester.  Accelerated eight-week courses allow students to focus intensely on course topics and enable motivated students to finish the program more quickly than most semester-based degrees. 


The Lewis University MSDS program will be especially attractive to aspiring data scientists who want to work in the healthcare, biocomputing, bioinformatics, or health informatics fields and desire a hands-on project-based approach to learning combined with a comprehensive curriculum. The emphasis on designing computational systems also sets the Lewis program apart from others. Since Lewis is a smaller institution, students who are looking for an extensive range of electives or a more academic intellectual environment may want to look elsewhere to meet their data science goals.