Why This Matters

  • DATA SCIENTIST RANKED #1 JOB IN THE U.S.

    For the last four years, data scientist has been ranked #1 on the list of the 50 best jobs in America by job and recruiting website Glassdoor, based on earning potential, employee satisfaction, and job openings.

  • 364,000 NEW DATA SCIENCE JOBS ANTICIPATED

    According to a report from Forbes, IBM and BHEF, there will be a 15% increase in jobs in data science and analytics, thanks to a sharp increase in the amount of data generated, and discovery of new uses for this data.

  • EARN $32,050 MORE ANNUALLY WITH A MASTER’S

    Most data science jobs require a master’s degree, and have a median annual wage of $118,370. By comparison, the median annual wage for computer occupations that only require a bachelor’s degree is $86,320.

Our Research

Because data science is a STEM field, most of the programs listed are Master of Science degrees, although some are titled Master of Data Science. Both degrees will qualify you for data science-related jobs.

We included both online and on-campus programs. Even if a program is offered online, it may have in-person requirements, like internships or residencies.

Our list features programs that have regional accreditation, as well as some that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Regional accreditation is important if you need to transfer credits to another institution, while specialized accreditations ensure an extra level of quality.

After narrowing our list of programs, we evaluated each of them for reputation, course strength, cost, and flexibility. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program based on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top choices for the best master’s in data science are cost-effective, highly regarded, and flexible.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 51 hours to write this article
  • 139 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 345 education programs we compared

The Top 30 Master’s Degrees in Data Science

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Born in the wake of the digital revolution, the data science profession is relatively new. As such, educational programs and career paths are still forming and evolving, making this an ideal career for people who like to be at the forefront of innovation and development.

Data scientists are not required to have any type of certifications to work professionally. However, there are optional certifications, such as the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP), that data scientists may choose to pursue as extra proof of knowledge and abilities.

As you research data science, you may see information about degrees in business analytics, a closely-related field that deals more with analyzing and using the data that data scientists collect. There are many opportunities in the business analytics field, so you may want to research that career path as well, to determine which type of program is most closely aligned with your professional interests and goals.

Because data scientists work in a variety of different industries, specializing in an area or earning a dual degree can give you an edge as a job candidate. For example, if you want to work in a specific industry like finance or healthcare, you may want to attend a program that will allow you to also study that topic as well as data science.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Masters Data Science programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Because of the specific knowledge and skills needed for advanced education in data science, most master’s programs require students have prior coursework or an undergraduate degree related to computer science. If you do not have this background, you may have to complete prerequisite courses prior to applying or enrolling.
  • Does this program offer the concentration that I want? Multiple areas of specialization exist within the data science field, such as artificial intelligence, data engineering, and cybersecurity. If you have an interest in focusing on a particular topic within data science, find out if the program you’re researching offers a specialization in that topic.

As you identify the programs that interest you, be sure to research their application processes and deadlines, to find out what standardized tests you will have to take and what materials you will need to submit. This information is usually available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly.

You should also look into funding options, including scholarships, assistantships, and student loans. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits.