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In today’s data-driven world, business analytics is pivotal across all industries. Organizations increasingly rely on skilled professionals who can analyze complex datasets to determine actionable insights. A master’s in business analytics provides students with the necessary knowledge to create data-backed strategies that boost revenue and align with overarching company objectives.

This degree provides opportunities for careers in high-demand fields such as operations research analysts, with median salaries at $85,720; management analysts, earning median salaries of $95,920; and financial analysts, where professionals earn a median of $96,220. Alongside lucrative salaries, these roles are also projected to see substantial growth over the coming decade — with some roles expected to see growth as high as 10%.

Completing this degree requires 18 months to two years of full-time study. As we explore the best programs available, it’s also important to consider the investment involved. The average cost for graduate education in the 2020-2021 academic year was $19,749 – but this figure can vary substantially depending on the institution.

How to Choose a Master’s in Business Analytics Program

Choose your area of study

While the job outlook for individuals in business analytics is largely positive, you can increase your competitiveness by aligning your career goals with market demands — significantly improving your job prospects.

Options vary depending on the institution but may include marketing, supply chain, or financial analytics. For instance, students wanting to leverage data in making strategic marketing decisions may enjoy concentrating in marketing analytics, while those interested in optimizing logistics may opt for supply chain analytics. Financial analytics, on the other hand, is ideal for money-savvy students eager to use data to manage risk and understand market trends.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve decided on a potential specialization, you can strategically leverage that choice to tailor your education to your career goals. When researching schools and programs, consider the following questions:

You can likely find most of this information on program websites, but don’t hesitate to reach out to an admissions counselor to clarify any outstanding questions. Many students also benefit from attending information sessions or open houses, as these events may provide additional insight.

Prepare for tests and applications

Now that you have shortlisted your preferred business analytics programs, it’s essential to start preparing for tests and applications early.

Gather certain application materials, like transcripts and letters of recommendation, at least two months in advance to avoid last-minute stress. Dedicate significant time to writing your personal statement, as this component is critical in illustrating your motivations and fit for the program — expect to spend a few weeks refining it. For programs requiring standardized test scores from the GRE or GMAT, consider enrolling in a test prep course well in advance to boost your scores.

Select your program

When choosing between multiple programs, revisit your initial criteria, emphasizing the most important aspects to you. These might be factors like curriculum relevance, faculty you’re excited to learn from, networking opportunities — or something entirely different. It’s important to recognize that this decision is intensely personal, and only you can determine which elements are the most crucial to your educational experience.

However, you’ll want to focus somewhat on the total cost of attendance — comparing it with any financial aid packages available. By taking this approach, you can better balance your academic preferences with financial practicalities, guiding yourself to the program that best suits your personal and professional goals.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

To finance your degree, prioritize financial aid resources that don’t require repayment — such as scholarships and grants, which are awarded based on merit or need. Then, explore assistantships, which provide tuition waivers or stipends in exchange for research or teaching duties, offering both financial and professional benefits. If you’re currently employed, ask your employer about tuition reimbursement programs.

As a last resort, consider federal loans offering lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than private loans to cover any remaining financial gaps.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Business Analytics Programs

Best Master’s in Business Analytics Degree Programs

Columbia University in the City of New York

University of San Diego

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Southern Utah University

University of Minnesota

Fordham University

University of Massachusetts Amherst

DePaul University

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

This list features some of the best master’s in business analytics degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, regionally accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education. Many of the options on our list also have programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), both reputable organizations that assess business programs for educational excellence.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for on-campus students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of master’s in business analytics degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Business Analytics Program?

A master’s in business analytics program provides students with advanced analytical skills focused on interpreting and leveraging data within a business context to drive decision-making and strategy. Throughout the curriculum, learners engage with subjects like statistical analysis, predictive modeling, data visualization, and machine learning, emphasizing their application in real-world business scenarios.

Most programs necessitate a thesis or capstone project, demonstrating the ability to apply analytical techniques to solve business programs. The typical timeline for completion ranges from 18 months to two years, depending on the program’s structure and whether you opt for full- or part-time enrollment.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in business analytics program

  • Predictive Analytics for Business Decision Making: An essential requirement in most curriculums, this course explores predictive modeling techniques, such as regression analytics, time series forecasting, and machine learning algorithms. Students gain hands-on experience applying these methods to historical data to forecast future business outcomes.
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics Strategy: Another standard course, this class teaches students to develop and implement a business analytics strategy that aligns with organizational goals. This includes understanding the role of data governance and data ethics and how to manage analytics teams and projects to drive business value and maintain competitive advantage.
  • Data Visualization and Communication: A cornerstone in many curriculums, this course teaches students the art and science of presenting data in visually compelling ways using tools like Tableau and Power BI. It covers principles of design, storytelling with data, and techniques for effectively communicating analytical insights to non-technical audiences, which is essential for influencing business decisions.
  • Big Data Technologies in Business: This course introduces students to the ecosystem of big data technologies, including Hadoop and Spark. Learners explore how to store, process, and analyze vast amounts of data, enabling businesses to unlock insights from big data sources efficiently.

Master’s in Business Analytics Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in business analytics degree program?

To apply for a master’s in business analytics, you’ll need transcripts, a bachelor’s degree, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Programs may specify a minimum GPA and require GRE or GMAT scores — although GRE scores are more common.

Each institution may have unique prerequisites, so reviewing these before applying is essential. For this reason, speaking to an admissions counselor is crucial — they can offer insights into the program and help strengthen your application, ensuring you meet all criteria.

How much does a master's in business analytics degree cost?

The cost of these degrees varies by institution, with the average graduate education costing $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year. However, you’ll need to account for additional expenses like textbooks, course materials, living costs, and potential lost income during your studies.

Speak with a financial aid counselor at your prospective schools. They can provide detailed financial information, including access to scholarships, grants, and loan opportunities to help fund your education.

How long does it take to earn a master's in business analytics degree?

Completing this degree takes 18 months to two years for full-time students, while part-time students may need three to four years, depending on the program’s credit requirements.

Both enrollment types can be advantageous for different reasons. For example, full-time enrollment allows quicker degree completion, benefiting those wanting to re-enter the workforce promptly. However, part-time study offers flexibility, which is suitable for working professionals to balance career commitments, but it extends the time to graduation.

You’ll also want to note the total credit requirement for each program, as this can vary. Generally speaking, the more credits required, the longer it’ll take to complete.