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Merrimack College Online Master of Science in Data Science

Why Merrimack College?

The online  Master of Science in Data Science offered by Merrimack College is a structured and practically-oriented degree for those interested in data science careers. Merrimack College,  a small private Catholic liberal arts college in North Andover, Massachusetts, expects applicants to have at least two years of professional experience in a related field. Applicants are also required to have completed undergraduate coursework in a quantitative area with at least a grade of B. Test scores are not required for application, but can be submitted if desired.

Program Snapshot

University Name Merrimack College
Location North Andover
State Massachusetts
Niche.com Grade B
Name of Degree Master of Science in Data Science 
School or Department Administering Program Engineering and Business
Credits 32
Cost per credit $915
Tuition for Entire Program $29,280
Test Requirements Optional
Minimum GPA None indicated
Prerequisite Courses and Skills
  • At least two years of work in a related field
  • Undergraduate quantitative coursework with at least a B grade
Campus Visit Required? No
Typical Time to Complete 12 to 16 months
When Can Students Start the Program? Six start dates a year
Program Concentrations None
Synchronous Classes No
Required Courses All courses in the program are required courses 

  • Foundations of Data Management
  • Foundations of Statistical Analysis
  • Data Exploration
  • Data Visualization
  • Data Governance, Laws and Ethics
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Science Capstone
Does the Program Include a Capstone? Yes
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? No
Other Features that Make the Program Unique
  • All advanced degrees at Merrimack are online only
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program)
  • Programming – The ability to manipulate and process available data using either proprietary (e.g., SPSS) or open-source (R or Python) languages and applications.
  • Analysis – The ability to conduct advanced analyses of data using either proprietary (e|g|, SPSS) or open-source (e|g|, R or Python) applications and/or languages
  • Assessment – The ability to assess the validity and reliability of data analytic outcomes
  • Law – Familiarity with statutory and regulatory provisions governing business data and the usage of business data
  • Ethics – The ability to recognize an ethical issue and analyze the potential outcomes for the relevant constituencies and make a reasoned judgment
  • Governance – The ability to understand current and emerging data security, privacy, access and usage rights and obligations
  • Selection – The ability to evaluate the available techniques and tools, and choose those best suited to the problem at hand
  • Scoring – The ability to deploy and productize final data modeling solutions
Program Description This 32-credit program prepares students for careers in data science using appropriate techniques and proprietary and open source tools. The curriculum is designed to develop competencies in data programming, analysis, assessment, law, ethics, and governance. Students learn to evaluate available techniques and tools and to deploy data modeling solutions. 

What will I Learn?

The emphasis throughout the program is practical problem solving with industry-standard tools.  Data governance, law, and ethics are a cornerstone of the curriculum, which focuses on critical skills of data selection, management, and analysis. Students learn to identify the appropriate models and other tools for problem-solving and to deploy these solutions effectively. Both proprietary and open-source programming languages are taught.

The program begins with Foundations of Data Management and Foundations of Statistical Analysis. Students delve deeper into data in Data Exploration and Data Visualization. The social context for data science work is discussed in Data Governance, Law and Ethics. Advanced Techniques are taught in Predictive Modeling and Machine Learning. Students then have an opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they have learned through a final capstone project exploring a data-intensive problem.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within 12 to 16 months and pay $915 per credit for a total of 32 credits, or just over $29,000.

How does the program fit into my life?

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 can be completed 100% online, and no campus visits are required.  The degree can be completed within 12 to 16 months. Six start dates are offered throughout the year. All degrees at Merrimack are online-only, meaning that instructors and staff are very familiar with the challenges faced by online students and also have significant experience in online teaching, saving students time and frustration.

Summary

The Merrimack College data science master’s program is an accessible, structured program introducing students to a broad range of essential skills. Students who have less academic preparation may find the degree more welcoming than some other programs.  Students who already have extensive experience or prior graduate degrees are likely to find the program less relevant to their needs. No electives are offered, and Merrimack does not have a substantial base of research activity to inform teaching and curriculum.