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Mastering Big Data at Southern Methodist University

See our ranking of the 30 Best Master’s in Data Science Online Degree Programs.

On Canvas, Southern Methodist University confers an Online Master of Science in Data Science through the Lyle School of Engineering for Glassdoor’s #1 best job. The 33.5-credit program headed by Dr. Kimberly Rutigliano takes 20-28 months for graduates to develop the technical skills for analyzing, mining, and interpreting data strategically. Live, weekly online meetings help build upon core courses like Doing Data Science for two specializations in Business Analytics and Machine Learning. At a median age of 36, DataScience@SMU students have conveniently opened doors for success at Range Resources, Santander Consumer USA, T-Mobile, ConocoPhillips, Cisco Systems, and more.

The SMU Cox School of Business boasts a high average salary of $135,000 for post-grads earning its highly specialized Master of Science in Business Analytics. Directed by Dr. Hettie Tabor, the 33-credit program focuses on utilizing statistical methods to translate data into actionable managerial insights. The STEM-certified program begins with the Data Camp to segue into courses like Data Visualization and Decision Models. With accelerated seven-week modules, MSBA majors finish tracks for Business Process Analytics, Marketing Research, or Customer Analytics before the capstone. Students might also practice in the Kitt Investing Center, join Analytics Club, and compete in the SAS Analytics Shootout.

Chaired by Dr. Stephen Robertson, the Applied M.S. in Statistics and Data Analytics is another SMU option from the Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences that takes 24 months in Dallas. The 36-credit, non-thesis program trains Internet-age statisticians for managing vast data sources from sensors to social media. Aligned to SAS Certification exams, the MASDA program integrates courses like Survey Sampling, Experimental Statistics, and Time Series Analysis. For the capstone, graduates will complete semester-long practicum through the Center for Statistical Consulting Services. Other opportunities include continuing for the Ph.D. in Statistical Science, joining the ASA North Texas Chapter, and attending the Conference of Texas Statisticians.

About Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University was founded by Robert Stewart Hyer in April 1911 for the Methodist Episcopal Church. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, SMU developed a 237-acre Highland Park campus off Route 75 in Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Endowed for $1.5 billion, SMU operates as a private, nonprofit Christian research school of The American Conference. Southern Methodist University currently employs 807 faculty to instruct 11,789 Mustangs in diverse majors, including Data Science and Business Analytics. The U.S. News & World Report ranked SMU as the 61st best national university, 106th top value, and 29th most vet-friendly campus. Forbes declared SMU the 78th best private college and 98th top master’s institution. On Niche, Southern Methodist University also stands out for America’s 27th best business degrees, 20th best location, and 52nd best faculty.

Southern Methodist University Accreditation Details

In 2011, Southern Methodist University had its Level VI regional accreditation renewed for another decade from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) under president R. Gerald Turner. Without sanctions, the institutional approval is authorized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for all 110 bachelor’s, 116 master’s, and 33 doctoral programs. The Cox School of Business is specifically accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The Lyle School of Engineering is recognized by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) too.

Southern Methodist University Application Requirements

Classified as “more selective” for its Fall 2016 acceptance rate of 49 percent, Southern Methodist University has a rigorous, holistic admission process for data scientists. All master’s programs require having finished a four-year baccalaureate at regionally accredited colleges. Preference is given for STEM majors like computer science and mathematics. The M.S. in Data Science requires having basic SAS, Java, and C++ programming skills. Getting into the MASDA program mandates prerequisites of Introductory Statistics and Multivariate Calculus. Strong applicants will have a minimum “B” GPA and data management experience. Admitted SMU Mustangs have average composite scores of 293 (GRE) and 656 (GMAT). International students from non-English nations should reach a TOEFL iBT score or 90 or equivalent.

At Southern Methodist University, application deadlines vary greatly by program. For example, the Cox School of Business only admits Fall cohorts for the MSBA until June 1st. Yet the Online Master of Science in Data Science has two final dates of March 9th for Summer and June 29th for Fall admission. First-time users create an account to submit the Graduate Studies Application online with the $75 non-refundable fee. Physical documents could also be mailed to P.O. Box 0240 in Dallas, TX 75275. Data analytics programs generally request the following:

  • Official transcripts from each college
  • GRE General Test or GMAT scores
  • At least one recommendation letter
  • Professional résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Typed, one-page statement of purpose
  • Math or programming addendum
  • Proof of English language fluency if applicable

Southern Methodist University Tuition and Financial Aid

Earning the Master of Science in Business Analytics will cost SMU post-grads $20,925 each term full-time or $1,675 per credit part-time. That’s added to the general student fees of $5,664. Living at the Dallas campus costs roughly $15,200 per year. The Cox School estimates that the total cost of attendance is $48,514 for commuters and $71,314 for residents. According to the Dedman College, the Applied MS in Statistics and Data Analytics will bill $29,232 for yearly tuition with $3,546 in fees and $800 for textbooks. Studying online is priced at $1,704 per credit, which means the 33.5-credit M.S. in Data Science charges $57,084 total.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 67 percent of full-time SMU Mustangs share $120.1 million annually for aid packages averaging $28,119. Big Data majors should submit the FAFSA form via code 003613 to pursue Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans. Veterans Affairs benefits from the Yellow Ribbon Program provide a maximum of $21,970 per year. Based on financial need, Longhorn State natives could claim the Texas Public Educational Grant or Tuition Equalization Grant. There’s a March 1st deadline for full-time department assistantships worth at least $16,000. Southern Methodist University would also accept external funds like the Collegiate Inventors Scholarship, Bertelsmann Data Science Scholarship, Beinecke Scholarship, Strong Analytics Scholarship, Alan Turing STEM Scholarship, and Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship.

Learn more about Southern Methodist University’s three data science offerings at the Office of Graduate Studies website.


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