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Top 10 Best Data Science Ph.D. Online Programs 2021

By DSDP Staff

Data Science Degree Programs Guide - Top Online Degrees - New-01According to IBM, poor data quality costs the US economy upwards of $3 trillion each year. Globally, that figure could be as high as $14 trillion. The demand for data scientists, highly skilled professionals who use cutting-edge technology to make sense of large, often unstructured, datasets, has soared in recent years. Data scientists are necessary for almost every industry to help provide analysis for a data-driven business environment. They use proven strategies such as:

  • clustering
  • artificial intelligence
  • behavioral analytics
  • data mining

Earning an online PhD can give data scientists the professional skills needed to advance their careers.


An online PhD in data science or a closely related field is a great choice for professionals hesitant about relocating or taking time away from work. We looked at over 20 different doctoral programs in data science based on a search in College Navigator and DataScience Community to determine our top 10. We determined the best programs that had:

  • limited residency requirements
  • a highly interactive curriculum
  • a variety of courses in data science
  • support from expert-level faculty

We then based our ranking on the following considerations and assigned points accordingly:

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • 15:1 or less= 5 Points
  • 16:1 to 20:1= 3 Points
  • Greater than 20:1= 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 $25,000 per 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 website run 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 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.

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. University of the Southwest – Hobbs, New Mexico

DBA – Data Analytics

Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Tuition: $22,500/year
Total Points: 5
The University of the Southwest is a private, non-profit Christian university offering accredited degrees to online students. USW features an online doctorate in data analytics that prepares students to solve business challenges using a quantitative research approach. The program follows a mentorship approach, allowing students to work closely with faculty to achieve their professional goals. Coursework is delivered 100% online and there are no required residencies.

#9. Capella University – Minneapolis, Minnesota

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

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

School Profile
Student to Faculty Ratio: 27:1
Tuition: $14,767/year
Total Points: 5
The health care quality and analytics online doctorate program from Capella University is a comprehensive program that includes principles and topics from the National Center for Health Care Leadership Competency Model. Following the GuidedPath learning format, students follow a structured schedule with weekly assignments and classroom discussions. Courses include:

  • Health Data Analytics in Quality
  • Performance Management and Process Improvement in Health Care
  • Patient Safety, Accreditation, and Regulation in Health Care

Graduates are ready to use their skills in a variety of settings including:

  • hospitals
  • health insurance carriers
  • social advocacy organizations.

#8. Colorado Technical University – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Doctor of Computer Science – Big Data Analytics

Doctor of Computer Science-Concentration in Big Data Analytics Colorado Technical University

School Profile

Student to Faculty Ratio: 31:1
Tuition: $13,785/year
Total Points: 5
The high-quality online doctorate in big data analytics from Colorado Technical University uses the latest industry tools to produce meaningful insights from unstructured data. The curriculum is primarily delivered online so students can build their course schedule around their other obligations. There are multiple start dates offered throughout the year, allowing students to begin the program when it is most convenient. Students can complete their degree in about three years.

#7. Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, Arizona

DBA Degree in Data Analytics – Quantitative

grand-canyon-university Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Data Analytics Online

School Profile
Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Tuition: $10,528/year
Total Points: 5
Grand Canyon University features an online cost-effective DBA in data analytics. Students will learn to use statistical tools to clean numerical data, determine its reliability, and conduct analysis. Courses include:

  • Analytics Foundations for Business Leaders
  • Approaches to Research Design and Data Analysis
  • Emerging Issues in Financial Management

Courses are offered online, and students come to campus for two or three five-day residencies in Phoenix. These on-campus experiences allow students to network and benefit from intensive mentorship opportunities with faculty members.

#6. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

DrPh in Health Policy and Management-Public Health Informatics

Johns Hopkins DrPh in Health Policy and Management-Public Health Informatics

School Profile
Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Tuition: $57,010/year
Total Points: 6
The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University features an innovative Doctor of Public Health with a concentration in health policy and management. Within the concentration is a track in public health informatics, delivered in a flexible part-time format. This top data science doctorate degree requires:

  • coursework
  • a practicum
  • a dissertation

Students are expected to stay employed in a relevant public health setting throughout their time in the program. Graduates are employed in mid to senior level positions in non-profit, government, and international public health organizations.

#5. University of North Texas – Denton, Texas

Ph.D. in Information Science-Data Science

UNT Ph.D. in Information Science-Data Science

School Profile
Student to Faculty Ratio: 26:1
Tuition: $6,350/year in-state and $13,712/year out-of-state
Total Points: 6
The University of North Texas features a top online PhD in data science through a partnership between the Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Students will benefit from interdisciplinary training and gain experience in research in data science. Concentration courses include:

  • Big Data Analytics
  • Data Visualization for Analytics
  • Analytic Tools, Techniques and Methods

Students come to campus for a residential experience that gives them a high level of interaction with their professors. UNT is committed to keeping costs affordable, offering a variety of competitive scholarships, grants, and assistantship opportunities.

#4. The University of Rhode Island – Kingston, Rhode Island

Online Ph.D. in Computer Science

University of Rhode Island Online Ph.D. in Computer Science

School Profile
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Tuition: $14,096/year in-state and $27,214/year out-of-state
Total Points: 7
The high-quality computer science PhD at the University of Rhode Island is a flexible program available to full and part-time students. Most, but not all, courses are available online, making this is a great choice for professionals in the Kingston area who are looking for a low-residency program. Course offerings are robust and include:

  • Programming for Data Science
  • Data Structures and Abstractions
  • Database Management Systems

New students are admitted for the fall semester. Full-time students can earn their degree in four years.

#3. Northcentral University – La Jolla, Ca/ Scottsdale, AZ

Doctor of Philosophy in Data Science Online

NCU Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Online

Program Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Tuition: $9,900/year
Total Points: 8
Northcentral University features a research-oriented online PhD in data science that is aligned with industry needs. The unique one-on-one learning model provides students with unmatched personal attention. New courses begin weekly, allowing students to fit their education into their busy personal and professional schedule. Courses cover areas like:

  • critical analysis
  • data visualization
  • critical analysis and reporting

Graduates are successful in careers in:

  • database architecture
  • database administration
  • data warehousing.

#2. Dakota State University – Madison, South Dakota

Doctor of Science in Information Systems


School Profile
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Tuition: $5,939/year in-state and $11,088/year out-of-state
Total Points: 8
Dakota State University features one of the most flexible data science PhD programs to make our ranking. Students can take courses online or on-campus and attend full or part-time. Students can choose from three different areas of specialization including:

  • analytics
  • security
  • health care

Courses cover relevant areas like:

  • data warehousing and data mining
  • information retrieval
  • advanced database

Full-time students with their master’s degree should be able to complete their PhD in just three years. New students are admitted for the fall semester. Graduates are successful in a variety of rewarding careers in:

  • academic
  • government
  • business
  • finance.

#1. Capitol Technology University – Laurel Maryland

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Analytics and Data Science

Capitol Technology University Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Analytics and Decision Sciences

Program Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Tuition: $11,390/year
Total Points: 9
Our top online PhD in data science is offered by Capitol Technology University. Students will learn strategies and skills that will prepare them for senior positions in the public or private sector. The low residency format allows working professionals to balance their education with their established careers. Most courses are offered online and cover areas like:

  • analytics and decision analysis
  • applied statistics and visualization for analytics
  • Big Data warehousing and analytics systems

Students come to campus to complete their qualifying exam and work one-on-one and in groups to prepare for their dissertation. Courses are taught by working professionals who stay current on emerging developments in the field. Students can feel confident they’re gaining professional skills that are in demand by top employers.

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