University of Michigan Online Master of Applied Data Science, Michigan

Why the University of Michigan?

The online Master of Applied Data Science offered by the University of Michigan is a newer data science degree program launched in September 2019. It provides flexible one-month long courses taught through Coursera, punctuated by three required portfolio projects designed to help students consolidate concepts and demonstrate skills to employers. The University of Michigan, a large public research university with the main campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, expects applicants to complete an online assessment test covering Python and statistics skills.

No other prerequisite courses are required, and there is no minimum GPA cut-off. Students without Python or statistics background can choose to take non-credit Coursera courses offered by the University of Michigan or acquire these skills through other self-study options. No standardized test scores are required of domestic applicants, but international applicants will need to submit TOEFL scores.

Program Snapshot

University Name University of Michigan
Location Ann Arbor
State Michigan Grade A+
Name of Degree Master of Applied Data Science
School or Department Administering Program Information School
Credits 34
Cost per credit $1,243
Tuition for Entire Program $42,262
Test Requirements TOEFL if applicable
Minimum GPA None
Prerequisite Courses and Skills Online assessment test covering Python and statistics skills is required
Campus Visit Required? No
Typical Time to Complete 12-36 months
When Can Students Start the Program? Fall, Winter, Spring (most courses are one month long)
Program Concentrations None
Synchronous Classes Not indicated
Required Courses Not specified because the program is very new (the first cohort entered September 2019). Sample course titles include:

  • Being a Data Scientist
  • Math Methods for Data Science
  • Data Science Ethics
  • Data Manipulation
  • SQL and Databases
  • Big Data: Scalable Data Processing
  • Visual Exploration of Data
  • Information Visualization 1
  • Communicating Data Science Results
  • Data Mining 1
  • Unsupervised Learning
  • Database Architecture and Technology
  • Experiment Design and Analysis
Does the Program Include a Capstone? Y
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? Not indicated
Other Features that Make the Program Unique
  • New program launched September 2019
  • Most courses only one month long, one credit
  • 3 Milestone/Capstone courses throughout
  • Courses taught on Coursera
  • Course communication via Slack
  • Significant data science presence at the University of Michigan
Program Objectives
  • Focus on applied skills and bringing people and technology together
  • Develop skills in data collection, computation, analytics, and communication
  • interdisciplinary approach combining information science, computer science and statistics
Program Description 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 three portfolio projects at specific “milestones” in the program. 

What will I Learn?

The University of Michigan Master of Applied Data Science degree aims to develop graduates with critical thinking skills and strategic vision to function as managers and leaders in data-intensive organizations. Therefore students are encouraged to take a holistic view of the data science process by completing three linked portfolio projects throughout their program. The first project focuses on the collection and processing of big data, the second project covers analytics and machine learning in-depth, and the third and culminating project allows students to apply all skills learned in the program to real-world case studies. The approach is multidisciplinary and hands-on.

Because the program is relatively new, course requirements and available courses are still being established. The curriculum is structured around these core areas: formulating problems, collecting and processing data, analyzing and modeling data, presenting and integrating results into action, real-world applications of data science, and culminating learning experiences or portfolio projects. Python is used throughout. Courses cover industry-standard techniques, including machine learning, network analysis, natural language processing, and experimentation. Some courses are focused on the use of data science in domain areas or specific systems such as recommender systems, learning analytics, and social media analytics.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree in a minimum of 12 months and pay $1,243 per credit for a total of 34 credits, or just over $42,000.

How does the program fit into my life?

The University of Michigan program is structured quite differently than most online master’s programs. With a few exceptions, each course is only four weeks long and is worth one credit. Therefore students can choose from month to month whether they can balance coursework with their other professional and family responsibilities, offering a  high degree of flexibility. Using this model, a full-time student could complete the program in 12 months of intensive study, but students can also choose a 24-month pace or 36-month pace.

Because of the collaborative nature of the program, including three substantial required projects, students can expect to need to schedule time to work with classmates or meet with instructors throughout their degree. The program can be completed 100% online, and no campus visits are required. Coursera offers a mobile app that enables students to download and watch lectures or complete quizzes while offline, which provides enhanced flexibility for some students (such as subway commuters or those living in an area without wide broadband access). Instructors use Slack for communication, and Coursera offers 24/7 online support.


For aspiring data scientists willing to take a risk on a new program offered by an established leader in information science and computer science, the Master of Applied Data Science from the University of Michigan should be very appealing. Provided through the Coursera platform, the program is structured in “bite-sized” one-credit, one-month courses. It offers an innovative model of portfolio projects for students to consolidate their skills twice during their program and once at the end of the degree. Applicants will likely want to contact the University directly for the most up-to-date information on exact program requirements and available courses.