Daniel D'Souza
Written By - Daniel D'Souza

Check MarkEdited By Darryl S.

Check MarkReview & Contribution By Brian Bliss

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 an 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 $136,620, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)[29]. The BLS also projects a 23% growth rate for computer and information research scientists from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs.

online master’s in data science

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Data Analytics

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

20 Most Affordable Online Data Science Master’s Programs

Earning a graduate degree does not have to be expensive. Affordable online data science programs teach the same skills and methods as more expensive in-person programs, only at a lower cost to the learner. Considering these and other criteria following a unique methodology, the OMC team has compiled a list of top-notch affordable online master’s degree programs in data science:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Middle Georgia State University
100 University Parkway, Macon, Georgia 31206
Southern Arkansas University
100 E. University, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753
Texas Tech University
Broadway and University Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79409
Cabrini University
610 King of Prussia Rd, Radnor, Pennsylvania 19087
Arizona State University
1475 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85257
University of Oklahoma,Norman
660 Parrington Oval, Norman, Oklahoma 73019
Texas A&M University, College Station
JKW Administration Building, Suite 200, College Station, Texas 77843
The University of West Florida
11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, Florida 32514
Western Governors University
4001 South 700 East Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
Charleston Southern University
9200 University Blvd, Charleston, South Carolina 29406
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54311
University of Illinois, Springfield
One University Plaza, Springfield, Illinois 62703
University of Maryland Global Campus
3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, Maryland 20783
University of Missouri, Columbia
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211
Indiana University, Bloomington
07 South Indiana Ave., Bloomington, Indiana 47405
University of Kansas
Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Blvd, Room 230, Lawrence, Kansas 66045
Notre Dame of Maryland University
4701 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21210
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
University of North Dakota
264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202
Georgia Institute of Technology
225 North Ave, Atlanta, Georgia 30332

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

Top 20 Online Data Science Master’s Programs

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 and other factors, including tuition rates, curriculum, accreditation, and reputation.

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of Virginia
1827 University Avenue, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
University of California, Berkley
200 California Hall, Berkeley, California 94720
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Business College Complex 632 Bogue St East Lansing, MI 48824
Brandeis University
415 South St, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454
Columbia University
West 116 St and Broadway, New York, New York 10027
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Georgia Institute of Technology
25 North Ave, Atlanta, Georgia 30332
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
Stevens Institute of Technology
Castle Point On Hudson, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Road, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609
George Mason University
4400 University Dr, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, Maryland 20742
Texas Tech University
Broadway and University Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79409
Arizona State University
1475 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85257
University of Illinois Urbana, Champaign
601 E John Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
DePaul University
1 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60604
Clarkson University
8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, New York 13699
Rutgers University
249 University Avenue, Blumenthal Hall, Newark, New Jersey

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

Understanding an Online Data Science Master’s 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.

Curriculum for an Online Master of Data Science Program

While specific core and elective courses vary by program, many 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 research methods for analyzing data. This course combines traditional statistics material with large data sets.

Computer Vision: As an elective course, computer vision teaches a specialized deep learning method through images, including creating 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 to teach leadership and communication skills while providing graduates real-world experience.

Apart from career advancement and increased pay, pursuing a master’s in data science equips students with the skills to make intelligent and informed decisions and analyze critical issues within the field. These skills become invaluable in one’s career or entrepreneurial endeavors. The program empowers professionals to build businesses and tackle various challenges, fostering growth. Upon completing a master’s in data science, students can expect to gain the following skills and learning outcomes:

  • Apply analytical and critical thinking skills to resolve various issues in the field of data analytics.
  • Employ effective communication methods to collaborate with diverse stakeholders in data science, conduct analyses, and develop models in the field.
  • Demonstrate professional and ethical behavior while committing to continuous learning and improvement.
  • Utilize theoretical knowledge to address real-world problems, collect and process data, and design optimal problem-solving and solution implementation methods.
  • Showcase proficiency in programming skills, computational methods, principles of software systems, and key concepts of data science.
  • Manage data to generate valuable predictions and gather analyzed data for making insightful and strategic decisions.
  • Exhibit divergent thinking skills and a grasp of fundamental principles in data science.
  • Integrate data science theories to extract meaningful information and identify new opportunities for organizations and individuals.

Types of Master’s Degrees Online Data Science Students Can Obtain

Many Universities in the United States provide various online master’s in data science degree programs, including the online Master of Arts (MA) in data science, the online Master of Science (MS) in data science, and the Master in Interdisciplinary Data Science (MIDS).

Master of Arts in Data Science

The Master of Arts in Data Science, or MA Data Science online, focuses on developing skills in data science for exploring, managing, analyzing, and visualizing large datasets through advanced technologies. Students engage in courses that integrate diverse academic disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, and statistics, enabling them to address complex challenges and acquire the ability to identify patterns and trends within datasets.

Master of Science in Data Science

The Master of Science in Data Science, also known as MS Data Science, encourages students to concentrate on advancing various research areas within the field. Students navigate a demanding and inventive curriculum by engaging in research endeavors, completing capstone projects, and collaborating with industry leaders. In essence, the MS degree adopts a more technical and scientific approach than an MA degree.

Master in Interdisciplinary Data Science

The Master in Interdisciplinary Data Science (MIDS) program integrates technical and computational training with domain-specific knowledge. Students develop critical thinking skills, communication abilities, collaboration expertise, leadership qualities, and teamwork proficiency to maximize their potential and contribute value to their respective fields. The program features an interdisciplinary syllabus comprising a well-balanced mix of core courses and electives, emphasizing practical, real-world experience in the field.

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 called Big Data Systems, teaches students to design, implement, and interpret complex data sets and adjust systems based on analytics.Data scientist, data architect, database administrator, data engineer, software development engineer
Big Data AnalyticsLike Big Data, Big Data Analytics emphasizes 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 on data analytics teaches data science students to gather useful data through cutting-edge tools, compile the data, and 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 and 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 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.

Accelerated Data Science Programs

Accelerated master’s programs in Data Science provide an efficient pathway for students to complete their degree in a shorter duration. These programs are tailored to enable motivated and dedicated students to expedite their studies and graduate sooner. To expedite their program, students may undertake an increased course load, including summer or intensive courses, to expedite their program, thereby accelerating their progress. They might also be able to transfer credits from previous coursework or relevant professional experiences, reducing the overall time needed to earn the degree. It is crucial for students contemplating an accelerated program to thoroughly evaluate their preparedness and ability to manage an accelerated pace of study. Here are examples of colleges that offer accelerated online master’s programs in Data Science:

Northwestern University 1

Quinnipiac University 2

UMass Dartmouth 3

University of California Berkeley 4

Online Data Science Master’s 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. The typical admissions requirements for an online master’s in data science include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Regardless of experience, all 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 information. A strong resume demonstrates a background and interest in data science.
  • Statement of Purpose: Competitive graduate programs only select applicants interested in data science. The statement of purpose is an applicant’s chance to prove why they’re a good candidate for the program.

No GRE Online Data Science Master’s Programs

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) are commonly utilized standardized tests for admission to graduate programs. While many U.S. schools typically mandate these test scores, some online master’s programs in data science may not impose a GRE or GMAT requirement. The decision to waive the GRE/GMAT requirement acknowledges that standardized test scores may not always accurately reflect an applicant’s potential success in the program. Instead, universities may give weight to other factors such as academic background, research experience, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and personal interviews to evaluate applicants’ qualifications. Individuals interested in pursuing an online master’s in data science should contact the data science departments of their chosen universities to inquire about programs that do not necessitate GRE scores or explore options for obtaining a GRE waiver. Some institutions that provide online data science master’s no gre include:

University of California Berkeley5

Columbia University Data Science Institute6

Accreditations for Online Data Science Master’s Degrees

The accreditation obtained by institutions guarantees that their program aligns with the quality standards established by the engineering profession. This accreditation involves regular evaluations and is a testament to the school’s dedication to delivering high-quality programs. Programmatic accreditation for online master’s in data science programs can be granted by the Data Science Council of America 7. In cases where this specific accreditation is not present, students should seek college accreditation, typically conferred by six regional accrediting bodies, namely:

Where to Find Free Online Courses for Data Science Master’s Students

How to Pay for Online Data Science Master’s Programs

Tuition remains a hurdle for incoming students. Fortunately, master’s in data science students have many ways to reduce tuition costs beyond the FAFSA, such as:


A scholarship is a form of funding for students to apply for in terms of merit. It is provided based on one’s educational qualification and other merits like sports, music, etc., and need not be paid back.


Students can be given grants by organizations like educational institutions, non-profit institutions, and state and federal governments. Unlike scholarships, they can be awarded based on needs and not necessarily on merit.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships involve part-time roles within academic institutions, offering financial support, tuition waivers, and stipends. Graduate students contribute to research, teaching, or administrative tasks, gaining valuable experience while easing the financial burden of their education.


Fellowships, such as the Data Incubator Fellowship Program17, submerse students in multi-week programs and pay students for their work. Fellowships also help graduates form professional connections and gain experience.

Student Loans

The remaining degree costs 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.
Read the Financial Aid Guide for more information on funding higher education.

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.

Great Minds in STEM Scholarship 18

The Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) Scholarship supports students pursuing health-related or STEM disciplines at accredited 2-year or 4-year colleges in the United States. This scholarship aims to empower and advance the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Award/Amount: $500- $5000

Deadline: Varies

Remote DBA Scholarship19 

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.

Award/Amount: $1,000

Deadline: Varies

ACM SIGHPC Computational and Data Science Fellowships 20

ACM SIGHPC has established the Computational and Data Science Fellowships, an extension of the program initiated with Intel (refer to below) to enhance diversity among students pursuing graduate degrees in data science and computational science. This program specifically targets women and students from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds in the computing field, welcoming applicants from institutions globally.

Award/Amount: $15,000 up to 2 years

Deadline: April annually

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Data Science Graduates

Certifications and Licensing for Online Master’s Students in Data Science

Professional certifications provide students with qualifications showcasing their ability to deliver quality services and uphold high standards of professionalism. Such certifications enhance employment prospects, potentially leading to higher remuneration. They serve as evidence to employers and the industry that an individual is an expert in a specific area of data science. Online master’s data science students can pursue certifications from diverse professional organizations. Examples include:

Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences 25

The Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences is a non-degree initiative designed to cultivate proficiency in fundamental data science skills. Comprising four courses—Algorithms for Data Science, Probability and Statistics, Machine Learning for Data Science, and Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization—the program aims to impart essential knowledge in the field.

Data Science Council of America Senior Data Scientist 26

This certification suits students seeking exposure to research and analytics and preparing for roles as data scientists in large institutions. The evaluation covers proficiency in spreadsheets, statistical analysis, relational database management systems (RDBMS), and databases.

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate 27

The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is an entry-level certification showcasing proficiency in various data science areas, encompassing open-source tools, methodologies, Python, databases, SQL, data visualization, data analysis, and machine learning. To obtain the certificate, one must finish nine courses, typically taking around three months with a commitment of 12 hours per week. The certification process involves hands-on assignments and the creation of a portfolio featuring data science projects.

Data Scientist-Advanced Analytics 28

This certification evaluates students’ proficiency through advanced analytics, operationalization, and data visualization techniques. It covers the data analytics lifecycle, guiding students in conducting initial data analysis. Participants will gain insights into advanced analytics and comprehend the technology and tools employed in Big Data.

Additional Resources for Master’s Students in Data Science Degree

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


INFORMS is a fast-growing international association for research and analytics professionals. Members can access professional development opportunities, industry tools, and an extensive professional network.

Association for Computing Machinery: The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) connects industry leaders in data science working in all fields. ACM’s over 100,000 global professionals network 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.

FAQs About Online Data Science Master’s Programs

Why should you do a master’s in data science degree online?

Pursuing an online master’s in data science offers flexibility, allowing you to balance work and study. It provides access to diverse resources and the latest industry tools. Online programs often accommodate various learning styles, fostering a dynamic and collaborative environment. This convenient format enhances accessibility and accommodates individual preferences and schedules.

How long is the master’s degree in data science?

What can you do with a master’s in data science?

 Is an online master’s in data science worth it?

Is it necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in data science to pursue a master’s?

What is the difference between data science and data analytics?

Are online Master in Data Science programs as reputable as on-campus programs?