National University Online Master of Science in Data Science, California

Why National University?

The online Master of Science in Data Science offered by National University provides flexibility and predictability while covering essential data science skills.  National University,  a  large private research university in La Jolla, California, expects applicants to have previous study or industry experience in math, statistics, computer programming, engineering, or science.  Test scores are not required, but applicants with an undergraduate GPA of less than 2.50 are encouraged to submit GRE scores.

Program Snapshot

University Name National University
Location La Jolla
State California Grade B
Name of Degree Master of Science in Data Science
School or Department Administering Program Engineering
Credits 39
Cost per credit $442
Tuition for Entire Program $17,238
Test Requirements GRE optional but may help if GPA below 2.5
Minimum GPA 2.50
Prerequisite Courses and Skills Previous study or industry experience in math, statistics, computer programming, engineering, or science
Campus Visit Required? No
Typical Time to Complete Two years
When Can Students Start the Program? Fall, Spring, Summer
Program Concentrations None
Synchronous Classes Yes
Required Courses All courses in the program are required courses

  • Fundamentals of Analytics
  • Analytic Models and Data Systems
  • Data Management for Analytics
  • Data Mining Techniques
  • Continuous Data Methods and Applications
  • Categorical Data Methods and Applications
  • Advanced Analytic Applications
  • Database Design for Analytics
  • Data Warehouse Design and Development
  • Advanced SQL Programming
  • Data Mining and Machine Learning
  • Analytic Capstone Project I
  • Analytic Capstone Project II
Does the Program Include a Capstone? Yes
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? No
Other Features that Make the Program Unique
  • Practicum is a three-month research project using real-life data from sponsors
  • Military-friendly university with lots of military students
  • 4-week intensive courses
Program Objectives 
  • Use public and private data sources combined with analytics skills to solve problems applied to real-world situations and address needs of stakeholders
  • Recognize and improve data management methods and techniques 
  • Learn to work collaboratively as a team 
  • Design data marts, data warehouses, and analyze complex database queries
  • Assess machine learning and other data mining techniques
Program Description This 39-credit program prepares students to perform tasks across the data lifecycle to identify problems and find solutions through data analytics. The program covers the processes of data evaluation, analysis, programming, management, and communication. Teamwork is emphasized throughout, especially in the required capstone project. 

What will I Learn?

The emphasis throughout the program is to learn to integrate components of data analytics to produce knowledge-based solutions for real-world challenges using public and private data sources. Students learn to evaluate data management methods, construct data files, use statistical and data programming techniques to solve problems, and design strategy to identify problems and their solutions. Courses emphasize teamwork as students learn to conduct a range of activities such as designing data marts and warehouses, analyze database queries, and evaluate machine learning methods.

All students in the program must complete the same courses, and there are no elective options.  The program begins with Fundamentals of Analytics, followed by Analytic Models and Data Systems and Data Management for Analytics. Critical skills are taught in Data Mining Techniques and Database Design for Analytics. Strategies for analyzing two common types of data are covered in Continuous Data Methods and Applications and Categorical Data Methods and Applications. Higher-level analytics skills are taught in Advanced Analytic Applications, Advanced SQL Programming, and Data Mining and Machine Learning. Students are then required to complete two courses of Analytic Capstone Project. This project is a three-month research project using real-life data from sponsors.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within two years and pay $442 per credit for a total of 39 credits, or just over $17,000.

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.  Students can begin the program in Fall, Spring, or Summer and usually complete the program within two years. A 4-week intensive schedule allows students to focus on one topic at a time.

Because of the project-based nature of the program, students can expect to need to schedule a time to work with classmates or meet with instructors.  The university is focused on educating working adults and military members or veterans so applicants can expect that staff and instructors will be familiar with the challenges of balancing work, family, and academic obligations, as well as the complications of military student life.


The National University program represents a lower-cost, high-flexibility option for students seeking the skills employers want in a program designed for working adults.  The lockstep curriculum model provides predictability and saves time and frustration when it comes time to register for courses. However, some applicants will find that the National University curriculum does not give the freedom in course choice that they desire. Also, the intensive course delivery model may represent too much workload within a short time period for some students.