Data scientists are well-paid professionals who have the skills needed to collect and analyze various types and sizes of data. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a data scientist is $98,230. Data scientists and data analysts use advanced skills to:
- and analyze data.
They communicate their findings to stakeholders who use the information to make decisions. Data analysts with an online master’s in data science have advanced training and experience using industry-standard data analysis techniques.
Earning a master’s in data science doesn’t have to be daunting…and it doesn’t have to break the bank! There are excellent data science master’s programs offered in a convenient online format. Many masters in data science cost under $10,000 a year! We created this list of the cheapest online data science master’s programs from accredited universities in the U.S. Each of these schools offers a flexible online program with limited (if any!) residency requirements.
We looked to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to find schools that offer the cheapest masters in data science degree or a closely related program. The cheapest online data science degree programs have an average annual graduate tuition rate of less than $10,000 according to the NCES.
Your actual data science masters cost could vary depending on factors like:
- online discounts
- and length of time to complete the degree
Check with each of our cheapest data science degree programs for details.
15. Eastern University – Saint Davids, Pennsylvania
MS in Data Science Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,900/year
Eastern University offers a low-cost online Master of Science in data science program through the College of Health and Sciences. Courses are self-paced in a seven-week schedule. Students can complete their degree in as few as 10 months. The program fits all types of learners from beginners to those with advanced skills. Students will learn industry-standard tools like SQL and Qlik from expert faculty. Course offerings include:
- Data Analytics in R
- Principles of Python Programming
- Foundations of Machine Learning Models
Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA in their last two years of undergraduate study. They’ll need to provide a current resume to be considered for acceptance.
#14. Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,786/year in-state; $31,932/year out-of-state
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University offers one of the best values in data science education. Their affordable master’s in business analytics is a 30-credit hour program that can be completed in just 15-months. Courses include:
- Operations Management
- Data Warehousing and Visualization
- Simulation and Optimization for BA
Students will learn to make effective business decisions by:
- conducting data analysis
- thinking strategically
- developing analytical models
Graduates are well-positioned for roles like:
- web metrics analyst
- brand analytics manager
- e-commerce project manager.
#13. Iowa State University – Ames, Iowa
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,758/year in-state; $24,720/year out-of-state
The Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University offers a budget friendly online master’s in business analytics. It takes just 15-21 months to complete. The online master’s program is designed for working professionals and is highly customizable. Students can focus their studies by choosing courses that align with their field. Courses are taught by internationally recognized faculty who share their experience with their students. Courses cover areas like:
- data wrangling
- business analytics
- data visualization and communication
- analytics leadership
Courses are offered online and use an asynchronous format. All students complete a data science capstone project during their last semester to allow for focused training.
#12. University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,478/year in-state; $25,946/year out-of-state
The University of Missouri offers a budget friendly online master’s in data science online with a variety of emphasis areas to choose from. Students can choose from data science specialization options like:
- BioHealth Analytics
- Geospatial Analytics
- High-Performance Computing
- Human-Centered Science Design
- Strategic Communications and Data Journalism
Courses are completed online, and students come to campus in the spring for a one-week executive session. A unique capstone and case study experience takes place for eight weeks during the summer. Online program students collaborate with their peers and faculty to study and analyze large data sets using current technology.
#11. University of Maryland Global Campus – Adelphi, Maryland
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,640/year in-state and $11,862/year out-of-state
The University of Maryland Global Campus features an affordable online master’s in data analytics created with input from leading employers in the industry. This 36-credit hour online program is a great choice for students with a background in:
- computer science
- software programming
Core courses include:
- Machine Learning
- Big Data Analytics
- Data Management and Visualization
Online program graduates are well-positioned for exciting data science careers in predictive modeling and data mining.
#10. Cabrini University – Radnor, Pennsylvania
Master of Science in Data Science Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,220/year (information provided by the University)
Cabrini University is a Catholic institution that supports learners of all faiths and backgrounds. They offer an affordable data science master’s online with working students in mind. Courses are offered online. Students can complete assignments and materials on their own schedule. Online data science degree students will study programming areas like SQL and Python. Online program students will learn database administration management strategies and data warehousing.
All data science program students complete an internship or capstone project that gives them hands-on experience, preparing them for the workforce. Most graduate students can earn their online Master of Science data science degree in just 24 months.
#9. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Data Science Master’s Degree Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,027/year in-state and $18,061/year out-of-state
If your future lies in big data, the budget friendly online master’s in data science from the University of Wisconsin can get you there. This program is designed for working adults. There are no on-campus residency requirements.
Students can access course content from almost any device. There are no set log-in times. Advanced data science courses are taught by expert-level faculty who interact with their students through online discussion boards. Graduates have used this affordable online data science master’s as a launching point for exciting roles like:
- data modeler
- computational data analytics expert
- data mining engineer.
#8. Western Governors University – Salt Lake City, Utah
Online Master of Science in Data Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,500/year
Western Governors University features a top value online master’s in data analytics with career advancement in mind. The curriculum focuses on both theory and application in data science. The innovative education model makes it possible for students to work full-time while earning their degrees. Courses cover areas like:
- data visualization
- data management
- data analytics
The competency-based learning format allows students to move faster through familiar material and spend more time on areas that are new. All students complete a data science capstone project. It synthesizes all the knowledge and skills students gained from the program.
#7. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,200/year
The affordable online master’s in analytics from Harrisburg University is a 36-credit hour program with three specialized concentrations. Students can create an individualized program track or choose between:
- Healthcare Informatics
- Pharmaceutical Sciences
The first year of the program gives students an in-depth look at analytics. During the second year, students learn how to apply analytics in their specific discipline. Courses include:
- Data Visualization
- Exploratory Data Analysis
- Analytical Methods
#6. The University of West Florida – Pensacola, Florida
Online Master of Science in Data Science Degree
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,088/year in-state and $22,166/year out-of-state
The University of West Florida offers the only data science online master’s degree in the state. This top affordable master’s in data science offers asynchronous coursework, ideal for working professionals. Several program tracks are available including:
- Analytics and Modeling
- Analytics of Business Decisions
- Health Analytics
This 30-credit hour program takes 24 months to complete. Courses are between eight and 16 weeks long. Graduates are ready for doctoral study or use their data science skills in areas like:
#5. Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,775/year in-state; $19,048/year out-of-state
The Mays Business School at Texas A&M University offers a flexible online Master of Science in analytics through live video streaming. Students can complete their degree part-time over five semesters. Courses are taught by distinguished Texas A&M University faculty. Courses include:
- Marketing Engineering
- Business Database Systems
- Regression Analysis
Applicants should have at least three years of full-time work experience and a strong academic background.
#4. Emporia State University – Emporia, Kansas
Master of Science in Informatics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,547/year in-state and $20,365/year out-of-state
Emporia State University is the third-oldest public university in Kansas. They offer an affordable online master’s in informatics online with a concentration in quantitative economics. Online Master of Science students will gain valuable skills in economic research and data science.
Courses are delivered in a convenient online format. Some courses may be completed in a hybrid setting if students desire. This unique concentration is mathematically intensive and focuses on econometric analyses and programming. Graduates can consider careers in:
- legal informatics
- competitive intelligence
- market research.
#3. Dakota State University – Madison, South Dakota
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,939/year in-state; $11,088/year out-of-state
To transform the world with analytics, you need a comprehensive master’s in data science that offers advanced training. Dakota State University offers a high value online Master of Science in data analytics that prepares students to solve critical issues and help make informed decisions. Data analytics students will explore the newest technology like Python and R and use Hadoop and Spark to analyze big data. Specializations are available in:
- health care analytics
- information systems
Students can also choose a general track. New students are admitted during the fall, spring, and summer.
#2. University of Oklahoma – Norman, Oklahoma
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,943/year in-state and $21,602/year out-of-state
The Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma is home to the Data Science and Analytics Institute which offers an affordable online master’s in data science. Students can earn their online master’s degree in just 24 months. This 33-credit hour data analytics program is comprised of 24 credit hours of core courses and nine credits of electives. Required courses include:
- Database Management Systems
- Intelligent Data Analytics
- Computing Structures
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Graduates have skills that are applicable across multiple industries, opening the door to expanded career opportunities in data analytics.
#1. Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, Oklahoma
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,531/year in-state and $21,034/year out-of-state
Oklahoma State University offers our most affordable data science master’s with their Master of Science in data science and business analytics. This high-quality STEM-designated program is designed for working professionals. Students collaborate through virtual activities and stay engaged with multimedia content. Hands-on training with enterprise-level big data analytics from vendors like Tableau, Snowflake, and SAS gives students an edge in the job market. Business analytics graduates are ready to pursue careers as:
- data scientists
- data/business analysts
- statistical analysts.
Other Notable Programs
University of California Berkeley – Berkeley, California
The University of California Berkeley is considered one of the world’s top universities. The Berkeley data science master’s cost significantly less than other top-tier programs. The UC Berkeley data science master’s cost is $2,712 per enrolled unit for new students. The program features a rigorous, holistic curriculum and flexible program paths. Students can choose to complete their degree in just 12 months following the accelerated path.
Is a master’s in data science a good degree?
An online master’s in data science is a great way for data professionals to advance their career. They program can also be a good career move for people transitioning to the field or seeking specialized training. With the shortage of qualified data analysts, the demand has never been higher. Data scientists play a critical role in helping organizations make sense of their vast amounts of data. Without the expertise of a data science professional, organizations and businesses may be missing out on key business insights.
Data scientists bring a valuable skillset to their organization by providing:
- real-time business intelligence–
Real-time business intelligence (BI) is an approach that provides an organization with up-to-the-minute data through a data warehouse or business intelligence system. These systems can analyze data streams in real-time or trigger automated actions or alerts to concerning trends.
- integrated data analysis–
Data scientists can use integrated data analysis strategies to analyze two or more independent data sets by combining them into one. Data scientists can make statistical inferences or generate new data for analysis.
- improvements in data security–
It’s important to protect data from unauthorized access or corruption. Data analysts have the knowledge and skill set needed to protect their data from a variety of threats, including cyberattacks and issues with access.
How much does a master’s in data science cost?
An online master’s degree in data science can be a significant commitment of time and money. The Education Data Initiative reports that the cost of a master’s degree can range between $30,000 and $120,000 with the average cost coming in at $66,340. Typically, public schools are cheaper than private schools. In-state tuition rates are less than those charged to students living out of state. Students can lower the cost of their online data science master’s through employer tuition assistance programs.
Students can save a considerable amount of money by completing their data science master’s degree online. Online students have the chance to earn while they learn. Since online students can complete coursework from home, they don’t incur the added expense of on-campus housing and pricey meal plans. They also save money on travel expenses by eliminating the commute to class.
Data science programs delivered in an online format can provide students with additional cost-saving benefits. Many online data science programs offer online textbooks and use open-source software to meet the needs of students on a budget. The cheapest data science master’s online offer special tuition discounts to their students. Others charge online students their in-state tuition rate regardless of the students’ primary state of residency.
How much money can you make after earning a master’s in data science online degree?
There are a variety of job opportunities for professionals with a master’s in data science online due to the increasing demand for data science professionals. Some of the best paying jobs in data science according to payscale.com include:
- Data Scientist: $91,954/year (average salary)
- Senior Data Analyst: $85,066/year (average salary)
- Data Engineer: $91,760/year (average salary)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for data science roles like Database Administrator and Data Architect are expected to grow by 8% through 2030. Like most industries, salary is largely determined by the amount of training and level of experience the job requires. Experts with a master’s in data science have the advanced training and skill set needed to secure higher-paying jobs with leadership responsibility. Don’t worry if you are just starting though. Entry-level positions pay new graduates well due to their unique skill set.
The BLS provides a list of the industries with the highest levels of employment for data scientists. These include:
- Scientific Research and Development Services– Data scientists who work in research and development conduct research activities or provide quantitative and qualitative data analysis. They interpret their findings to help with decision-making.
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services– This is the largest industry employing data science professionals. Data analysts working in computer systems may advise on their employers’ data storage and processing. They may be responsible for database management, data security, or data analysis.
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services– Other data science professionals work as consultants. They may work with an organization on a short-term assignment or project of specific interest. Some prefer to have an ongoing role as a consultant, following up and providing advance to an organization on a more regular basis.
The five states with the highest employment level for data science professionals are:
- California- There are over 4,690 data analysts working in California. Jobs are concentrated in three main areas, including:
- San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward
- Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim
The annual mean wage for a data scientist in California is $115,340/year.
- Illinois- Illinois is home to 2,240 data analysts. Their mean annual wage is $101,260/year.
- New York- With over 1,980 data science professionals, New York ranks 4th in employment. New York is the top paying state for data analysts with an annual mean wage of $125,170/year.
- Ohio- In the Midwest, Ohio boasts the highest employment level (1,390) for data science professionals.
- Texas- Texas has the 3rd highest employment level for data analysts with over 2,200 working in the state. The annual mean wage for data science professionals in Texas is $98,340.
What are the requirements for a master’s in data science online?
While each online master’s in data science degree has its own admission requirements, applicants need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Some programs require their students to have a strong quantitative background with experience in a related area like computer science or statistics. Other programs will accept students who fall short of their admission criteria but will require them to complete a series of prerequisite coursework to get them caught up with their more technical peers.
Admission to most data science master’s programs is competitive. Strong applicants have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 to be considered for full admission. Schools may also require entrance exams like the GRE.
Once you’re accepted into a program, students are expected to complete each course with a passing grade, determined by the university.
Online master’s in data science programs may allow students to choose between completing a hands-on capstone course or a thesis as their culminating experience. Students planning to pursue doctoral study or a research career should complete a thesis if available. A hands-on capstone course or project is a good option for students who want to build their professional portfolio with field experience.
What are some examples of courses needed for a data science online program?
Online programs have their unique course requirements, but popular course offerings for online data science programs include:
- Statistical Methods
- Data Structures
- Machine Learning
- Applied Data Science
- Data Mining
- Natural Language Processing
- Data Engineering
- Advanced Data Analytics
- Predictive Analytics
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