If you’re interested in developing competitive data science skills to solve complex challenges in business or elsewhere, you might be considering a master’s in data science. It’s important to consider learning in a region — like California — that boasts innovation, where you will have access to people and places that are involved in the field of data science. California offers a wide range of quality programs that are conveniently located and can help you develop the skills you need to pursue your career goals.
Learn more on how to earn your online master’s degree in data science from UC Berkeley.
From developing an AI system to identify pneumonia to leveraging machine learning to predict the spread of COVID-19, leaders, researchers and scholars in California are harnessing the power of data science to make the world a better place. But data science isn’t only valuable in the health care sector.
“Data science and artificial intelligence are playing an increasingly important and expansive role in the world today, including the rapid advancement in key research fields, like health care, agriculture, environment and bioengineering,” Thomas Strohmer, professor in the UC Davis Department of Mathematics, told EurekAlert!, a service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Data science is necessary for the success of organizations across all industries, too, especially business. In June 2020, Citibank launched a strategic advisory group for its clients focused solely on data science. Their goal is “to make data science a stronger part of its corporate finance advice” to further “empower Citi’s bankers to use their judgement with the help of data analytics,” reported the Institutional Investor.
Here’s everything you need to know about schools, job prospects, online alternatives, graduate scholarships, and networking opportunities. Read through for a comprehensive list of all the data science programs in California.
Choosing the Best Master’s in Data Science Program in California for You
University of California, Berkeley
* No GRE Scores RequiredLearn More
University of California, Berkeley
* No GRE Scores RequiredLearn More
Studying Data Science in California
California, home to Apple, Google, Facebook, Cisco and countless startups, is considered a tech hub in the United States, an epicenter of data science innovation. This makes California an appealing region to study and earn a master’s in data science.
These companies have graduates from California schools, like Stanford, Caltech and the University of California (UC) system, among others. Some highlights:
- UCLA and Stanford have been deemed Centers of Excellence for Big Data Computing. Participating programs were funded to receive a total of $656 million through 2020.
- Caltech’s work with JPL’s Center for Data Science and Technology, UC Riverside’s efforts with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), and UC San Diego’s investment in the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) are all only-in-California programs that make the state the perfect place to study data science.
Online Data Science Programs in California
Earning a master’s in data science can set you up for success by preparing you to analyze and leverage data to solve complex challenges. With a new set of analytical, critical thinking and communication skills, you’ll be armed with advanced knowledge to pursue careers in data science.
While the skills and tools you’ll learn in a data science master’s program might be complex, the learning experience doesn’t have to be. Online degree programs are growing in popularity and an online master’s in data science may allow you to earn your degree without compromising your career or other obligations.
Getting an online data science master’s degree means you can earn your degree at your own pace, while still having access to dedicated faculty, mentors and career development resources. Choosing the right program is key. Consider factors like the length of the program, the online experience, and faculty.
More than 30 universities across the United States offer online master’s degrees in data science. California offers several, including the University of California system, which offers some of the top data science programs.
Learn more about what to look for in an online data science program by visiting our Online Data Science Masters Degrees page.
Online Data Science Master’s in California
Thanks to the UC system, California boasts a wide range of online master’s in data science programs. This selection, present across the board at UC schools statewide, is something of a recent phenomenon.
In 2017, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that, due to global demand for data science degrees, more schools in the UC system had started adding online programs in the field. It signaled a growing desire for flexible and accessible online master’s in data science — one highlight includes UC Riverside’s data science specialization, added to its online Master of Science in Engineering in 2016.
University of California, Riverside’s online specialization in data science was supported by MUREP’s Fellowships and Internships in Extremely Large Data Sets (FIELDS) grant and jointly developed by UCR faculty and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory science staff. The program launched in 2016. Those behind the program specifically chose to focus on technical skills rather than research.
As always, we recommend looking at a range of opinions to decide whether an online master’s in data science is the right choice for you.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
Another way to develop your skills in data science is to earn an online graduate certificate in data science, which can be a more flexible, cost-effective option. In California, you can find short, skills-focused certificate programs through various academic institutions. Stanford feels comfortable with online certificates, which is good news if you want a California name to burnish your résumé.
The programs are often focused on data analysts, new data scientists or mid-level professionals aiming to add needed specializations to their careers. It could help you land that first job, get the promotion you’ve been looking for, or eventually have the skills needed to pursue more rigorous master’s programs. These certificates also give you the chance to collaborate across disciplines. This is especially true in California, with schools and faculty drawn from a talented pool of entrepreneurs, researchers, and marketers. For example, San Jose State offers its online Certificate in Business Analytics through its business school. Look for your options to increase as distance learning becomes more popular.
Online Data Science Bootcamps in California
Beyond master’s degrees and certificates, online data science bootcamps are another way to upskill. Bootcamps allow data scientists to advance to new levels in their careers, filling in knowledge gaps that they might have from past training and education. Think of a bootcamp as a way for you to beef up your professional portfolio. You also get to work with industry professionals on tangible, real-world problems. Data scientists get the chance to partner with companies that could help them reach new career benchmarks. For those in California, Thinkful and Metis are examples of popular bootcamp programs available in locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco.
University of California, Berkeley
Turn data into actionable insights. Berkeley Data Analytics Bootcamp is a dynamic, part-time program that covers the in-demand tools and technologies for data analytics and visualization through rigorous, project-based classes.
Online Data Science Courses in California
Individual online data science courses, outside of full-scale degree programs, are another great way for professionals to gain skills and knowledge needed to succeed. They are offered to students at all levels — beginner, intermediate, and advanced — and generally require you to dedicate at least 80 total hours. You might also find courses tied to certificates that could be available to you for an additional fee. Topics could range from ETL (extract, transform, load) to programming languages like R and Python. There are countless courses available from major, reputable California programs. Check out the websites of schools in the UC system as well as other institutions, like Stanford, for more information on what online data science courses are available.
Data Science Scholarships in California
We chose to focus on university funding that covers data science degrees, but don’t take this as an exhaustive list of information. Your school’s Graduate Studies Office will have information on general scholarships and fellowships and info on financial options. Here’s an overview of scholarship assistance as you look to pursue your online data science degree:
California State University-Fullerton
- The Extension and International Programs (EIP) Scholarship: If you’re interested in CSUF’s online certificate in analytics or data science, you may wish to apply for this scholarship. It’s given to continuing learning of students in any EIP certificate program. The maximum award is $400.
California State University-San Bernardino
- Graduate Business Grant (GBG): Graduate students in MBA programs, which include the MBA with a Business Intelligence and Information Technology focus, are eligible for a GBG award. Students must demonstrate financial need and meet eligibility criteria applied to other CSU students who are considered for a State University Grant, including classification as a California resident for tuition- and fee-paying purposes.
- Janice Tillema Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship is open to full-time undergraduates or graduates. Students must be living within a Citizens Business Bank service area (e.g. Inland Empire, San Gabriel Valley or Orange County) and be enrolled in a business major (e.g. the MBA with a Business Intelligence and Information Technology focus).
- Noel and Amanda Massie Scholarship: Open to undergraduates and graduates in the College of Business and Public Administration, this scholarship is awarded to students who are making progress toward their degree. Graduate students must have a minimum 3.25 GPA.
Claremont Graduate University
- Fletcher Jones Information Science Scholars Fellowship: This fellowship is given to students in the Center for Information Systems and Technology who demonstrate the pioneering spirit, vision and dedication of the late Fletcher Jones (co-founder of Computer Sciences Corporation).
- PhD Fellowships: If you’re thinking about a PhD down the line, Stanford has a number of fellowships for doctoral students, including the Stanford Graduate Fellowship in Science and Engineering (SGF). However, the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering does not offer guaranteed financial support for MS students.
University of California, Berkeley
- Graduate Fellowships: UC Berkeley offers a large number of graduate fellowships, including fellowships that are open to students focusing on research in science (e.g. biotechnology) and data (e.g. second year fellowships for PhD trainees in Data Sciences for the 21st Century (DS421).
- Jack Larson Data for Good Fellowship: This generous fellowship is designed to support MIDS students in pursuit of a career that will allow them to use data science to improve human life and benefit society as a whole.
- School of Information (I School) Fellowships: The I School awards a limited number of merit-based fellowships to domestic and international students in the MIMS and PhD programs. MIMS fellowships cover all or part of the registration fees for the first year of study.
University of California, Davis
- Graduate School of Management (GSM) Scholarships: The GSM, which offers an MBA with a business analytics concentration and an MSBA, distributes a number of awards each year, including the Working Professional Grant for MSBA applicants.
University of California, San Diego
- Rady School of Management Fellowships: Rady, which offers the MSBA degree, provides a limited number of merit-based fellowships to exceptional students (domestic and international). Students can request the Fellowship Application from the Graduate Admissions office after they receive their official offer of admission.
- Sloan Scholar Fellowship: UCSD also awards PhD fellowships to incoming graduate students in a variety of STEM disciplines, including computer science and engineering.
University of Southern California
- Marshall School of Business PhD Fellowships: Marshall, which administers the PhD in Data Sciences & Operations, offers full financial support (fellowship or assistantship) to selected PhD students for four to five years.
- Viterbi School of Engineering Scholarships: Viterbi, which offers the MSCS in Data Science, offers merit-based scholarships in a number of categories.
University of San Francisco
- MS in Data Science Scholarships: Through the College of Arts & Sciences, the MS in Analytics program awards a limited number of merit-based partial scholarships to incoming students. These scholarships do not require a separate application.
University of the Pacific
- School of Engineering & Computer Science (SoECS) Scholarships: SoECS lists all its internal scholarships on its website, but you should contact the school directly to see if your MS in Analytics applies to any of the categories.
Last updated: May 2020.
Data Science Events in California
California offers a range of events for networking, mentorship and community building opportunities. If you’re a data scientist who has just earned your master’s degree or someone brand new to the field, it might make sense for you to check out these events. There is a wide range — large to small — from informal meetups to larger gatherings, like the Data Science Innovation Summit and the Women in Data Science (WiDS) event at Stanford.
*Due to changes brought about by COVID-19, many 2020 events have been cancelled or postponed to later dates. Check out each event’s website to see their updates.
Data Science Meetups & Communities in California
California has a data science meetup for every group (e.g. Metis) and interest you can think of. In a changing world with fewer in-person meetings, many of these groups have listed virtual, online events on their Meetup pages. Beyond this, Facebook and social media have provided plenty of digital hubs for community and connection. Here are a few to check out:
- DS3@UCSD: Data Science Student Society: There are many student groups that foster connection and interdisciplinary collaboration for data scientists on Facebook. One example is this one — out of UCSD. Do a simple search for your school and “data science” and you’ll find other examples.
- Bay Area Women in Machine Learning & Data Science: Founded in 2013, this meetup welcomes anyone who identifies as female, genderqueer or non-binary. Meetups can range from workshops and hack nights to discussions on the state of wage inequality. Right now, they’re offering many online video meetings for members.
- DataKind SF Bay Area Facebook Group: DataKind was launched in 2011 as a community of data scientists driven by the mission to use “data science in the service of humanity.” This page is dedicated to the San Francisco/Bay Area branch of the organization. If you are interested in using your skills to give back, check out this page.
- SF Data Mining (San Francisco, CA): Organized by Todd Holloway and boasting more than 12,000 members, SF Data Mining may well be the longest-running data meetup in San Francisco. People talk data science, big data, and data visualization. Right now, they are having virtual events, to accommodate the world’s current shelter-in-place reality.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in California
Major data science conferences abound in California. (Think events like Strata Data Conference, Predictive Analytics World, IEEE Conferences, SIGKDD, The Machine Learning Conference, among others). They tend to migrate around the world, but plenty are based in Silicon Valley or Los Angeles. Here are a few of the major events for data scientists in California:
- Open Data Science Conference (ODSC) West: ODSC is known for having an industry/business focus. Along with training sessions and skills workshops, the conference includes a career fair with a job lounge and plenty of opportunities to network.
- Women in Data Science (WiDS): Stanford hosts this one-day technical conference. With about 400 attendees from 30 universities and 80 companies (1/3 students and 2/3 industry and academics), it’s an ideal place for networking opportunities. They are hosting regional events right now due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Data Science Jobs in California
You’re in a prime position for job hunting with a degree in data science from a California school. The skills of a data scientist are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), California has the highest employment level and top pay for computer and information research scientists, which include data scientists. You could be helping to solve business problems, use analytical methods and machine learning to make needed business predictions for a company, or enter academia and work on your own research as you next generation. Earning an advanced degree or certifications in data science can help you upskill and prepare for further opportunities in your career.
Data Scientist Salaries in California
The annual national median wage for a computer and information search scientist, which includes data scientists, was $122,840, according to the latest 2019 data from the BLS. The highest 10 percent earned more than $189,780 annually. Those numbers are impressive — but it’s even better if you zoom in on California. The state has the highest employment levels for people in the computer science field, standing at 7,370 jobs and an annual average wage of $140,020, according to the latest figures from the BLS. The only state with a higher average annual salary is Virginia, standing at $143,390.
Data Science Programs in California
Below is a comprehensive list of master’s of data science programs in the state of California (along with closely related programs such as an MS in Analytics and a Master’s in Business Analytics). If you represent a university and would like to contact us about editing any of our listings, or adding new programs, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated: June 2020
Data Science Programs in California
We found 25 universities in California offering Masters of Data Science programs (and/or closely related programs, like MS in Analytics / Masters in Business Analytics).
If you represent a university and would like to contact us about editing any of our listings, or adding new programs, please send an email to email@example.com.