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Best Online Data Science Master’s Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Mercy Ugonna Njoku - May 17, 2022


Data science careers are ideal for those fascinated by the way information influences the global market and consumer habits. The best online data science master’s degrees will help you uncover trends in complex data. Plus, they’ll equip you with the knowledge needed to design and develop the tools and techniques you need to manipulate data insights in the real world.

This is a comprehensive guide to finding reputable schools that offer affordable online data science master’s degrees, including their admission requirements, application processes, tuition rates, and program curriculum. Getting an online Master’s Degree in Data Science opens you up to data science master’s degree jobs, and we’ll discuss their salaries and job outlooks within this guide.

Where Can I Get a Data Science Master’s Degree Online?

Some of the best schools to get a data science master’s degree online include Pennsylvania State University-World Campus, Syracuse University, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University. In most universities, the School of Business or College of Engineering offers online data science master’s degrees.

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What Schools Offer the Best Data Science Master’s Degrees?

  • Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Northwestern University

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

The admission requirements for an online Master’s Degree in Data Science usually start with the prospective student opening an admissions account with the school and filling out an online application form. Aside from inputting your contact data, you’ll be required to include supplemental documents.

Supplemental documents vary by program, but ‌they usually include proof of a minimum GPA of 2.5, official transcripts, standardized test scores, a resume, a personal statement or a statement of purpose, and three letters of reference. The application fee typically ranges between $20 and $150.

Online Data Science Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

  • A quantitative background in a related field
  • A postgraduate or undergraduate degree in a related discipline
  • 2.5 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Standardized tests like GRE or GMAT
  • English proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS

How to Get a Data Science Master’s Degree Online

The best way to get a data science master’s degree online is by fulfilling all the graduation requirements of your online data science program. Master’s degree programs generally take between 12 and 24 months to complete, but a busy part-time student may take a year or two longer to finish. Some of the core requirements for an online data science degree are listed below.

Data Science Degree Requirements

  • Completion of 12 to 45 credit hours
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Completion of 3-5 core courses
  • Completion of elective courses in fields like software engineering or social science
  • Capstone project, a final exam, or a thesis

Best Online Data Science Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Bellevue University Master of Science in Data Science Higher Learning Commission
Drexel University Master of Science in Data Science Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Data Science Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Northwestern University Master of Science in Data Science Higher Learning Commission
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus Master of Science in Spatial Data Science Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Syracuse University Master of Science in Applied Data Science Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of California, Berkeley Master of Science in Information and Data Science WASC Senior College and University Commission
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Master of Computer Science in Data Science Higher Learning Commission
University of Oklahoma Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Higher Learning Commission
University of Southern California Master of Science in Applied Data Science WASC Senior College and University Commission

Best Schools for Data Science: Top Online Data Science Master’s Degree Programs

The best online schools for a data science master’s degree are outlined in the list below. Every school has a unique offering that differentiates it from others. Our top online data science programs review simplifies your school search. It focuses on the core features of each school and their online data science programs and how you can get started with your enrollment.

1

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE

Bellevue University was established as Bellevue College in 1966 to offer accessible adult education. This non-profit private research university offers over 80 career-oriented online and on-site degree programs and serves almost 9,000 students annually.

Master of Science in Data Science

The online degree program in data science is for students who want to master tools such as Tableau, Python frameworks, PowerBI, and the R programming language. Students have access to both a student coach and various courses, such as data preparation, data mining, data presentation and visualization, predictive analysis, and big data.

Master of Science in Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $625/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credit hours
  • Program Length: 2 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 23%

Master of Science in Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.5 or higher for bachelor’s degree; 3.0 or higher for graduate-level coursework
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from any US accredited four-year institution or its equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Bellevue University

  1. Prospective applicants must create a Bellevue University admissions account .
  2. Complete an online application form and pay $75 to submit it, unless you’re eligible for an application fee waiver.
  3. Submit your previous degree transcripts and any additional necessary files.
  4. Review your financing options and contact an admissions team member if you need assistance with the application process or understanding financial details.
  5. Pay a course deposit if you are successful.

2

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University was established in 1891 as a private research institution that focuses on experiential education. Its students have access to over 150 certificate and degree programs offered through online and on-site learning formats. According to Drexel University, 63 percent of its master’s degree graduates have been engaged in full-time jobs since graduation.

Master of Science in Data Science

This online Master's Degree in Data Science is a 45-credit program that covers core courses in analytics, data mining, algorithms, visualization and communication, and management and accountability. At the end of this program, you should be ready to launch a career as a data scientist, computer systems analyst, or operations research analyst, among other job titles.

Master of Science in Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,355/credit
  • Required Credits: 45 credits
  • Program Length: 8 quarters at 3-6 credits per quarter
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

Master of Science in Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Math (with programming) or Software Engineering
  • Other Requirements: Additional prerequisites for prospective students without a prior computer science background. International students should send transcripts to World Education Services (WES) or a NACES agency for evaluation.

Applying to Drexel University

  1. Review the data science program requirements.
  2. Complete and submit the free online application form.
  3. Submit required materials, including an official transcript, a letter of recommendation from academics or professionals, a 500-word statement of purpose, and a resume
  4. Review your financial options and fill out the FAFSA, if desired.
  5. Track your admission status.

3

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University is known as America’s first research university. It was established in 1876 in Baltimore, Maryland. It has a 24,000 student population. Both its part-time and full-time students have access to over 4,000 courses across nine academic divisions.

Master of Science in Data Science

Online students interested in the data science master’s degree program offered by Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering must have a background in applied mathematics and computer science. Some of the online courses you’ll encounter in this 30-credit program include data structures, data mining, data visualization, game theory, and machine learning.

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Master of Science in Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,640/credit (after automatically-applied fellowship)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 2 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Hybrid and 100% online options
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 94%

Master of Science in Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement (3.0 recommended)
  • Standardized Tests: Not required (GRE recommended)
  • Application Fee: $75, may be reduced or waived
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Math or related discipline
  • Other Requirements: Prospective students without a B- or higher grade in prior education in calculus, discrete mathematics, linear algebra, and Java or Python must complete them as prerequisite courses

Applying to Johns Hopkins University

  1. Submit an application form by paying the $75 application fee or applying for a fee waiver within the “Supporting Materials” section before you submit it.
  2. You can submit unofficial college transcripts during the application stage, but you must provide your official transcripts by the end of your first term enrolled.
  3. Providing a detailed resume is recommended, and you can provide your GRE score through ETS using the school code 4655.
  4. If you're an international student, send your credentials for evaluation and provide proof of English proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS.
  5. Review your acceptance offer and follow any additional instructions provided.

4

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University is a leading private research and teaching university. It has over 90 school centers and 50 research centers. Its 22,603 enrolled students have access to quality education and expert instructors in any of its 4,000-plus online and on-campus courses offered annually.

Master of Science in Data Science

In this data science online program, you’ll build technical skills in the Go, R, and Python programming languages. You’ll learn how to use advanced statistical methods, computational methods, and machine learning techniques to make predictive models. You can specialize in artificial intelligence, technology entrepreneurship, data engineering, or analytics and modeling.

Master of Science in Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $4,664/course
  • Required Credits: 12 credits for 12 courses
  • Program Length: 6 quarters at 2 credits per quarter
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 95%

Master of Science in Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited US institution or an equivalent
  • Other Requirements: International students must evaluate their credentials through a NACES member

Applying to Northwestern University

  1. Start an online application.
  2. Pay your $75 application fee.
  3. Submit requested documents such as a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a 300-550 word essay or statement of purpose.
  4. Request official transcripts from your undergraduate degree program.
  5. International students should provide proof of their English report through their bachelor’s degree coursework and TOEFL or IELTS.

5

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park, PA

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus , popularly called “PennState World Campus,” is an online education campus of Pennsylvania State University. It was established in 1998 and has a student population of more than 20,000 . It also has 51 master’s degrees, 38 bachelor’s degrees, seven associate degrees , and one doctoral program accessible online.

Master of Science in Spatial Data Science

The spatial data science program teaches students how to solve data problems in geospatial science for careers as geospatial software developers, geospatial big data engineers, and data scientists. Students will complete courses in geovisual analytics, geographical information analysis, cartography and visualization, GIS programming, and software development.

Master of Science in Spatial Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $950/credit (part-time); $11,398/semester (full-time)
  • Required Credits: 33 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 11 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 73%

Master of Science in Spatial Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree; previous experience in geographic information systems (GIS) and background in geospatial science and technology, computer science, environmental science, data science, statistics, math, or engineering
  • Other Requirements: Students without a background in GIS must ‌complete the certificate program in geographic information systems , provide official education transcripts, two references, a personal statement, a resume and fulfill certain technical requirements

Applying to Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  1. Fill out an online application and pay a $65 application fee to submit it. Request two references through the application by submitting the contact details of your referees.
  2. Submit official transcripts for all your prior postsecondary education.
  3. If you're an international student, provide TOEFL and IELTS test scores
  4. Provide requested materials such as a one-to-five-page resume and a personal statement that’s two to three pages long.
  5. Check your admissions status online.

6

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University is a private research university that was founded in 1870 in Syracuse, New York. 83 percent of its 21,322 students receive financial aid worth $411 million. There are up to 13 schools and colleges within this private university, with 200 program majors and 100 program minors for students to choose from.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science

This online data science master’s program allows students to specialize in three career tracks such as data and business analytics, data pipelines and platforms, and language analytics. Students can then achieve careers as business analysts, consultants, data architects, data scientists, software developers, operations research and systems analysts, and more.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,782/credit
  • Required Credits: 34 credits
  • Program Length: 6 quarters at 3-6 credits per quarter
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 83%

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required, (GRE or GMAT may be requested)
  • Application Fee: $75, or $45 for early application
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, or its equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Personal statement, two letters of recommendation, resume, official transcripts, applicants whose first language is not English must submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores

Applying to Syracuse University

  1. Complete an online application.
  2. Upload requested documents, including a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a 500-word personal statement.
  3. Request official transcripts from your previous college and have them sent to the Applied Data Science department.
  4. Pay the application fee of $75 to submit your application, or $45 if you’re applying early.
  5. Keep track of your admission status.

7

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

The University of California, Berkeley was established in 1868 as one of the public land-grant universities. 32 alumni hold Nobel prizes, its current faculty hold four Pulitzers, and 223 student alumni hold Olympic medals. This public university offers over 350 academic programs to over 31,814 undergraduate students and 13,243 graduate students.

Master of Science in Information and Data Science

The University of California, Berkeley, offers students access to a multidisciplinary curriculum that prepares them to be leaders in the industry. This 27-credit program uses accelerated, standard, and de-accelerated program schedules. The program focuses on research design, data cleansing, data engineering, data visualization, statistical analysis, and machine learning.

Master of Science in Information and Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Tuition: $2,712/enrolled unit
  • Required Credits: 27 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 92%

Master of Science in Information and Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required (GRE or GMAT optional)
  • Application Fee: $120 (US applicants), $140 (international)
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree from an accredited US institution or an equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Work experience or coursework that shows quantitative abilities, effective communication skills, programming proficiency, problem-solving skills, and foundational knowledge of data structures, algorithms, and linear algebra, official education transcripts, statement of purpose, current resume, two letters of recommendation. Admitted students who lack foundational knowledge will complete a bridge course . International students must provide TOEFL scores if necessary

Applying to the University of California, Berkeley

  1. Complete an online application form, filling in your personal and academic history.
  2. Provide requested documents, including a current resume, two professional recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose.
  3. Submit official transcripts from all previous college programs.
  4. Pay the $120 application fee if you are a US applicant or $140 if you are an international applicant.
  5. Provide TOEFL scores if requested. GME and GMAT scores are optional but can be submitted electronically.

8

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public university that has built a strong reputation for academic and research excellence. The University of Illinois was founded in 1867 as an Illinois industrial university. It has more than 5,000 courses, 150 programs of study, an undergraduate student population of 33,683, and 15,666 professional and graduate students.

Master of Computer Science in Data Science

The online Master of Computer Science in Data Science offered by the University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering is a non-thesis program that requires students to complete coursework in machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and scientific visualization. Elective credits are in online programming languages and compilers and software engineering.

Master of Computer Science in Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $670/credit
  • Required Credits: 32 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 6-12 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 86%

Master of Computer Science in Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0, (3.2 recommended)
  • Standardized Tests: Not required, (GRE recommended)
  • Application Fee: $70 (US citizens), $90 (non-US citizens), waivers available
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree in computer science
  • Other Requirements: Official college transcripts, non-computer science graduates should complete coursework in programming, linear algebra, data structures, algorithms, and probability or statistics, academic statement of purpose, resume

Applying to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  1. Complete your online application before the submission deadline and pay the $70 or $90 fee to submit it.
  2. Ensure you attach an unofficial college transcript, resume, and statement of purpose. A personal statement is not required but is recommended. Letters of recommendation are also not required for a non-thesis program, but they will be read and considered. You can submit up to three letters.
  3. Official transcripts will be required to complete your program registration if your application is successful.
  4. Provide TOEFL scores, if applicable. Pass the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign’s optional Data Structures Proficiency Exam to strengthen your application if you don’t have a computer science degree.
  5. Wait for an admission decision to be sent to you via email.

9

University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK

The University of Oklahoma was founded in 1890 as a public research university. Through its college of professional and continuing education, it offers its graduate students over 130 on-campus and online degree programs to choose from, as well as access to diverse on-campus and distance learning opportunities for funding.

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics

During the 33-credit data science and analytics online master’s program at the University of Oklahoma, students are taught the skills needed to access a wide range of careers in the data science industry. Some courses in the data science and analytics program include computing structures, advanced analytics and meta-heuristics, and database management systems.

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $985/credit
  • Required Credits: 33 credits
  • Program Length: 6 semesters at 5-6 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 72%

Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution or acceptable postgraduate studies. Prospective students must have completed coursework in Calculus I and II, Linear Algebra, and 1 year or 2 semesters of high-level language programming knowledge, preferably in Java or C++
  • Other Requirements: International students should provide a TOEFL test report, statement of purpose, resume, three letters of recommendation, official college transcripts

Applying to the University of Oklahoma

  1. Open an admissions account online.
  2. Complete your online application and pay a $50 application fee to submit it.
  3. Ensure your application contains three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume.
  4. Your official transcript will be submitted electronically to the graduate admissions office.
  5. Track your admission.

10

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California is a reputable global private research institution. It was founded in 1880 with ‌53 students. Today, it has impressive student enrollment statistics of 49,500. There are over 400 graduate programs for students to choose from, as well as financial aid and scholarships of over $640 million for students in financial need.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science

The Master of Science in Applied Data Science is a 32-credit degree program. It allows students to build advanced skills in data analytics management through a focus on three four-credit unit courses in foundations of data management, machine learning for data science, and foundations and applications of data mining.

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Tuition: $2,309/credit
  • Required Credits: 32 credits
  • Program Length: 2 semesters at 16 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 92%

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required, (GRE or GMAT recommended)
  • Application Fee: $90, waiver requests accepted
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, Statistics, Computer Science, Economics, Information Systems, Physics, or Information Technology
  • Other Requirements: Resume, official electronic college transcripts, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, international students should provide a TOEFL or IELTS proof of English proficiency

Applying to the University of Southern California

  1. Complete an online application form.
  2. Pay your application fee of $90 to submit the application.
  3. Provide your electronic college transcript, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement.
  4. GRE or GMAT scores are no longer required as of 2021 but provided scores will still be considered. Submit a TOEFL or IELTS score if English is not your first language.
  5. Keep track of your admission status online.

What Is an Online Data Science Master’s Degree?

An online data science master’s degree is a graduate degree awarded to remote students who meet the educational requirements for an advanced interdisciplinary program. Students in an online data science master’s degree program are taught how to design, develop, and use deep learning and data analysis tools and techniques in solving real-world problems.

The data science master’s degree program interdisciplinary curriculum typically covers core credits in subjects such as big data mining and modeling, data visualization, and research and statistical analytics. Most data science master’s degree programs let students specialize in an aspect of data science by offering course concentrations and hands-on experience with a capstone project.

Online vs In-Person Data Science Degrees

The main difference between online and in-person Master’s in Data Science degrees is that in an in-person program curricula are explored in structured physical classrooms. Students interact face-to-face with their instructors and sometimes take part in hands-on lab projects.

Meanwhile, in online data science degree programs, courses are taught through live virtual classrooms and pre-recorded videos. Students in online data science programs rely more on independent study than group collaborations, and all of their learning materials are accessed in digital formats. However, an online Master’s Degree in Data Science can be as good as an in-person degree. Below are some of the benefits of choosing either of these program formats.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Data Science

  • Lower cost of education. Distance learning options offer a more affordable education. You won’t have to pay for commuting, housing, and other miscellaneous fees that are common with in-person master’s degree programs.
  • Dedicated student support. Some of the support services available to online students in data science master’s programs include access to academic tutors, financial aid programs, software access, library services, and online networking programs.
  • Flexible scheduling. Most online master’s degree programs in data science allow you to extend your program length up to five years. Busy professionals and part-time students can balance their work and study schedules with online classes.
  • Learning autonomy. With an online data science degree program, you can control your learning from anywhere and enjoy a convenient study pace. If you ‌run into complications during your learning, you can always reach out to on-demand course advisors.
  • Ease in credit transfers. Most online master’s degree programs in data science allow you to easily transfer your credits to another program or institution. You can also transfer credits from a certificate program to lessen your degree program length.

Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Master’s Degree in Data Science

  • Hands-on instructions. If you’re not quite proficient in technical subjects such as programming, calculus, and research, you may need more hands-on instructions from your instructors or face-to-face coaching from your colleagues.
  • Faster learning pace. If you’re in a hurry to reach your professional goals in data science, an in-person program is usually quicker than online programs. You can finish up in one or two years, whereas an online program may take longer.
  • Access to facilities. An on-campus graduate program provides access to a wide range of learning facilities and resources, such as a functional library, research laboratory, and group tutoring programs. In an online program, you have to create your learning space yourself and, in most cases, you’ll lack these essential resources.
  • Opportunity to collaborate and network with peers. In on-campus programs, you can collaborate with your colleagues on class assignments and personal projects and build useful career networks from your social interactions.
  • Opportunity to experience new environments. In-person college, even for a graduate student, is an opportunity to experience a new culture, people, and environments.

What Types of Online Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Data Science?

You can get the following types of online master’s degrees in data science:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Applied Science (MAS)

An MBA covers business topics alongside advanced technologies. MS and MAS degrees are similar, but an MAS is more practical as it also includes writing a thesis and completing a capstone project.

Is It Better to Get a Master of Science or Master of Business Administration in Data Science?

It is better to get an online Master of Science Degree in Data Science. An MS in Data Science will enable you to learn essential hands-on techniques and explore research theories needed to succeed in the data science field. A master of science degree focuses on helping students engage in hands-on applications that can help them do well in a data science role or in a doctoral program.

When deciding on an ideal program to study data science, consider the method of course application. An MS degree program relies on research and statistical analysis. However, a master of business administration builds your managerial and business intelligence skills, which may be useful depending on your professional goals and desire to enter the business field.

How Much Does a Data Science Master’s Degree Cost?

Online master’s degree programs in data science cost an average of $12,171 if you enroll in a public institution, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). However, if you choose to attend a private institution, ‌expect to pay an average of $27,776 for a non-profit private university and $14,208 for a private-for-profit institution.

The tuition cost of online master’s degrees in data science will vary depending on the specific program you choose and the number of elective courses you decide to enroll in. Luckily, studying data analytics online usually costs less than attending an in-person program.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Data Science Master’s Degree Online?

It takes two years to get a data science master’s degree online. Most online data science programs place their schedules between 12 and 24 months. During this period, the average student is expected to complete 12 to 45 credit-hour courses within two to six semesters.

Most data science master’s degree programs request that students complete six to nine credit hours of concentration courses and use one to six credits for an independent exam or capstone project. As an online student, your program pace may be up to you, as most schools allow students to complete their required credit hours of coursework within five years.

Are Online Data Science Degrees Respected?

Yes, online data science degrees are respected by employers and clients in the data science industry, as long as your school is reputable and regionally accredited. Most of the leaders in online education are among the top-ranking schools in the world, according to Statista. You can find accredited online data science courses by searching on websites such as Career Karma or by looking for the program you are interested in through a university’s website.

Is Data Science Hard to Learn Online?

No, data science is not hard to learn online because you have access to a wide range of student support services and online learning tools that can make the process easier. Even if you don’t have a technical background, you have virtual access to on-demand tutors, academic advisors, and instructors who can help you simplify the learning process.

Data Science Bootcamp vs Online Data Science Master’s Degree: Which Is Better?

An online data science master’s degree is better than a data science bootcamp if you have a strong background in mathematics, programming, and data analysis. However, if you majored in a non-technical discipline in your bachelor’s degree program, then a data science bootcamp is better for you to build your technical knowledge, as schools give admission preference to applicants with computer science or quantitative backgrounds.

Below are some of the benefits of choosing either pathway.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Data Science Master’s Degree

  • Advanced data science skills. A Master’s Degree in Data Science helps you build advanced skills in data analysis, data modeling, and machine learning. You learn how to manipulate big data and how to create sophisticated tools and techniques for solving computing problems.
  • Broader curriculum. A master’s degree program curriculum offers courses that can contribute to your career goals. You’re not only limited to the courses in your discipline, and, in most cases, you’ll find business analytics and general education courses available.
  • Flexible pace. An online Master’s Degree in Data Science offers students a convenient way to speed up their careers. Online data science master’s degree programs allow students to extend their program up to five years. If you’re a busy adult, you’ll find the pacing in online data science master’s degrees more favorable than bootcamps.
  • Better industry recognition. A Master’s Degree in Data Science makes it easier to access high-paying data science jobs in the industry. To employers, the academic reputation of this degree implies expertise in data science, so you won’t have to start out as an entry-level data scientist.
  • More career options. An online Master’s Degree in Data Science doesn’t just prepare you to become a data scientist. It prepares you to take on several tech roles related to data science. With this degree, you can launch immediate careers in data analysis, quantitative analysis, cyber security, software development, and systems engineering.

Top 5 Benefits of a Data Science Bootcamp

  • Market-led data science skills. Data science bootcamps equip students with data skills that are in demand by employers. You’ll learn the most popular programming languages and skills that are essential for data science. You’ll discover the best data science tools, and you’ll work on exciting data science projects to build your hands-on experience.
  • Flexible learning formats. The data science programs offered by coding bootcamps usually have flexible formats. You can choose to enroll in a part-time program, a part-time flex program, or even a self-paced program. There are admission and student advisors available to help you choose the right fit.
  • Tailored career services. Coding bootcamps offer a wide variety of tailored career services for enrolled students. These programs prepare you for ‌data science interviews and provide other essential services, such as resume building, social media optimization, portfolio review, and access to data science job boards .
  • Cost-effective and more payment options. Coding bootcamps are more affordable than master’s degree programs. Some master’s degrees in data science can cost more than $30,000, while the price range of most bootcamps falls between $5,000 and $20,000 , according to Career Karma’s State of the Bootcamp Market Report 2021 .
  • Faster pace. Data science bootcamps last from three months to one year, with most of them having a duration of around six months. During this period, you’ll get to tackle an immersive curriculum that allows you to build a strong foundation in data science needed to land entry-level jobs in the data science field.

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

You should get an online Master’s Degree in Data Science if you prefer a self-controlled study space over social interactions. According to a 2019 survey by Statista, most respondents believed that working remotely made it easier to boost productivity since it allowed them to focus on their commitments and reduced distractions from shared spaces.

Some of the benefits of getting an online Master’s Degree in Data Science also include reduced costs and the stress of commuting to another location. You can still keep your job while pursuing a data science master’s degree and furthering your career goals.

What Courses Do You Take in an Online Master’s Degree Program in Data Science?

The best online Master’s Degree in Data Science courses you can take include introductory, core, and elective courses in fields like data mining and data analytics. You may also have to complete a capstone project or final exam to get your degree.

The foundation courses introduce you to computer science and core classes in math, while the core courses are for optimizing your career track. The electives make it easier to diversify into other career paths. Some of the core courses in data science master’s degree programs are included below.

Data Mining

A data mining course helps you understand how to extract data from sources around the web and organize large data sets to discover patterns. Students learn mining methods, like pattern discovery, clustering, and data segmentation, and how to apply data mining to making predictions in data science.

Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing is a branch of computer science that combines linguistics and artificial intelligence. It focuses on training computer systems to process large data sets by imitating human processing patterns. Students cover human language technologies, such as information extraction, machine translation, question answering, and sentiment analysis.

Applied Machine Learning

Data science students study the real-world application of machine learning. Students learn how to classify, evaluate and apply data mining results to machine learning solutions and how to process and implement data structures and algorithms for the development of self-running systems. Students also learn how to build predictive models to perform tasks for humans.

Data Visualization

Data visualization involves translating complex data into pictorial or graphical representations using visualization tools and techniques. Students learn how to use the Python and R programming languages for data cleaning and preparation. They also learn how to use Adobe Illustrator to create visual elements that humans can easily interpret.

Research and Statistical Analysis

Research for data science includes using statistical tools and techniques to draw actionable insights from unstructured data sets and then presenting the research findings to aid decision-making and business applications. You’ll explore statistical analytical methods, such as prescriptive analysis, predictive analysis, and inferential and descriptive statistical analysis.

Continuing Education Paths for Online Data Science Master’s Degree Graduates

Continuing education after an online Master’s Degree in Data Science usually includes a doctoral degree. A PhD program in data science prepares you for roles in academia and laboratory research. However, you could also choose to pursue an international certification with the Data Science Council of America ‌to further enhance your hands-on skills.

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What to Look For in the Best Data Science Master’s Degree Programs

The things to look for in the best data science master’s degree programs are the school and program’s reputation, the cost of the program, the student support services available, and the concentration and specialization options you can take. We’ll analyze these qualities and more below.

School and Program Reputation

A thorough assessment of a school’s reputation is essential in choosing a data science master’s degree program from an accredited university. Check details about the school’s online education achievements and their student employment outcome. View the school’s website to discover the school and program’s recognitions, and search for unbiased reviews from school alumni.

Cost of Program

Most master’s degree programs exceed $20,000. If you are a student in financial need, ‌consider how you’re going to pay for your data science program before applying. Ensure that the program offers financial aid to students if its tuition rate and fees are high. Also, see if the school has a flexible payment method, such as paying per credit, per course, or per semester.

Concentration and Specialization Options

Data science is an interdisciplinary field. There are several areas that you can specialize in, and a good program will always provide you with an array of options. Find out how many elective credits make up the program concentration. Check the courses you have to choose from, the technologies and programming languages they expose you to, and the in-demand skills taught.

Curricular Content

In most cases, you’ll need to complete six to 12 courses as part of your degree requirements in a Master’s in Data Science program. Ensure that you have ample courses to choose from that are relevant to the career field you want to pursue. The required courses for a data science degree should cut across fields like software engineering, cloud management, and information security.

Student Support and Career Services

Student support services make your learning easier, and career services make your career launch seamless. Ensure that the program you choose offers dedicated student support and career services. You should have access to a virtual tutoring center and virtual career center, and you should be able to reach instructors and advisors easily when you need to.

What Is the Most Affordable Online Data Science Master’s Degree?

The most affordable online data science master’s degree is offered by Bellevue University. The entire program costs about $18,750, at $625 per credit unit. Each semester, you’ll be required to complete at least 15 credits, and that puts your tuition cost at $9,375 per semester, excluding fees.

Can I Get a Data Science Master’s Degree Online for Free?

No, you cannot get a data science master’s degree online for free. A Master’s Degree in Data Science from any reputable and accredited university has tuition and fees. However, you can get financial aid support for your tuition and fees. Most programs provide students access to internal and external scholarships and grants to fund their education.

Salary and Job Outlook for Online Data Science Master’s Degree Graduates

A person working on a computer program on two monitors on a white desk.
A data science master’s degree isn’t just for individuals with a strong background in math. Non-techies can also benefit from data science courses after taking prerequisite coursework.

An essential factor to consider when choosing an advanced degree is its earning potential and job outlook. With a degree in data science, you pretty much have a guaranteed high annual salary and long-term industry relevance. The data below provides you with all the information you need to get started as a data analytics professional.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Data Science Master’s Degree?

It is not very hard to get a job with an online data science master’s degree. Based on a 2021 survey report by Statista, companies are recruiting more data scientists . The percentage of companies that hired over 50 data scientists grew from 30 percent in 2020 to nearly 60 percent in 2021. As such, a data science master’s degree is a good investment.

What’s the Average Online Data Science Master’s Degree Salary?

The average online Master’s Degree in Data Science salary is $97,294 per year . The majority of data science professionals who earn this figure are in their early careers, with only one to four years of professional experience.

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

The jobs you can do with an online data science master’s degree are database systems analyst, big data engineer, data architect, and database administrator, among others. You can secure jobs in leading tech fields such as software development, information technology, cyber security, systems and network security, and data science.

If you choose to become a data scientist by enrolling in an online data science master’s program, you can launch careers in any of the job roles listed below.

Data Science Degree Jobs

  • Big Data Engineer
  • Computer Research Scientist
  • Data Architect
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Database Engineer

Potential Careers With an Online Data Science Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Data Science Master’s Degree?

You can make between $69,000 and $136,000 per year with an online data science master’s degree, according to the 2022 median salary computations by PayScale. You should know that this figure is a national salary average for all data scientists, regardless of their location, employer, job benefits, skill level, relevant work experience, job functions, and other factors.

According to the survey from PayScale, data scientists’ experience level and in-demand skillset can play a huge role in boosting their salary range. Some of the practical skills that boost the salary range of data scientists include proficiency in Python and R programming languages, as well as knowledge of data analysis, statistical analysis, and machine learning.

Highest-Paying Online Data Science Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Data Science Master’s Degree Jobs Average Salary
Software Architect $128,311
Data Architect $123,147
Information Security Manager $119,336
Machine Learning Engineer $112,513
Computer and Information Research Scientist $109,345

Best Jobs for Online Data Science Master’s Degree Grads

The best jobs for online master’s degree holders in Data Science include roles where they can apply their in-demand skills in research, statistical modeling, database systems, deep learning, programming, and data visualization. Below are some of the highest-paying jobs for data science graduates.

Software Architect I Average Salary: $128,311

A software architect oversees the implementation of techniques and tools used in solving real-world problems related to the development of software products. Software architects govern software development teams. Their jobs include reviewing the software architecture and implementing high-end standards throughout the development life cycle.

Data Architect I Average Salary: $123,147

A data architect is a professional who oversees the development of enterprise data management frameworks, based on business requirements. Data architects review, design, develop, and manage the data infrastructures and systems in an organization, including the organization’s data policies, processes, techniques, and storage systems.

Information Security Manager I Average Salary: $119,336

Information security managers are concerned with overseeing the computer security of an organization. Their jobs include assessing the information risk exposure of a company’s data infrastructure and systems and providing insights to top management. They also design information security frameworks and oversee the development of security tools and techniques.

Machine Learning Engineer I Average Salary: $112,513

A machine learning engineer is a professional who researches trends in deep learning and machine learning. They create data sets, design models, and develop and test self-running artificial intelligence systems and software by manipulating data structures and machine learning computer algorithms, helping people perform a variety of everyday tasks.

Computer and Information Research Scientist I Average Salary: $109,345

Computer and information research scientists use data science and machine learning tools and techniques to explore various computing issues across industries. The results from their exploration and analysis are used to design innovative solutions and build models that guide the design and development of technology products, including software systems and applications.

Best Jobs According to Your Major

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

Yes, an online data science master’s degree is worth it if you want to gain knowledge of the advanced techniques and principles in data science. This knowledge can help you properly harness, analyze, and manipulate data sets and build statistical models for the development of innovative products that solve computing issues.

A 2021 research report by Markets and Markets projects a 27 percent compound annual growth rate between 2021 and 2026 for the data science platform market. The data science market size will grow from $95.3 billion to $322.9 billion. A Master’s Degree in Data Science will let you benefit from the data science market profit, possibly helping you earn up to $136,000 yearly.

Additional Reading About Data Science

This guide includes some of the top schools and programs for this degree and covers some of the jobs and salaries you can get.

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Online Data Science Master’s Degree FAQ

Can I learn data science in three months?

Yes, you can learn data science in three months, but because of the short time frame, you may only ‌build a foundational knowledge of the discipline. If you want to boost your computing skills and diversify your knowledge of the key areas in data science, you need to continue learning.

How do I change my career to data science?

To change your career to data science, start by reviewing your current tech skillset. This will determine what level of training you need. This is because data science requires a strong foundation in several disciplines, including mathematics, statistics, programming, and data analysis. Next, you can ‌review training programs suited to your skills and preferred career track.

Can anyone become a data scientist?

Yes, anyone can become a data scientist as long as they have a sincere passion for the field and can commit to learning the complex concepts, techniques, and tools in the field. As an absolute beginner, you can ‌start by taking foundation courses in data science through platforms like Coursera, so you can familiarize yourself with the techniques of the field.

Is data science in demand?

Yes, data science is in demand. According to the data science job projections from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists should expect a 22 percent job growth between the periods of 2020 to 2030. If you’re interested in breaking into this field, this is the right time to do so.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Mercy Ugonna Njoku

About the author: Mercy has a background in accounting and is a veteran content writer who holds a BSc in Business Management from Abia State University. In her writing, Mercy helps people navigate unfamiliar and complex situations in their professional lives so they can thrive. Her hobbies include drawing, working on startup projects, and engaging in discussions.

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