What is Data Science and why does it matter?
A data scientist’s job is to take massive amounts of data and turn it into knowledge that will help people make decisions. Data scientists work in all sorts of organizations, from retail to government to non-profit organizations to pharmaceutical research to hospitals to media to manufacturing and beyond. All of these organizations have one thing in common: they use the skills of data scientists to identify, manage, analyze and communicate about relevant data that will help the organization make the best possible decisions.
On the technical side, data scientists use skills in statistical analysis, machine learning, computer programming, and data management in their daily work. Some data scientists may focus more on identifying relevant data for their organization’s problems, and some may collect new data by designing experiments to see how users respond to marketing strategies, for example. The core tasks of the data scientist are to build and deploy statistical models to analyze data, using the models to predict the effects of a given business decision.
Data scientists are also skilled in communicating about data with a range of stakeholders. They often act as translators and interpreters between the teams in an organization that collects data, and the teams in an organization that make decisions based on that data. Information and data visualization is an important tool used by data scientists to explore data and to communicate ideas and results with others.
Job Prospects and Sample Job Titles
The market for data scientists is strong, and it is growing quickly. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020, job opportunities in this sector are growing much faster than average, with a projected growth of 16% over the next 10 years. This growth will be seen across all sectors of the economy, since data science is useful to any organization that either collects large amounts of data itself, or that uses data collected by other organizations to make decisions. Therefore, data scientists with at least a master’s degree are likely to be able to choose from a range of jobs upon graduation.
Data science skills are particularly in demand in healthcare organizations, as electronic medical records have increased the amount of data collected and shared about patients. As cancer research and other medical research is more and more impacted by advances in genetics, data scientists are needed to help interpret large data sets drawn from genetic studies.
Retailers and manufacturers operating in a complex and constantly changing environment rely on data scientists to help them decide where to focus resources. Some data scientists focus on analyzing supply chains to help increase efficiency, whereas others focus on analyzing consumer behavior data.
Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Seattle all have booming markets for data scientist jobs. However, data science skills are also in demand in smaller cities where a particular industry might be struggling to fill data-related jobs. Such cities include Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Boston.
Looking at job postings can help you get a better understanding of the job market for data scientists. In addition to searching for the job title “data scientists”, consider these alternate and related job titles:
- Data Analyst
- Business Intelligence Specialist
- Data Manager
- Data Architect
- Business Analyst
- Data Engineer
- Machine Learning Engineer
- Quantitative Analyst
- Operations Analyst
What is it like to be a student in an online graduate program?
If you’ve never taken a course or completed a degree in an online program, you may have lots of questions about what to expect. The first thing you can expect in an online program is a greater amount of flexibility for you, the student. This is especially true if your program does not include classes that take place at scheduled times, and if your program offers the choice of many elective courses. Students in online programs will likely find it easier to fit their studies into busy lives, as they have more control over when and where they complete their work. Mobile-optimized learning systems have made this even easier.
The second big difference between online and on-campus learning is that online learning requires self-motivation. When you have a big paper due in two days, and a midterm next week, the main person telling you to get organized and study is you. Therefore students in online programs need to be well-organized, keep close track of their course requirements, and be assertive about asking questions in class to stay on track. But don’t let this need for independence discourage you! If you are self-motivated, chances are most of your classmates will be too, and all that enthusiasm and drive will enrich everyone’s learning experience.
Programs will vary as to exactly how they organize online coursework, and which systems they use to deliver content and communicate with students. Be sure to check the section “How Will This Program Fit Into My Life?” in each of our blog posts for information about how a particular program structures the online learning experience.
How Schools Were Selected
The schools in our list were selected through a comprehensive search of one of the web’s most respected educational directories, combined with savvy web searching and the insider knowledge of our writers. We didn’t restrict our search to only programs with “data science” in the title. What we looked for was deep coverage of the key competencies of the data scientist, from data identification to data management and cleaning to data modeling, machine learning, and other analytics strategies, to visualization and communication. Some of the programs in our list include general coursework in business, computer science, and/or engineering, but all of them cover data science in depth across the data lifecycle.
How did we Rank our Picks?
Ranking university programs for quality is a notoriously difficult task, and we know that everyone makes decisions about their education with different goals in mind. Some students might be looking for a small college where they can build connections with instructors and classmates, while others may not be interested in relationship-building but want access to a very wide range of elective courses at the cutting edge of research.
To give you a general idea of where these programs stand in terms of program quality and university reputation, we have chosen to include the Niche.com grade of each university listed. This grade applies to the entire university, not just the program. The Niche.com grade is based on Niche’s analysis of hundreds of public data sets and online reviews and surveys. We’re not affiliated with Niche – we just felt the grade for each school would be useful to our readers.
Top Five Tips for Choosing the Program that is Right for You:
1. Consider how the program fits into the rest of your life.
Are you interested in an online program because you are at a turning point in your career and you want to devote lots of time to building your skills? Is an online degree an option because you want to move ahead in your career but you don’t have the flexibility to relocate for the highest-quality education? Have you had positive experiences with online learning for professional development and know that you thrive as an independent and self-motivated learner? To choose the program that is right for you, it’s very important to consider how content is delivered.
In a synchronous class, students meet with their instructor online at a scheduled time within an online workspace or videoconferencing tool. The instructor may use the time for lecturing, discussion, or group activities. While you may be able to view the class later if you are ill, you are generally expected to keep the class time free every week and to attend the online class regularly. This model is less flexible, but students often find that the scheduled class time helps them to understand materials more fully and have a richer educational experience.
In an asynchronous course, 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 own schedule within the given week. Students can generally view video content on their own time and may even choose to rewatch materials that are confusing or especially important. Asynchronous instruction helps students to fit their education into their busy schedules and is well-suited to students who prefer to work at their own pace.
2. Consider the complete financial impact of the program on you, not just the sticker price.
Some programs are more expensive than others, and few have the luxury of choosing a school without looking at the price tag. While our listings provide the cost per credit of each program at the time of writing and the total cost of completing all required credits, these numbers can’t provide a full representation of the financial picture.
Consider how the length and flexibility of each program will impact your work and family life, and what you discover may change your view of each program’s cost. For example, a program that can be completed entirely online will likely have less of a financial impact than a program with required campus visits. Asynchronous learning means less scheduling, leading to more flexibility when it comes to childcare or balancing your career with your spouse’s career. If you are the type of person who just can’t work at home surrounded by noise, you may want to factor in additional costs for a shared workspace or a weekly trip to the coffee shop.
Programs that can be completed in less time can have a big impact on your earning potential in a shorter timeframe. Programs that offer flexible pacing can mean that you can take advantage of an opportunity to earn overtime at work and pick up online learning again when your workplace is less busy. And of course, if a program won’t get you the kind of jobs you are looking for, then it doesn’t matter if it is offered at a lower price. So keep your eye on the cost of your education, but don’t let it blind you to other important differences between your choices.
3. Keep in mind that all online programs can’t be completed entirely online.
Some online programs can be completed entirely online, with no requirements for students to visit their “home” campus. Others require students to attend learning experiences on campus, such as a launch weekend, week-long intensive immersion course, or capstone experience. Keep in mind that on-campus visits may represent an additional cost for students, but they can be extremely valuable learning experiences and help students create connections with classmates that last throughout the program and beyond.
A few of the programs we feature are hybrid programs meaning that instruction is a mixture of online and in-person instruction. Such programs offer more flexibility than traditional degrees, but they do require students to live within commuting distance of campus.
A few programs listed here offer optional immersion experiences that may be at a university campus or other location. These enrichment programs are usually at extra cost to the student.
4. Choose a program with the right mix of choice and structure for you.
In general, online graduate programs are divided into three types when it comes to course choice and program structure.
Lockstep programs offer very little choice for students and a lot of structure. All students take the same required courses, usually in the same order, and there are no electives offered. Some programs may allow students to take the required courses at a slower pace, such as taking only one course per semester instead of two.
Lockstep programs make it easier for students to make connections with classmates since even in an online setting you will recognize familiar faces and names. Such programs also make course registration easy and less frustrating. You can be assured that your instructors know which courses you have already taken, and will (hopefully) plan their teaching accordingly. Such programs tend to be more cost-effective than programs that offer more choice. Finally, you will have a predictable pathway so you can plan the rest of your life around courses that you expect to be more challenging.
The disadvantages of lockstep programs are obvious. With no choice of courses, students cannot pursue topics that interest them in-depth in electives. They also cannot choose to take courses in a different order that may make more sense to them than the order determined by their program. They may feel they are missing out on some of the exploration and excitement of graduate education because their choices are restricted.
Core plus Electives programs offer a balance of choice and structure. All students are required to take a suite of required courses that introduces them to key skills and fundamental techniques. As long as those courses are taken, all other courses in the program are the student’s choice from among a list of approved electives.
In this model, the core courses ensure that students have the necessary preparation for the workplace, while electives allow them to follow their own interests and take advantage of exciting opportunities to develop expertise. Students can change their minds about interests and goals throughout the program, as long as they complete the core courses.
A program structured in this way can have two disadvantages. If the core courses are not relevant to your goals and interests, you are stuck taking them anyways. So be careful to check the required courses for your program to make sure that they do not cover information that you already know, or that they seem to focus too much on an area that does not interest you. Secondly, students may find that it is difficult and confusing to choose electives, especially in larger universities. Student support and advising are key to make electives enriching for the student.
Core Plus Concentration programs offer a different way for students to meet their goals in preparing for a career. In addition to taking core courses, students choose a concentration (sometimes called a specialization) within the program. Each concentration requires another set of required courses, tailored to prepare you with specialized skills and knowledge. Some concentrations might even have different admission requirements than others within the same program.
In this model, students can feel reassured that the courses they are taking in both the core and concentration will meet the expectations of employers. Having a named concentration in your degree can make you a more attractive job candidate. Students will likely develop connections with classmates and instructors within their concentration.
However, this model of program may not be appropriate if you are uncertain about what area of the field interests you, or if you want to be able to change your mind about your interests or explore unusual topics. If you have a specific interest, be sure to look for programs with concentrations in that topic area.
5. Don’t take our word for it. Seek out the opinions and experiences of those with direct experience of each program.
Listings like ours will provide you with an excellent comprehensive overview of what programs are available as well as all the information you will need to make a shortlist of potential choices. But at some point, you are going to want to gather information from instructors, former and current students, student advisors, potential employers, and others who are familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each program. Contacting the program directly to ask your specific questions is always a good idea, and universities are usually willing to connect you with employers and alumni who can share their thoughts with you as well. Your experiences and needs will be unique, of course, but such conversations can be key in helping you decide your next step on your educational journey.
|Location: Boston, Massachusetts||32 credits|
|$29,600 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 32-credit program offers the chance to complete two courses before applying for the degree. It can be completed within two semesters and focuses on data mining, visualization, applied probability, statistics, web analytics, and metrics and other topics. No program concentrations are offered. A capstone is not required, and an internship/practicum is not available. While no concentrations are built into the program, students can choose from many different elective courses. This program is technically and practically-oriented. Students looking for structured opportunities to gain workplace experience may not find the program suitable. More about this program …
|Location: Evanston, Illinois||36 credits|
|$71,424 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 36 credit program offers students training in fundamental skills and approaches of data science at all stages of the data lifecycle. Students learn the fundamentals of math and statistics for data science, database systems and data preparation, practical machine learning, decision analytics, and project management and business leadership skills. Five concentrations are offered: Analytics and Modeling, Analytics Management, Artificial Intelligence, Data Engineering, and General Data Science. A capstone or thesis is required. Courses are offered using a synchronous model, meaning that classes meet at scheduled times. Students may choose to complete the MITx Micromasters in Statistics and Data Science and use those credits to count towards the Northwestern degree. The Northwestern degree has a higher price tag than many other programs. More about this program …
|Location: Dallas, Texas||33.5 credits|
|$57,084 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 33.5-credit program offers a comprehensive curriculum and a unique on-campus immersion experience as part of the capstone project in the final semester. Students in the Machine Learning concentration are prepared for highly technical careers through the development of skills in modeling, automation, pattern recognition, and experimentation. Students in the Business Analytics concentration are prepared for careers using data analytics to inform business decision making, developing skills in information management, analytics, visualization, communication, and translating concepts for a range of stakeholders. A capstone, including a campus visit, is required. A high cost-per-credit reflects the greater personal interaction provided to students, who take classes at scheduled times and enjoy more support than they might find elsewhere. SMU’s partnerships with area employers help students to build their resumes. A range of electives is offered at this large research university. More about this program …
|Location: Berkeley, California||27 credits|
|$69,471 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 27-credit program takes students through all stages of the data science process, from research design to communicating results. Skills and techniques taught are data cleansing, data engineering, data mining, and exploring, data visualization, statistical analysis, and machine learning. A course in Information Ethics and Privacy provides a necessary context for professionals. A synthetic capstone course is required. Although the cost per credit is very high, students are required to complete fewer credits than in many other programs. Another appealing feature is Berkeley’s innovative online course system, which offers tools for collaboration outside the classroom as well as access to practical, hands-on class activities. Berkeley’s connection to the tech hub of Silicon Valley is also an important draw. More about this program …
University of California Los Angeles Master of Science in Engineering with Certificate of Specialization in Data Science Engineering
|Location: Los Angeles, California||36 credits|
|$37,800 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 36 credit program is aimed at professional engineers with prior work experience. The data science certificate is a specialization within the Masters of Engineering program. Students will learn fundamental techniques of designing and building big data systems and learn skills in data mining, machine learning, information search, predictive analysis, smart personalization, and many other techniques. A capstone is required. Applicants to this selective program can expect to have classmates with a high level of background education and professional experience. Unique electives in topics such as smart personalization and speech processing are also an attractive feature. The program is usually completed in 2 years plus one academic quarter. More about this program …
|Location: Urbana-Champaign, Illinois||32 credits|
|$21,440 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 32-credit program offers a distinctive model in which courses are offered through Coursera, the Massive Open Online Course platform. UIUC students complete a more rigorous set of assignments and evaluations than other Coursera students and are advised by UIUC faculty. The program requires students to take courses across core areas of machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and cloud computing. If you have ever taken courses on the Coursera platform before, and enjoyed the online learning experience, this program may be a good fit. The student body is highly international and courses are designed to fit the lives of working adults. Students looking for a program with intensive specialization in one subject domain such as healthcare or accounting will not find the UIUC program suitable. More about this program …
|Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan||34 credits|
|$42,262 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 34-credit program teaches students the processes of data collection, computational analysis, and presentation through flexible online courses. Students use Python as the primary programming language throughout. Machine learning, network analysis, natural language processing, experimentation and other techniques are taught. Students complete 3 portfolio projects at specific “milestones” in the program. The Michigan program is quite new, and the first class entered in Fall 2019. Therefore exact requirements are still in flux, and applicants should contact the university directly for the most up-to-date information. The University has a well-established reputation in the field of data science. More about this program …
University of Notre Dame Master of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics – Data Science
|Location: South Bend, Indiana||30 credits|
|$48,000 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 30-credit program begins with a required on-campus launch experience introducing students to the program and to the field of data science. All courses are required. The program emphasizes the quantitative and computational skills to transform, organize, analyze, and present data and information in order to create valuable knowledge. Students learn to communicate effectively and act ethically. Students are required to visit the Notre Dame campus for an in-person launch weekend, and classes are offered synchronously at scheduled times. The program size is relatively small, and all students take the same courses. More about this program …
|Location: Charlottesville, Virginia||32 credits|
|$48,000 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 30-credit program combines skills in computer science, data science, and business analytics. The focus is on acquiring interdisciplinary knowledge and research experience. Three concentrations offering domain-specific analytics skills are offered: Business Analytics, Educational Foundations, and Research and Behavioral Analytics. Text analytics is a strength of the program. Students participate in scheduled calsses every week, and class sizes are small. Students participate in independent research and numerous projects. Applicants can expect their classmates to have extensive quantitative background. More about this program …
|Location: 6 campuses of University of Wisconsin System, Wisconsin||36 credits|
|$30,600 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 36-credit program offers courses in all phases of the data science lifecycle, intending to prepare students for leading careers in data science in a range of organizations. Students identify an organization’s needs, collect and manage needed data, select, apply and evaluate data models, interpret outcomes, and effectively communicate to different audiences. The program emphasizes the ethical use of data and actionable business strategies. A capstone project is required. Six campuses of the University of Wisconsin system have collaborated to design and teach this program, enabling students to have access to a range of faculty and hands-on experiences. The program offers little flexibility in terms of course choice, but predictability may be a plus for some applicants. More about this program …
|Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts||48 credits|
|$44,400 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 48-credit program provides students with an in-depth understanding of data science methods in predictive modeling, data mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data visualization, and big data. The emphasis is on critical thinking, problem-solving, and developing the ethical and legal background to become thought leaders in the field. A three-week residential capstone project is required during the final semester. No concentrations are offered, and the program can be completed within 2 years. Students have the opportunity to work on research projects with Harvard and MIT faculty. The program requires a greater number of credits than many similar degrees. A key advantage of Harvard Extension is the accessible application process. Students can enroll in up to two courses without applying, and then if they decide to apply to the degree they are required to demonstrate knowledge of Python, R, calculus and academic writing. More about this program …
|Location: Baltimore, Maryland||30 credits|
|$45,930 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A+|
This 30-credit program prepares students to meet the growing demand for data scientists through a curriculum that balances theory and practice as students apply mathematical and computational tools to large scale data sets. Students learn to describe and transform information to discover relationships and insights and create models that can be automated to solve organizational problems. Concentrations are offered in Computational Medicine, Computational Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Computational Finance, Mathematics of Data Science, Language and Speech and Statistical Theory. A capstone project is offered. The program is especially strong in the areas of statistical and mathematical foundations for data science. JHU has an international reputation for research innovation, particularly in science and medicine, and this prestige is reflected in the higher price point. More about this program …
|Location: Bloomington, Indiana||30 credits|
|$41,820 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A|
This 30-credit online program can be completed within 2 years or less, enabling students to build expertise as data professionals. The emphasis is on solving real-world challenges faced by local and global communities, organizations and citizens. Students can concentrate on intelligent systems engineering, data analytics and visualization, precision health, and cybersecurity. The concentration in precision health involves exciting opportunities to work on IU’s data-intensive cancer research initiative. At the higher end of the scale in terms of cost, the IU program will be suited to students with more quantitative background who want to explore rigorous coursework. More about this program …
|Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma||33 credits|
|$21,384 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A|
Students follow a general curriculum in Information Management Systems while pursuing a Data Science concentration in this 33 credit program. Courses cover database management, data warehousing, systems analysis, programming, visualization and others. Students are required to complete a practicum developed in collaboration with industry partners. This degree is going to be merged in the near future with OSU’s Master of Science in Business Analytics, so applicants should contact the university for the most up-to-date information. The program represents excellent value for money, offering a robust education to applicants interested in data management and security as well as data science. Partnerships with area employers are an important feature. More about this program …
|Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma||45 credits|
|$28,564 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A|
The University of Oklahoma MBA with a concentration in Data Science consists of 45 credits: the base MBA curriculum plus additional coursework in data science. Students gain skills for all areas of business, including management, finance, strategy, and accounting, and also learn how data science techniques can be used to enhance processes and decision-making in their organizations. The program covers all phases of the data science life cycle and also includes required professional development courses and case study projects. Applicants who are enthusiastic about all areas of business study, but who would also like to gain data science expertise, will find the program appealing. The program is relatively low-cost compared to similar degrees. More about this program …
|Location: Piscataway, New Jersey||34 credits|
|$30,600 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A|
This 34-credit program combines general business courses and specialized courses in data science. Students acquire skills in finance, accounting, market assessment and analysis, professional communication, and management. A course in Ethics prepares them to navigate complex environments. Students also acquire skills in analytics, data management, cloud computing, and working with big data. A science and technology capstone class is required, as is an analytics practicum. The program is a hybrid of online and in-person learning and students should be able to commute to the Rutgers campus. An extensive program of professional development and extracurricular activities enrich the student experience. More about this program …
Stevens Institute of Technology Master’s in Business Intelligence and Analytics, Concentration in Data Science
|Location: Hoboken, New Jersey||36 credits|
|$60,696 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A|
This 36-credit program prepares students to apply data skills to business problems in order to form an actionable strategy. Data Science is a concentration within the Masters of Business Intelligence and Analytics. Students learn the skills to collect, analyze, and interpret data in strategic data planning and management. Techniques covered include databases and data warehousing, data mining and machine learning, network analysis, and social media, and risk, modeling, and optimization. All students must complete a practicum, taking advantage of the Institute’s connections with employers in New Jersey and in nearby New York City, as well as elsewhere. The curriculum is flexible, with online-only asynchronous classes. More about this program …
|Location: Syracuse, New York||36 credits|
|$64,152 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A|
This 36-credit program offers four concentrations within a curriculum that prepares students to collect and organize data, identify patterns and communicate with managers and other stakeholders. Students are focused throughout on the business impact of the data science process, including how their findings will help them implement data-driven business decisions, and develop alternate strategies. Ethical and privacy concerns are emphasized throughout. Concentrations are offered in Accounting Analytics, Supply Chain Analytics, Marketing Analytics and Financial Analytics. Exciting business-focused concentrations set this program apart. Syracuse University has an excellent reputation in the field of data science and information science, and students have the opportunity to form personal connections through scheduled synchronous online classes. The greater degree of personal contact is reflected in the higher cost per credit compared to some programs. More about this program …
|Location: Potsdam and Schenectady, New York||33 credits|
|$52,998 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
The Clarkson program consists of 33 credits that are completed over five semesters beginning in a Fall semester. A summer foundations program for students without the required quantitative background is also offered. Graduates will be able to identify, acquire, manage, present, analyze, and interpret large amounts of data in a variety of organizational settings. The emphasis is on smart decision-making, efficiency, and attracting customers. The program requires a capstone project or capstone course. Class sizes are small and students complete the program as a cohort, leading to increased opportunities for collaboration and connection. This personal approach comes with a price tag that is higher than many data science programs. More about this program …
|Location: Chicago, Illinois||52 credits|
|$44,980 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
Consisting of 35 credits, this program requires all students to take nine required courses covering data management and acquisition, modeling, and communicating results. Students can choose from four concentrations: Computational Methods, Health Care, Hospitality, and Marketing. A thesis is optional, and students can pursue an independent study course if desired. A unique feature of the DePaul program is the instructional model. Online students view recordings of classroom lectures, filmed earlier the same day with the instructors and students in DePaul’s in-person degree program. The concentration in data analytics for hospitality is also exciting. These features contribute to the higher cost-per-credit of this program compared to many others. More about this program …
|Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||45 credits|
|$60,390 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
The 45-credit online Master of Science in Data Science from Drexel University teaches students to manipulate and summarize data, perform text and data mining, determine trends, and tell a clear story about your findings. All students take two required introductory courses and two required capstone courses and choose from among three concentrations: Analytics, Mining, and Algorithms, Visualization and Communication, and Management and Accountability. Some classes are taught synchronously, meaning that they meet at scheduled times. With a high number of credits required to graduate, the Drexel degree is a big investment. However, the program has rigorous standards and the university is well-known for its technical prowess across many areas. More about this program …
|Location: Fairfax, Virginia||30 credits|
|$27,900 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
This 30-credit program prepares students to use the techniques and methodologies necessary for data-driven decision making. Topics covered include data mining, information technology, statistical modeling, predictive analytics, optimization, risk analysis, and data visualization. Ten different concentrations are offered: Applied Analytics, Bioengineering, Business Analytics, Cyber Analytics, Data Mining, Financial Engineering, Health Data Analytics, The Internet of Things, Predictive Analytics, and Statistical Analytics. The wide range of concentrations offered makes this program appealing for students who want a predictable, rigorous path to develop expertise in a chosen area. Applicants should have significant background in engineering, computer science or similar fields. George Mason is an appealing choice for applicants excited about careers in finance or government. More about this program …
|Location: Chicago, Illinois||33 credits|
|$53,262 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
This 33 credit program prepares students to make sense of data using high-level mathematics, statistics, and computer science. Graduates are skilled at communicating insights and results, and have the chance to explore real problems, not just learn tools while completing the degree. The program does not offer domain concentrations. The program can be completed within 12 to 16 months full time or two years part-time. Neither a capstone nor practicum is offered. Illinois Institute of Technology offers an innovative partnership program with area companies. Applicants who are willing to pay a higher price for a more academically challenging program at a prestigious school will find the program exciting. More about this program …
|Location: Baltimore, Maryland||31 credits|
|$31,000 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
This 31-credit hybrid program is a mix of online and in-person learning. Students learn to use Python to transform messy web data and to use R to perform statistical modeling to address data-driven problems. The focus throughout is on the ethical implications of the work that data scientists do. The program also emphasizes social justice and partnerships with nonprofits. Students complete a capstone project working with a real-world client. Loyola’s Catholic and Jesuit background influences the social justice orientation of the program. Students should live within commuting distance of Baltimore, but will need to spend significantly less time on campus than in a traditional program. More about this program …
|Location: Rochester, New York||30 credits|
|$35,730 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
This 30 credit program prepares students for careers in data science across a range of organizations. Students learn concepts and skills of machine learning and predictive analytics, as well as programming in Python and R, and techniques in data mining, text mining, and visualization. A capstone is required. Classes meet online at scheduled times. Students can apply credits earned on the EdX platform to the degree. A wide range of electives will appeal to students interested in specialized skills. Math and statistics are a particular strength of the program. More about this program …
|Location: University Of Denver, Colorado||48 credits|
|$50,304 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
This 48-credit program prepares students for careers in data science, where they build tools to collect, evaluate, and interpret data to solve complex challenges across a variety of industries. A capstone is required. Application requirements make the program accessible to those with less academic preparation. The curriculum is project-oriented, and classes are taught via live videoconferencing. Students will enjoy more personal interaction than in some other programs. With its high credit requirement, the University of Denver option represents a significant financial and time investment. More about this program …
|Location: Columbia, Missouri||34 credits|
|$13,124 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: A-|
This 34-credit program prepares students to intervene in the data lifecycle to achieve business intelligence for stakeholders and end-users of the data being analyzed. The focus is on data storytelling, and students’ soft skills are continually developed. Concentrations are offered in Geospatial analytics, Biohealth analytics, High-Performance Analytics, Human-Centered Science Design, and Data Journalism/Strategic Communication. The concentration in Data Journalism/Strategic Communication is a unique feature, as is the concentration in Geospatial analytics. Both programs should appeal to students looking to combine backgrounds outside the hard sciences with an interest in data-driven communication and decision-making. With a low cost-per-credit, the UM program represents good value for a degree from a public research university. The program requires students to attend a one-week learning experience on campus. More about this program …
|Location: Bellevue, Nebraska||30 credits|
|$17,850 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B+|
This 30-credit program consists of ten required courses. Courses cover data preparation, recommending appropriate data modeling techniques, communicating data science results, identifying ethical challenges, and other topics. Bellevue University is focused on educating working adults, and the program is designed to be flexible and career-oriented. Bellevue offers a low cost-per-credit for a “lockstep” program in which all students take the same set of required courses. Class sizes are small and admission requirements are accessible. More about this program …
|Location: Greenville, North Carolina||30 credits|
|$25,200 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B+|
This 30-credit program teaches students to clean, transform, integrate and aggregate data, determine the suitability of datasets, build descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive models, and use analytics and machine learning methods to generate actionable insight. Critical thinking, knowledge of contemporary issues, communication, and teamwork skills are also emphasized. The program can be completed within two years and includes a mandatory practicum. The East Carolina program is unique because all students focus on data science and analytics within healthcare. It offers relatively little choice in terms of courses, and students are expected to have significant background in quantitative fields. More about this program …
|Location: St. Louis, Missouri||36 credits|
|$27,540 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B+|
This 36-credit program prepares students with mathematical, analytical, and technological skills and methods to ensure their success as data scientists. All students complete the same courses covering a range of techniques in data management, programming, analytics, and visualization. All students complete both a capstone and a thesis/research project. The University, which has a Catholic heritage, has a mission is to educate adult and non-traditional students, including veterans. This aim is reflected in the flexible, accessible program, featuring courses on industry-standard technology such as SAS, blockchain and NoSQL. More about this program …
|Location: Denver, Colorado||36 credits|
|$29,520 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B+|
This 36-credit program introduces students to the discipline and methodologies of data science through a comprehensive curriculum that includes 2 required practicum courses. Students learn the techniques of data science from the preparation and evaluation of data to the creation of data products, using statistical methods and experimental design. Students also learn to judge data science projects for their ethical concerns and for their contributions to the good of society. A unique feature is the required course in ethics and social justice issues in data science, informed by the University’s Jesuit heritage and scholarly tradition. Fewer electives are available than in some larger universities with more technical focus. More about this program …
|Location: Notre Dame, Indiana||36 credits|
|$24,300 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B+|
This 36-credit program prepares students for careers in data science with a focus on the skills employers need. Core techniques taught are regression analysis, data mining, data processing, and data visualization. Students attend one weekend of immersion on the St. Mary’s campus every August. A practicum is optional. Courses are offered at scheduled class times, and classes are small. The College integrates the data science program with its well-established expertise in nursing, so the degree may be of interest to applicants seeking careers in health care. Business and professional skills for those newer to the workplace are emphasized throughout the curriculum. More about this program …
|Location: Riverside, California||36 credits|
|$30,000 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B+|
This 36 credit program is aimed at professional engineers who want to pursue careers in data analytics and data science as these fields relate to engineering. Students complete a full Master’s degree in engineering, focusing on skills needed for managers and subject specialists. In addition, they learn the fundamentals of statistical methods and database management and pursue electives in image processing, project design, information retrieval, and other topics. Data Science is a concentration within the Masters of Engineering program. The UC-Riverside program is appropriate primarily for engineers, and applicants should be aware that many of the required courses address general problems in engineering management and practice. The program can be completed within as little as one year, making it one of the more fast-paced data science offerings. More about this program …
|Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota||30 credits|
|$23,460 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B+|
This 30-credit program combines skills in computer science, data science, and business analytics. The focus is on acquiring interdisciplinary knowledge and research experience. Three concentrations offering domain-specific analytics skills are offered: Business Analytics, Educational Foundations, and Research and Behavioral Analytics. The University of North Dakota is a leader in the field of unmanned aircraft engineering, and students in the data science program have the opportunity to participate in this research area. The concentration in Educational Foundations is also unique, offering students the opportunity to delve deeper into the growing field of learning analytics and educational data. The program offers good value for money. More about this program …
|Location: Longmeadow, Massachusetts||36 credits|
|$31,680 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
This Master of Science in Data Science covers data management, modeling, statistics, visualization, machine learning, and other topics within two concentrations: Generalist and Core. The program’s 36 credits can be completed within 1 to 2 years, and include a required capstone, but no practicum or internship. Applicants with less quantitative background will likely find Bay Path an appealing choice, as accessibility is one of the university’s main goals. Those looking for greater choice in electives will not be suited to this program. More about this program …
|Location: New York, New York||30 credits|
|$25,650 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
The program covers skills in data acquisition, management and programming, foundational math and statistics, statistical and machine learning models design, implementation and deployment, and dissemination of results through visual and written communication. The program consists of 30 required credits and includes a required capstone research project. The program offers excellent value for money for New York residents. The curriculum is especially strong in the areas of mathematics and statistics, and research methods are emphasized in coursework and the required capstone. More about this program …
|Location: Elmhurst, Illinois||30 credits|
|$26,550 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
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. The program offers small class sizes and the opportunity to complete the curriculum with a cohort of classmates, building relationships and connection in the online experience. The program will not be suitable for those looking for extensive electives or a high-level research focus. Because the curriculum includes introductory courses in business topics, it is suited to students entering the workforce. More about this program …
|Location: Phoenix, Arizona||38 credits|
|$20,900 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
This 38-credit program prepares students for data science careers through the study of predictive analytics theory, principles, technical tools, and industry-specific knowledge applied to a wide variety of problems in science, engineering, and business. A capstone project is required. Applicants should be aware that this for-profit college has a Christian orientation which influences teaching and student experience. The program is highly structured, with no electives, and is a lower-cost choice. Application requirements are accessible to those with less academic background. More about this program …
|Location: Kent, Ohio||32 credits|
|$31,968 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
This program covers data analysis, modeling, and the processing of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data using statistical and semantic analysis. The focus is on identifying and meeting organizational needs. The program’s 32 credits can be completed within two years and include a capstone course. Data Science is a concentration within the Master of Digital Science degree, so students also take courses outside of data science in the areas of information organization, social contexts of digital technology, information management, and other topics. The program is less technical than many other programs. More about this program …
|Location: Romeoville, Illinois||32 credits|
|$25,920 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
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. The bioinformatics focus at Lewis University offers a unique opportunity to study data science applications within genomics, pharmaceuticals, and epidemiology. Design of computer systems is also an important strength of the degree. Lewis is a small college, offering more personal attention but fewer opportunities for electives than larger schools. More about this program …
|Location: North Andover, Massachusetts||32 credits|
|$29,280 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
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. Students at this small college will enjoy personal attention from instructors and staff throughout the predictable “lockstep” curriculum. More welcoming to less academically prepared students, the degree will likely be less appealing to those wanting a highly technical or research-oriented experience. More about this program …
|Location: La Jolla, California||58.5 credits|
|$25,857 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B|
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. Courses are offered on an intensive 4-week model for a curriculum that combines rigor and flexibility. The university has a strong background in educating members of the military and veterans. Although the pace of the program is flexible, all students take only the same set of required courses. More about this program …
|Location: St David’s, Pennsylvania||30 credits|
|$9,000 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B-|
This 30 credit program provides students with specific, marketable skills in Python and R, along with crucial knowledge with industry-standard programming, mathematics, statistics, data analysis, and machine learning. Two capstone courses, focusing on ethical and legal issues and a real-world project, complete the program. The program can be completed within two years. More about this program …
|Location: Manchester, New Hampshire||30 credits|
|$18,810 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B-|
This 30 credit program teaches students the skills, techniques, and approaches to identify and apply data solutions in a variety of organizations. Students build a professional portfolio of work as they develop skills in Python, SQL, R, and Tableau. Accessibility and an easy application process are important features of the SNHU program. The university offers numerous online degree programs, so instructors are very experienced with online teaching. The program will be especially appealing for students with less academic preparation who want a highly flexible experience. More about this program …
|Location: Utica, New York||30 credits|
|$24,900 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: B-|
This 30 credit program prepares students with the skills and knowledge needed to influence strategy and policy-making across a variety of organizations and industries. Concentrations are offered in business analytics, cybersecurity, financial crime, social science analytics, and a general degree. Utica College offers a small program size within a liberal arts college environment. The university is well-known for innovation in the field of financial crime and forensics, expertise reflected in the data science program. Students interested in work outside business and industry may find this program a good choice. More about this program …
|Location: Radnor, Pennsylvania||36 credits|
|$25,380 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: C+|
The 36 credit program at Cabrini teaches students programming languages such as Python, R and SQL and gives them an understanding of business enterprise functions as they become proficient in Tableau, Hadoop, and Apache Spark, as well as database administration management and warehousing. Courses in project management and business skills complement the required internship or capstone. Applicants with less prior experience in the workplace will likely find the program offered by this small Catholic college welcoming. No electives are offered, meaning that students seeking a more specialized education will find the program less suitable. More about this program …
|Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado||48 credits|
|$29,280 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: C+|
Data Science is a concentration within this Master of Science in Computer Science degree, completed in 32 credits. Students complete core computer science coursework in networking, programming, algorithms, security, databases, and systems engineering, and are also required to take a capstone course. Data science concentrators learn to use the open-source language R for statistical inference, regression, predictive analytics, and data mining. CTU is focused primarily on online technical education for adult students, and many students are members of the military or veterans. The program is welcoming to students with less academic preparation. Students will gain marketable skills across computer science in addition to data-oriented competencies. More about this program …
|Location: Adelphi, Maryland||36 credits|
|$24,984 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: C|
This 36-credit program is aimed at adult students anticipating a career in data science or analytics. The program aims to teach students how to conduct data science projects from initiation to completion, covering the processes of data evaluation, data management, data analytics, modeling, and communication. All students complete a capstone project demonstrating their skills. UMGC is one of the largest online institutions in the world, and instructors will be very familiar with the online learning experience. A “lockstep” curriculum means that opportunities to specialize are limited, and the program will not be suited to students looking beyond core topics in data science. More about this program …
|Location: San Diego, California||30 credits|
|$30,420 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: Not rated|
This 30-credit program is focused on formulating solutions to practical problems. Data management is emphasized throughout. Students learn to explain concepts and arguments associated with data science, manage legal, ethical, and security risks of information systems, and evaluate the scope and impact of emerging data science concepts on a local and global scale. Northcentral University is an online-only university with a focus on graduate education, meaning that students can expect instructors and staff to be experienced in online learning and familiar with the challenges of adult students. There are few barriers to admission, and the program is highly flexible. More about this program …
|Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota||30 credits|
|$26,400 total tuition||University’s Niche.com Grade: Not rated|
This 30-credit program consists of entirely required courses covering critical skills in data science. Students learn about the social and technical contexts for data science. Courses in data management, big data, predictive analytics, and data visualization prepare them for careers across a range of organizations. Walden University is a private, for-profit university with extensive experience in online teaching and learning. The program offers a predictable “lockstep” curriculum at a mid-range price point. Application requirements present few barriers to students with non-traditional backgrounds. More about this program …