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The Best Universities for
Data Science in 2021

Going to university to study data science is a good investment in 2021. Data scientists are among the highest paid in the tech industry. There will always be a demand for these experts as long as companies rely on data processing. The best schools for data science offer both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. Some universities also award PhDs.

If you want to follow a more general route, you can also opt for a computer science or information technology degree and specialize in data science. Whatever your choice is, here’s a guide to the best universities for data science in 2021.

Overview: The Top 10 Data Science Schools in 2021

The list below covers the basics of the top 10 data science universities in the United States. All information was sourced directly from the respective school websites.

School State Degrees and Tuition Online Options
California University of Pennsylvania PA Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Data Science
$3,858 per semester for residents
$5,787 per semester for non-residents and
international students
Yes
Case Western Reserve University OH Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics
$1,093 – $2,251 per credit
No
College of Charleston SC Bachelor of Science in Data Science
$12,518 per year for residents
$32,848 per year for non-residents
Master of Data Science and Analytics
$6,888 per year for residents
$18,072 per year for non-residents
No
Columbia University NY Bachelor of Arts in Data Science
$61,788 per year
No
DePaul University IL Bachelor of Science in Data Science
$688 per credit
No
DeVry University NY Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development
with Big Data and Analytics Specialization
$514 per credit
Yes
Drexel University PA Bachelor of Science in Data Science
$435 per credit
Master of Science in Data Science
$1,342 per credit
No
Eastern Michigan University MI Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics
$10,686 per year for domestic students
$26,104 per year for international students
Yes
Northeastern University MA Bachelor of Science in Data Science
$55,452 total
Master of Science in Data Analysis
$1,665 per credit
Yes
University of California Irvine CA Bachelor of Science in Data Science
$15,835 per year
Master of Science in Data Science
$18,010 per year
Yes

Data Science Degree Levels Explained

You can find universities that award all or several undergraduate and graduate degrees in data science. The best undergrad schools for data science equip you with the skills you’ll need to break into the field and secure an entry-level role. The best grad schools for data science, meanwhile, hone your leadership skills to help you advance to higher roles.

Depending on the school you attend, you may find any or all of the following data science degree levels: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Data Science Associate Degree

An Associate of Science in Data Science is a two-year degree that is typically awarded by community colleges. The associate degree is the most affordable one to get out of the four listed.

With an associate degree in data science, you can secure entry-level positions that pay as high as $68,054, according to ZipRecruiter. When you’re ready to upgrade your degree, you can transfer your credits into a bachelor’s degree program and finish faster.

Data Science Bachelor’s Degree

If you opt for a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, you will have to spend four years in a university. However, some schools provide accelerated programs that allow you to earn your bachelor’s degree in two to three years.

The average salary for a bachelor’s degree holder in the United States is higher than what an associate degree holder can expect. They both fill entry-level positions. However, it is easier to climb the career ladder if you have a bachelor’s degree.

Data Science Master’s Degree

An MS in Data Science is primarily for those who want to specialize in specific fields within data science. It’s also for those eyeing a managerial role or a higher salary in their organization. A Burtch Works study conducted in 2018 found that data analysts with a master’s degree pocket a median salary of $92,500.

A Master’s Degree in Data Science program may take from 12 to 24 months to complete. The time you’ll take will depend on whether you’re taking the program as full time or part time. To qualify for one, you must hold a relevant bachelor’s degree.

Date Science Doctorate

Most data scientists stop their university education at the master’s degree level. However, if you want to continue, you can opt for a data science doctorate. This is a research degree that typically requires 71 credit hours, teaching, and critical research.

People who opt for this degree often pursue a career in academia. Getting admitted to a data science PhD program is difficult. You will need outstanding credentials, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. The program may take about five years to complete.

In Detail: The Best Data Science Schools of 2021

In Detail: The Best Data Science Schools of 2021

The most reliable data science schools prepare you for a career in the tech industry and beyond. Each one is regionally accredited, and they all have their pros and cons. Read below to learn more about the top 10 schools for data science.

California University of Pennsylvania

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 48 percent

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

This university offers a hybrid data science bachelor’s degree. The majority of the coursework is delivered online, but you can also attend classes on the Pennsylvania campus.

About 60 of your 120 credits should come from computer programming, mathematics, and other technical courses. The rest of your credits are for electives and general education.

California University of Pennsylvania Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • Hybrid programs available
  • Varied curriculum

California University of Pennsylvania Data Science Cons

  • The graduation rate is below average

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 82 percent

Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

This school has been around since 1967 and is one of the best options for STEM disciplines. The data science bachelor’s degree program runs for about four years. To graduate, you’ll need to complete 128 credits. You will learn the core principles of data analytics, informatics, mathematics, modeling, and visual analytics.

Case Western Reserve University Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • High graduation rate
  • Affordable tuition

Case Western Reserve University Data Science Cons

  • No online option

College of Charleston

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 69 percent

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

This is one of the oldest post-secondary institutions in the United States. The Bachelor of Science in Data Science allows you to pick one out of four specializations: business analytics, social sciences, sciences, and arts and humanities. This makes it the perfect option if you want to broaden your education.

College of Charleston Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • Both bachelor’s and master’s
  • Specializations

College of Charleston Data Science Cons

  • Expensive for out-of-state students

Columbia University

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 95 percent

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Over the years, Columbia University has become one of the best schools in the country. Its Bachelor of Arts in Data Science program is for anyone who prefers to combine data science with business, economics, and other non-technical sectors. The four-year program offers 18 unique courses to help you learn everything you need to know.

Columbia University Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • High graduation rate
  • Excellent reputation

Columbia University Data Science Cons

  • Limited sense of community
  • Expensive tuition

DePaul University

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 73 percent

Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

DePaul is one of the most affordable private schools in the United States. The data science degree curriculum includes data management, statistical modeling, mathematics, programming, and more. The credit requirement for the four-year program is 192, which is much higher than what you would expect from other schools.

DePaul University Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • High graduation rate
  • Affordable tuition

DePaul University Data Science Cons

  • Many graduation requirements

DeVry University

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 16 percent

Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

DeVry University might not be one of the popular schools in the United States, but it has an excellent data science program for undergraduate students. One of the best parts about the program is that it is entirely online. You will learn data science along with full-stack web development and other topics.

DeVry University Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • Fully online option
  • Software development experience

DeVry University Data Science Cons

  • Low graduation rate

Drexel University

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 70 percent

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Since 1891, Drexel has been awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees across many fields. The data science program is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. If you are interested in getting your two degrees at the same place, Drexel University is a great choice.

Drexel University Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • Both bachelor’s and master’s
  • Affordable undergraduate tuition

Drexel University Data Science Cons

  • Heavy workload

Eastern Michigan University

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 54 percent

Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

The data science program at Eastern Michigan University focuses primarily on big data analytics. There is also a business focus for those who are interested in business analytics. Out of the required 124 credits, 70 to 74 need to come from the data science program. The rest will come from electives for a well-rounded education.

Eastern Michigan University Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • Business specialization

Eastern Michigan University Data Science Cons

  • Lower graduation rate

Northeastern University

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 84.5 percent

Regional Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

Northeastern University’s data science bachelor’s degree program covers everything you will need to know about data manipulation. It runs for about four years, and you will need 132 credits to graduate.

Some of the subjects include probability theory, information science, and statistics, to name a few. The master’s degree program, meanwhile, allows you to specialize in big data analysis.

Northeastern University Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • Both bachelor’s and master’s degree options
  • High acceptance rate
  • Online options

Northeastern University Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition

University of California Irvine

Degree Levels: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Graduation Rate: 87 percent

Regional Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

UC Irvine has data science programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. The bachelor’s program runs for four years, while the master’s program lasts for about 18 months. You will learn to solve real-world problems using live datasets. You can combine data science with engineering for a dual bachelor’s degree program.

University of California Irvine Data Science Pros

  • Accredited
  • Both bachelor’s and master’s degrees
  • Double major option

University of California Data Science Cons

  • Expensive tuition
  • Low community engagement
How to Pick the Best Data Science School for You

How to Pick the Best Data Science School for You

The best data science schools have robust, world-class computer science and engineering faculties. This is the first thing you should look for when you’re choosing a data science school. You should also consider the school’s tuition, curriculum, accreditation, and flexibility.

Online vs In-Person Data Science Degrees

Your choice between online and in-person data science degrees will depend on how much flexibility you want. If you intend to work and attend to other commitments while studying, online learning might be the best option for you. Online schools offer self-paced classes as well, so you can learn on your own schedule.

The case is different for in-person programs. You can’t get a self-paced in-person program, and the classes might require drastic changes to your daily routine. However, in-person classes can stimulate learning engagement and help expand your professional network. You may also have access to more resources.

Cost of Attendance

There is a difference between tuition cost and the cost of attendance. The cost of attendance is a broad term used to describe the amount you will spend on tuition, books, accommodation, transportation, and more. In this case, online schools offer an advantage over in-person schools. You may only be required to pay tuition and a few other fees.

Curriculum

The school you choose should allow you to work with real-world data sets. You should learn how to use modern data science technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing, and cloud computing. It should also cover the essential programming languages for data scientists: Python, R, and Java.

Accreditation

If you attend an unaccredited school, your degree will not be recognized by all employers or other schools when you want to further your education. The best universities for data science in the United States are regionally accredited.

The top regional accreditations are the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

How Much Can You Earn With a Data Science Degree?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for data scientists is approximately $103,930. You can make more or less depending on the job title and location.

The Best Data Science Careers

Profession Required Education Average Salary
Data Architect Bachelor’s Degree $132,617
Machine Learning Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $130,530
Data Scientist Bachelor’s Degree $119,413
Data and Analytics Manager Bachelor’s Degree $109,188
Statistician Bachelor’s Degree $97,643
Database Administrator Bachelor’s Degree $86,833
Business Analyst Bachelor’s Degree $82,343
Data Analyst Associate Degree $67,294

Why You Should Attend a Data Science School in 2021

You should attend a data science school in 2021 because it will help you get the skills and recognition you need to solidify your career. With a data science degree, you can work in almost every data-driven industry.

If you opt for a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, you can be job-ready in less than four years. You can gain experience and increase your education qualification along the way for more opportunities.

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