Oklahoma City or Tulsa? OU or OSU? Our primer to earning an Oklahoma data science degree can help you decide! It has details on everything from research & scholarships to startups & salary numbers. Already have a university in mind? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Oklahoma.
Studying Data Science in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a sneaky achiever. In CBRE’s 2016 report on Scoring Tech Talent, Oklahoma City was the #3 Top Small Growth Market—just behind Charlotte and Nashville. The city saw a 59% growth in tech talent from 2010-2015, including a bump in millennials.
Some of this growth is tied to oil and natural gas companies (e.g. Chesapeake & Devon Energy), but the state is also a player in healthcare, life sciences, and biotech. The startup scene is remarkably robust and Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma (OU) have become a funnel for research. It’s gotten to the point where data experts are now working remotely for Silicon Valley.
And the best news? There’s a lot of help. We’re talking:
- Techlahoma and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).
- The Oklahoma Innovation Institute (OII) and the Tandy Supercomputing Center in Tulsa.
- Accelerators & incubators such as i2E.
- Communities such as 36 Degrees North (36°N).
- Biomedical research institutions such as the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the OU Health Sciences Center (OUSHC).
For more on this front, check out the resource directory at StartupOK.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Oklahoma Universities
Courtesy of their size, OSU and OU have the most invested in data science research. For example, OSU’s Spears School of Business has the:
- Center for Applied Economic Research (CAER): CAER is involved in public policy analysis & regional economic development and it often issues economic forecasts.
- Center for Health Systems Innovation (CHSI): In partnership with the OSU Center for Health Sciences, CHSI has a significant stake in healthcare data analytics. It developed the Health Data Shootout competition and encourages public service projects.
- Riata Center for Entrepreneurship: Riata hosts the OSU Startup Weekend and has lots of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, at OSU’s Kaundal Bioinformatics Laboratory, researchers are employing big data to tackle issues like microbial forensics & agricultural biosecurity. Work in the lab’s Bioinformatics Core (BIOinfOSU) often utilizes the capabilities of the OSU High Performance Computing Center (HPCC).
OU has equally interesting projects. For example, at OU’s College of Engineering, you’ll discover the:
- Analytics @ OU Lab: Although it covers a wide range of topics, this lab has a particular interest in predicting, mitigating, and recovering from natural disasters. It is, after all, in Tornado Alley.
- Risk-Based Systems Analytics Laboratory: This one takes a close look at data-driven decision making in engineering systems. That includes risk-based modeling for critical infrastructures and large-scale system sustainability.
If you’re considering the MS-MIT, the Price College of Business has an interdisciplinary Center for Management Information Systems Studies (CMISS) with strong ties to local businesses and member firms. MIS faculty also host an Annual Big XII+ MIS Research Symposium for students.
Online Data Science Programs in Oklahoma
OSU is the leader in distance learning for data scientists, but it does have competition when it comes to master’s degrees. We talk about general things to look for in an online data science program elsewhere, so here we’ve concentrated on what’s available in the Sooner State.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
OSU’s Spears College of Business offers two 12-credit programs that have been developed in partnership with SAS®:
- Online Graduate Certificate in Business Data Mining: Suitable for working professionals with a technical background
- Online Graduate Certificate in Marketing Analytics: Suitable for working professionals with a non-technical background (e.g. BBA)
Data mining students can request a transfer of credit hours to the MS in Business Analytics. They’re also eligible to receive one of the following SAS® certificates (based on courses taken, certifications, etc.):
- SAS® and OSU Data Mining Certificate (core level)
- SAS® and OSU Predictive Analytics Certificate (advanced level)
- SAS® and OSU Marketing Data Science Certificate (expert level)
Marketing analytics students will receive the SAS® and OSU Marketing Analytics Certificate.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
OSU is often in the top 35 of Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) and its big data programs are offered on-campus or online. These include the:
- Online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA): This degree was developed in partnership with SAS® and it tackles many of the hands-on applications needed for business. Coursework covers everything from statistics, analytics, and Machine Learning (ML) to marketing, business, and industrial engineering. SAS® certificates are available.
- Online Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS-MIS): This is a designated STEM program that includes predictive & prescriptive analytics, data mining, warehousing, visualization, open source programming (e.g. R and Python), and the like. The focus is—naturally—on providing business solutions.
Want a hard-core data science program? OU ranks in the top 35 of Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs, and its online Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics draws on expertise from the Schools of Computer Science and Engineering. You can choose between a non-thesis practicum or a thesis-based research project.
Working in healthcare? SOSU’s online Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics & Information Management is built upon CAHIIM Health Information Management graduate education standards. The curriculum includes a research or a capstone project, as well as credit hours for professional practical experience.
Data Science Scholarships in Oklahoma
We’ve highlighted university scholarships & assistantships that can specifically be applied to the school’s data program. But be sure to check in with the Graduate Studies Office! It will have more advice on general aid (e.g. state-wide scholarships) and alternative financing options (e.g. military discounts).
Oklahoma State University
- MSBA Graduate Teaching Assistantships: OSU has a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships for full-time MSBA students on campus. Criteria include GMAT/GRE scores, undergraduate GPA, skills, professional experience, and performance.
- MS-MIS Graduate Teaching Assistantships: Similarly, OSU has a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships available for full-time MS-MIS students on the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses. As with the MSBA, assistantships are awarded through a competitive process.
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
- MIS/MIT Scholarships: Every autumn, the MIS division has a special scholarship drive where it asks corporations and individuals to donate money for the following year. MIS & MIT students are welcome to apply for whatever funds are available through the Centralized Academic Scholarship Hub (CASH). In 2015, over $125,000 was awarded in student scholarships.
Data Science Events in Oklahoma
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Oklahoma
In addition to the groups below, Oklahoma City has a variety of hyper-focused meetups (e.g. SQL, Python, Ruby, etc.). You’ll find links to many of them in Techlahoma’s helpful list of user group meetups.
- Big Data in Oklahoma City: This is the biggest data science meetup in the state (600+ members) and meets on the first Thursday of every month. There are lots of practical talks, presentations, and networking opportunities.
- Data + Creativity OKC: Sponsored by Exaptive, this meetup is an intriguing mix. There are in-depth technical sessions, discussions on the role of humans & data, cross-pollination projects, and even nerdy movie nights.
- Tech on Tap: Hosted by Robert Half Technology, this quarterly meetup is very informal. It’s a chance for data geeks to talk all things technology over craft beer, wine, and light appetizers.
- Tulsa Data Management Meetup: This group is an affiliate of DAMA-NEO—the local Oklahoma Chapter of DAMA International. Think discussions on Business Intelligence (BI), data quality, data governance, etc.
- Tulsa Data Science: This meetup is the largest group in Tulsa and focuses on deep-dive skills, tool sets, and techniques—Machine Learning (ML), neural networks, supercomputer tours, etc. It often meets at 36º N.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has a way to go before it can attract major events such as Strata+Hadoop World, IEEE International Conference in Big Data (IEEE Big Data), and MLconf. However, you’re not very far from cities such as Austin & Dallas or Boulder & Denver. Plus there are a few general conferences that may strike your fancy…
- INNOTECH Oklahoma: Billed as the region’s largest business & technology conference & expo, this event is the brainchild of InterWorks, Inc. Sessions tackle a number of data topics (e.g. security, the Cloud), though the conference is typically general in scope.
- OSU Big Data Analytics Conference: Put this event on your calendar. It’s completely devoted to big data applications in every industry imaginable. In the past, OSU has hosted experts from the SAS Institute, Teradata, BKD LLP, Alvarez & Marsal, Pandora, Cisco, American Fidelity, and OGE Energy Corp.
- Predictive Medicine and Health Analytics Conference: One for the healthcare experts! Sponsored by the Center for Health Systems Innovation (CHSI) at OSU, this Tulsa event explores the use of analytics to improve patient care, reduce costs, and promote efficiency.
- Startup OKC: Held at the OKC Innovation Station, this weekend-long startup competition is a chance to test drive your business ideas and network like crazy. OU students should also check out the OU Startup Weekend.
Data Science Jobs in Oklahoma
With a solid data science degree, you should be in demand—local companies are hungry for IT talent, especially in the capital city. In terms of fields, you might consider:
- Energy: Devon Energy & Chesapeake are Fortune 500 players with significant stakes in data, but Oklahoma City also plays host to GE’s Oil & Gas R&D Center and the headquarters of Continental Resources. In fact, companies like Phase 2/Drakewell, Oseberg Data, and Tulsa-based eLynx Technologies have made oil and gas data their personal specialty.
- Bioscience/Life Sciences: Oklahoma City’s Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park is well-known for incubating bioscience ventures and the CEO of i2E estimates that 40% of its portfolio consists of companies in the life sciences. Two of the state’s major success stories include Moleculera Labs (autoimmune neurobiology testing) and Cytovance Biologics (biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing).
- Data Science: InterWorks, a global data consulting firm, has its headquarters in Stillwater, and Statistica, an advanced analytics company, is in Tulsa. Oklahoma City is also home to many startups such as Exaptive (data science applications), Tailwind (Pinterest analytics), Datebox Inc. (dating services), and ShoppinPal (mobile commerce).
Plus, as we mentioned in the intro, remote work is not out of the question.
Data Scientist Salaries in Oklahoma
According to Glassdoor, in 2017 the average estimated salary for a data scientist was $93,720 in Oklahoma City and $93,942 in Tulsa.
Although these figures are well below the national average, it’s important to note that they also reflect a significantly lower cost of living in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Housing is particularly cheap.
We found 3 universities in Oklahoma 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 info (at) mastersindatascience.org.