The 10 Best Online Data Science Master’s Degree Programs of 2021

Data scientists gather and analyze large datasets and use the insight to influence business decisions. It’s a dynamic career that fits into all sectors and industries. Data helps companies determine the buying and spending habits of their consumers. Data scientists help gather that data and translate it into information the company can use.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science can get you started in the field, but a master’s degree will give you an option to specialize and earn a lot more. The best online Master’s Degrees in Data Science can help you start this journey. This guide will cover everything you need to know about a data science master’s degree.

At a Glance: The Top 10 Data Science Master’s Degrees of 2021

Plenty of schools have online data science master’s degree programs. The table below lists the top 10 schools. The information in the table can be found on each university’s website and is subject to change.

School and Degree Tuition Notes
Drexel University
Master of Science in Data Science
$1,355 per credit All students
Johns Hopkins University
Master of Science in Data Science
$4,755 per course All students
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Master of Science in Data Science
$1,050 per credit All students
North Carolina Central University
Master of Science in Mathematics, Concentration in Data Science
$298 per credit
$902 per credit
In-state
Out-of-state
Oklahoma State University
Master of Science in Business Analytics and Data Science
$471 per credit
$601 per credit
In-state
Out-of-state
Pennsylvania State University
Master of Science in Spatial Data Science
$924 per credit All students
Rochester Institute of Technology
Master of Science in Data Science
$1,237 per credit hour All students
Southern Methodist University
Master of Science in Data Science
$1,704 per credit All students
Syracuse University
Master of Science in Applied Data Science
$10,692 per quarter term All students
University of North Texas
Master of Science in Data Science
$311 per credit hour All students

Why You Should Pursue a Data Science Master’s Degree Online

You should pursue a data science master’s degree online because it is flexible. You won’t need to spend time traveling or planning your day around your classes. If you have a job, you can easily learn on your schedule and still have time to work. It will also save you a lot of money on campus fees, transportation, and extra costs of living.

The biggest advantage of online degrees is that they are convenient. Also, attending the program online offers all the benefits that come with traditional learning. You’ll still have access to digital materials and faculty office hours.

  • An online data science master’s degree provides schedule flexibility.
  • It allows you to learn at your pace and attend to your other commitments.
  • It is a lot more affordable than traditional schooling because you avoid certain fees.

What Are the Requirements for an Online Data Science Master’s Degree?

To get a master’s degree, you need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. Some universities have minimum GPAs required to apply for the program. You may also need transcripts from your previous school. Students need to submit recommendation letters in some cases.

The coursework involves learning Python and R. It also includes topics like data visualization, machine learning, and business analytics. You should already be familiar with the fundamentals of data science before you apply for your master’s.

Top 10 Online Data Science Master’s Degrees: 2021 List

Some of the programs listed below allow students to customize the program, and others have accelerated options to complete the course earlier than usual. Take a look at the best online Master’s Degrees in Data Science.

Drexel University | Master of Science in Data Science

This program is part of the College of Computing and Informatics. It requires 45 credits to complete. Students get an in-depth knowledge of data science principles as well as tools for harnessing big data. Its curriculum focuses on three areas: management and accountability, visualization and communication, and algorithms, mining, and analytics.

When students graduate, they can manage, collect, and analyze large amounts of data. Also, they can learn to create value for different domains such as finance, healthcare, and business.

Johns Hopkins University | Master of Science in Data Science

This program is for working professionals who want to expand their skills. Students take part in courses such as data visualization, machine learning, large-scale data systems, and game theory. The program includes hands-on training and theoretical learning. It is self-paced, but students must finish it within five years.

The instructors are trained senior-level data scientists and engineers that incorporate real-world scenarios into the lessons. This prepares students in the program to handle specialized jobs in fields like data storage, data pipeline, and statistical analysis.

New Jersey Institute of Technology | Master of Science in Data Science

This fully online master’s program provides a firm understanding of advanced methods in data mining, statistical models, data visualization, and big data. It helps students to develop essential skills as data scientists.

The program combines hands-on projects, theoretical instructions, and the use of programming languages like Python for analysis. Students will also use tools like R and Tableau for data visualization. To enroll, you do need some experience with linear algebra or calculus. Some experience in software development and statistics may also come in handy.

North Carolina Central University | Master of Science in Mathematics, Concentration in Data Science

This program is available to students with a basic knowledge of computational techniques. It gives students advanced knowledge of networking, robotics, computational science, multimedia, the Internet, bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, and health care. This degree is a good option if you want a more broad education.

When students complete the program, they can choose to either further their studies with a doctorate or work in consulting or business leadership. The program allows students to choose their area of concentration in many topics, including bioinformatics, cryptography, analysis, and number theory.

Oklahoma State University | Master of Science in Business Analytics and Data Science

The program uses open-source and enterprise-level software to give students a hands-on experience. They solve real-world issues for businesses as part of their training. Also, the program offers different options for specialization such as advanced data science, cyber security analytics, marketing analytics, and healthcare analytics.

Students learn to use the tools that they will use in the field when they enter the workforce. Some of those include R, Python, Google Colab, and analytics software like Tableau, Power BI, Snowflake, and SAS. If you want to become a business intelligence analyst, you should enroll in this degree.

Pennsylvania State University | Master of Science in Spatial Data Science

This online program offers a unique kind of training for students. It focuses on training creators to exceed the boundaries of science and industry by revolutionizing location-based data. The program strengthens students’ analytical skills and programming knowledge. They will be able to solve complex, real-world problems once they graduate.

The program is specifically for students who have a geographic information systems (GIS) background. Students without GIS experience can complete a certificate before applying. The program is self-paced, and students can complete their weekly assignments when convenient. It also allows them to choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option.

Rochester Institute of Technology | Master of Science in Data Science

This master’s degree program offers both theoretical and practical skills needed to handle data analysis and management challenges in the business world. The program focuses on building software engineering skills that can be used to develop data science applications.

It has five core courses, two of which are software engineering and applied statistics. Students can choose their electives based on individual career goals or personal interests. You can choose to start in spring or fall.

Southern Methodist University | Master of Science in Data Science

This program is a blend of collaborative group projects, online instruction, and interactive coursework. The program has two specializations to choose from: machine learning and business analytics. The machine learning track for those who want a technical career. The business analytics track is for students who prefer to run businesses.

All students get an exceptional background in practice and theory and develop skills that can be transferred to other career fields like engineering, media, healthcare, aerospace, and defense.

Syracuse University | Master of Science in Applied Data Science

Students in this program start with a strong foundation in data science. The program allows them to choose between three tracks, including language analytics, data and business analytics, and data pipelines and platforms.

No matter which track you choose, you are expected to take the foundational courses. It also includes electives to choose from like text mining and natural language processing. It has projects for students to submit before the end of the program as well.

University of North Texas | Master of Science in Data Science

Students of this program enjoy flexibility when it comes to choosing courses. The Master of Science in Data Science program offers students the flexibility to choose between online, on-campus, or blended learning. It requires 36 credits to complete.

Students can finish the program in a little over a year. They are expected to take three core courses to give them a foundation in data analytics and data science. The curriculum also includes five guided electives on advanced data analytics and data science. Students also take three general electives and complete an internship or research project.

Choosing the Right Online Data Science Master’s Degree Program

It can be hard to choose an online Master’s in Data Science because many schools offer similar programs. However, there are a few considerations that can make it easier to choose.

Accreditation

Accreditation is one of the most important factors to look for. It makes it possible to pursue graduate programs, transfer credits, and even apply for federal aid. Accreditation is proof that the institution meets the standards set by the regulating bodies. Always make sure to look for that information on the school website.

Cost of Tuition

A college education is a serious investment in the future. However, it’s ideal to spend as little as you can and maximize your return on investment. Private universities may be costly. If you can’t afford them, you should find a reputable public university to attend instead.

Available Scholarships

Some schools offer scholarships for students. There are need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships, and even scholarships for academic achievements. If you intend to use scholarships to cover most of your tuition, check to see what your school offers and figure out which one applies to you.

What Can You Do With an Online Data Science Master’s Degree?

What Can You Do With an Online Data Science Master’s Degree?

With an online data science master’s degree, you can work as a data scientist in different industries. You can also work as a database administrator and a big data engineer. You can choose to specialize in robotics, business intelligence, or health informatics.

An online Master’s Degree in Data Science also allows you to research new data analysis methods or teach computers to analyze data creatively. You can use your skills to work in many different industries. This means you have a considerable amount of career paths open to you.

Data Architect

Average Salary: $132,617

Data architects are responsible for designing, building, deploying, and managing the data architecture of a company. They also develop blueprints for data management systems. Data architecture is so lucrative because data scientists couldn’t do their work without it.

Big Data Engineer

Average Salary: $130,674

These experts collect, store, process, and analyze data systems. They play the role of data suppliers and make data available across their organization. To become a big data engineer, you will need at least a master’s degree. You can also earn a certificate to learn more specific big data skills.

Database Administrator

Average Salary: $86,833

Database administrators (DBAs) are responsible for storing and organizing data using specialized software. They also backup data and ensure that it’s available when needed by the organization. According to ZipRecruiter, DBAs can earn up to $137,500 per year.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn With an Online Data Science Master’s Degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for data scientists is $98,230. The field is expected to see a large growth as the demand for data rises. With a master’s degree, you can earn even more.

Graduates with master’s degrees usually take on supervisory roles, and they can work in several different industries. Although you can get a job with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s is a great choice if you want to both learn more and move up in the field.

Is an Online Data Science Master’s Degree Worth It in 2021?

Yes, an online data science master’s degree is worth it in 2021. As businesses today become more data-oriented than ever before, there is a higher demand for data scientists. There are a lot of jobs in this space, and they offer great compensation with room for growth.

An online master’s degree will get you on the path to an amazing career. It’s also worth the time and cost because you’ll have enough time to focus on your other interests. If you want a career in data science, you should get a Master’s Degree in Data Science.

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