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The Best Master’s Degrees in Data Science to Advance Your Career

Data is now more valuable than ever as companies have discovered how data can help them make better business decisions. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, you can get a great job in the industry. However, if you want to move up in the field, you should aim for a master’s degree.

This guide contains a list of the best master’s degrees in data science. You can also find other valuable tips and information to streamline your search. Choose from the programs below and jumpstart a career in data science.

Overview: The Top 15 Master’s Degrees in Data Science

The data science master’s programs listed below differ by tuition, location, and online availability. Note that the figures below were sourced from the university websites and reflect the tuition at the time of writing. Unless otherwise stated, the figures refer to the cost per credit.

School and Degree State Tuition Online Option
Bay Path University
Master of Science in Applied Data Science
MA $880 Yes
Carnegie Mellon University
Master of Computational Data Science (MCDS)
PA $26,500 per semester No
Columbia University
Master of Science in Data Science
NY $2,196 No
DePaul University
Master of Science in Data Science
IL $882 Yes
Drexel University
Master of Science in Data Science
PA $1,355 Yes
Elmhurst College
Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics
IL $885 Yes
Illinois Institute of Technology
Master of Applied Science in Data Science
IL $1,614 Yes
Indiana University
Master of Science in Data Science
IN $479 (In-State)
$783 (Out-of-State)
Yes
Johns Hopkins University
Master of Science in Data Science
MD $57,720 per academic year Yes
New York University
Master of Science in Data Science
NY $1,942 Yes
Northwestern University
Master of Science in Data Science
IL $4,550 per course Yes
Southern Methodist University
Master of Science in Data Science
TX $1,704 Yes
Syracuse University
Master of Science in Applied Data Science
NY $1,683 Yes
University of California Berkeley
Master of Information and Data Science
CA $14,246 per academic year
(Tuition and Fees)
Yes
University of Denver
Master of Science in Data Science
CO $1,089 Yes

What Is a Master’s Degree in Data Science?

A Master’s Degree in Data Science is a graduate program that can help you become a data scientist or data analyst. The coursework mostly focuses on math, computer science, and statistics.

A master’s in data science usually lasts two years when taken full time, although this isn’t set in stone. Some master’s degree programs are also available online.

Why You Should Get a Master’s Degree in Data Science

Better career prospects and qualifications are the top benefits you can get from pursuing a Master’s Degree in Data Science. A master’s degree also improves your skills and helps you learn new ones. Read below to learn more reasons why you should try for a master’s in data science.

  • The data industry is evolving. Data analysis has made it possible to create new technological solutions. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are some examples. Advanced statistics is also driving new development. If you want to be part of innovations, you should study data science.
  • You can follow many career paths. Data science is not just a path to software companies and IT firms. Data scientists are also in high demand in energy, finance, retail, transport, healthcare, and other industries.
  • Expect more job prospects. As data becomes more important, so will experts who can make sense of it. This will lead to higher demand and a more rewarding salary, especially if you have a master’s degree.

In Detail: The Best Master’s Degrees in Data Science

The best master’s degrees in data science come in both online and in-person formats. While the curriculum may differ among the programs, most focus on concepts like machine learning and data visualization.

Read below for an in-depth look at each of the top 15 best master’s degrees in data science.

Bay Path University | Master of Science in Applied Data Science

This applied data science program is a great choice if you want to learn hands-on. It covers statistical topics like hypothesis testing, maximum likelihood, and survey sampling.

You can access real-world training for programming languages like R, Python, and SQL. The project-based curriculum can help you solve industry problems with big data.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Pros

  • Hands-on training
  • Flexible class hours
  • Good career preparation

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Cons

  • Demanding coursework

Carnegie Mellon University | Master of Computational Data Science (MCDS)

The main focus of this program is data modeling, data collection, scientific experimental design, and human-computer interaction.

The curriculum is computer science-based, which sets it apart from other data science programs on the list. It includes topics like machine learning, computer science, and statistics. You will also learn how to handle large-scale datasets.

Master of Computational Data Science Pros

  • Flexible
  • Excellent reputation
  • Small classes

Master of Computational Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition

Columbia University | Master of Science in Data Science

This program from Columbia University is one of the best data science master’s degrees in the world. You will learn everything you need to know about data science, including programming languages and data visualization. You will also be able to choose a minor depending on your interests, which is a great choice if you want to specialize.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • Good reputation
  • Research opportunities

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition
  • Rigorous curriculum

DePaul University | Master of Science in Data Science

This program will equip you with skills that can help you thrive in data science roles. It also includes a capstone project that you can use on your resume. You can choose to take a predictive capstone course or complete a real-world analytics project. There is also an option for a master’s thesis or an analytics internship.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • High graduation rates
  • Student support services
  • Hands-on approach

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Large class sizes

Drexel University | Master of Science in Data Science

To enter this program, you should have a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science or any related subject. You will learn how to help businesses solve problems. The curriculum can help you create machine learning algorithms to manipulate large datasets.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • Online option
  • Co-op program
  • Student support

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition

Elmhurst College | Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics

Elmhurst College offers this dual degree in data science and analytics. The program uses a comprehensive approach. The curriculum is broad and integrates computer science, statistics, and business. These skills help you to succeed in the fields where big data is needed the most.

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Pros

  • Hands-on training
  • Small classes
  • Offers student employment

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Cons

  • Expensive tuition

Illinois Institute of Technology | Master of Applied Science in Data Science

Because this is a Master of Applied Science, you will get a more active education in data science. The curriculum covers the exploration and improvement of data structure. You will learn to create and evaluate models as well as construct hypotheses. You will also learn how to communicate your data discoveries to help others make better business decisions.

Master of Applied Science in Data Science Pros

  • Versatile education
  • Flexible
  • Hands-on approach

Master of Applied Science in Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition

Indiana University | Master of Science in Data Science

This program covers several topics like cloud computing, data mining, cyber security, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. You can tailor the curriculum to suit your interests. It offers immersion weekends where you can access hands-on training with data science professionals.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • Networking opportunities
  • Hands-on training
  • Student support

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Challenging coursework

Johns Hopkins University | Master of Science in Data Science

This master’s program from Johns Hopkins University is one of the best on this list. The curriculum features crucial data science topics to help you succeed in the field. Along with data science, you will be able to specialize in statistics, machine learning, computing, or optimization. You can also complete a capstone project.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • World-class university
  • Small class sizes
  • Student support

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition

New York University | Master of Science in Data Science

This MS in data science program offers hands-on experience in data science. You will learn how to collect and process data. Also, the curriculum covers how to use the data to implement solutions in businesses and beyond. You will need to complete a capstone project at the end of the program to add to your portfolio and demonstrate what you’ve learned.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • High quality of education
  • Research opportunities
  • High graduation rate

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Hard to get into
  • Expensive tuition

Northwestern University | Master of Science in Data Science

This online Master of Science in Data Science covers critical skills for a data-intensive world. You will be able to hone your programming skills and make successive predictions with machine learning and traditional statistics. The program offers different specializations: artificial intelligence, analytics and modeling, analytics management, and data engineering.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • Financial aid
  • Solid curriculum
  • Completely online

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition
  • Not offered on campus

Southern Methodist University | Master of Science in Data Science

This online program is a great choice if you want to learn from home. It allows you to customize your curriculum with two different specializations: business analytics and machine learning.

The machine learning curriculum teaches you how to develop self-optimized systems. The data science in business analytics specialization covers the tools you need to analyze real-world data and derive insights that are vital to business decisions.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • Customizable program
  • Helpful administration
  • Completely online

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition
  • Not offered on campus

Syracuse University | Master of Science in Applied Data Science

This MS in data science program offers students the tools to build managerial expertise and enhance their programming skills, developing both their technical and soft skills. It incorporates experiential learning with collaborative online classes. Students can complete the program within 18 months with an accelerated option.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Pros

  • Experiential learning
  • Financial aid
  • World-class professors

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Cons

  • High tuition costs

University of California Berkeley | Master of Information and Data Science

This program includes a blend of statistics, social science, computer science, law, and management. You will work with data using new analytical methods and tools. You will be able to find insights from data to solve real-world challenges. This online master’s degree is ideal for working professionals and offers a standard, accelerated, or decelerated path.

Master of Information and Data Science Pros

  • Flexible
  • Customizable program
  • Completely online

Master of Information and Data Science Cons

  • Rigorous curriculum
  • Expensive tuition
  • Not offered on campus

University of Denver | Master of Science in Data Science

Some of the main topics in this program include database management, programming, data visualization, data mining, and machine learning. It also has an accelerated program for those who want to finish their master’s program in 18 months. You can study either in person or online, which makes the University of Denver a versatile choice.

Master of Science in Data Science Pros

  • Small class sizes
  • Flexible
  • Accelerated programs available

Master of Science in Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition
Online vs In-Person Master’s Degrees in Data Science

Online vs In-Person Master’s Degrees in Data Science

Today, online learning makes it possible to get a Master’s Degree in Data Science from the comfort of your home. In most cases, online degree programs cover the same concepts that you would learn as an on-campus student.

That said, in-person master’s degrees in data science still have some advantages over online degrees. Some people learn better in a face-to-face setting. It may be difficult to follow through with online classes. However, most online programs provide one-on-one support that can help you.

Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Data Science

  • Flexibility. The program can help you learn on your time as well as allow you to work while you study.
  • Affordability. The cost of rent, relocation, and food are reduced with online learning.
  • Same training. Most programs offer the same training as their in-person counterparts.

Benefits of an In-Person Master’s Degree in Data Science

  • Accountability. In-person classes help you remain active in class.
  • Campus life. You will be able to have a college experience on campus.
  • Networking. It will be easier to grow your network among peers and instructors.

How to Pick the Best Data Science Master’s Degree for You

Location and mode of delivery are some of the factors you should consider before choosing the best data science master’s degree for you. You may also need to consider tuition and financial aid.

Read below to learn more about the factors you should consider when choosing a Master’s Degree in Data Science.

Program Length

Do you want an accelerated option, or do you want to take your time learning? Some programs last two years while others take only 18 months. If the program has a part-time schedule, it may take longer to complete but will be more flexible. Keep in mind that some accelerated programs are not as in-depth as regular options.

Accreditation

Accreditation determines if a school is officially licensed to teach students. It means the school’s curriculum meets the standards of the region. You need to check this factor before applying for any school. If you enroll in a program that is not recognized by employers or other schools, you may not also be able to transfer credits later on.

Curriculum

The curriculum should not be left out when you are selecting a program. If possible, reach out to members of the faculty and talk about the program. You can ask about the assessment strategies, subjects covered, and the goal behind the curriculum. This will give you the information you need to decide if the program is right for you.

How Much Can You Earn With a Data Science Master's Degree?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average data scientist salary is $98,230. The field is also on a steady increase as more enterprises join the data train. The demand will continue to rise, and so will the wages of data scientists. You can usually earn more with a master’s degree.

The Top Data Science Master’s Degree Careers

Profession Average Salary
Enterprise Architect $151,689
Infrastructure Architect $144,019
Applications Architect $140,789
Machine Learning Scientist $134,000
Data Architect $132,617
Machine Learning Engineer $130,530
Data Engineer $121,938
Data Visualization Developer $120,997
Data Scientist $119,413
Business Intelligence Developer $101,527

Why You Should Study Data Science in 2021

You should study data science in 2021 because it is a growing field, and further education can help you stay up to date. You can earn a more rewarding salary in only two years with a Master’s Degree in Data Science.

Data scientists use their skills to organize large datasets. They apply the same knowledge to finding solutions for business problems. As a data scientist, you will have a lot of career paths to choose from. You can work in different industries from healthcare to technology and business. If you want to study data science, you should start now.

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