If you are wanting to get a degree in data science, it is highly recommended that you pursue an advanced degree. Most people who work in this field hold either a master’s degree or doctorate level credential. There is a high demand for data scientists, but because such a large number of people are earning data science degrees, there is also much competition. If you are going to stay in competition with these people, you will need an advanced credential. Fortunately, there are lots of colleges and universities that offer data science programs. Some of these programs can even be completed online.
Earning a degree online is a great choice to make because it provides you with a lot of flexibility. Online programs are especially ideal for people who are working either part-time or full-time. You can work your job as well as complete your coursework according to a schedule that works best with your lifestyle. Technology has greatly revolutionized the online learning industry. You can network with other students and professionals online, allowing you to build a network that can help propel your career once you graduate. Also, when you study online, you are provided with access to lots of resources that you can’t tap into when sitting in a traditional classroom.
For now, let’s take a look at the top schools that offer online data science degree programs.
This is a private university. It is a Roman Catholic school that was founded in 1877 and is located in Denver, Colorado. As of 2018, the school educates more than 8,700 students each year. The school puts a strong emphasis on community service and encourages its students to partake in community events.
The data science degree program offered at Regis University allows students to graduate with a master’s credential. Even better is that there are six different start dates throughout the year, giving you plenty of opportunities to pick a date that works best for you. Also noteworthy of this program is that each course operates on an accelerated basis, lasing only eight weeks. The entire program consists of 36 credits:
- 18 credits in required classes
- 12 credits in electives
- Two 3-credit courses in data science practicum
This university was founded in 1898 and is a prestigious school that is well-known for its academic innovation. Top-quality classroom learning is provided through its online courses. The school encourages students to partake in professional co-op opportunities, with almost 90 percent of students having much real-world experience upon graduation. To complete the master’s data science program here, you will have to earn 45 credits:
- 24 credits in core courses
- 15 credits in electives
- 6 credits in experiential courses
When you complete the data science program here, you will be receiving instruction by distinguished professionals who have much experience in the field of data analytics.
Carnegie Mellon University
This university is known for having the highest ranking information technology and management program in the United States. When you earn a data science degree here, you will be diving deep into the world of business intelligence as well as data analytics. The program can be finished from anywhere in the world as long as you have Internet access. There are no campus visits required, which makes it very convenient for those who do not live near the school’s location. Also important to point out is that you can complete the coursework at a pace that works best for you. Core subjects covered during the program are:
- Finance and accounting
- Geographic systems
- Data visualization
- Data warehousing
- Applied data mining
Once you graduate, you will likely be able to secure a job that earns you upward of $100,000 a year. This school’s data science program boasts a 96 percent retention rate and features an affordable tuition package.
Full Sail University
Located in the beautiful state of Florida, Full Sail University has 49 different degree programs, one of which specializes in data science. You can earn a master’s degree here, with all of your classes being completed online. Because of the school’s accelerated learning pace, it takes you about half the time to earn a data science degree as it would at most other universities. To earn a master’s in data science credential here, you will be required to complete 36 credits. You will take 12 courses in total, with each course being worth three credits. Each class takes one month to finish, meaning you can earn your degree in as little as 12 months. To encourage the practice of your data science skills, you will be required to complete various thesis projects throughout the completion of your degree program.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus
Pennsylvania State University World Campus is ranked fourth among schools that offer online master degree programs in information technology/data science. There are three programs offered here that relate to data science:
- Master of Professional Studies in Business Analytics
- Master in Data Analytics
- Graduate certificate in business analytics
There is a strong emphasis in each program that focuses on:
- Data architecture
- Extraction of data
- Big data maintenance
- Analytical systems
- Data mining
- ETL development
- Genetic algorithms
- Regression methods
- Database design
- Predictive analysis
As you complete your coursework online, you will stay in communication with professors who are well-respected in their fields of technology and science.
Bay Path University
This is an all-women university that offers several associate and bachelor-level programs. Also available are co-educational master’s degree curriculums. If you prefer, you can integrate both online and on-campus learning together, or you can complete all of your coursework online. You will have to earn 36 credits in total to graduate with the school’s Masters of Science in Applied Data Science degree. Each course during the program is offered in an eight-week format, and you can graduate in as little as 12 months. Some of the core topics focused on during the program include:
- Data mining
- Decision support systems
- Organizational knowledge management
- Applied research strategies
For students who want an interdisciplinary understanding of data science, this program is especially ideal because it provides an applied approach to analytics.
John Hopkins University
This school offers a master’s in data science as well as a post master’s certificate in data science. The John Hopkins University is another school that allows you to pursue your degree either entirely online or through a hybrid approach — online and on campus. After completing this program, you will have an in-depth amount of knowledge relating to mathematics and statistics as well as computer science. If you were to choose to pursue your degree using a hybrid approach, you will have access to the school’s highly-acclaimed John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Some of the courses that you take during the program will focus on:
- Game theory
- Data visualization
- Stochastic process
DePaul University is a private school that teaches more than 23,000 students each year. The school offers programs ranging from undergraduate to doctorate levels. And while the school’s large number of students may seem like a downside, the student to teacher ratio is actually 16 to one. Founded in 1898, this school focuses heavily on internships and providing students with real-world experience before they graduate. The data science degree here comes in the form a Master of Science in Predictive Analysis. Topics focused on during the program include:
- Multivariate statistics
- Data mining
- Database processing
- Machine learning
- Big data analytics
To graduate with a Master of Science in Predictive Analysis from DePaul University, you will have to earn 52 credits as well as complete a large capstone project.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
If you are looking for a school that offers an online certification program in business analytics, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is an ideal school to enroll in. This certification program requires you to earn 15 credits and is suitable for new graduates as well as those who are already working in the field of data science. Topics covered during the certification program include:
- Business intelligence
- Data management
- Business leadership
- Business data analysis
- Statistical methods
- Sports analytics
- Lean process improvement
- Social media management
- Search engine optimization
Those graduating from this school tend to earn upward of $62,000 a year for the first few years after graduation. After these first few years, they usually receive raises and/or promotions.
South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, the South Dakota State University started out as an agricultural college. Over the years, though, it has become well known for its programs in engineering and science. The data science degree program offered here follows an accelerated pace and can be completed in as little as 12 months. The program requires you to earn 30 credits, with subject matter mainly focusing on:
- Operations research
- Data visualization
- Big data programming
- Big data management
- Data mining
- Predictive modeling
- Data forecasting
La Salle University
There are more than 40 undergraduate programs to choose from at this school and 15 graduate-level programs. The school offers a Master of Science in Analytics program that requires students to worth with both internal and external data sources. These data sources are found in various industries, providing students with the ability to apply their knowledge in a variety of real-world scenarios. The program takes less than two years to complete, with each course taking eight weeks from start to finish.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Students who earn an online Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will network with statistical specialists and other professionals working in the field of information technology. The program consists of 12 credits and can be completed in less than 12 months. Courses completed during the program focus on:
- Data mining
- Business analytics
- Strategic database marketing
University of California-Berkeley
If you are going to complete the Master of Information and Data Science program at the University of California-Berkeley, you can do so either on campus or online. If you choose the latter, though, it is important to note that you will have to attend an immersion experience that takes place on campus. Typically, students are required to attend one immersion experience that lasts anywhere from three to four days. There are eight primary subject focuses found in this program:
- Mining and exploring
- Data cleansing
- Ethics and privacy
- Research design
- Data visualization
- Storage and retrieval
- Statistical analysis
Many of this school’s graduates have gone on to work for top tech companies, including LinkedIn and FitBit. The length of time it will take you to finish this school’s data science master’s program will depend on if you are a part-time or full-time student. If you are a full-time student, you can complete the program in as little as 20 months. If you choose to take part in the school’s accelerated program, you can complete it in as little as a year.
Tips for Choosing the Best Online Data Science Program
Once you decide to enroll in an online program to earn a data science degree, you need to consider several factors related to each program. Considering these factors will help you determine which program can best meet your needs. These factors include:
- Length of program
- What topics/subjects are covered?
- Program retention/graduation rate
- What resources are provided to online students?
- Are internships provided?
- Cost of tuition
- Hybrid program offerings (ideal if you want to complete your studies online and on campus)
- Is job placement available upon graduation?
With a degree in data science, you are likely going to make at least $92,000 after graduation. After 20+ years of experience, you can expect to make more than $145,000 a year. The industries that have the highest demand for data scientists are technology and marketing. If you are interested in earning an online data science degree, make sure you check out the schools listed above.