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By DSD Staff
September 2017

Clustering, Artificial Intelligence, Behavioral Analytics, “Big Data,” Data Mining…these are some of the cutting-edge technologies influencing both theory and practice in today’s business environment. Effective use of data is key to deepening our understanding and application of business, economic, social, and physical behavior. Data scientists are in demand to make the most of this Big Data and enable professionals to make informed decisions based on a complete analysis.


According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, there is a significant shortage of data scientists. The institute projects a need for an additional 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to analyze Big Data and ask the right questions to make effective business decisions. Earning an online master’s in data science is a great way to gain the education and experience needed to fill this gap.

Methodology

Data Science Degree Programs Guide - Top Online Masters Degrees - New-01
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We looked at all the online master’s degree programs in data science based on a search in College Navigator – there are well over 100 – and DataScience.Community to determine the top 30 for an online master’s in data science. We based our ranking on the following considerations and assigned points accordingly:

Average Tuition
Less than $5,000/year – 5 Points
$5,000-$10,000/year – 3 Points
Over $10,000/year – 1 Point

We understand that finding an affordable master’s program is a key factor for online students. We reviewed each school’s average graduate tuition rates from College Navigator, a government-run website that provides information on institutions of higher education around the country. While we looked specifically at tuition rates for graduate school, we acknowledge that tuition rates can vary from program to program. Always consult the university to find out specifics related to their accounting program and if they offer any incentives or scholarships to reduce your overall cost.

100% Online Content – 2 Points
Looking at each program website, we tried to determine if content was available 100% online or if there were residency requirements to complete the program. Schools with 100% online content were given 2 points.

Concentration Areas – 2 Points
We felt that schools offering an area of concentration within their online master’s of data science were worthy of a higher ranking. Concentration areas allow students to specialize in an area of interest or complete coursework required for their specific area of data science.

Below are the best online master’s in data science based on our criteria. We believe our list highlights the best of the best in quality online master’s in data science programs.

Master of Data Science Online Degree Programs Ranking


30. Wittenberg University-Springfield, Ohio

Master’s of Science in Data Analytics

School Profile

Tuition: Not Available in College Navigator
Total Points: 1

Wittenberg University offers an online Master’s in Data Analytics that can be finished in just 12 months. Students complete online coursework in addition to an on-campus residency which helps facilitate collaboration, networking, and team learning. Students work together on collaborative projects that cover real-world issues and clients facing problems. Unlike other programs, the online master’s in data science from Wittenberg University bridges the gap to help students capture, organize and analyze data to make better and faster business decisions.

29. University of Notre Dame-Notre Dame, Indiana

Master of Science in Data Science Online

School Profile

Tuition: $49,050/year
Total Points: 1

The innovative online Master’s in Data Science program at the prestigious University of Notre Dame is offered in collaboration with AT&T. This unique partnership results in a curriculum that is closely aligned to industry expectations and meets the needs of corporations who want to harness the power of Big Data. Coursework is offered online with immersion experiences at Notre Dame and Silicon Valley to gain hands-on experience. Classes are small, fostering a student-centered learning approach. Courses cover content such as data mining, linear models and time series, statistical learning, and data science process. Most students can earn their degree in about two years.

28. Southern Methodist University-Dallas, Texas

Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $40,896/year
Total Points: 1

Southern Methodist University offers a cohort-based master’s in data science online program that can be completed in just under two years. While all coursework can be completed online, there are two in-person immersion experiences on campus in Texas that students will need to attend. With three different start dates offered throughout the year, students can begin the program when it is most convenient. A skill based curriculum features courses such as Data Mining, File Organization and Database Management, and Statistical Sampling. The program is open to both full and part-time students.

27. Saint Mary’s College-Notre Dame, Indiana

Online Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $22,117/year
Total Points: 1

Saint Mary’s College features an online data science master’s degree offered primarily online with the flexibility to complete assignments just about anywhere. Students complete two to three courses each term, allowing them to continue working while going to school. The program prepares students to manipulate data to complete a deep analysis and understand the algorithms of data mining and visualization. An exciting feature of the program is the real-world practicum experience which allows students to gain professional experience while working on their degree. Students working on their undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s can begin taking master’s level courses in data science during their senior year, saving both time and money.

26. University of California-Berkeley-Berkeley, California

Online Master of Information and Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $11,220/year in-state; $26,322/year out-of-state
Total Points: 1

The online Master of Information and Data Science program at the University of California Berkeley prepares students to become data science leaders. The curriculum focuses on a variety of areas such as research design, cleansing, storage and retrieval, mining and exploring, data visualization, ethics and privacy, and communicating results. This top online master’s in data science program uses a project-based approach to learning, using different tools and methods to solve complex business problems. Students can complete the program on either a full-time or part-time basis, as well as through an accelerated format which allows students to finish in just 12 months. Courses are all offered online, but students attend an immersion experience on campus for 3-4 days to network and attend lectures and workshops.

25. Northwestern University-Chicago, Illinois

Masters in Predictive Analytics Online

School Profile

Tuition: $50,424/year
Total Points: 3

Northwestern University was one of the first schools in the country to offer dedicated training in data science through its online master’s in Predictive Analytics program. This top online master’s in data science covers business management and communications, information technology, and modeling. Small class size promotes personalized interaction between students and faculty. Students learn database and analytical software such as SQL, NoSQL, R, Python, and SAS. The program is offered part-time and can be completed in about two years.

24. Johns Hopkins University-Baltimore, Maryland*

Master of Science in Data Science Online

School Profile

Tuition: $50,410/year
Total Points: 3

The Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University offers a top master’s in data science online that is both rigorous and holistic. The curriculum incorporates real-world examples focused on fundamentals related to applied mathematics, computer science, and statistics. Online elective course offerings are available in areas such as matrix theory, neural networks, social media analytics, and graph analytics. Johns Hopkins University has one of the best online programs in Engineering according to U.S. News and World Report.

23. Boston University-Boston, Massachusetts

Online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems Concentration in Data Analytics

Tuition: $49,176/year
Total Points: 3

School Profile

The innovative online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from Boston University is ranked 4th in the country among the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs according to U.S. News and World Report. The concentration in data analytics provides students with the opportunity to learn and understand topics such as data processing, analysis, and visualization. Students also develop a solid foundation to methods and tools of data mining. Small course size ensures that online students receive individualized attention from Ph.D. level faculty with experience in the field.

22. Syracuse University-Syracuse, New York

Online Master’s in Data Science

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Tuition: $34,632/year
Total Points: 3

The top online master’s in data science from Syracuse University is a 36-credit hour program that can be completed in just 18 months. Students gain both problem solving and critical thinking skills to help make data-driven decisions within their organization. Students gain experience with both large and small data sets, like what they would encounter in an actual business setting. Courses are offered online through a live, face-to-face format to help facilitate project-based coursework and networking opportunities. The program is designed for working professionals, giving students 24/7 access from anywhere in the world.

School Profile

21. Elmhurst College-Elmhurst, Illinois

Master’s in Data Science Online

School Profile

Tuition: $29,730/year
Total Points: 3

The 30-credit hour online data science master’s degree program from Elmhurst College is a flexible program that can be completed in about two years. With no on-campus residency requirements, this is an ideal program for students who do not have the flexibility to travel. Courses cover theories and concepts such as data warehousing, data mining, analytical methods, and programming languages. Students complete two project-based courses, proving the perfect opportunity to apply skills and knowledge in realistic circumstances.

20. Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago, Illinois

Master of Data Science Online

School Profile

Tuition: $27,678/year
Total Points: 3

Available online to part-time to students and on-campus for full-time students, the online master’s in data science from Illinois Institute of Technology is a great option for students who want to learn how to solve real problems. Teaching goes beyond finding technical solutions; professors teach students how to analyze data, visualize the results, and communicate discoveries in a manner that makes sense. Courses come from a variety of areas such as data processing, statistics, machine learning, project management, and communication.

19. Merrimack College-North Andover, Massachusetts

Online Master’s in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $27,040/year
Total Points: 3

Students looking for a 100% online data science master’s program from a top ranked university should consider Merrimack College. Merrimack is top ranked by both The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. Courses are offered online through live sessions led by some of the top leading practitioners in the field. The program aligns with the skills in demand by some of the top employers in the country. Most students can earn their degree in just 15 months of study, learning concepts such as predictive modeling, machine learning, research design, and data governance.

18. Bay Path University-Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Master of Science in Applied Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $22,420/year
Total Points: 3

Bay Path University offers a data science master’s online that can serve as a launch pad for an exciting career in data science. Courses start every October and students can complete the program in just one to two years. The accelerated eight-week format allows students to move through the program quickly on either a full-time or part-time basis. Online students have access to support and academic resources so they feel a part of the BPU community. Graduates are prepared to work with large datasets as data engineers, statisticians, business analysts, or data architects.

17. Pennsylvania State University-University Park, Pennsylvania

Master of Applied Statistics

School Profile

Tuition: $19,712/year
Total Points: 3

Penn State World Campus is a leader in online education, offering a variety of top-ranked master’s programs for working professionals. The online master’s in Applied Statistics is based on the resident program, with many of the same esteemed faculty. Students can complete this top online master’s in data science in two to five years of study. Courses cover a variety of areas such as data mining, predictive analysis, statistical consulting, and biostatistics techniques. Graduates can prepare for the SAS Base Programming Certification Exam or seek PStat accreditation from the American Statistical Association to become an Accredited Professional Statistician.

16. Villanova University-Villanova, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Analytics

School Profile

Tuition: $17,917/year
Total Points: 3

The online Master’s in Analytics from Villanova University is a unique program custom designed to meet current business needs by equipping students with the skills to not only collect and analyze data but also to interpret data to make data-driven decisions. Coursework addresses areas such as data management, business intelligence, and predictive and prescriptive modeling and application in order to give students a broad understanding of data science. This top master’s in data science online can be earned in just 24 months by completing just one or two courses each term. Villanova University takes great pride in offering a personalized online education taught by nationally recognized leaders in the field.

15. Quinnipiac University-Hamden, Connecticut

Master of Science in Business Analytics Online

School Profile

Tuition: $17,730/year
Total Points: 3

Considered one of the top business schools in the country by both U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, Quinnipiac University offers an outstanding online master’s in data science through their Business Analytics program. Almost all faculty hold a doctoral or terminal degree in business or a related field and all faculty have industry experience. Coursework is offered 100% online and there are no residency requirements. The 33-credit hour program includes coursework in text mining, data mining, data visualization, predictive modeling, and business analytics. Graduates will earn their Certificate in Business Analytics Using SAS upon completion of the program through a partnership with SAS.

14. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign-Champaign, Illinois

Master of Computer Science in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $15,267/year in-state; $28,507/year out-of-state
Total Points: 3

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign features an online master’s in Data Science that is among the best in the country. This 32-credit hour program is flexible to meet the needs of working professionals. As the first MOOC-Supported data science master’s program in the country, lectures are broken down into shorter, focused video lessons allowing students increased flexibility and guidance on assignments, exams, and projects throughout the program. The Coursera MOOC online learning platform breaks down a semester into two 4-6 week courses with includes a “high-engagement” component. Students can stack courses to earn a certificate or complete the entire curriculum to earn their degree.

13. Regis University-Denver, Colorado

Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $11,250/year
Total Points: 3

Regis University offers a top master’s in data science online designed for those with a knack for problem-solving and an analytical mindset. The program explores two main components of data science including both data engineering and data analytics. Unlike many other programs, students in this online master’s in data science learn to analyze data through data science software and data engineering. This 36-credit hour program can be completed in about two years of study. With six different start dates throughout the year, students can jump right in and start the program when it is most convenient, eliminating any wait time which increases motivation and excitement!

12. University of California Riverside-Riverside, California

Online Master of Science in Engineering-Data Science Specialization

Website

Tuition: $11,220/year in-state; $26,322 out-of-state
Total Points: 3

Decoding Big Data is the focus of the online Master’s in Engineering with a Specialization in Data Science from the University of California Riverside. Students learn to work with large data groups to identify, analyze, and visualize patterns within data to extract information. The program can be completed in just 13 months, and there are no residency requirements. Coursework is designed to meet the needs of a business environment and includes statistical mining methods, machine learning, information retrieval and web search, data visualization, and statistical computing. The University of California Riverside is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

11. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin

Master of Science in Data Science Online

School Profile

Tuition: $10,728/year
Total Points: 3

Those interested in advancing-or even starting-a career working with Big Data should consider the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Offered entirely online, the program is comprised of 12 courses with no set meeting times. A virtual lab is available for students to access tools such as SQL Server, R, Python, and Tableau which saves students the expense of purchasing software on their own. Online students have access to career assistance and libraries, just like their traditional counterparts. There are no GMAT or GRE test score requirements for this program.

10. Iowa State University-Ames, Iowa

Online Master of Business Analytics

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Tuition: $8,474/year in-state; 21,786/year out-of-state
Total Points: 3

Iowa State University features an online master’s in Business Analytics that focuses on the challenges of data analytics in relation to Big Data. This blended program draws from computer science, statistics, and industrial and manufacturing systems engineering. Students can complete the program in just 21 months. The highlight of the program is a customized capstone team project which allows students to receive focused training in specialized areas of interest such as fraud detection or text mining. Most coursework is offered through an online platform, but students need to come to campus three times over the course of the program.

9. University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Online

School Profile

Tuition: $8,462/year in-state; $23,172/year out-of-state
Total Points: 3

The online master’s in data science from the University of Missouri provides students with the real-world experience needed to secure a position in this growing field. While most coursework is offered online, some campus visits are required. Coursework emphasizes different disciplines such as biotechnology, human-centered data design, high-performance computing, and data journalism. Most students can complete the program in two years of study.

8. Utica College-Utica, New York

Online Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $17,483/year
Total Points: 5

Concentrations: Social Science Analytics; Business Analytics; Cybersecurity; Financial Crime; General

Utica College offers one of the few online master’s in data science to focus on social data and applied research for societal and business applications. This 30-credit hour program features four different areas of specialization or students can complete the general track to select their own elective courses. Students do not need to have a math or technical background to enter the program, making this a great choice for those who are changing careers. The program can be completed in just 20 months of study by completing two courses each semester.

7. Fairfield University-Fairfield, Connecticut

Master’s in Business Analytics

School Profile

Tuition: $16,632/year
Total Points: 5

Concentrations: Marketing Analytics

Fairfield University features a hybrid master’s in Business Analytics for students who need to understand business performance through the use of data and statistical methods. This 30-credit hour program is comprised of 10 courses, including a possible concentration in Marketing Analytics. The program emphasizes database management and business intelligence, two valuable skills in today’s business world. Courses are available online and on-campus, making it convenient for working professionals. Fairfield is considered one of the best business schools in the country according to U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

6. Lewis University-Romeoville, Illinois

Online Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $14,310/year
Total Points: 5

Concentrations: Computational Biology and Bioinformatics; Computer Science

The online master’s in data science from Lewis University can provide you with the skills needed to conquer data mining, predictive analysis, and data management. Most students can complete the program in just two years of study with no on campus residency requirements. Students can choose from a concentration in either Computational Biology and Bioinformatics or Computer Science. While students should have an aptitude for math, there are no set prerequisites as the program includes introductory courses that cover the essentials needed to become a data scientist. Graduates have gone on to successful careers as Business Strategists, Financial Analysts, Data Scientists, and Big Data Solutions Providers.

5. University of Alabama in Huntsville-Huntsville, Alabama

Master of Science in Management Science-Business Analytics (MSMS-BA)

School Profile

Tuition: $9,834/year in-state; $21,830 out-of-state
Total Points: 5

The online master’s in Management Science-Business Analytics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville is specially designed for professionals who want to use data to make sound business decisions. Accredited by the AACSB International, the College of Business at UAH provides students with a quality curriculum that is relevant to the trends and issues facing business today. The program is available 100% online, but is also available in hybrid or a traditional in-class format. Full-time students can complete the 30-credit hour program in just one year.

4. CUNY School of Professional Studies-New York, New York

MS in Data Science

CUNY 2

School Profile

Tuition: $9,060/year in-state (all students pay the same regardless of residence)
Total Points: 5

The CUNY School of Professional Studies in New York offers a high quality online MS in Data Science designed for students to enter or advance in the field of data science. Courses provide students with solid foundational knowledge as well as hands on programming opportunities similar to a programming boot camp experience. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, but should be able to demonstrate skills in areas such as programming, relational databases, analytical thinking, linear algebra, and statistics and probability. A capstone project concludes the program as students develop data driven solutions to address real business problems.

3. Indiana University-Bloomington, Indiana

Online Master’s in Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $8,695/year in-state; $28,420/year out-of-state
Total Points: 7

Concentrations: Healthcare; Cybersecurity; Robotics

Indiana University offers one of the most flexible online master’s in data science to appear in our list. Students of all backgrounds are welcome to apply to the program, regardless of the focus of their undergraduate degree. The Data Science cohort is made up of a diverse student body including single parents, senior level executives, academics, and students located around the world. Students may select a designated specialization to narrow their focus to an area of interest. This 30-credit hour program can be completed in just 18-24 months of full-time study. While the program is offered entirely online, IU does offer optional Immersion Weekends two times a year, allowing online students to network, receive hands-on training, and listen to presentations by experts in the field.

2. Dakota State University-Madison, South Dakota

Master of Science in Analytics

School Profile

Tuition: $5,483/year in-state; $10,368/year out-of-state
Total Points: 7

Concentrations: Healthcare Analytics; Information Systems; General

When it comes to affordability in quality education, Dakota State University is certainly a force to be reckoned with. The online master’s in analytics features three different areas of concentration to help students become an expert in their field. Students can take more than one track, or even additional electives to become even more competitive in the job market. Class size is small for this top master’s in data science online, allowing students to get to know faculty and other students in the program. Full-time students can expect to finish in about two years of study and part-time students can take up to five years to complete their degree.

1. University of Oklahoma-Norman, Oklahoma

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics

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Tuition: $4,886/year in-state; $18,989/year out-of-state
Total Points: 7

With the most affordable tuition rates we could find and no on campus residency requirements, the University of Oklahoma is our pick for top online master’s in data science. The program features course offerings from both the Schools of Computer Science and Industrial and Systems Engineering. Offered to both part-time and full-time students, the program is flexible enough for the working professional. Full-time students can expect to finish in about 14 months, after completing of core coursework and a practicum experience. Students have the option to complete a thesis to gain research experience. Core courses cover areas such as algorithm analysis, intelligent data analytics, and computing structures.

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