If you are wanting to become a data scientist, you should know that most people working in this field hold a master’s degree. In fact, many go on to earn a Ph.D. To stay ahead of the competition in this line of work, you are going to need to extend your undergraduate studies and at least earn a master’s. Thankfully, there are several data science programs in the United States that are centered around graduate-level credentials for data scientists. Here is a quick look at the top 20 schools for earning a Master’s in Data Science.
1) Arizona State University
If you choose to earn your master’s in data science through this school, you can do so in nine months if you attend full time. If you would rather attend part-time, you can, and the part-time program is available online too. Earning your master’s through the Arizona State University means you will gain an in-depth amount of knowledge relating to:
- Day-to-day business processes
- Analytical decision-making tools
- Applied regression models
- Data mining
- Business analytics strategy
The program requires you to earn 30 credit hours and includes the completion of a capstone project that generally allows you to intern at American Express or Intel.
2) University of California, San Diego
This program is ideal for students who want to earn their master’s over a period of two years. The program is not available for full-time students and there is no online option. To graduate with a master’s, you are required to earn 38 credit hours. The program is especially aimed at data scientists who are already working with massive amounts of data. To complete your coursework, you are required to attend class every other weekend, with topics focusing on data science fundamentals, including:
- Machine learning
- Analytical tools
Much of the first year focuses solely on coursework. During your second year, however, you are assigned to a team and given a data science project to complete. You will work with team members to complete the project and develop a final report.
3) University of Southern California
The master’s program at the University of Southern California requires you to earn 32 credit hours and can be completed either as a full-time or part-time student. If preferred, you can even complete your courses online. Much of the curriculum covered in this program focuses heavily on systems expertise and algorithms. After graduating, you will have extensive knowledge relating to AI and data systems. If you already have a background in engineering or hard math, this program is especially ideal for you because it focuses so much on the technical parts of data science. If you are leery of completing a master’s degree online, there is no need to fret when attending the University of Southern California. The online curriculum is offered through the Distance Education Network, which is well known for its positive reputation in distance learning.
4) University of Wisconsin
You can earn your master’s of science in statistics at the University of Wisconsin in only 12 months. This program is offered to full-time students, with no part-time curriculum available. There also is no online option available. If you are looking for an online option, the school does offer a master’s in data science curriculum, but this program takes much longer to complete and requires you to earn more credit hours. Either way, once you have graduated with your master’s from the University of Wisconsin, you will be well-versed in statistical methods, complex data analytics, data mining, prescriptive analytics, data visualization, and more. If you choose to earn your master’s of science in statistics, please note that the program is extremely intense because such a vast amount of learning takes place in such a short period of time.
5) University of Virginia
This is another school that offers an accelerated master’s program. When earning your masters of science in data science at the University of Virginia, you will be attending courses on a full-time basis and will earn your degree in only 11 months. There is no part-time or online option available for this credential at this university. Upon graduating, you will have a vast amount of knowledge relating to:
- Query languages
- Linear modeling
- Data integration
- Systems biology
- Data science ethics
Also while attending school year, you will be provided the chance to attend Datapalooza, an event that showcases the latest trends and research findings in the field of data science. This event is an excellent place to network with other professionals working as data scientists.
6) University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
This program requires you to complete 31 credit hours during a period of time lasting 24 months. There is no accelerated or online option and you must attend full-time. This traditional curriculum focuses on three primary subjects:
- Algorithms and infrastructure
- Large-scale computing
You are provided the opportunity to choose your own electives as well as take part in various research projects. Over the entire course of the program, you will be completing a capstone project that covers a variety of topics, including big data processing, cloud computing, and simulations.
7) Texas A&M
Earning your master’s at this school will take two years, with the option to complete your courses online. There is no full-time student option, only part-time. The school has the third largest statistics department in the United States and students going here are provided access to the Mays Business School, which is especially beneficial for students wanting to use their data science degree to become a business analyst. A notable benefit of this program is that classes are offered during the evening time, making it especially ideal for working professionals who want to continue their education.
8) Rutgers University
If you earn a master of business and science at Rutgers University, you can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. If you choose to enroll full-time, you can earn your credential in 18 to 24 months. The part-time program will, of course, take much longer. There is no online option at this school to earn a master of business and science. This program is especially beneficial for those looking to acquire an interdisciplinary form of knowledge relating to data science. Courses in the program focus heavily on:
- Machine learning
- Data management
- Data mining
- Database systems
- Artificial intelligence
- Computational science
- Information science
9) Northwestern University
Offering a master of science in analytics, the Northwestern University provides you with the ability to earn this credential in only 15 months. The program involves an 8-month industry practicum as well as a summer internship and the completion of a capstone project. If you are looking to complete your courses online, you will need to enroll in the school’s online master of science in predictive analysis. The online program is available to part-time students and covers a wide variety of data science topics, including:
- Project management
- Advanced statistics
- Predictive modeling
- Data mining
10) New York University
When earning a master of science in data science from New York University, you can complete the program in as little as three semesters. There is no part-time or online option available. The New York University works closely with two other institutions to teach its students:
- The Center for the Promotion of Research Involving Innovative Statistical Methodology
- The Center for Urban Science and Progress
When completing your master’s degree through the university, you will be required to develop a capstone project, applying what you have learned to the solving of a real-world problem. You will also be required to complete courses relating to computational statistics, machine learning, and inference and representation.
11) Indiana University, Bloomington
The Indiana University, Bloomington is a great school to enroll in if you are needing a long period of time to earn your master’s degree. The program here is offered to both full-time and part-time students, with the part-time program giving students up to five years to complete their coursework. There is even an online option available.
One of the most notable benefits of going to this school is that it provides students with two educational paths to choose from: technical path or decision-making path. For those who opt for the technical path, courses will cover the following topics:
- Cloud computing
- Security for networked systems
- Analysis of algorithms
- Data mining
For those who opt for the decision-making path, courses will focus more heavily on topics like:
- Project management
- Organizational change
Another notable benefit is that the school offers the utmost flexibility in being able to complete the program. You can take your courses on campus, online, or mix the two formats together. If you choose to mix the two together, you will complete 18 credit hours on campus and 12 credits online.
12) Cornell University
The master of professional studies in applied statistics degree can be earned at Cornell University in as little as two semesters. If, however, you have to complete math prerequisites, it will likely take you an extra one to two semesters to complete the program. There is also a second option degree option available here, a master’s of data science. Both curriculums focus heavily on common core courses, but the master of data science option dives much deeper into the complexities of data science. Over the period of earning your degree here, you are required to complete an MPS project, such as collaborating with a local health company to improve its business operations.
13) University of California-Berkeley
This school offers a full-time and part-time program for those wanting to earn a master of information and data science. The full-time program enables you to earn your degree in as little as 12 to 20 months. The coursework is delivered online, however, there is an immersion experience that students must attend at the UC Berkeley campus. This immersion experience typically lasts between four to five days and allows students to network with other students and professionals working in the field of data science.
14) Southern Methodist University
This is another school that offers an online option for earning a master of data science. If you choose to enroll full-time, you can earn your degree in as little as 18 months. The curriculum is specially designed for working professionals and features a project-based learning experience that gives students real-world knowledge of how to apply their learnings. Students will work with large data sets while completing projects and coursework, with a heavy emphasis placed on:
- Computer science
- Data visualization
- Strategic behavior
To enroll in the Southern Methodist University master of data science program, you will need to meet certain requirements, however, a GRE waiver is available to those who already have extensive experience in the field of data science.
15) Illinois Institute of Technology
Located in Chicago, IL, the Illinois Institute of Technology offers a full-time and part-time master of data science program. If preferred, you can complete all of your coursework online. Data science is crucial to all industries, and this school teaches students who come from a variety of various backgrounds. Much practical training is provided and several courses focus on project management and communications as well as professional ethics. This is an excellent program to complete if you are wanting to work under the title of a business analyst.
16) University of Michigan-Dearborn
Known for being the home of the biggest automakers, Michigan takes big data and data science to a whole new level. The school here offers a master of science in business analytics and is known for being extremely affordable when compared to private universities. Courses covered during the program will include:
- Contextual Inquiry
- Consulting Foundations
- Programming I
- Intermediate Programming
- Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
- Data Manipulation and Analysis
- Data Mining: Methods and Applications
In addition to the courses listed above, you will be required to complete two elective courses. You can choose between the following:
- Natural Language Processing
- Natural Language Processing: Algorithms and People
- Information Visualization
- Information Retrieval
17) Georgia Tech
Earning a master of science in analytics will take only 12 months at Georgia Tech. There is no part-time or online program option available. As you complete your studies during the course of one year, you will use world-class analytics to solve real-world problems. The core curriculum here allows students to choose between three specially-designed educational tracks:
- Computational data analytics
- Business analytics
- Analytical tools
Students can pinpoint their individual career goals to help them decide which educational path is best for them. The courses at the school are offered through three different departments:
- College of Computing
- College of Engineering
- Scheller College of Business
Also while enrolled in the program, students are given the ability to participate in a variety of analytics conferences as well as career mentoring. Even more noteworthy is that the school featured a 100 percent placement rate for its 2015 graduates.
18) Columbia University
This university offers one of the best masters of science in data science programs in the country. Full-time and part-time programs are available, but no online option. Students are required to earn 30 credits. When completing the program as a full-time student, the curriculum is extremely intense. The program was designed for mid-careerists who already have experience in the field of data science. 21 credits of the curriculum focus on core courses, with the remaining nine allowing students to choose their own electives.
19) Carnegie Mellon University
Located in Pittsburgh, PA, students enrolling in the master of computational data science will have to enroll full time. All courses must be completed on campus, with the average student graduating in 16 months. This program is extremely extensive and in-depth, requiring students to complete 144 units. The school is well known for its quantitative science department and provides lots of hands-on experience for its students to learn from. Also noteworthy is that the school can help students land valuable internships through big companies, including Google, Apple, and eBay.
20) North Carolina State University
You can earn a master of science in analytics in only 10 months at the North Carolina State University. Classes here must be completed on campus, with no part-time or online options available. If you are wanting to earn a Ph.D. in data science, this is not an ideal program to enroll in because it is a STEM degree. During the first semester of study, you will focus on real-world applications of computer science and data mining. During the second and third semester, you complete an intensive practicum. Many students who graduate from the program also obtain SAS product certifications.