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online master’s in data science
Introduction
Affordable Master’s in Data Science Programs
Most Affordable Programs
Online Master’s in Data Science Programs
Best Programs
Online Master’s in Data Science Program
Program Details
Financing a Online Master’s in Data Science
How To Pay?
Low Cost Master’s in Data Science Programs
Free Programs
Online Master’s in Data Science
More Resources

Online Data Science Masters

online master’s in data science

The rise of computers and digital businesses has revolutionized the world. However, to keep up with advancing technologies, businesses continually need skilled workers with backgrounds in data science. With a online master’s in data science, individuals set themselves up to enter a lucrative, fast-growing field. Computer and information research scientists, a common landing spot for those with a master’s in data science, make an annual median wage of $122,840, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also projects a 16% growth rate for computer and information research scientists from 2018-2028, much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs.

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20 Most Affordable Master’s in Data Science Programs Online

Earning a graduate degree does not have to be expensive. Affordable online data science programs teach the same skills and methods and more expensive in-person programs, only at a lower cost to the learner.

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College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
Middle Georgia State University
100 University Parkway, Macon, Georgia 31206
$3,58218%
#2
Southern Arkansas University
100 E. University, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753
$5,04041%
#3
Texas Tech University
Broadway and University Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79409
$5,95860%
#4
Cabrini University
610 King of Prussia Rd, Radnor, Pennsylvania 19087
$5,98557%
#5
Arizona State University
1475 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85257
$6,38448%
#6
University of Oklahoma,Norman
660 Parrington Oval, Norman, Oklahoma 73019
$6,58367%
#7
Texas A&M University, College Station
JKW Administration Building, Suite 200, College Station, Texas 77843
$6,67782%
#8
The University of West Florida
11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, Florida 32514
$7,08843%
#9
Western Governors University
4001 South 700 East Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
$7,500 29%
#10
Charleston Southern University
9200 University Blvd, Charleston, South Carolina 29406
$7,50042%
#11
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54311
$7,99652%
#12
University of Illinois, Springfield
One University Plaza, Springfield, Illinois 62703
$8,27051%
#13
University of Maryland Global Campus
3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, Maryland 20783
$8,64015%
#14
University of Missouri, Columbia
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211
$9,26469%
#15
Indiana University, Bloomington
07 South Indiana Ave., Bloomington, Indiana 47405
$9,50178%
#16
University of Kansas
Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Blvd, Room 230, Lawrence, Kansas 66045
$9,98965%
#17
Notre Dame of Maryland University
4701 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21210
$10,34553%
#18
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523

$10,52071%
#19
University of North Dakota
264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202
$10,53455%
#20
Georgia Institute of Technology
225 North Ave, Atlanta, Georgia 30332
$14,06487%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

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Top 20 Online Master’s in Data Science Programs Online

The best online master’s in data science programs prepare graduates for successful careers, often offering some of the best outcomes in the industry. We rank the best online data science programs based on these outcomes, along with other factors including tuition rates, curriculum, accreditation, and renown.

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College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
University of Virginia
1827 University Avenue, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
$16,57894%
#2
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
$46,27292%
#3
University of California, Berkley
200 California Hall, Berkeley, California 94720
$11,44291%
#4
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Business College Complex 632 Bogue St East Lansing, MI 48824
$23,89092%
#5
Brandeis University
415 South St, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454
$51,94088%
#6
Columbia University
West 116 St and Broadway, New York, New York 10027
$47,60096%
#7
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
$24,793 88%
#8
Georgia Institute of Technology
25 North Ave, Atlanta, Georgia 30332
$14,06487%
#9
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
$45,037 89%
#10
Stevens Institute of Technology
Castle Point On Hudson, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030
$36,68087%
#11
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Road, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609
$28,18887%
#12
George Mason University
4400 University Dr, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
$12,14470%
#13
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, Maryland 20742
$13,15886%
#14
Texas Tech University
Broadway and University Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79409
$5,95860%
#15
Arizona State University
1475 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85257
$6,38448%
#16
University of Illinois Urbana, Champaign
601 E John Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820
$14,99784%
#17
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
$10,52071%
#18
DePaul University
1 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60604

$19,58472%
#19
Clarkson University
8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, New York 13699
$33,31275%
#20
Rutgers University
249 University Avenue, Blumenthal Hall, Newark, New Jersey
$17,73664%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

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Understanding an Online Master’s in Data Science Program

In an online master’s in data science program, students learn to communicate computer science concepts and information, create and manage new strategies, compile analytics at an advanced level, and lead teams to meet organizational goals. Most students have professional backgrounds in data science and want to advance their careers.

Common Specializations for an Online Master’s in Data Science

As a specialized field, many master’s in data science programs do not offer specializations. However, students can focus their education through elective courses, studying topics related to their desired role within data science.

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers This Concentration Prepares For
Big DataBig data, also referred to as big data systems, teaches students to design, implement, and interpret complex data sets, then adjust systems based on analytics.Data scientist, data architect, database administrator, data engineer, software development engineer
Big Data AnalyticsSimilar to big data, big data analytics places an emphasis on analyzing existing data sets for valuable insights. This focus also emphasizes decision making and leadership.Data scientist, database manager, data analytics, data engineer, computer systems analyst
Data AnalyticsA fast-growing field for all industries, a focus in data analytics teaches data science students to gather useful data through cutting-edge tools, compile the data, then develop new business strategies based on analytics.Data scientist, data analytics, operations analyst, database architect, database manager
Data MiningSimilar to data analytics, data mining works closely with large data sets. Data miners learn to use a combination of statistics and machine learning to discover patterns in large data sets, then advise future action based on the data.Data scientist, data analyst, data engineer, database manager, business intelligence analyst
Machine LearningA machine learning focus teaches students to model large data sets and process unstructured data sets for information, all with the assistance of artificial intelligence.Machine learning engineer, business intelligence analyst, data scientist, database manager, computer system analyst
Predictive AnalysisPredictive analytics uses data sets to try and predict future trends. Students learn methods including machine learning, predictive modeling, and data mining.Data analysis, data scientist, business operations specialist, database manager, chief data officer

Online Master’s in Data Science Admission Requirements

Admissions into master’s in data science programs are competitive, so applicants should do what they can to improve their applications, including going beyond these admission requirements.

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Regardless of experience, all master’s degree applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Most programs prefer candidates with a bachelor’s in computer science or a related field and a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • Experience: Many programs do not explicitly state experience requirements, though all master’s in data science degrees require students to demonstrate proficiency in programming languages. Students with 2-3 years of relevant professional experience might receive preference.
  • GRE Scores: While not required for all master’s in data science programs, strong GRE scores boost applications. Students with lower GPA scores on transcripts should consider taking the GRE.
  • Professional Resume: Applicants’ professional resumes include previous education, work experience, and other useful pieces of information. A strong resume demonstrates background and interest in data science.
  • Statement of Purpose: Competitive graduate programs only select applicants who demonstrate an interest in data science. The statement of purpose is an applicant’s chance to prove why they’re a good candidate for the program.

Curriculum for an Online Master of Data Science Program

While specific core and elective courses vary by program, many programs offer the following courses, sometimes with slightly different course titles and subject matter.

  • Database Systems and Data Preparation: This course introduces the fundamentals of database systems and data preparation, including relational database systems, relational modeling, and structured query language. Most programs require this course early on to introduce more complicated topics later.
  • Practical Machine Learning: Practical machine learning introduces machine learning techniques, resampling techniques, and various methods of grouping and analyzing data. Some programs include the use of open-source software, a common practice for data science. 
  • Statistics for Data Science: A necessary course for data scientists, statistics for data science teaches various quantitative methods of research for analyzing data. This course combines traditional statistics material with large data sets.
  • Computer Vision: Offered as an elective course, computer vision teaches a specialized method of deep learning through images, including the creation of digital representations of x-rays, sensor images, and hand-written documents.
  • Capstone Project: Many master’s in data science programs end with a capstone project. The capstone project usually groups students together to teach leadership and communication skills while providing graduates with real-world experience.

Online Master’s in Data Science Program Length

Most master’s in data science programs take 30-36 credits and 1-1.5 years to complete, though numerous factors influence program length. Factors include:

  • Online vs. On-Campus: Online students have more flexibility than on-campus students and complete courses at their own pace. Some online students graduate faster than on-campus students.
  • Part-time vs. Full-time: Part-time students take roughly 2-3 years to complete a master’s degree, though part-time students can continue working while studying.
  • Transfer Credits: Students with certifications, significant work experience, or previous graduate school experience could earn transfer credits, immediately reducing the length and cost of the master’s degree.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Data Science Degree

Tuition continues to be a hurdle for incoming students. Fortunately, master’s in data science students have plenty of methods for reducing tuition costs beyond the FAFSA.

Techniques for Financing a Online Master’s in Data Science

FellowshipsInternshipsStudent Loans
Not only do internships often pay students for their work, but some programs also convert hours worked in an internship into college credits, ultimately reducing the cost of the degree.Fellowships, such as the Data Incubator Fellowship Program, submerse students in multi-week programs and pay students for their work. Fellowships also help graduates form professional connections and gain experience.The remaining costs of a degree can be paid down through financial aid. Financial aid includes scholarships, grants, and student loans. Contact schools and programs to learn more about specific financial aid opportunities available.

Scholarships for Online Master’s in Data Science Students

One of the best ways to help finance education is through scholarships. Some scholarships are only available to master’s in data science students, and some require students to begin a program before applying, so keep checking for opportunities.

  • Society of Women Engineers Scholarship Who Can Apply: Women at all levels of college may apply for this scholarship. The award goes to applicants pursuing a degree in engineering, technology, or computing, and applicants must demonstrate financial need. Amount: Varies depending on the number of award winners
  • UPE Scholarship Who Can Apply: The Upsilon Pi Epsilon award goes to applicants who are also Association for Computing Machinery members. Winners are selected based on need, academic records, and recommendations. Amount: $1,000 – $2,500
  • Remote DBA Scholarship Who Can Apply: All students pursuing a career in data science or a relevant field may apply for this award. Applicants submit a themed essay and include their cover letter. Amount: $1,000
  • Strong Data Science Scholarship Who Can Apply: Available to undergraduate and graduate students, applicants find a public dataset, find an interesting research question, then produce an analysis, visualization, and interpretation of the data. Amount: $1,000
  • Future Leaders of IT Scholarship Who Can Apply: The Connect Worldwide Scholarship Fund offers awards to students who demonstrate potential leadership in the world of technology. Applicants submit recent college transcripts. Amount: Up to $2,000

Masters in Data Science Online Free Programs

Graduate students continue to seek out affordable options for college, but did you know that there are some programs that are free? While there are no full master’s programs for free, that are accredited, there are some programs that allow students to watch lectures from past sessions and free courses from reputable institutions. Students won’t get a masters diploma from these courses but they can learn on par with masters students. All of this for free and 100% online. Explore the following programs below:
Coursera: Coursera offers many courses in Data Science and lets students “read and view” for free.
Udacity
: Udacity has many course in Data Science for beginners, that are free.
edX.org
: edX.org has real college courses from institutions such as Harvard, MIT and other top universities. Most of the courses are free.
Open Source Data Science Masters
: The Open Source Data Science Masters is a great resource that offers many Data Science lectures, videos for free.

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Resources for Online Master’s in Data Science Students

Before graduating or after earning a master’s degree in data science, students should take advantage of professional organizations. These organizations provide members with networking opportunities, career development, and other useful resources.

  • INFORMS: INFORMS is a fast-growing international association for research and analytics professionals. Members receive access to professional development opportunities, industry tools, and an extensive professional network.
  • Association for Computing Machinery: The Associations for Computing Machinery (ACM) connects industry leaders in data science working in all fields. ACM’s network of over 100,000 global professionals helps data science graduates find new careers.
  • ASIS&T: ASIS&T combines information science and research, accepting members in fields from data science to content management. Student members receive career services and access to networking opportunities.
  • Research Data Alliance: The Research Data Alliance connects European, United States, and Australian professionals to encourage the open sharing of data. Students can access valuable industry information through the Alliance’s website.
  • International Association for Social Science Information Service & Technology: Founded in 1974, IASSIST connects science professionals from all backgrounds to create an extensive community. Aside from access to IASSIST’s conference, members connect with one of the largest science-based online communities.
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