Is Massachusetts the right state for you to study data science? To help answer your questions, we’ve created a guide to schools, online degrees, scholarships, meetups, and more.
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Studying Data Science in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has capital invested in data science. Under the auspices of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and its Innovation Institute, the state has been investing money into big data, e-commerce, advanced manufacturing, and R&D centers.
For example, big data enthusiasts have access to the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) in Holyoke. The ultimate goal of MassTech and its partners is to make the Bay State a global hub for big data innovation and technology.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Massachusetts Universities
This makes sense, because Massachusetts is home to two of the most famous names in the world. In U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Global Universities in Computer Science and Best Graduate Computer Science Programs, you’ll often find Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a top spot, with Harvard farther down the list. These are joined by a number of high-ranked public and private research universities.
Just to take a few examples of what’s happening on campus:
- MIT has too many research interests to list! One example of data excellence is the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), which is at the cutting edge of AI research—in 2015, it gave birth to the Data Science Machine. MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) is another. It spans all five schools and is deeply invested in solving complex societal challenges.
- Among other things, Harvard has the Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS); the interdisciplinary Center for Research in Computation and Society (CRCS); and the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences (IQSS), which produces projects like the Data Privacy Lab. In 2016, the university signed a six-year, $8.4 million research/commercialization deal with the Tata Group to tackle big data, robotics, and the Internet of Things.
- University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst launched is home to the Center for Data Science (CDS), creating technology and software to better our insights from big data
- Boston University (BU) kicked off its Data Science Initiative (DSI) in 2014, pulling on expertise from the Hariri Institute, the Center for Information & Systems Engineering (CISE), and the Center for Reliable Information Systems and Cyber Security. The Hariri Institute has been involved in all kinds of research projects, including collaborations with MIT’s Lincoln Lab and the NSF.
And we’ve only touched the surface. There’s Northeastern, which has pioneered research into game analytics; Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which is the first school to offer a PhD in data science program in the country; and smaller schools like Bentley and Babson, which have chosen to focus on business applications.
Online Data Science Programs in Massachusetts
Choices for online data science programs in Massachusetts are school-dependent. Depending on the school, offering will range from data science to business intelligence to statistical analytics.
And offerings don’t just vary at the program focus level, either. There are also programs for those of varying abilities. Master’s for those who have earned their bachelor’s degrees. Doctorates for those with an interest in academia. Certificates for those who want to take a few courses to bolster their knowledge in a technical area. Prerequisites will also vary by program – some are designed for those with an undergraduate background in data or statistics, while others are geared towards career changers.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
Northeastern, Boston University, UMass Amherst, and UMass Boston all offer graduate certificates in data analytics and/or business analytics. Typically, these programs cover standard areas like data mining, visualization, and strategic decision-making.
A more unusual approach is Northeastern’s Hybrid Graduate Certificate in Urban Informatics. This is an emerging field in data science, and the university is jumping all over it. For example, academics at Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Research Labs have been exploring the intersection of government data and behavioral and social dynamics.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
Online master’s degree offerings are dominated by large private research universities:
- Boston University has an Master of Science (MS) in Applied Business Analytics Management and a more technical MS in Computer Information Systems with a Data Analytics Concentration.
- Northeastern has all kinds of informatics-themed options, including the Hybrid MS in Urban Informatics and MS in Health Informatics.
Whatever name the degree is under, read up on the course descriptions and the faculty profiles. Some master’s degrees may be more for business types than data lovers.
Data Science Bootcamps in Massachusetts
Data science and data analytics bootcamps in Massachusetts may be an avenue to jump-starting your transition into the field. Bootcamps are short courses of study meant to quickly introduce students to practice compared to a master’s degree. Bootcamps in Massachusetts may be dedicated to data science, the study of how information is derived from raw data; data analytics, the process of drawing specific conclusions from data; or both data science and data analytics. See our guide to learn more about data science bootcamps or data analytics bootcamps in Massachusetts.
Data Science Scholarships in Massachusetts
Financial aid for Massachusetts data science programs is available, even—in certain cases—from MIT and Harvard. We’ve listed scholarships and fellowships that would cover degrees in our school listings, but this is only the beginning. Your Graduate Studies Office will have lots of info on general scholarships, outside sources, and alternative financing options.
- MBA Graduate Assistantships: Babson gives merit-based graduate assistantships to highly qualified applicants to its full-time MBA programs.
- MBA Graduate Awards: Thinking about the MBA with a Business Analytics Concentration? You’ll be pleased to know that there are scores of MBA scholarships available at Babson. For example, the Price Babson MBA Fellowship and Hamilton MBA Scholarship reward entrepreneurial achievements.
- Dean’s Leadership Award: Partial and full-tuition scholarships are available to deserving MBA students. Applicants must have an excellent academic record and a demonstrated commitment to leadership and social responsibility.
- Graduate School of Business (GSB) Assistantships and Scholarships: The GSB administers all kinds of data-focused MBA and MS programs, and it offers a limited number of merit-based assistantships and scholarships to deserving candidates.
- Metropolitan College Graduate Scholarships: BU’s Metropolitan College runs a number of analytics-focused MS programs. There are no graduate scholarships focused solely on computer science, but you may qualify for a number of other scholarships and assistantships.
- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Master’s Scholarships & Fellowships: GSAS, which administers the MA in Computational Linguistics, gives merit-based and need-based awards to various graduate students. These scholarships are often awarded at the time of admission and do not require a separate application.
- T.H. Chan School of Public Health (SPH) Grants: The SPH, which administers the MS in Computational Biology and Quantitative Genetics, offers grant aid (in varying amounts) to some graduate students in resident master’s programs. Grants can cover tuition, fees, and cost of living.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Master of Business Analytics Fellowships: MIT offers a limited number of fellowships to students in this master’s program. Fellowships are extremely competitive.
- ALIGN Scholarships: Students in the ALIGN program, which runs the MS in Bioinformatics and the MS in Health Informatics, are eligible for the same awards as other Northeastern graduate students (e.g. Yellow Ribbon Scholarship).
- College of Professional Studies (CPS) Scholarships: If you’re a Northeastern alum and considering the MPS in Informatics from the CPS, you may be eligible for the Double Husky Alumni Scholarship.
- School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Scholarships: The School of Public Policy administers the MS in Urban Informatics and it has a few awards open to students. For the MS, you may also wish to investigate Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) Scholarships (e.g Dean’s Scholarship).
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Data Science Assistantships: Graduate students in WPI’s data science programs are eligible for Graduate Student Assistantships (GSAs), Teaching Assistantships, and Research Assistantships. TAs receive a monthly stipend, tuition support for a maximum of 9 credits hours per semester, and health insurance.
- GAANN PhD Fellowships in Big Data Computing Research: In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, WPI gives doctoral fellowships to U.S. citizens who wish to study data-driven computing research in “Areas of National Need” (AANN).
Data Science Events in Massachusetts
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Massachusetts
The Greater Boston area has many things: universities, bars, students, and data science meetups. There are groups centered on specific tools (e.g. Apache Spark), foci (e.g. Machine Learning, AI, Cognitive Computing, etc.), and fields (e.g. Bio-Entrepreneurs). As well as those just mentioned, here are 5 more to explore:
- Data & Cognitive Developers – Boston: This meetup was formed with the backing of IBM. The free meetups are intended to give developers & data scientists the chance to work on solutions and tools in IBM’s Big Data portfolio.
- Boston Data Mining (BDM): Home to 5,000+ members, BDM is sponsored by Strata + Hadoop World, WeWork, and Open Data Science. It’s based in Cambridge and hosts talks and events on all kinds of topics related to data mining/science.
- Boston Predictive Analytics: Founded in 2010, BPA organizes a number of lectures, tutorials, and workshops (especially in R). Topics can cover everything from machine learning to social media.
- Western Mass Statistics and Data Science: Targeted towards folks in the Pioneer Valley and Five College Area, this group has evolved into an all-purpose meetup, hosting and cross-listing public talks and events.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Massachusetts
Thanks to its position on the coast, major data science conferences (e.g. Strata Data Conference, Predictive Analytics World, IEEE Conferences, SIGKDD, The Machine Learning Conference, etc.) and focused forums (e.g. PAPIs.io) often stop in Boston. If you’re pursuing a master’s degree or PhD in the Bay State, you may also be interested in:
- MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: If you’re into analytics and sports science, this is the place to be. Along with workshops and talks, there’s a Startup Trade Show, a First Pitch Case Competition, a Hackathon, and a whole lot more.
- Open Data Science Conference (ODSC) East: ODSC regularly alights in Boston for its annual weekend conference. There are talks, in-depth workshops, tutorial sessions, and lots of networking opportunities, as well as a popular Saturday after party.
Data Science Jobs in Massachusetts
Because of all the state encouragement and university research we’ve mentioned, Massachusetts is fertile ground for data science jobs.Those jobs are being generated by a number of employers, both large and small. Some employers include:
- MIT and Harvard form the nuclei of a major technology hub in Cambridge. Google and Amazon have offices here, right down the road from the Microsoft N.E.R.D Center.
- GE moved its headquarters to Boston in 2016, and it’s deeply invested in big data.
In addition, Massachusetts is world-renowned for its medical institutions. If you’re intrigued by the intersection of data science and biotechnology/healthcare, you’re in the right place. According to Research America, Massachusetts ranks #2 in states that receive the most NIH funding and #2 in funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as of fiscal year 2017.
Data Scientist Salaries in Massachusetts
According to the O*NET OnLine, in 2019 data scientists in Massachusetts made an average of $99,520 per year.
Last updated: February 2021
Interested in STEM Careers?
If you’re looking for information on career paths that involve STEM, see our guides below:
Data Science and Analytics Careers:
- Data Scientist
- Data Architect
- Data Engineer
- Data Analyst
- Business Analyst
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Quantitative Analyst
Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Information Careers:
- Computer Engineer
- Computer Scientist
- Information Security Analyst
- Computer & Information Research Scientist
- Computer Systems Analyst
Marketing and User Research Careers:
Compare Careers and STEM Fields:
- Data Analyst vs Data Scientist
- Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering
- Cyber Security vs Computer Science
- Data Analytics vs. Business Analytics
- Data Science vs. Machine Learning
Related STEM Degrees
- Master’s in Business Analytics
- Master’s in Information Systems
- Master’s in Computer Engineering
- Master’s in Computer Science
- Master’s in Cyber Security Programs
- Master’s in Accounting Analytics
- Master’s Applied Statistics
- Master’s in Business Intelligence
- Master’s in Data Analytics for Public Policy
- Data Science MBA Programs
- Master’s in Geospatial Science and
- Geographic Information Systems
- Master’s in Health Informatics
- Master of Library and Information Science
Data Science Programs in Massachusetts
We found 14 universities in Massachusetts 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.