Most of the data generated today is unstructured data in different forms and sizes. According to Forbes, 95% of businesses believe it is hard to manage and analyze all their business data. Businesses and organizations need their data to make sense in order to:
- make effective business decisions
- set goals
- measure outcomes
Employing professionals with knowledge and training in data analytics is a strategy many employers, both large and small, are using to be more effective. Earning an online masters degree in analytics can give you the skills needed to assess large volumes of data and conduct a comprehensive analysis.
We created this ranking to showcase some of the best online data analytics masters programs in the nation. We considered online programs offered by regionally accredited universities. To compile our list, we sought out the best graduate degree programs. Those that have:
- a strong curriculum in data analytics
- expert level faculty
- hands-on training to develop technical skills (either face to face or virtual)
- limited residency requirements
We then applied our ranking methodology to determine the top 20 best online data analytics programs using the criteria below.
See Also: 8 Careers for Data Analytics Grads
Student to Faculty Ratio
- 12:1 or less= 5 Points
- 13:1 to 15:1= 3 Points
- Greater than 15:1= 1 Point
Average Graduate Tuition
- Less than $10,000 per year= 5 Points
- $10,000 to $15,000 per year= 4 Points
- $15,001 to $20,000 per year= 3 Points
- $20,001 to $25,000 per year= 2 Points
- Greater than $25,001 per year= 1 Point
- Greater than 80%- 3 points
- 50% to 80%- 2 points
- Less than 50%- 1 point
Where there are ties, schools are ranked according to in-state average graduate tuition rates per College Navigator.
#20 -Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, Arizona
Master of Science in Business Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,528/year
Graduation Rate: 47%
The Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University features one of the best online masters in business analytics for students with practical industry experience seeking career advancement. This graduate degree program emphasizes big data and the use of analytical methods to help make business decisions. This 38-credit hour online education program includes courses in:
- Introduction to Databases
- Applied Analytics for Business
- Performing Analytics Using a Statistical Language
All students engage in an applied capstone project focused on a specific aspect of data analytics while developing business skills.
#19 -Colorado State University Global – Aurora, Colorado
Master’s Degree in Data Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,000/year
Graduation Rate: N/A
One of the best online analytics programs is offered by Colorado State University Global. The high value online master’s in data analytics from CSU Global gives students the data strategies needed to improve organizational performance. Students will learn how to use cutting-edge tools like SAS, Rapidminer, and ETL. Core degree courses:
- Data Warehousing in Enterprise Environments
- Enterprise Performance Management
- Predictive Analytics
An optional practicum is available to data analysts who could benefit from practical data analytics experience.
#18 -Concordia University – Saint Paul, Minnesota
Master’s Degree in Data Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,550/year
Graduation Rate: 48%
If you are looking for an affordable online master’s in data analytics focused on personalized learning, Concordia University St. Paul may be a great fit. This 18-month best online analytics masters offers convenient, focused eight-week courses. Students gain a solid foundation in areas like business intelligence and data analytics. Courses cover critical competencies in areas like:
- Systems Analysis and Design
- Machine Learning
- Data Modeling
- Digital Transformation, Social Intelligence, and Analytics
- Quantitative Research and Statistics
Data tools like Hadoop and Splunk are incorporated into the program so data science students learn the latest technologies used in the field.
#17 -Harrisburg University of Science and Technology – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Master of Science in Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,200/year
Graduation Rate: 25%
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology features one of the best data analytics programs online that includes both focused foundational study and an in-depth emphasis in analytics. The 36-credit hour online learning program offers three concentration areas including:
- Healthcare Informatics
- Pharmaceutical Sciences
- An Individualized Concentration
During the first year of study, students take a deep dive into the area of analytics and Big Data. In the second year, students learn how to apply analytics to their discipline. Graduates are successful data scientists and analysts in a variety of areas including finance and business intelligence.
See Also: 12 Types of People Who Should Study Data Science
#16 -Arizona State University – Scottsdale, Arizona
Online MS In Business Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,516/year
Graduation Rate: 24%
This affordable business analytics program at ASU is a cutting-edge program focused on:
- dissecting data
- data manipulation
- analyzing data
This 11-course online program includes five-week courses taken one at a time. Required data science courses include:
- Data Mining
- Business Analytics Strategy
- Data-Driven Quality Management
Courses are taught by prestigious faculty that include a Nobel laureate and members of the National Academy of Science. Students complete the online program as a cohort in just 16-months.
#15 -Dakota State University – Madison, South Dakota
MS in Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,939/year in-state and $11,088/year out-of-state
Graduation Rate: 49%
Dakota State University offers an online masters analytics program for students who want to help transform the world through data analysis. Students will use the latest technology including Kafka and Hadoop to analyze Big Data. Analytics core courses include:
- Big Data Analytics
- Statistical Programming
- Programming for Data Analytics
Courses are offered through a combination of live and recorded classes and students have access to interactive course web boards and websites. Both full and part-time program options are available.
#14 -Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Online Master’s in Business Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $36,234/year
Graduation Rate: 71%
Drexel University is a private, comprehensive research university offering a top value online business analytics master’s online. Students can complete their degree in just 18-24 months. Concentrations are available in:
- Information Systems
Customized concentrations are also available from a variety of other disciplines. The program focuses on three distinct pillars including:
- Data Management
Graduates are prepared for a variety of data-driven careers in areas like market research and data science.
#13 -Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, Georgia
Online Master of Science in Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,064/year in-state and $29,140/year out-of-state
Graduation Rate: 91%
The high-quality online analytics program from Georgia Tech follows an interdisciplinary approach to give students a broad set of tools. Courses are taught by leading experts in areas like business intelligence and high-performance computing. Three program tracks are available including:
- Analytical Tools
- Business Analytics
- Computational Data Analytics
All students complete a six-credit hour practicum. Students can work with Big Data from their own company or choose a pre-selected project.
#12 -University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin
Master of Engineering in Data Analytics Program
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,728/year in-state and $24,054/year out-of-state
Graduation Rate: 88%
The College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison features a master’s in data analysis online focused on engineering. The Master of Engineering in Data Analytics is a 30-credit hour program that combines the focused applications in engineering with data science learning. Courses cover areas like:
- Machine learning
- Visualization tools and techniques
- Statistical methods
Students can complete their degree in two to three years. Applicants should have a undergraduate degree from an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited program and a minimum undergrad GPA of a 3.0.
#11 -Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana
MS in Business Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,786/year in-state and $31,932/year out-of-state
Graduation Rate: 80%
Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business offers a top online analytics master’s degree program that gives students a competitive advantage in the world of business. The 30-credit hour masters can take as few as 15 months to complete. Course offerings in this data science program include:
- Business Econometrics
- Predictive Analytics for Business Strategy
- Developing Value through Business Analytics Applications
Online students can connect and network with their peers by participating in the Kelley Direct Student Leadership Association. The program prepares students for exciting roles like brand analytics manager or web metrics analyst.
#10 -University of North Carolina Wilmington – Wilmington, North Carolina
MS in Business Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $4,719/year in-state and $18,548/year out-of-state
Graduation Rate: 74%
The Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina offers one of the best online master’s in data science that takes just 12 months to complete. Courses are taught by experienced faculty who work hard to provide students with a world-class education. Core courses include:
- Database for Analytics
- Data Visualization
- Descriptive Analytics
The AACSB accredited program is offered 100% online for working students. There is no GMAT or GRE requirement, so students can get started on their degree right away!
#9 -Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts
Online MS in Applied Business Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $56,854/year
Graduation Rate: 89%
Boston University’s Metropolitan College offers an innovative applied data science master’s online to help meet the need for staff with the training and education to help make data-informed business decisions. The 10-course applied data science curriculum includes specialization courses in:
- Data Mining for Business Analytics
- Marketing Analytics
- Web Analytics for Business
Courses are taught by expert faculty from the Department of Administrative Services. Students gain knowledge and hands on experience working with different analytical models and decision-support tools. Data scientist graduates are able to:
- analyze data
- prescribe different outcomes
- propose effective solutions.
#8 -Brandeis University – Waltham, Massachusetts
MS in Strategic Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $51,940/year
Graduation Rate: 89%
Brandeis University features one of the best online masters in data science with their strategic analytics program. Students develop skills they can immediately apply at work. Class size is small, allowing students to develop professional relationships with peers from a variety of backgrounds. Online classes cover areas like:
- data visualization
- business intelligence
- database management
- machine learning
Brandeis has a variety of elective course offerings that help students tailor the program to meet their professional goals. Unique electives include:
- Agile Project Management for Analytics
- Cloud Computing
All courses are taught fully online and there are no on-campus residency requirements.
#7 -Columbia University – New York, New York
Applied Analytics MS Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $49,024/year
Graduation Rate: 96%
The cost-effective online master’s in applied analytics at Columbia University is a part-time program that takes six terms to complete. Online courses are taught by experienced practitioners who expose students to analytical tools and methods commonly used in the industry. The well-rounded approach covers both soft and hard skills needed for career advancement. The curriculum includes both a management and technical core covering areas like:
- Applied Analytics in the Organizational Context
- Storytelling with Data
- Data Mining
- Data Collection
- Computer Science
- Strategy and Analytics
Students may choose to complete an internship to gain practical experience in the data science field. New students are admitted for the fall and spring semesters.
#6 -Carnegie Mellon University – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Online MS in Business Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $46,411/year
Graduation Rate: 93%
One of our best analytics masters programs is offered by The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Their high-quality online master’s in data analytics for students who want to put their passion for data to work. Both synchronous and asynchronous courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Course offerings include:
- Machine Learning Fundamentals
- Data Exploration and Visualization
- Optimization for Prescriptive Analytics
The cohort structure allows online data science degree students to develop meaningful relationships with their peers. Data analytics degree graduates are well positioned for career advancement opportunities across the data science industry.
#5 -Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Masters in Business Analytics (MSBA) Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $38,650/year
Graduation Rate: 89%
The great value online master’s in business analytics from Wake Forest University School of Business teaches students the full spectrum of analytics methodologies. The program is designed for working professionals, giving them the quantitative capabilities and skills sought by top employers. Core courses include:
- Data Mining and Machine Learning
- Multivariate Analyses and Experimental Design
Students can join their classmates on-campus at the end of their first semester for a professional development weekend. New students are admitted to the program three times a year. Most students can complete their degree in 24 months.
#4 -Maryville University – Saint Louis, Missouri
Master’s in Business Data Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,346/year
Graduation Rate: 75%
The budget-friendly online data analytics master’s degree at Maryville University is a 30-credit hour program with no campus visits required. Courses focus on critical concepts like:
- Data Visualization
- Database Principles
- Machine Learning
- Forecasting and Predictive Modeling
Courses are taught by experienced faculty who are familiar with the latest trends and practices in the field. Students learn practical skills working with Big Data that can be applied immediately in the workplace. Applicants are not required to submit GRE/GMAT scores but should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and a 2.75 cumulative undergrad GPA to be considered for the program.
#3 -Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas
MS Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,775/year in-state and $19,048/year out-of-state
Graduation Rate: 83%
The Mays Business School at Texas A&M University offers one of the best online masters programs in data science focused on data analytics. Courses are taught by distinguished faculty. The relevant curriculum was designed to meet the demands of the industry. Courses follow a hands-on approach to learning covering areas like:
- regression analysis
- time series
- computer science
- machine learning
- Python programming
All data science program students complete a capstone project that is both career enhancing and work-based. Online and face-to-face students are part of the same class, creating a unique learning environment.
#2 -Villanova University – Villanova, Pennsylvania
Master’s in Analytics Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $20,619/year
Graduation Rate: 92%
The budget-friendly online master’s in data analytics from Villanova University is a 24-month program created to develop business analytics leaders. The custom created curriculum was designed to cover the entire continuum of business analytics. Fundamental courses include:
- Programming in R and Python
- Multivariate Data Analysis
- Data Models and Structured Analysis
Class size is kept small, allowing students to make connections with industry-experienced faculty. The interactive online format supports working data science program students to balance school and work obligations.
#1 -Saint Joseph’s University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Online MS in Business Intelligence & Analytics
Average Graduate Tuition: $17,802/year
Graduation Rate: 81%
Our top choice for an online master’s in analytics is offered by Saint Joseph’s University. SJU features a business intelligence and analytics master’s online through the AACSB accredited Haub School of Business. Future data scientists gain hands-on experience working with actual data and case studies across a variety of industries. Four career-focused tracks are available including:
- Cyber Analytics
- Data Analytics
- Data Science
Full-time students can earn their degree in under 18 months while part-time students can typically finish in two years. Online data analytics program courses are offered in eight-week sessions. Most courses have a live, online meeting at least one night each week. There are several different discounts and financial aid opportunities that help keep the program affordable.
What jobs are available to graduates with a master’s in data analytics?
Earning an online master’s in data analytics can open the door to a wide variety of exciting career possibilities. Data analytics majors are in demand from several popular career options including:
- Data Scientist:
Data scientists use their knowledge and training to analyze large sets of data. This data is often unstructured and extremely large. They can glean insights from their analysis to help organizations make better decisions. Data science professionals are also involved in preparing data for analysis. They use their skills in areas like data mining and machine learning to make sense of Big Data.
Statisticians are data science professionals who are in demand by many different fields. Statisticians are found in every type of organization from healthcare to engineering. Their skillset is well respected and in-demand. They apply statistical methods and models to real-world problems within an organization to find solutions. Statisticians may design surveys or analyze data from experiments.
- Analytics Manager:
Analytics managers work with leaders across an organization to implement and support data driven decisions. They take raw data and translate it into useful business information to improve the efficiency of an organization. Some analytics managers work as consultants who are hired by an organization for short term projects. They might collect and analyze data to review policies or collaborate with leadership to create new solutions to complex challenges.
- Financial Analyst:
A financial analyst uses their advanced skills to analyze the performance of stocks, bonds, and other investment products. Financial analysts help their clients develop sound financial strategies. They might be involved in data collection or modeling. Financial analysts work for banks, insurance companies, and other finance organizations.
How much does it cost to get a master’s in data analytics?
According to the Education Data Initiative, the cost of a master’s degree can range between $30,000 and $120,000. The average cost comes in at $66,340. Generally, public schools are more affordable than private schools and their published in-state tuition rates are lower than the rates charged to out-of-state students.
There are ways students can save money. The cost of an online data analytics masters program can be reduced through employer tuition assistance programs. Students can also save money by completing their data science master’s degree online. Online students can continue working while going to school without losing out on income. Since online students can complete coursework near their home, they don’t have the added expense of on-campus housing or meal plans. Online students also save money on travel expenses by eliminating the commute to class.
Many online data analytics programs use online textbooks and use open-source software. These online resources can help keep costs low. Some online programs offer reduced tuition rates to their students. They may also offer a lower in-state tuition rate to students regardless of their primary state of residency.
What are the requirements for a master’s in data analytics?
There are some basic requirements you’ll need to meet before applying to a data analytics master’s program. You will need to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Most programs will accept a degree in any area. Prospective students without a data background may be required to complete additional prerequisite coursework before being fully admitted. These prerequisite courses help students new to the field develop their technical skills to perform better in the program.
Admission to a data analyst master’s program is competitive. You’ll need to strengthen your application by submitting test scores (if you have them). Your GPA will also be an important consideration since it reflects your performance in college. Some programs also require letters of reference and a resume.
How long does it take to complete a master’s in data analytics?
A master’s degree typically takes two years to complete. Fortunately, master’s degree programs are offered in a variety of formats which can shorten or extend the time they take to complete.
Some students want to finish their degree as quickly as possible. Accelerated programs can be completed in as few as 12 months. Accelerated programs are great for students with considerable industry experience the time available to pursue their degree on a full-time basis.
Students who want to take one or two classes at a time can benefit from a part-time program. Some part-time programs offer shorter courses (eight weeks is common) to allow students to complete two courses each term and finish their degree in two years.
Will I need to complete an internship to get a master’s in data analytics degree?
While an internship can be a great way to gain professional skills, it is not a requirement of many data analytics degree programs. Some programs require internships for students without previous professional industry experience. They may waive the internship requirement for students with work experience.
Due to the hands-on nature of a data analytics master’s programs, many programs don’t include an internship in their curriculum. Instead, they incorporate real-world data sets into their courses, allowing students to practice their skills without completing an internship. Other programs include an internship as an elective. This gives students the opportunity to choose whether an internship is the right fit.
What are some examples of courses needed for a master’s in data analytics degree?
While each program requires a unique set of core courses, popular course offerings for online data analytics programs include:
- Predictive Analytics
- Descriptive Statistics and Analytics
- Data Visualization and Presentation
- Business Analytics
How much can I make with a master’s in data analytics?
A career in data analysis can be quite lucrative. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the data industry pay higher than average. While the Bureau doesn’t report information for data analyst specifically, they do provide salary figures for a variety of closely related jobs including:
- Operations Research Analyst- $82,360/year
- Management Analyst- $93,000/year
- Database Administrators and Architects- $98,860/year
Jobs that require specialized certifications or additional training tend to pay more. Data analysts with their master’s typically get a higher salary since they may work in leadership roles.
Payscale.com reports that the average salary for a data analyst is $62,967/year. The upper 90% of all data analysts have a median wage of $87,000/year while the lower 10% have a median salary of $45,000/year. They also found that pay is relative to the number of years in the industry.
- Early Career- $62,000/year
- Mid Career- $71,000/year
- Late Career- $72,000/year
Salary can also vary by location. Payscale.com reports a data analyst working in San Francisco, California makes 32.7% more than the national average. A data analyst working in Washington DC, while still above average, only makes 8.4% more.