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University of Missouri Online Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics

Why University of Missouri?

The online  Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics offered by the University of Missouri is a distinctive degree program that includes a one-week on-campus visit for students each year. The University of Missouri, a large public research university in Columbia, Missouri, expects applicants to hold an undergraduate degree in any subject with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  Prior knowledge of Python and R is preferred. Except for TOEFL requirements for international students, standardized test scores are not required for the application.

Program Snapshot

University NameUniversity of Missouri
LocationColumbia
StateMissouri
Niche.com GradeA-
Name of DegreeMaster of Science in Data Science and Analytics
School or Department Administering ProgramInterdisciplinary
Credits34
Cost per credit$386
Tuition for Entire Program$13,124
Test RequirementsTOEFL if applicable
Minimum GPA3.00
Prerequisite Courses and SkillsNone, but knowledge of Python and R preferred
Campus Visit Required?Yes – one week each year
Typical Time to CompleteFive semesters
When Can Students Start the Program?Fall
Program Concentrations
  • Geospatial
  • Biohealth Analytics
  • High-Performance Computing
  • Human-Centered Science Design
  • Data Journalism/Strategic Communication
Synchronous ClassesNo
Required Courses
  • Introduction to Data Analytics
  • Statistical and Mathematical Foundations for Data Analytics
  • Database and Analytics
  • Big Data Visualization
  • Data Analytics from Applied Machine Learning
  • Big Data Security
  • Data and Information Ethics
Does the Program Include a Capstone?Yes
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship?No
Other Features that Make the Program Unique
  • Required case study course in addition to the capstone
  • Program is an executive style online program requiring one week on campus each year
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program)Finally, the program continually emphasizes the goal of the data science lifecycle, namely achieving business intelligence for the stakeholders (end consumer of the analytics). This storytelling of the data and the analytical processes are also thematic as part of our process to continually develop and refine the students’ soft skills.
Program DescriptionThis 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.

What will I Learn?

The emphasis throughout the program is achieving results for stakeholders and end-users of data through action at all stages of the data lifecycle. Students complete a required course in Introduction to Data Analytics and gain foundational statistics skills in Statistical and Mathematical Foundations for Data Analytics.  Data management and stewardship are covered in Database and Analytics and Big Data Security courses. Students delve deeper into analytical methods in Data Analytics from Applied Machine Learning and Big Data Visualization. Finally, students consider the social contexts of their work in Data and Information Ethics.  A case study/capstone course are also required.

Unique and exciting concentrations are likely to be the main attraction of the Missouri program. The High-Performance Computing concentration requires courses in information retrieval, cloud computing, and parallel computing. The Geospatial concentration focuses on location data, such as that derived from mobile apps or geographic information systems. Students learn special analytical techniques for geospatial data, become skilled in the use of geospatial datasets and tools, and learn about analyzing data from remote sensors such as data collected from satellites and aircraft.

The Biohealth computing concentration emphasizes ethics and methods for health data, including analytical methods for genomics data, clinical trials, and decision support systems.  The Human-Centered Science Design concentration focuses on the communication of data through visualization, animations, and other techniques. Finally, students in Data Journalism/Strategic Communication will be prepared for careers in analyzing and communicating about public data sets. Topics covered in this concentration include analyzing networks and social network data processing and visualization.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within five semesters and pay $386 per credit for a total of 34 credits, or just over $13,000.

How does the program fit into my life?

In comparison with other data science Master’s programs, the University of Missouri program is less flexible since some courses are held synchronously at a scheduled time. Also, it is an executive style online program requiring students to visit the University of Missouri campus for one week each year.  Because of the project-based nature of the program, students can expect to need to schedule time to work with classmates or meet with instructors as well. Although the program has less scheduling flexibility, some students may find that this model saves time and frustration because of the more significant opportunities for one-on-one communication with instructors and classmates.

Summary

The University of Missouri program stands out from other Master of Data Science programs in three primary areas. The program is far less expensive than many other comparable programs, with a total cost of just over $13,000. The program’s concentrations in geospatial data and data journalism/strategic communication are unique and attractive to students with career aspirations outside of business and financial analytics. Finally, some aspiring data scientists may find the “executive” model, including a one week visit to campus, very attractive.