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By DSD Staff
September 2017

Data Science involves cutting edge technologies such as Clustering, Artificial Intelligence, Behavioral Analytics, “Big Data,” and Data Mining.  These practices are key to today’s data driven business environment and large corporations often seek out those with the highest level of education and experience to help them make key decisions.  Effective use of data is key to deepening our understanding and application of business, economic, social, and physical behavior.

Based on a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, there is a significant shortage of data scientists. The institute projects a need for an additional 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to analyze Big Data and ask the right questions to make effective business decisions. Earning an online doctorate in data science is a great way to gain the education and experience needed to fill this gap.


Data Science Degree Programs Guide - Top Online Degrees - New-01
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We looked at over 25 different doctoral programs in data science based on a search in College Navigator and DataScience Community to determine the top 10 for an online Ph.D. in data science. We based our ranking on the following considerations and assigned points accordingly:

Average Tuition
Less than $5,000/year – 5 Points
$5,000-$10,000/year – 3 Points
Over $10,000/year – 1 Point

While we understand that many Ph.D. level programs provide students with an assistantship to cover the cost of their tuition, cost is still a factor we considered in developing our list.  We reviewed each school’s average graduate tuition rates from College Navigator, a government-run website 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 from program to program. 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.

Online Content – 2 Points
Looking at each program website, we tried to determine the number of on campus residency requirements to complete the program. Schools requiring minimal time on campus (less than 2 weeks per year) were awarded 2 points.

Concentration Areas – 2 Points
We felt that schools offering an area of concentration within their online doctorate of data science were worthy of a higher ranking. Concentration areas allow students to specialize in an area of interest or complete coursework required for their specific area of data science.

Below are the best online doctorate degrees in data science based on our criteria. We believe our list highlights the best of the best in quality online doctorate in data science programs.

Data Science Doctorate Online Degree Programs Ranking

10. Capella University-Minneapolis, Minnesota

Online Doctor of Health Administration-Health Care Quality and Analytics Specialization

School Profile

Tuition: $14,526/year
Total Points: 3
Capella is a private, for-profit university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer degrees at all levels. The online doctor of health administration offered through the School of Nursing and Health Sciences features a Health Care Quality and Analytics Specialization. Students develop competencies focused on quality health care administration and data analytics. Through the use of evidence-based case studies, simulation exercises, consulting activities, and presentations, students develop leadership skills and the knowledge to make effective data-driven decisions. The unique online format allows students to pay per credit, moving quickly through the program.

9. Walden University-Minneapolis, Minnesota

Doctor of Information Technology Online

School Profile

Tuition: $12,844/year
Total Points: 3

Considered a leader in distance learning, Walden University is a private, for-profit university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Doctor of Information Technology is a two-year degree that includes 64 semester credits and eight days of academic residency. Students learn about database design, systems architecture, programming, and information assurance. Students have the opportunity to earn their MS in Information Technology while working toward their doctorate degree, providing students with a valuable credential. This online data science doctorate degree also includes two seminar courses providing students with even more individualized attention as they work toward their degree.

8. Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs, Colorado

Doctor of Computer Science-Concentration in Big Data Analytics

School Profile

Tuition: $12,139/year
Total Points: 3

Colorado Technical University offers an online Doctor of Computer Science with four different areas of concentration. Students can choose to focus on Big Data Analytics, Enterprise Information Systems, Cybersecurity and Information Assurance, or General Computer Science. This 96 credit hour program provides students with a deep understanding of computer science through intensive research opportunities and writing projects. The Big Data Analytics concentration can be completed in three years of study which includes a residential symposium. Courses include 15 instructional courses and nine doctoral research courses. Graduates are prepared for leadership positions within corporations, non-profits, higher education, or in consulting.

7. The University of Rhode Island-Kingston, Rhode Island

Online Ph.D. in Computer Science

School Profile

Tuition: $11,796/year in-state and $24,206/year out-of-state
Total Points: 3
The University of Rhode Island Department of Computer Science and Statistics offers an online PhD in Computer Science that can be completed with 54 credit hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. This unique program features course groups in mathematical foundations, programming languages, and architecture and systems. Students need to pass a comprehensive examination comprised of both a written and oral component. A GRE test is required as well as a bachelor’s degree in a field closely related to computer science. This online Ph.D. in data science has the flexibility to include electives that are tailored to meet the needs of the student.

6. Grand Canyon University-Phoenix, Arizona

Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Data Analytics Online

School Profile

Tuition: $9,783/year
Total Points: 5
The College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University offers a DBA focused on Data Analytics. Students work with “big data” to address complex business problems and make effective decisions. This 60 credit hour program offers courses in business analytics, research, statistics, research design, and predictive modeling. Graduates are prepared to work in academia, major corporations, consulting firms, and in global business. Courses are offered entirely online and last eight weeks each. This top doctorate in data science helps students enhance their leadership and decision making skills.

5. Indiana University-Bloomington, Indiana

Ph.D. Minor in Data Science Online

School Profile

Tuition: $8,695/year in-state and $28,420/year out-of-state
Total Points: 5
Students working on their doctorate degree in Informatics and Computing are required to complete a minor, which can include a minor in Data Science. Students complete 12 credit hours of Data Science coursework taught by world-class faculty. Technology is available to students including Jetstream and Chameleon. Courses are innovative and students have access to first-class career advice that can help them nail the perfect job interview or discover the ideal corporation. Data Science classes are available entirely online allowing students to focus on their specialization without having to come to campus for class.

4. Aspen University-Denver, Colorado

Online Doctorate of Science in Computer Science

School Profile

Tuition: $6,975/year
Total Points: 5
Aspen University offers an online doctorate in computer science with elective coursework focused on data. Aspen is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission and offers programs completely through distance education. Courses include algorithm design, risk analysis, system metrics, and artificial intelligence. Advanced research skills allow students to understand complex computer architecture and software design. The program can be completed by taking 20 courses and Aspen offers an affordable payment plan.

3. Dakota State University-Madison, South Dakota

Doctor of Science in Information Systems

School Profile

Tuition: $5,483/year in-state and $10,368/year out-of-state
Total Points: 5
The Doctor of Science in Information Systems from Dakota State University will prepare students to work in research, academics, or even manage a data-intensive industry such as finance. Students can earn their degree attending full-time or part-time, online or on campus. Three areas of specialization are available including analytics and decision support, information assurance and computer security, and healthcare information systems. Full-time students can expect to earn their degree in about three years if they have already earned a master’s in information systems or a related area.

2. University of North Texas-Denton, Texas

Ph.D. in Information Science-Data Science

School Profile

Tuition: $5,450/year in-state and $12,794/year out-of-state
Total Points: 5
The Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of North Texas recognizes the importance of information and information technologies to individuals, as well as social, economic, and cultural entities. The Data Science concentration includes courses in data mining, data analysis, data visualization for analytics, and an intro to “big data.” The online Ph.D. in data science is offered through a partnership with the Department of Information Technology and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering to provide interdisciplinary training. Graduates will be prepared to conduct research on critical issues related to information science.

1. Johns Hopkins University-Baltimore, Maryland

DrPh in Health Policy and Management-Public Health Informatics

School Profile

Tuition: $54,410/year
Total Points: 5
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offers a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) with a concentration tracks available in Public Health Informatics, Public Health Informatics, and Healthcare Management and Leadership. Students with an interest in data science will be most interested in the Quality and Patient Safety Track and the Public Health Informatics Track. Course options include analysis of longitudinal data, statistical methods, advanced data analysis, and multilevel models. Courses are offered primarily online with in-person coursework required during the summer and winter institutes which meet on-site during the 1st and 2nd year of the program. Institutes are five days and allow students to network and complete courses that would be difficult to manage online.

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