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By DSD Staff
April 2019

Data science professionals are a driving force in a modern corporate environment. Business leaders depend on accurate data –and analysis of that data –to make informed decisions, accurate predictions, and plan for the future. 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. Working professionals often don’t have the time to take off of work and attend courses in a traditional classroom program. Earning an online master’s in data science is a great choice for busy professionals who need the skills and training to make sense of big data.

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 $10,000/year – 5 Points
  • $10,000-$15,000/year – 3 Points
  • Over $15,000/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 website provided by the National Center for Education Statistics 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 depending on program incentives, online program rates, and financial aid award packages. Always consult the university to find out specifics related to their data science 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 enable students to specialize in an area of interest or complete coursework required for their specific area of data science.

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • 12:1 or less= 3 Points
  • 13:1 to 17:1= 2 Points
  • Greater than 17:1= 1 Point

We also looked at a school’s student/faculty ratio and awarded more points to schools with a lower ratio. We believe a lower student to faculty ratio allows students to get more individualized attention and support throughout the program. While this may be less critical in an online environment, we recognize that not all online learners are independent learners and knowing that individualized support is readily available can be very important.

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

Online Master of Computer Science in Data Science

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $15,088/year in-state; $28,221/year out-of-state
Total Points: 4

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign features a top online master’s in Data Science program. It’s focused on the latest statistical and computational methods in the field. This 32-credit hour program has a flexible online format to meet the needs of working professionals. Lectures are received through Coursera, an open online course platform. Students receive advisement and assessment from faculty and teaching assistants on more rigorous projects and assignments. Courses cover areas like:

  • data mining
  • database systems
  • cloud networking data visualization.

#29. Syracuse University – Syracuse, New York

Applied Data Science Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $37,416/year
Total Points: 5

The top online master’s in data science at Syracuse University iSchool is a 36-credit hour program that takes about two years to complete. The program is a good fit for students with a strong background or interest in data science as a tool to solve complex organizational issues. Students gain on-the-job experience as well as research skills working as part of a research team. Courses are offered online through a mix of synchronous and asynchronous interaction. Courses cover areas like:

  • data analytics
  • big data analytics
  • business analytics
  • data administration concepts and database management

The program is designed for working professionals, giving students 24/7 access from anywhere in the world.

#28. Elmhurst College – Elmhurst, Illinois

Master’s in Data Science Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $31,170/year
Total Points: 5

The 30-credit hour top online data science master’s degree program at Elmhurst College is a STEM designed program. It can be completed in about two years. Required courses cover theories and concepts such as:

  • data warehousing
  • data mining
  • analytical methods
  • programming languages and environments

Students complete two project-based courses, proving the perfect opportunity to apply skills and knowledge in realistic circumstances. Courses are each eight-weeks, allowing students to move through the program quickly as they master each area. Graduates have found success working in:

  • risk management
  • predictive modeling
  • data science
  • operations.

#27. Merrimack College – North Andover, Massachusetts

Online Master’s in Data Science

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $28,320/year
Total Points: 5

Merrick College offers a top data science online master’s program focused less on theory and more on the application of data science. This eight course program takes about 16 months to complete. It’s offered in collaboration between the School of Engineering and the School of Business. Courses are offered through a mix of self-paced delivery and live online 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. Courses cover areas like:

  • predictive modeling
  • data visualization
  • data exploration
  • data governance

Merrimack is top ranked by both The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report.

26. Quinnipiac University – Hamden, Connecticut

Master of Science in Business Analytics Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $18,630/year
Total Points: 5

Quinnipiac University is considered one of the top business schools in the country by both U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review. It holds accreditation from the NECHE and the AACSB. The MS in Business Analytics at Quinnipiac University is designed for working professionals who need to use big data to make solid business decisions. Graduates of this 100% online program will earn a Certificate in Business Analytics Using SAS. Courses in this 33 credit hour program cover areas like:

  • data management
  • data mining
  • data visualization
  • data warehousing

All students complete a business analytics capstone to showcase their talent and skills.

#25. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

Master of Science in Data Science Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $53,740/year
Total Points: 6

The Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University offers a top master’s in data science online. It’s a rigorous curriculum focused on computer science, statistics, and applied mathematics. Students will learn from real-world examples presented by leading engineers and data scientists. Online course offerings include:

  • data visualization
  • statistical models and regression
  • principles of database systems
  • machine learning.

Johns Hopkins University has one of the best Information Technology online graduate programs in the country according to U.S. News and World Report.

#24. Southern Methodist University – Dallas, Texas

Online Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile
Specializations: Machine Learning and Business Analytics
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $40,896/year
Total Points: 6

Southern Methodist University offers a top online master’s in data science using a skills-based curriculum. Students can choose to specialize in machine learning or business analytics. With four 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
  • Statistical Sampling

The program is open to both full and part-time students and can usually be completed in about two years.

#23. Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago, Illinois

Master of Data Science Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $29,328/year
Total Points: 6

Available to part-time students in the U.S. and Canada, the online top master’s in data science at Illinois Institute of Technology is a great option for students who want to make data-driven business decisions. New students are admitted in the fall or spring semesters. Courses cover:

  • applied statistics
  • machine learning
  • project management
  • data preparation and analysis

Students will learn to effectively utilize different types of data to formulate and test hypothesis, reach conclusions and then communicate results to stakeholders.

#22. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Master of Applied Data Science Online

Program Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $23,128/year in-state and $46,678/year out-of-state
Total Points: 6
The top online master’s in data science at the University of Michigan’s School of Information is a flexible program. It’s open to students of different backgrounds who want to use data to enhance their current or future employment. This unique program can be completed in just one year by full-time students. Students can expect to learn how to:

  • analyze and model data
  • collect and process data
  • formulate problems
  • present and integrate results into action
  • apply data science to the real-world

Culminating learning experiences give students the chance to apply what they know to real-world scenarios.

#21. Pennsylvania State University World Campus – University Park, Pennsylvania

Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $21,268/year
Total Points: 6

Penn State World Campus is a leader in online education. It offers a variety of top-ranked master’s programs for working professionals that include the online master’s in data analytics. This 30 credit hour program covers a variety of areas including:

  • data mining
  • data modeling
  • data architecture
  • business intelligence development

Faculty come from four different colleges and four academic departments, lending their unique perspectives to students in this top online data science bachelor’s program. Students can choose an optional concentration in business analytics.

#20. Villanova University – Villanova, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Analytics

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $18,905/year
Total Points: 6

The online Master’s in Analytics at the School of Business at Villanova University is a unique program. It’s custom designed to meet current business needs by teaching students the latest analytics technologies and practices. Students will be equipped with the skills to collect and analyze data. They will also learn  to interpret data to help their organizations make data-driven decisions. This 36 credit hour program includes coursework in:

  • multivariate data analysis
  • business intelligence
  • data mining
  • text and web mining

This top master’s in data science online takes just 24 months to complete by one course per term. Villanova University is ranked second in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for its online degree programs in business.

#19. Kent State University – Kent, Ohio

Online Master of Digital Science-Data Science

Program Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Tuition: $11,536/year in-state; $21,524/year out-of-state
Total Points: 6
Kent State University features an online master’s in data science. It was  created to help fill the demand for professionals with training and education in data analysis and modeling. Courses cover:

  • enterprise architecture
  • data science
  • data architecture
  • semantic analysis methods and techniques

Students can choose to complete a thesis or a capstone project and an additional elective course depending on their future educational goals. Like the idea of an online data science degree but not sure you are ready to take the plunge? The top online data science program at Kent State is also available in a classroom format.

#18. University of California Riverside – Riverside, California

Online Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science

Program Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,442/year in-state; $26,544/year out-of-state
Total Points: 6

Decoding Big Data is the focus of the online Master’s in Engineering with a Specialization in Data Science at the University of California Riverside. Students learn to work with large data groups to identify, analyze, and visualize patterns within data to extract information. With flexible online coursework and no residency requirements, students can earn their degree in just 13 months. The curriculum is comprised of 16 credits of core engineering courses and 16 credits in data. Students complete four one-credit capstone courses over the course of the program. These provide a rich learning experience. Coursework is offered in areas like:

  • machine learning
  • statistical mining methods
  • information retrieval and web search
  • data mining

The University of California Riverside is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. U.S. News and World Report ranks it among the top 33% best engineering schools in the country.

#17. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin

Master of Science in Data Science Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,728/year in-state and $24,054/year out-of-state
Total Points: 6

Busy adults interested in learning how to make sense of big data sets should consider the top online master’s in data science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It’s offered through a partnership with UW-Extension and six UW campuses. Students learn from some of the top faculty in the UW system. The program is delivered entirely online, and is comprised of 12 courses with no set meeting times. The engaging curriculum features coursework rooted in:

  • computer science
  • math and statistics
  • management
  • communication

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.

#16. Bellevue University – Bellevue, Nebraska

Online Master of Science in Data Science

Program Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 40:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,350/year
Total Points: 6
Do you want to help businesses make sense of the Big Data they’ve collected? The top online master’s in data science at Bellevue University can help you achieve those goals so informed decisions can be made. This 30 credit hour program includes courses in:

  • data mining
  • data preparation predictive analytics
  • statistics for data science

Students don’t need any specific experience or background in data science to apply to the program. However, experience in math, computing, or statistics will be helpful.

#15. Bay Path University – Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Online

School Profile

Specializations: Generalist Track and Specialist Track
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $23,787/year
Total Points: 7

Bay Path University features a top data science online master’s program offering both a generalist and specialist program track. Courses start every February and October. Students can complete the program in just one to two years. To help them feel part of the BPU community, online students have access to support and academic resources such as:

  • mentoring
  • tutoring
  • library resources
  • career services
  • academic resources

The comprehensive curriculum includes both statistical methods and machine learning methods so students can analyze different sizes of data sets. Students also gain hands on experience with data science tools like:

  • Python
  • SAS
  • R
  • SQL.

#14. Utica College – Utica, New York

Online Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile

Concentrations: Social Science Analytics; Business Analytics; Cybersecurity; Financial Crime; General
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $21,480/year
Total Points: 7

Utica College features a top online master’s in data science with coursework designed to be put into practice. The master’s in data science online offers specializations in:

  • Social Service Analytics
  • Business Analytics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Financial Crime
  • a “Build Your Own” General specialization option

This 30-credit hour is offered in a 100% online format that works well for busy professionals. There are no residency requirements and no GRE or GMAT required for admission. A final capstone experience allows students to complete independent research and data analysis, preparing them for the workforce. The program can be completed in just 20 months by completing two courses each semester.

#13. DePaul University – Chicago, Illinois

Online Master’s in Data Science

Program Website

Specializations: Computational Methods, Health Care, Marketing, Hospitality
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $19,032/year
Total Points: 7
The College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University features a top master’s in data science online program. It replicates the classroom program in terms of rigor and curriculum. courses are taught by top ranked faculty with a blend of academic and industry experience. To help students understand academic material, students have access to:

  • course lectures
  • whiteboard notes
  • supplemental materials.

Graduates have landed positions at some of the top companies in the country including Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Allstate.

#12. Regis University – Denver, Colorado

Master of Science in Data Science Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $13,177/year
Total Points: 7

Regis University features a top master’s in data science online designed for creative thinkers with an analytical mindset. Courses cover a variety of areas including:

  • text analytics
  • artificial intelligence
  • big data architecture
  • data collection and preparation

Courses begin every two months and last eight weeks. This 36-credit hour program can be completed in about two years. Graduates have been successful in areas like:

  • data analytics
  • data visualization
  • predictive analytics.

#11. University of Alabama in Huntsville-Huntsville, Alabama

Online Master of Science in Management Science-Business Analytics (MS-MSBA)

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,632/year in-state; $23,604/year out-of-state
Total Points: 7

The online master’s in Management Science-Business Analytics MS-MSBA at the University of Alabama in Huntsville is a 30 credit hour program available in an online format. Business analytics courses cover areas like:

  • business intelligence and business analytics
  • data management and data mining
  • advanced analytics

A business analytics practicum experience gives students the chance to demonstrate their skills on a real world issue. 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.

#10. Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois

Master’s in Data Science Online

School Profile

Specializations: Analytics and Modeling, Artificial Intelligence, Data Engineering, Analytics Management
Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $54,120/year
Total Points: 8

Northwestern University features a 100% online master’s in data science. It’s designed to give students the knowledge and leadership skills needed for a career in data science. This top online master’s in data science includes 12 courses covering areas like:

  • applied statistics with R
  • practical machine learning
  • decision analytics
  • project management

Small class size promotes personalized interaction between students and faculty. The program is offered part-time and can be finished in about two years. Students can choose to complete either a thesis project or a final project that allows students to showcase their knowledge and skills.

#9. Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts

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

School Profile

Specializations: Data Analytics, Database Management & Business Intelligence, Health Informatics
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $52,816/year
Total Points: 8

The Metropolitan College at Boston University features an online master’s in computer information systems with a concentration in data analytics. It takes less than two years to complete. Students will receive instruction in areas like data processing, analysis, and visualization. This 40 credit hour program includes additional concentration areas in:

  • computer networks
  • database management and business intelligence
  • health informatics
  • IT project management
  • security
  • web application development

This top online master’s in data science is ranked 6th in the country among the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs, according to U.S. News and World Report. Small course size ensures that online students receive individualized attention from Ph.D. level faculty with hands-on experience in the field.

#8. Western Governors University – Salt Lake City, Utah

Online Master of Science in Data Analytics

Program Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 41:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,500/year
Total Points: 8
Western Governors University features a top online master’s in data analytics designed to help students make connections out of chaos. Each student is assigned a faculty member as their Program Mentor who provides guidance and support throughout the program. The real world curriculum includes a capstone project that gives students the chance to take what they have learned and propose a solution to an issue in their specific industry. Want the most bang for your buck? The program includes the coursework needed to earn the SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst using SAS 9 and the SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9.

#7. The University of West Florida – Pensacola, Florida

Master of Science in Computer Science Online


Program Website

Specializations: Data Science, Software Engineering
Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,088/year in-state and $22,166/year out-of-state
Total Points: 8
The top online master’s in computer science at the University of West Florida is a dynamic program offering concentration areas in either software engineering or data science. The program can be completed fully online, making this a great choice for working professionals. Courses are delivered through an interactive video-conferencing tool. This allows students to join lectures and interact with faculty and peers. Most students can complete their degree in one to two years, depending on their course load.

#6. University of Oklahoma – Norman, Oklahoma

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,683/year in-state; $20,342/year out-of-state
Total Points: 8

The Gallogly College of Engineering at The University of Oklahoma features a top online master’s in data science and analytics with affordable tuition rates and no on campus residency requirements. The program features course offerings from the Schools of Computer Science and Industrial and Systems Engineering. Course offerings include:

  • computing structures
  • database management systems
  • algorithm analysis
  • intelligent data analytics

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 core coursework and a practicum experience. Students have the option to:

  • complete a thesis to gain research experience
  • take additional electives and complete a professional practice.

#5. Lewis University – Romeoville, Illinois

Online Master of Science in Data Science

School Profile

Concentrations: Computational Biology and Bioinformatics; Computer Science
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,400/year
Total Points: 9

The online master’s in data science at Lewis University can provide you with the skills needed to conquer:

  • data mining
  • data visualization
  • predictive analysis
  • data management

Most students can complete the program in just two years with no on campus residency requirements. Students can choose from a concentration in either Computational Biology and Bioinformatics or Computer Science. Faculty are experts in the field of data science and teach through real-world examples that prepare students for a future in data science. Graduates have gone on to successful careers as:

  • Business Strategists
  • Financial Analysts
  • Data Scientists
  • Big Data Solutions Providers.

#4. CUNY School of Professional Studies – New York, New York

Master of Science in Data Science Online

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,640/year in-state; $22,440/year out-of-state
Total Points: 10

The CUNY School of Professional Studies in New York features a top online master’s in data science. It offers foundational knowledge and hands-on training that prepare students for an exciting career in data science. Students will get experience using Python and R, build predictive models, and create presentations to share results. Faculty utilize open source tools that meet the demands of employers and organizations with complex data sets. 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

Concentrations: Precision Health; Cybersecurity; Intelligent Systems Engineering; Data Analytics and Visualization
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,225/year in-state; $31,932/year out-of-state
Total Points: 10

Indiana University offers one of the most flexible online master’s in data science on our list. The program is identical to the residential MS program and is taught by the same faculty. Students will view class lectures online and engage in group chat and guided discussion to stay engaged. Students with the flexibility to travel can join fellow students on-campus for an optional Online Immersion Weekend over the course of a long weekend. During this optional weekend, students will work with new data sets and hear national experts speak on areas of interest to the field. Students can choose to focus on one of four different areas including:

  • cybersecurity
  • precision health
  • intelligent systems engineering
  • data analytics and visualization.

This 30-credit hour program can be completed in just 18-24 months of full-time study.

#2. Cabrini University – Radnor, Pennsylvania

Master of Science in Data Science Online

Program Website

Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,985/year
Total Points: 10
Cabrini University features an online master’s in data science designed for students who want to develop the skills needed for big data innovation. Students will learn programming languages like:

  • Python
  • Java
  • SQL

They will become proficient in:

  • Tableau
  • SAS
  • Hadoop
  • Apache Spark

Most students can complete the program in just 24 months, including the time to complete either an internship experience or capstone project. Class size is intentionally kept small to give online students the extra support they need for success.

1. Dakota State University – Madison, South Dakota

Master of Science in Analytics Online

School Profile

Concentrations: Business; Healthcare Analytics; Information Systems; General
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,749/year in-state; $10,733/year out-of-state
Total Points: 10

Our top choice for an online master’s in data science is offered by Dakota State University. 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 four different concentration areas including:

  • Business
  • Healthcare Analytics
  • Information Systems
  • a General track

Class size is small for this program, allowing students to develop close professional relationships with both faculty and peers. Full-time students can usually complete their degree in about two years of study and part-time students have up to five years to complete their degree. Graduates are prepared for roles like:

  • data analyst
  • data scientist
  • data architect
  • market analyst.

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