Master’s in Data Science—Your Guide to Data Science Graduate Programs

Our site offers prospective and current data science learners information on different degree options, boot camps, short course offerings, career choices post-graduation and resources for staying current in the field once they begin to practice. Even professionals in the middle of a career transition can benefit from our research-based articles, which include job growth trends and up-to-date salary data for an array of positions in data science.

The program cards/tables featured on this page were last updated in July 2022. For the most current program information, please refer to the official website of the respective school.  

Sponsored Online Master’s in Data Science Programs

Syracuse University

School of Information Studies

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Master of Science in Applied Data Science

Syracuse University’s online Master of Science in Data Science can be completed in as few as 18 months.

  • Complete in as little as 18 months
  • No GRE scores required to apply

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School of Information Studies

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Master of Applied Data Science

UNC-Chapel Hill’s online Master of Applied Data Science program gives you a holistic understanding of the data life cycle, preparing you to effectively — and ethically — collect, process, manage and analyze data. Learn to translate your insights into a clear narrative that can be used to drive action. Math and programming skills required.

  • Complete in as few as 16 months full time.
  • No GRE scores required.

Hawaii Pacific University

College of Natural and Health Sciences

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Master of Science in Data Science

The online MS in Data Science program from Hawai‘i Pacific University prepares students to interpret both conventional and unconventional data, strengthen creative problem-solving skills, and apply cutting-edge data analysis expertise to nearly every industry.

  • 12 months to complete full time and 24 months part time
  • Standardized test scores not required (No GRE/GMAT) 
  • Students learn key skills such as data analysis, data mining, data visualization, programming, machine learning, and more

University of California, Berkeley

School of Information

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Master of Information and Data Science

Earn your Master’s in Data Science online from UC Berkeley in as few as 12 months.

  • Complete in as few as 12 months
  • No GRE required

Southern Methodist University

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts

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Master of Science in Data Science

Earn your MS in Data Science at SMU, where you can specialize in Machine Learning or Business Analytics, and complete in as few as 20 months.

  • No GRE required.
  • Complete in as little as 20 months.

University of Texas at Austin

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts

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Master of Data Science

In today’s data-driven world, there’s an increased need for data scientists in every industry. Accelerate your career in this rapidly growing field by completing a rigorous master’s degree program that’s 100% online, affordable, and flexible to fit your life. With an MSDS from the top-ranked University of Texas at Austin, you’ll gain in-demand skills in data visualization, data mining, data analysis, machine learning, and more.

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What is Data Science?

Data science is a dynamic field that’s becoming increasingly valuable to many companies, small, large and mid-size. From capturing data to communicating results, data scientists play an important role in helping businesses make strategic decisions and optimize outcomes. The field once traditionally encompassed data mining, programming skills and data analysis, but today it is expansive and involves looking at the entire data science life cycle.

In the business world, data science is used to help corporations develop an understanding of consumer and market trends. In other arenas, data science is used to collect information, but usually has different end goals such as gathering census data to be used by public policy professionals or statistics about diseases to inform public health policy, recommendations and medical solutions.

Data Science Programs and Related Degrees

From machine learning and artificial intelligence to data systems administration and security, there are a variety of focus areas and types of programs you can pursue through higher education. Some of your options include master’s degrees in data science, bachelor’s degrees in data science, boot camps and short courses.

Master’s in Data Science

Earning a master’s in data science can help you gain a broad skill set that can be applied to a vast number of tech-related careers, such as data engineering, data architecture or computer programming.

As a learner in this advanced degree program, you can expect to dive into essential concepts in the following areas:

  • Applied statistics
  • Database systems and data preparation
  • Practical machine learning

You will also learn how to use programming languages like Python, R and SQL.

Master’s in Business Analytics

Business analytics uses data science to understand and predict consumer, market and world economic trends. Earning a master’s in business analytics can help you develop the skills needed to transform large amounts of data into actionable business strategy insights.

As a learner in this advanced degree program, you will gain expertise in these subject areas:

  • Programming
  • Data analytics and management
  • Data models and visualization

For business analytics enthusiasts, “data-driven decisions” is the name of the game.

Master’s in Information Systems

To architect new technologies for companies, you’ll need to be well versed in using information systems and operations. Earning a master’s degree in information systems can help you develop the skills needed to build and manage information systems, evaluate technical approaches and risks, and communicate and manage people in organizations.

As a learner in this advanced degree program, you will gain expertise in these subject areas:

  • Information systems analysis and design
  • Business telecommunications
  • Managing emerging information technology

Other Related Master’s Degrees in Data Science

Earning a master’s degree in a related discipline such as computer science, computer engineering or cybersecurity can prepare you for a career in data science, and is becoming increasingly valuable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 23%growth in jobs for computer science and 32% growth for information security jobs from 2022 to 2032. The projected growth for both occupations exceeds the 3% growth rate for all occupations during the same time period.

Computer Science Careers

  • Computer scientist
  • Assistant/adjunct professor of computer science
  • Computer systems analyst
  • IT project manager
  • Director of web development
  • Chief technology/information officer

Learn more about an online master’s in computer science to jump-start your career.

Computer Engineering Careers

  • Mechanical engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Computer network architect
  • Research and development in physical, engineering and life sciences

Explore starting your career in computer engineering with a master’s online.

Cybersecurity Careers

  • Digital forensics analyst
  • Information security project manager
  • Systems security administrator
  • IT security consultant
  • Chief information security officer

Discover online Master’s in cybersecurity programs to kick off your career.

There are also hybrid programs for those looking to earn a master’s in data science in a specific industry—like earth sciences or healthcare—that offer more specialized experience.

Health informatics: As the amount of biological data grows, data scientists can help analyze and interpret large amounts of this information.

Data analysis for public policy: The field of public policy makes heavy use of data in order to interpret domestic and world trends in fields like population, mortality and education levels.

Boot Camps

Boot camps provide a unique opportunity for individuals to reskill or upskill their current technical knowledge in areas like data science, analytics, coding, UX/UI design and cybersecurity. Learners in boot camps gain real-world experience and quality instruction in a shorter amount of time. Upon completing a boot camp, learners can apply their new skills across industries—from retail companies to fintech.

Technology boot camps typically offer:

  • A comprehensive curriculum in a short time frame.
  • Instruction methods and material for both experienced and inexperienced learners.
  • In-person and online options—and schedule flexibility for people who have other obligations, like a full-time job.
  • An opportunity to build connections in the industry and develop the skills to excel in your career.

If you are interested in upskilling and gaining new skills within a few weeks or months, data science boot camps are a readily available option. It is important to select a boot camp that is offered through accredited universities and meet standards of quality, rigor and reputation.

Short Courses

Online short courses provide individuals with an opportunity to complete non-credit bearing courses or earn a certificate. Short courses that allow you to earn a certificate typically offer sequential and progressive courses, similar to a degree program.

Data science short courses are offered in related subjects, including:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business analytics
  • Data analytics
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Algorithmic trading
  • FinTech
  • Marketing analytics

Individual, self-paced courses vary in length but can take 48–90 hours to complete. Being able to work at your own pace is a perk for those who need greater flexibility or would like to learn faster or slower than the recommended cadence.

Even if you’re not looking to change careers, an online data science course can help expand your foundation of knowledge. Students who complete online data science courses gain valuable new skills to apply in their career.

Choosing the Best Data Science Master’s Program For You

Online vs. On-Campus Data Science Programs

Both online and on-campus data science master’s programs can prepare learners for careers in the field.

Traditional, campus-based learning offers:

  • Face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Access to research materials and campus libraries among other facilities.

Online master’s programs may offer:

  • Flexibility to complete coursework around work schedule and family life.
  • Asynchronous course content, which means you can study from any location.
  • Cost savings, since certain online programs may cost less than those offered in person.

Today, there are online data science degree programs designed to simulate an in-classroom experience and deliver a rigorous education to you in your home. When searching for the right online program for you, research the overall academic quality and credibility of the program to determine if it will suit your needs, learning style and career goals.

Full- vs. Part-time Data Science Programs

Part-time data science degree programs typically appeal to learners with limited time. Many universities accommodate a range of learner needs by offering both full- and part-time degree programs, in-person as well as online.

Full-time data science programs:

1-2 years to complete

Part-time data science programs:

2.5-3 years to complete

Determine how much time you have to commit to a program and how soon you wish to enter the field. If you are looking to become a data scientist sooner rather than later, pursuing a full-time program means you’ll earn your degree in a shorter amount of time. However, a part-time degree program in data science can open the door for the same types of career opportunities—with a little extra patience.

Last updated June 2024

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