By DSD Staff
It’s no surprise that, once again, one of the top jobs for 2020 according to Glassdoor is data scientist. With a median base salary of $107,801 and high job satisfaction, the job of a data scientist remains a top choice.
Data science is a broad field. Data science professionals are responsible for:
- capturing data,
- maintaining that data,
- processing it,
- analyzing it,
- and communicating their findings to key stakeholders (both technical and non-technical).
Data scientists help business leaders make data-driven business decisions. They organize and analyze huge amounts of data that might have otherwise gone unstudied. Data scientists are in demand in all sectors from business to government. Earning a data science bachelor’s degree can help you gain the skills and knowledge needed to join this exciting field!
Finding the best college for data science can be a challenge. We created this list of the best data science bachelor’s degree programs by reviewing College Navigator to find schools offering this innovative new major. The best data science undergraduate programs may be stand-alone programs or offered as a specialized concentration within the areas of computer programming or computer science. We considered academic programs in analytics, data science, and business analytics in our list. We then developed our data science undergraduate ranking system to determine the 20 top colleges for data science.
Data Science Major Ranking Methodology
- 15:1 or less- 5 points
- 16:1 to 20:1- 3 points
- Greater than 20:1- 1 point
Average Net Price:
- Less than $15,000- 5 points
- $15,000 to $20,000- 3 points
- Greater than $20,000- 1 point
- Greater than 65%- 5 points
- 40% to 65%- 3 points
- Less than 40%- 1 point
Where there are ties, undergraduate programs are ranked according to the school’s Average Net Price per College Navigator. Below is our data science college ranking.
Best Schools for Data Science
#20 -Concordia University – Irvine, California
Business Administration-Business Data Analytics
Average Net Price: $28,588/year
Graduation Rate: 63%
The School of Business and Economics at Concordia University in Irvine features one of the country’s best business data analytics programs. The data science program is offered as an emphasis within the business administration major. It is one of the first in the country to focus on Big Data. Students study areas like:
- Optimization and Decision Analytics
- Big Data Analytical Tools
- Data Visualization
Students can complete a business data analytics internship to gain practical work experience. The program holds IACBE accreditation, an indicator of the effectiveness of its business program.
#19 -Webster University – Worchester, Massachusetts
Data Analytics (BS)
Average Net Price: $22,727/year
Graduation Rate: 59%
The top data analytics bachelor of science program at Webster University is a flexible online and on-campus program. Students will gain an understanding of concepts and methodologies used in the data analysis process. Required courses include:
- R Programming for Data Analytics
- Data Warehousing
- Data Mining
Students use a variety of data science technologies. Graduates are prepared to work with complex datasets after graduation.
#18 -Auburn University – Auburn, Alabama
Business Analytics Bachelor’s Degree Program
Average Net Price: $23,205/year
Graduation Rate: 78%
If you want experience working with a variety of software environments, the business analytics bachelor’s degree program from Auburn University is worth a look. Students will gain valuable experience with SAS, Tableau, Python, SAP, R, and Watson. Courses include:
- Predictive Modeling
- Technical Aspects of Data Management
- Communicating Quantitative Results in Business
Hands-on learning opportunities are available through:
- traditional and mini-internships
- corporate visits
- job shadowing
Worried about finding a job after graduation? Auburn boasts a 100% job placement rate for graduates in business analytics.
#17 -Denison University – Granville, Ohio
Data Analytics Bachelor of Arts
Average Net Price: $35,694/year
Graduation Rate: 85%
Dennison University is one of the best schools for data science. The innovative data science bachelor’s degree program at Denison University allows students to personalize their education by aligning with another academic field. Students will learn to:
- analyze quantitative and qualitative data
- ask questions
- evaluate claims
- make conclusions and communicate results and solutions
- Data Systems
- Applied Statistics
- Data Analytics
Interdisciplinary areas of study include psychology, biology, and environmental studies. Students will complete a capstone project in their chosen area. A summer internship is a highlight of the program.
#16 -University of San Francisco – San Francisco, California
Data Science Bachelor’s Degree Program
Average Net Price: $34,475/year
Graduation Rate: 75%
The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Francisco features a top bachelors in data science for students who want to inspire change through innovation. Data science students will study the theory and practice in both mathematical and computational analysis. They develop the skills needed to solve complex problems. Courses include:
- Data Visualization
- Data Mining
- Mathematical Modeling
Students can participate in the Data Science Association for additional professional development and networking opportunities. Program graduates work in a variety of areas including:
- social networking
- computer science
#15 -Simmons University – Boston, Massachusetts
Data Science and Analytics (BS)
Average Net Price: $29,601/year
Graduation Rate: 80%
Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics at Simmons University has an impressive list of over 14 concentration areas to choose from for a highly individualized experience. Data science concentration options are available in areas like:
- Business—Healthcare Management
- Political Science/International Relations
Hands-on learning is a key component of this top data science program. Students can begin participating in innovative research opportunities as early as their freshman year. Internship opportunities are available for students who want to gain professional field experience and enhance their resume.
#14 -Trinity University – San Antonio, Texas
Bachelor of Science degree in Business Analytics and Technology
Average Net Price: $29,335/year
Graduation Rate: 76%
Trinity University offers a business analytics and technology program for students who want to use data to help companies operate efficiently and effectively. Courses are taught by gifted professors in small learning environments. Most courses average a 9:1 student to faculty ratio! Courses include:
- Spreadsheet Based Modeling and Data Analysis
- Business Analytics
- Data Science
Data science students can complete an internship experience. They can also work closely with faculty on research efforts. Graduates are well prepared for a variety of data science roles. Their hands-on experience prepares them for success in the workplace.
#13 -Smith College – Northampton, Massachusetts
Statistical & Data Sciences (SDS) Program
Average Net Price: $28,123/year
Graduation Rate: 89%
The Statistical and Data Sciences Program at Smith College promotes a “learning by doing” philosophy. Time spent in the classroom equates to time spent working hands-on with data. The curriculum includes required and domain courses that allow students to explore data science in the context of a more specific area. Domain courses include:
- Population Health: Data & Analysis
- Seminar: Economics of Migration
- Research Seminar in Intergroup Relationships
All students complete a data science capstone course that provides real-world exposure to data analysis challenges.
#12 -Bethel University – Saint Paul, Minnesota
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mathematics and Data Science
Average Net Price: $27,085/year
Graduation Rate: 77%
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mathematics and Data Science from Bethel University is taught from a Christian worldview. Unique experiences include:
- Paid and unpaid internship opportunities
- Working with faculty on original research
- Participation in regional, national, or international competitions
The R.E.A.L. Experience supports students in gaining relevant hands-on experience highly desirable by leading employers.
Graduates are well prepared to work in a variety of fields including:
- data analytics
#11 -Luther College – Decorah, Iowa
Computer Science-Data Science Major
Average Net Price: $24,688/year
Graduation Rate: 79%
The exciting data science program at Luther College gives students the knowledge and skills needed to analyze Big Data. Data science major requirements include:
- Data Analysis and Visualization
- Applied Machine Learning
- Database Design and Querying
To gain background knowledge in areas that typically overlap with analytics, students complete subject matter courses in areas like business management or economics. A capstone research project serves as the culminating experience.
#10 -Valparaiso University – Valparaiso, Indiana
B.S. in Data Science
Average Net Price: $23,916/year
Graduation Rate: 71%
Valparaiso University offers a high-quality data science major to help meet the demand for highly trained professionals in this area. Students will gain knowledge and skills in areas like:
- machine learning
- statistical modeling
- data mining
For students planning to pursue a graduate degree, Valparaiso offers a unique 4+1 option that leads to a master’s in analytics and modeling. Required courses include:
- Time Series Analysis
- Database Management Systems
Graduates are prepared for exciting roles working as:
- computer programmers
- business intelligence analysts
- computer systems engineers
#9 -University of Evansville – Evansville, Indiana
Statistics and Data Science
Average Net Price: $23,038/year
Graduation Rate: 74%
The University of Evansville features a budget-friendly bachelor of science in statistics and data science. This innovative program incorporates the rigorous tradition of mathematics with the latest technologies and techniques in data science. Courses include:
- Machine Learning
- Techniques for Large Data Sets
- Statistical Modeling
Students stay engaged with peers and faculty through project-driven courses that provide exposure to the latest data science software like:
#8 -St. Mary’s University – San Antonio, Texas
Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Data Analytics
Average Net Price: $18,113/year
Graduation Rate: 56%
The Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University offers a 150 credit hour bachelor of business administration in accounting and data analytics. Students complete the 120 credit hour accounting major along with 30 credit hours in data analytics and information system courses. Course highlights include:
- Business Intelligence
- Database Management
- Enterprise Resource Planning
This top data science program meets the needs of students who want to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam right after graduation. Graduates have secured internships and job opportunities with top companies like:
- Liberty Mutual
- NuStar Energy L.P.
#7 -University of California Berkeley – Berkeley, California
L&S Data Science Major
Average Net Price: $17,862/year
Graduation Rate: 91%
The top data science degree program from the University of California Berkeley was designed in partnership with faculty from across the University. Through this collaboration, students gain deep technical knowledge and apply it to their chosen field. Upper-division courses include:
- Probability and Random Processes
- Introduction to the Internet: Architecture and Protocols
- Modern Statistical Prediction & Machine Learning
Study abroad opportunities are available for data science majors. There is also a data science honors program.
#6 -University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa
Bachelor’s in Data Science
Average Net Price: $15,817/year
Graduation Rate: 73%
The top-value bachelor of science in data science from the University of Iowa prepares students to successfully prepare, analyze, and communicate findings of complex data sets. The program focuses on technical foundations that help students create and implement new analysis and visualization tools. Advanced courses include:
- Database Systems
- Data Visualization and Data Technologies
- Statistical Learning
All students complete two capstone courses in data science and analytics. The first is a creative component and the second is a practicum. Students planning to pursue a graduate degree may be interested in the 4+1 combined BS/MS in business analytics.
#5 -Arkansas Tech University – Russellville, Arkansas
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a degree in Business Data Analytics
Average Net Price: $11,674/year
Graduation Rate: 41%
The Department of Management and Marketing at Arkansas Tech University features an affordable Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Business Data Analytics that prepares students to work with small and large datasets. The hands-on curriculum allows students to make valuable contributions to their organizations from their first day on the job. Courses include:
- Business Intelligence
- Business Policy
- Marketing Research and Analysis
Graduates can identify data trends to help their organizations detect opportunities and threats to their bottom lines.
#4 -Northern Kentucky University – Highland Heights, Kentucky
B.S. in Data Science
Average Net Price: $9,753/year
Graduation Rate: 42%
One of the most affordable best colleges for data science is Northern Kentucky University. They offer a bachelor of science in data science degree with flexible online courses. Students will learn to help businesses and organizations effectively manage their data. Many classes are offered in a hybrid or online format. Core courses include:
- Data Wrangling
- Data Mining
- Big Data
Both full and part-time degree plans are available. Hands-on learning opportunities include:
- co-op opportunities
- virtual co-op programs.
#3 -University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Undergraduate Program in Data Science
Average Net Price: $16,856/year
Graduation Rate: 92%
The data science major at the University of Michigan is a rigorous program covering both the theoretical properties and the practical use of data science methods to find data-driven solutions. Major in data science courses include:
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- Programming and Elementary Data Structures
- Applied Regression Analysis
All students complete a capstone experience that includes either an independent study, an additional data science course, or an internship.
#2 -Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona
Online Bachelor of Science in Business Data Analytics
Average Net Price: $13,731/year
Graduation Rate: 69%
Arizona State University offers one of the best data science undergraduate programs for adult learners. ASU features an affordable online bachelor of science in business data analytics with multiple start dates throughout the year. Courses cover areas like:
- Business Data Warehouses and Dimensional Modeling
- Business Data Mining
- Enterprise Analytics
Courses are taught by prestigious faculty that include a Nobel laureate and members of the National Academy of Sciences. Graduates serve in a variety of roles including:
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Computer Network Administrator
- Computer Network Analyst.
#1 -Brigham Young University – Provo, Utah
BS in Statistics: Data Science
Average Net Price: $13,120/year
Graduation Rate: 86%
Our choice for the best school for data science is Brigham Young University. Their data science bachelor’s degree program is affordable, and BYU has an exceptionally high graduation rate. Course offerings include:
- Quality Control and Industrial Statistics
- Analysis of Variance
- Applied Time Series and Forecasting
Undergraduates who want to study data science can take advantage of certification opportunities including the SAS Certified Base Programmer and SAS Certified Advanced Programmer certificate.
Students develop a flexible, multi-faceted approach to data analysis while at BYU. Graduates are prepared to work through real-world big data problems.
Is a bachelor’s in data science a good degree for future data scientists?
Data science is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. The field of data science is an interdisciplinary one that incorporates training disciplines from areas that include:
- computer science
A major in data science can open doors to exciting and innovative career opportunities in almost every industry. Data scientists gather and systematically organize data from a variety of internal and external data sources. Data science professionals are needed to help business and organizational leaders make informed and strategic decisions using the most accurate information possible. Data scientists provide organizations with:
- real-time intelligence-
Data scientists create automated dashboards that display real-time analytics. This real-time analysis helps stakeholders quickly identify and respond appropriately to challenges.
- integrated data analysis-
Data science professionals have the skills to collect and analyze data from across their organization. They can improve data accuracy by identifying quality issues and make improvements where needed.
- improvements in data security-
Businesses need to make sure their data is protected. Data science experts can help prevent data from being misused. They can identify fraud, correct issues with access, and improve data architecture to improve overall security within an organization.
Can I earn a bachelor’s degree in data science online?
Absolutely! An online major in data science can be a great choice for:
- working students with busy schedules
- those who want an alternative to a traditional brick and mortar program
The best undergraduate data science programs online are just as rigorous as their on-campus counterparts. They provide students with the flexibility to earn their degree while balancing other obligations.
How much money can you make after earning a data science bachelor’s degree?
Data scientists are well paid. Business leaders value data science skills. As with most roles, data scientists with a master’s degree and advanced training tend to be paid better than those just starting in their career. Some of the best paying jobs in data science according to payscale.com include:
- Information Technology Consultant: $69,382/year (average salary)
- Data Scientist: $76,513/year (average salary)
- Business Systems Analyst: $61,112/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. Entry-level positions pay new graduates well due to the relevant nature of their skill set.
How much does it cost to get a bachelor’s in data science?
The average cost of college in the US is $35,331/year according to information published through the Education Data Initiative.
Overall, public schools are usually more affordable ($25,487/year) than private schools ($53,217/year) and in-state tuition rates are cheaper than those charged to out-of-state students.
Students can also save money by completing their general education courses at a junior college before transferring to a larger, four-year university. Students may be able to save money by choosing to complete their degree online.
The best data science programs undergraduate students can save a considerable about of money if they work full-time while going to school. Students risk losing out on $40,612 in yearly income if they are unable to work full-time while going to school. Online data science students also save money by eliminating the need for pricey on-campus housing arrangements and meal plans.
The best data science schools offer robust financial aid packages to help keep the cost of education affordable. Data science students should make sure to complete the FAFSA to be considered for financial aid awards that can include low-interest loans or grants.
Schools may offer scholarships to online students or adult learners that can further reduce out-of-pocket costs. Additional scholarships may be available for students with high ACT scores, industry experience, or a high GPA. Working students should check with their employers for possible employer tuition reimbursement programs.
How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in data science?
While a bachelor’s degree has traditionally been a four-year degree, evidence shows that only 39% of students graduate within four years. With a little planning and guidance, a data science major can finish their degree in four years or less!
Generally, the first two years of undergraduate study are spent working on general education requirements like English, math, and science. Students who complete their general education courses or earn their Associate’s degree and transfer to a larger school to complete more specific data science courses.
Accelerated programs are becoming more common as students push to complete their degree faster and join the workforce as data scientists. Accelerated programs allow students to complete the 2nd half of their degree in just 12-22 months. These programs are a great choice for students with work experience or training in data science who have the time available to pursue their degree on a full-time basis.
Students interested in earning a master’s degree in data science may want to consider a 3+2 data science program. These graduate programs are structured so students can complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years, cutting a full year off the time it takes to complete both degrees. These programs are a great choice for students who know they want to pursue a master’s degree after completing their bachelor’s.
Some data science students feel more comfortable completing their degree on a part-time basis. This added flexibility allows busy students to balance their education with personal and professional obligations. In some cases. attending part-time can extend the time it takes to complete a data science degree. Some part-time data science programs offer shorter, eight-week courses so students can complete two courses each term and finish their data science degree in two years.
What are some examples of courses needed for a data science major?
Data science undergraduate students can expect to take a variety of courses in areas like statistics and computer science. Students can also choose a data science minor to take advantage of course offerings in this exciting area. Data science degrees may require courses in:
- AI and Data Science
- Computer Programming
- R, Python, and SAS
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cognitive Science
- Health Data Science