23 Great Schools with Master’s Programs in Data Science

Looking to freshen your résumé and improve your earning potential? You are in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. A 2011 McKinsey report estimates there will be 140,000 to 190,000 unfilled positions of U.S. data analytics experts by 2018. In response, universities are scrambling to improve their existing degree programs and create entirely new offerings.

We’ve listed 23 of these programs in alphabetical order. Many of these choices can also be found in the helpful list compiled by Information Week and Data Informed’s Map of University Programs.

Choosing a Program

Does it provide the skills you need?

Some programs target fields such as marketing (e.g., Bentley, DePaul); others specifically state they teach R and Python. For more on helpful skill sets, check out our blog post on data scientist foundations.

Can you work it into your schedule?

Although plenty of universities now offer a blend of evening, weekend and online classes, many of the programs mentioned here still require you to be present in class to complete your master’s degree.

Are there internships or real-world practicums?

Unless you’re on your way to a doctorate, this is going to be one of the most important investments in your career. Look for programs that connect you to industries and opportunities.

Will it get you the job?

The proof is in the numbers. If you can’t find it on the program’s website, ask about the percentage of graduates who have received employment offers or promotions.

The List (in Alphabetical Order)

Arizona State University

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Analytics
  • School: W.P. Carey School of Business
  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Full-Time Program: 9 months
  • Part-Time Program: In development
  • Online Option: In development

ASU’s nine-month program focuses on using analytics in day-to-day business processes and managing it effectively. Required courses include data mining, applied regression models, analytical decision making tools and business analytics strategy. The curriculum also includes internship opportunities and a capstone practicum project with local Arizona companies such as American Express and Intel. 30 credit hours.

Bentley University

Thanks in part to demand from companies in the Route 128 corridor, Bentley’s program is growing by leaps and bounds.

The core 10-class curriculum includes required classes on strategic marketing, statistics and marketing research; students also select three graduate-level elective courses in marketing and/or information technology.

Internships are encouraged but not required. All classes are held at night. 80 percent of students are currently part-time and around 50 percent are international students.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon’s MISM and MITM focus on three core areas:

  1. Business intelligence
  2. Data analytics
  3. Information technology

The aim is to produce graduates cross-trained in business process analysis and skilled in predictive modeling, GIS mapping, analytical reporting, segmentation analysis and data visualization.

Students acquire hands-on knowledge through applied research experiences at Heinz College’s iLab. They must also complete a summer internship and a team-based practicum project with an external company.

Columbia University

  • Degree: Master of Science in Data Science
  • School: Data Science Institute
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Full-Time Program: 30 credits
  • Part-Time Program: Yes
  • Online Option: No

Columbia’s Data Science Institute is a collaboration between 9 of the university’s schools. It’s a diverse group, running the gamut from the Fu School of Engineering to the Journalism School and the Mailman School of Public Health. MS students have the option of selecting an Entrepreneurship track, as well as elective tracks covering areas like cyber security, health analytics, and smart cities.

DePaul University

  • Degree: Master of Science in Predictive Analytics
  • Concentrations in Computational Methods, Health Care, Hospitality and Marketing
  • School: College of Computing and Digital Media
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Full-time Program: 2 years
  • Part-Time Program: Yes
  • Online Option: Yes

DePaul’s two-year curriculum focuses on providing students with advanced skills in data mining, multivariate statistics, machine learning, and database processing.

Once they have chosen their concentrations, students can pick from a wide range of electives, including courses at the Kellstadt Business School.

To foster real-world skills, students work on industry-sponsored data analysis projects and/or internships in the analytics field.

Drexel University

Drexel’s program is tailored towards students with an interest in quantitative methods, exploring and uncovering relationships through data analysis and using data to solve business problems. It is also suitable for MBA students seeking a second degree focusing on quantitative sciences.

Required courses cover topics such as business statistics, decision sciences, mathematical modeling, operations research and special topics such as data mining.

Students can also choose eight electives from a variety of fields (finance, economics, advanced statistics, etc.).

The full-time program can be completed in less than two years. 45 credit hours.

Indiana University, Bloomington

  • Degree: Data Science M.S.
  • School: School of Informatics & Computing
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Full-time Program: 30 credits
  • Part-Time Program: Students may have up to 5 years to complete the program
  • Online Option: Yes

IU’s Master of Science in Data Science distinguishes itself partly by offering two distinct paths for students, a Technical Path and a Decision-Maker Path. The latter includes coursework on project management and driving organizational change using data.

The technical curriculum includes courses in topics such as Analysis of Algorithms; Cloud Computing; and Security for Networked Systems.

Louisiana State University

  • Degree: Master of Science in Analytics
  • School: E.J. Ourso College of Business
  • Location: Baton Rouge, LA
  • Full-time Program: 1 year
  • Part-Time Program: No
  • Online Option: No

Sponsored by SAS, LSU’s program is modeled on the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State.

The program works with real-world data, with a focus on data mining, forecasting, customer segmentation and predictive analytics.

Core courses cover advanced data management tools, applied statistics and operations research techniques.

During the year, teams of students collaborate with leading companies and government organizations on big data projects. They also learn the communication skills needed to present their solutions effectively.

Michigan State University

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Analytics
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • School: Broad College of Business
  • Full-time Program: 1 year
  • Part-Time Program: Evening and weekend courses available
  • Online Option: Selected courses

Students in MSU’s program focus on three core areas:

  1. Business data management process and analytic approaches
  2. Data management and analysis
  3. Experiential project management using live data sets for analysis and application

Core courses include business strategy, data mining, applied statistics, project management, marketing technologies, communications and ethics. In the final semester, students complete a capstone practicum in business analytics.

To help ease the path of professionals, MSU offers classes in evening, weekend and online formats.

New York University

  • Degree: MS in Data Science
  • School: Center for Data Science
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Full-Time Program: 3 or 4 semesters
  • Part-Time Program: No
  • Online Option: No

NYU’s Center for Data Science works with schools and colleges across NYU’s organization to help lead the university’s efforts in data science. It works especially closely with two other centers, the Center for Urban Science and Progress and the Center for the Promotion of Research Involving Innovative Statistical Methodology.

The MS in Data Science includes a capstone project where students apply what they’ve learned to a real-world problem. Other requirements include courses in Machine Learning & Computational Statistics; and Inference & Representation.

North Carolina State University

  • Degree: Master of Science In Analytics
  • School: Institute for Advanced Analytics
  • Location: Raleigh, NC
  • Full-Time Program: 10 months
  • Part-Time Program: No
  • Online Option: No

NCSU’s interdisciplinary analytics program is an official STEM degree that is designed to be practical and real-world-oriented. It does not focus on theory or act as a preliminary step to a Ph.D.

During the course of their one-year study, NCSU students acquire real-world skills in applied mathematics, statistics, computer science and business disciplines. Initial classes focus on tools and foundations; subsequent topics include data mining, advanced modeling and geospatial analytics.

To encourage collaboration, students complete the curriculum in cohort groups of four or five members. Teams regularly receive personalized coaching to improve performance.

In the second and third semester, students work on an intensive practicum using data provided by industry and government sponsors. Many graduate with SAS product certifications.

Northwestern University

Northwestern’s online MSPA program was launched in 2011. It covers areas like data mining, predictive modeling, and advanced statistics, but also works to help students hone business-focused skills like project management and communication, with the aim of preparing students to lead business initiatives based on data analysis. MSPA students will complete eleven courses overall: 7 required courses, 2 electives, a leadership course, and a thesis or capstone project.

Northwestern’s on-campus MSiA program was first offered in 2012, and combines math and statistical studies with advanced IT and data analysis. In addition to these courses, students are also required to complete:

  • 8-Month Industry Practicum: Team of students must analyze data supplied by a client and deliver a final report with recommendations in the spring quarter.
  • Summer Internship: Each student spends three months in a professional setting, either solo or embedded with a working project team.
  • Capstone Design Project: During their final quarter, students work in teams to develop business solutions to a current problem provided by a U.S. company.

Rutgers University

  • Degree: Master of Business and Science
  • Concentration in Analytics – Discovery Informatics and Data Sciences
  • School: Graduate School, Professional Science Masters Programs
  • Location: New Brunswick, NJ
  • Full-Time Program: 1.5 – 2 years
  • Part-Time Program: Yes
  • Online Option: No

Rutgers’ interdisciplinary program unites the fields of data management, statistics, machine learning and computation. It prepares students for careers as predictive modelers, data mining engineers and analysts in a wide variety of industries.

The curriculum includes eight analytics courses (four required; four electives) and six business courses.

  • Required topics cover statistics, analytics and data mining, database systems and programming.
  • Science electives may include courses in information science, artificial intelligence, distributed computing or computational science.

Although most courses are located on the New Brunswick campus, some courses are available in Newark and Camden.

Southern Methodist University (featured)

  • Degree: Master of Science in Data Science
  • School: Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Full-Time Program: 18–24 months
  • Part-Time Program: Yes
  • Online Option: Yes

The Online Master of Science in Data Science program at SMU is a 31-credit program focused on project-based learning. Students will apply the course material to real problems in order to develop a thorough understanding of statistics, computer science, data visualization, and more.

Courses are delivered through live video lectures, and students are asked to participate through quizzes and seminars. While 30 of 31 credits can be completed online, the final credit is earned through an immersion experience on the Dallas, TX campus.

Click here for admissions information

Stanford University

This program is a collaboration between Stanford’s Department of Statistics and Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. The core curriculum is, as you might imagine, heavy on mathematics and computer programming.

Stanford’s key location in Silicon Valley has its benefits. For example, Stanford students are permitted to use Amazon’s EC2 cloud platform to do large-scale computing.

Texas A&M University

  • Degree: Master of Science in Analytics
  • School: Department of Statistics
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Full-time Program: No
  • Part-Time Program: 2 year
  • Online Option: Yes

Texas A&M’s Master of Science in Analytics program is offered through the Department of Statistics, which is ranked #12 according to US News & World Report and is the 3rd largest statistics department in the country. Students are also given access to courses from the Mays Business School.

The program trains students through intensive statistical modeling and predictive analysis courses with the goal of producing the next generation of innovators in data science. This is a part-time program taught over five semesters, and courses are held in the evenings in the CityCentre educational facility in Houston, TX.

University of Cincinnati

Formerly known as the M.S. in Quantitative Analysis, UC’s program combines math, business basics, analysis, and modeling, along with subject-area elective coursework on topics ranging from statistics and data mining to supply-chain management, operations management, finance, and epidemiology.

The curriculum covers core courses in optimization, simulation modeling, probability modeling and statistical methods.

Part-time students can choose to attend evening and late afternoon classes; all students are required to research, write and present a final capstone project.

University of Connecticut

The core of UConn’s program is built on ten years of an analytics partnership with General Electric. Graduates emerge with a solid real-world education in advanced business analytics and project management.

Students are required to complete:

  • Four business analytics classes (e.g., predictive modeling, data management, data mining and business intelligence, etc.)
  • Four project management classes (e.g., project leadership, risk and costs, advanced project management, etc.)
  • Three electives
  • A team-based capstone practicum course

Classes are held at night and on weekends; some courses are also available online. The program currently has a technology partnership with SAS and works closely with IBM.

University of Maryland

Launched in the fall of 2013, UM’s program aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the mathematical and statistical models and tools needed to analyze customer data for marketing purposes.

The curriculum includes:

  • Eight required courses (e.g., market-based management, customer analysis, statistical programming, ethics, data science, etc.)
  • Five application courses (e.g., market forecasting, retail analytics, customer equity management/CRM, etc.)
  • An action learning project

Smith is the hub of ten Centers of Excellence and Research, including the Center for Complexity in Business. 30 credit hours.

University of San Francisco

  • Degree: Master of Science in Analytics
  • School: School of Management and the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Full-Time Program: 1 year
  • Part-Time Program: No
  • Online Option: No

Students in USF’s interdisciplinary program master the methods and technologies tied to strategic decisions; develop technical skills such as software development and statistical analysis, as well as the skills needed to effectively communicate their results.

Students are required to complete:

  • 35 Units: Including courses on data mining, machine learning, statistical models, predictive analytics, econometrics, optimization, risk analysis, etc.
  • Analytics Boot Camp: Three five-week intensive courses from July to August
  • Practicums: A series of projects, including paid internships, with industrial partners

Like Stanford, USF benefits from its strategic location. Students develop software and run analyses on Amazon Web Services, and each receives his/her own server or servers to set up and manage.

University of Tennessee

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Analytics
  • School: College of Business Administration, Statistics, Operations and Management Science
  • Location: Knoxville, TN
  • Full-Time Program: 17 months
  • Part-Time Program: No
  • Online Option: No

UT’s program emphasizes the importance of business understanding. Students learn about technical techniques in the context of larger business problems and employ analytics in ways that optimize business processes.

The core curriculum focuses on analytics skills, including statistics, operations management, descriptive modeling, data mining, etc. While learning those essentials, students also choose one out of two overlapping areas: either applied statistics or process optimization.

Students are required to complete an applied project with a client in government or industry. They are also strongly encouraged to participate in an internship during the summer session of the first year.

University of Virginia

  • Degree: Master of Science in Data Science
  • School: Data Science Institute
  • Location: Charlottesville, VA
  • Full-Time Program: 11 months
  • Part-Time Program: No
  • Online Option:

UVA’s program, launched in 2014, is an intensive professional Master’s degree, meant to get students (back) into the workforce quickly. It runs from early July until mid May of the following year. The Data Science Institute’s Big Data Fellows program draw in graduate students from other disciplines in the university to work on data-driven solutions to real-world issues.

Other Options

If you want to dig in further, you can also check out our list of online data science degrees, our state-by-state directory (see below), or our lists of Master’s degrees in fields closely tied to data science, such as Applied Statistics, Business Analytics, Health Informatics, or Marketing Analytics.