The Best Data Science
Master’s Programs of 2021

Do you want to become the greatest data scientist, business analyst, or data analyst? You need to study for one of the best Master’s Degrees in Data Science to accomplish this. Statistical models, research projects, data visualization, and real-world data are what these programs focus on.

Master’s in Data Science students qualify for the best careers in business intelligence and big data. This detailed guide will reveal the best master’s degree programs to advance your career in data science.

Why You Should Study Data Science

Data science professionals are heavily in demand, and they will continue to be. This profession is needed in almost every industry. Healthcare facilities, financial institutions, learning institutions, and even brick-to-mortar stores all greatly rely on data science.

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A Master’s Degree in Data Science is the answer to diversify your professional portfolio. There is a growing need for data science to explore fresh ideas and contribute more creatively. Experts consistently have to find better strategies and solutions to help businesses achieve their data-driven objectives.

Data science master’s programs ensure you don’t have ability without soft skills. You will learn to make strategic business decisions, apply critical thinking, and lead others. Data science soft and technical skills are transferable to a wide variety of computer science careers, so you can effortlessly change your specialization.

At a Glance: Top 10 Data Science Master’s Programs of 2021

There’s plenty of variety in the best Master’s Degrees in Data Science. Students work with big data, advanced statistical methods, and data analysis before taking on a capstone project to showcase their abilities.

Below are the best data science master’s programs to help you make progress in your data science career. The information in the table is sourced from the various schools’ websites.

School and Program State In-State
Bay Path University
Master of Science (MS) in Applied Data Science
(MA) $880 per credit hour $880 per credit hour Yes
Contemporary Technology University
MS in Computer Science: Data Science
(CA) $660 per credit hour $660 per credit hour Online and Hybrid
DePaul University
MS in Data Science
(IL) $690 per credit hour $690 per credit hour No
New York University
MS in Data Science
(NY) Around $2,000 per credit hour Around $2,000 per credit hour No
South Dakota State University
Data Science MS
(SD) $650 per credit hour $650 per credit hour Hybrid
Stanford University
MS in Statistics: Data Science
(CA) $18,105 per quarter $18,105 per quarter No
Portland State University
MS in Applied Data Science for Business
(OR) $30,780 total $37,125 total Yes
University of Oklahoma
Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics
(OK) $350 per credit hour $960 per credit hour Yes
University of Rochester
MS in Data Science
(NY) $1,818 per credit $1,818 per credit No
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
MS in Data Science
(WI) $522 per credit hour $1,079 per credit hour Yes

What Are the Requirements for a Data Science Master’s Degree?

You must have a bachelor’s degree before enrolling in a data science master’s degree program. Your bachelor’s must be in mathematics, statistics, computer science, business, or a related study area. You should also have completed courses in calculus, linear algebra, and computer science, and your GPA shouldn’t be less than 3.0.

Some universities accept extensive work experience instead. If you’re an international student, you’ll need to complete an English proficiency test.

Should You Pursue a Data Science Master’s Online

Should You Pursue a Data Science Master’s Online?

Online graduate programs in data science are convenient. You don’t have to pay the exorbitant costs associated with living on campus, and you can complete a program at your own pace.

The online studying route allows you to attend universities outside of your area. This means you will have a broader selection of data science master’s programs to choose from. Plus, the flexibility of these graduate programs means you can work while you study.

There are many advantages of online colleges, but you need to have self-discipline. If you can’t work alone, and you perform better in a group, choose on-campus learning. Online programs are also less likely to be immersive.

Choosing the Right Data Science Master’s Degree Program

Choosing the best Master’s Degree in Data Science is more difficult than picking between an online or on-campus program. There are so many factors to consider. The most vital points are the university’s tuition costs, the program’s duration, and the availability of capstone projects.

Below are the best tips for choosing a data science master’s program.

Tuition and Fees

Considering a program’s tuition and fees is not just about checking if your budget can allow it. You need to judge whether you think you’ll receive a positive return on investment (ROI) for your studies. In other words, will it make back the money you spent and more?

If you’re paying $20,000 in tuition and fees for two years, how long will it take you to find a job, get a raise, or receive a promotion to earn that money back?

Another thing to consider with tuition is whether you can afford the entire program. For students in the middle of a career change who are dealing with debt, many universities offer financial aid and scholarships.

The Program’s Duration and Structure

Among data science master’s degree programs, there are full-time, part-time, accelerated, and decelerated options. If you want to complete your program in record time, and you don’t have other responsibilities, a full-time or accelerated program would suit you. Accelerated data science master’s programs allow you to earn your degree in half the time.

For students who want more time to study, or want to maintain a work-study balance, choose a part-time or decelerated program.

Capstone Projects and Hands-On Learning

This is a valuable component of a master’s curriculum, though not all have it. A capstone course typically runs over two semesters and comprises a presentation and publication of your capstone project.

Completing a capstone course is the perfect opportunity to show employers your teamwork and practical skills. If you do really solid work, established data science professionals will take notice and companies will be more likely to hire you.

Top Data Science Master’s Degrees in 2021

Now that you know what to look for in a Master’s in Data Science, let’s take a closer look at all of the programs listed in the table above.

Bay Path University | MS in Applied Data Science

To complete Bay Path’s Master of Science in Data Science, choose the specialist or generalist route. The specialist route entails more data-specific expertise, while the generalist option offers a well-rounded, diverse skillset.

This program is available part-time for two years or full-time for one year. Students will take part in hands-on application of data science skills, and they will complete a capstone project. The program’s five core courses cover data analytics, data mining, probability, statistics, text mining, and deep learning.

Top Features

The program includes a capstone course.

You will get hands-on experience using real-world data.

There are two different tracks and two different study methods.

Contemporary Technology University | MS in Computer Science: Data Science

This data science master’s degree covers data interpretation, machine learning, communication skills, formulating data-driven insights, and managing large datasets. You can take this program completely online or through hybrid learning.

The tuition payment methods are highly flexible. You can pay 30 percent upfront and pay the rest when you find a job. As this is a computer science program with a specialization in data science, you’ll build up your programming skills too.

Top Features

Students have various learning methods to choose from.

This program is ideal for students pursuing high-paying computer science careers.

The school offers flexible methods for paying tuition and fees.

DePaul University | MS in Data Science

DePaul University’s online learning platform for the MS in data science offers the same alumni, career services, software, and facility as the on-campus classes.

There is a capstone course available, and students can choose a concentration in health care, hospitality, or marketing. The program entails statistical models, data visualization, research projects, and applied data science techniques.

Top Features

Tuition and fees are more affordable than most programs.

The online learning platform is highly advanced.

This program is ideal for students who want to specialize in data science.

New York University | MS in Data Science

This MS in Data Science is highly selective, meaning the university only admits students with a strong background in mathematics. There are three study tracks to choose from and a capstone project is available. The program also offers a summer research project and career services.

A few of the topics you’ll cover are machine learning, big data, probability, applied data science, statistics, deep learning, and natural language processing. This program is available for full-time or part-time learning.

Top Features

It includes a capstone course.

You can complete a summer research project for extra credits.

Full-time and part-time studying options are available.

South Dakota State University | Data Science MS

In this program, students learn statistical programming, big data analytics, data warehousing, data mining, and applied statistics. The program runs for one year and has a blended learning format.

South Dakota State University maintains the same quality of resources and faculty in its online classes as in its on-campus classes. However, the university doesn’t offer many student services for this program.

Top Features

This MS doesn’t require much time to complete.

It’s ideal for students who specialize in data science.

You can do some of your coursework online.

Stanford University | MS in Statistics: Data Science

Stanford University’s statistics program focuses on the relationship between advanced applied statistics techniques and data science. A few of the courses are machine learning, statistics, scientific computing, and software development.

If you haven’t learned C++ or CSS, you can take courses to gain this core knowledge. There is also a summer work placement program available. This program is fantastic for students who want to master the mathematics of data science.

Top Features

You will gain mathematical and statistical skills in data science.

There’s a work placement option for maximum hands-on experience.

You will have access to courses beyond the core curriculum.

Portland State University | MS in Applied Data Science for Business

Portland State University not only has a good reputation, but its data science program is perfect for students who need business and data science expertise. This Master’s of Science program entails business transformation, data structures, machine learning, and managerial accounting.

The program includes hands-on learning, mentoring, resume workshops, career support, and job placement help. Students can complete this master’s program through full-time or part-time classes.

Top Features

This MS is ideal for professionals who want jobs in business intelligence.

You can study part-time or full-time.

There are countless student services available.

University of Oklahoma | MS in Data Science and Analytics

University of Oklahoma’s MS in Data Science and Analytics covers database management, computing structures, algorithm analysis, data analysis, and statistical analysis. Students can progress in the field of data science and become data analysts or business analysts.

The university partners with industry experts to train you in data science. Compared to many other programs, this one lacks extensive student services and hands-on learning opportunities.

Top Features

The school offers financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Data science students can progress into analyst roles.

The MS program focuses solely on academics.

University of Rochester | MS in Data Science

The Master of Science in Data Science by the University of Rochester comprises four core courses and a capstone project. The content includes data mining, database management, and statistics. To gain extra credits, you can attend a summer course in data structures and Python programming.

You have to complete the program within three semesters, and there’s no way to extend this. The program offers part-time and full-time studying. However, for part-time studying, you can’t take more than two courses per semester. The learning times aren’t convenient for working professionals either.

Top Features

You can take a summer course in Python for extra credits.

Students have access to a part-time study option.

The program ends with a capstone project.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire | MS in Data Science

This MS in Data Science is a fully online program with 12 courses and maximum flexibility, so you can work while studying. The courses in this program include statistical methods, data visualization, data analysis, big data, and programming.

You’ll learn the recipe for lucrative business decisions, how to communicate data, and the ethics of data science. Students work with sophisticated software, real-world data sets, and apply the latest data visualization techniques.

Top Features

Flexible study times allow students to work while studying.

The online learning platform is sophisticated.

This MS is ideal for students who specialize in data science.

Career Options With a Data Science Master’s Degree

Career Options With a Data Science Master’s Degree

With a Master’s Degree in Data Science, the senior, top-paying jobs are yours for the taking. You can become a senior data analyst, a statistician, a data architect, and so much more.

In 2021, these are the best careers to pursue with a Data Science MS.

Top Data Science Master’s Degree Careers

Profession Average Salary
Chief Data Officer $176,760
Data Architect $121,210
Machine Learning Engineer $112,917
Data Scientist $96,609
Statistician $93,290
Senior Business Intelligence Analyst $90,267
Big Data Engineer $89,838
Management Analyst $87,660
Financial Analyst Manager $83,660
Senior Data Analyst $82,523

How Much Can I Earn With a Data Science Master’s Degree?

According to ZipRecruiter, most data scientists with a master’s earn between $56,500 and $130,000 per year. This range excludes both the lowest and the highest quartile of the salary distribution. On average, a Master’s in Data Science is worth $98,921 in yearly income.

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Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Data Science?

If you’re passionate about data analysis, big data, statistical models, data visualization, and working with real-world data, you should get a Master’s Degree in Data Science. The best of these degrees will give you a competitive edge, and you can finally land your dream job.

A master’s degree requires two years at most. This isn’t a lot of time to invest in a degree that can accelerate your career. Choose any of the master’s degree programs on this list and watch your data science career take off.

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