A Guide to Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science

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Those who are looking to advance their career in the field of data science, or for those pursuing a new career path altogether, an online master’s in data science program can be an effective and convenient way to achieve this goal. Those who have already completed an undergraduate degree may be surprised to learn that they can obtain a master’s degree in data science online with no GRE required in as little as 10 months with accelerated programs.

What Is an Online Master’s in Data Science?

An online master’s in data science degree is an interdisciplinary study that combines concepts such as mathematics and statistics with computer programming and domain knowledge. This allows students to understand scientific and mathematical methods, as well as algorithms and computer data, to adequately gain knowledge and make predictions using unstructured data sets. To obtain a master’s degree in an online data science program (with no GRE required), applicants must meet academic requirements and have an existing degree to build upon. Generally, this is a bachelor’s degree in a related field; however, requirements will vary from school to school. While the curriculum will also vary depending on which program a student chooses to attend, those who wish to be employed in the data science field must learn several technical skills while they are enrolled in a data science program. Some of the most crucial skills that students learn while pursuing an online master’s in data science include python coding, data visualization, unstructured data, machine learning and AI, Hadoop platforms and data modeling. After obtaining these skills, graduates can gain employment as data scientists, data engineers, financial analyst managers, computer and information research scientists or any number of positions that require advanced data analysis and visualization.

How Much Does an Online Master’s in Data Science Degree Cost?

For those who are interested in pursuing an online master’s in data science degree, the biggest factor when deciding where to attend may come down to cost. As with brick-and-mortar institutions, the price of tuition can vary greatly from one online program to the next. For this degree, students can expect to pay as little as $7,000 or as much as $42,000. Factors that will influence the cost of the degree include whether the program is run by a private or public school as well as their overall curriculum.

Average Salary for a Master’s in Data Science Graduate

Before investing in any educational program, it is wise to investigate the average salary for those currently employed in the field. This will ensure that students recover the cost of their online degree and can give some insight on what to expect as entry-level employees as well as how their pay may progress as they gain experience. Those who have a master’s in data science are often employed as data scientists and can expect to earn an average of $96,596 per year. Starting out in the field, an entry-level employee will likely earn closer to $68,000 and can eventually earn upwards of $135,000 as they gain on the job experience. It is also important to note that location can play a large role in the average level of compensation for this position. In areas where the cost of living is higher and data scientists are in high demand, such as San Francisco, New York and Seattle, employers typically offer a higher salary to start than in other areas. In addition to a base salary, those with a master’s in data science may earn bonuses, profit sharing and commission which results in a higher level of compensation.

What is the Job Outlook for Master’s in Data Science Degree Holders?

Between the years 2019 and 2029, the demand for master’s in data science holders is projected to grow by 15% as the tech industry continues to expand. This is significantly higher than the growth for other occupations which is a mere 4% over the next 10 years.

Courses in master’s in data science programs: 

•   Applied Mathematics 

•   Statistics 

•   Practical Machine Learning 

•   Project Management 

•   Data Governance 

•   Ethics and Law 

•   Data Modeling 

•   Accounting and Finance 

•   Natural Language Processing 

•   Artificial Intelligence 

•   Foundations of Data Engineering 

•   Analytics Application Engineering 

•   Data Visualization 

•   Web and Network Data Science 

•   Python for Data Science 

•   Introduction to Data Science 

•   Database Systems and Data Prep 

•   Business Leadership 

•   Introduction to Big Data 

•   Deep Learning 

•   Data Structures and Algorithms 

•   Cloud Computing 

•   Linear Algebra 

•   Methods for Statistical Consulting 

What Jobs Require a Master’s in Data Science?

The most popular job for those who hold a master’s in data science is as a data scientist. The possibilities for employment with the data scientist degree; however, are plentiful and graduates are not limited to one position. Some other positions that may require this degree are: 

•   Financial Analyst Manager 

•   Computer and Information Research Scientist 

•   Data Engineer 

•   Statistical Data Analyst 

•   Statistician 

•   Operations Research Analyst 

•   Senior Data Analyst 

•   Machine Learning Scientist 

•   Machine Learning Engineer 

•   Applications Architect 

•   Enterprise Architect 

•   Business Intelligence Developer 

•   Business Analyst 

•   Data and Analytics Manager 

•   Data Architect 

Does a Master’s in Data Science Degree Offer Good Job Prospects?

A master’s degree in data science offers exceptional opportunities for employment. With a growth rate of 15% expected by 2029, jobs are plentiful and will continue to be in the future. Likewise, there is a wide variety when it comes to positions for those who hold the degree. From data scientists to business intelligence developers and machine learning engineers, graduates of an online master’s in data science program can easily secure employment in industries that are closely linked to innovative technology, as well as other industries where the need for analysts or data management is needed, such as the medical or insurance industries.

What Are the Difference Specializations in Data Science?

The field of data science is unique because of the immense possibilities for employment in different industries. While many may view data science as a position that exists purely for the technology industry, this is a common misconception. The need for data science exists in many fields that are seemingly unrelated which extends the possibilities when it comes to areas of specialization. Despite this, some of the most common areas of specialization for those with a master’s in data science include big data, machine learning, Python, deep learning, neural networks, database management and enterprise cloud platforms. Within these areas, employees may also have secondary specialties, such as enterprise cloud platforms in the medical field, for instance.

What Does a Master’s in Data Science Program Curriculum Typically Include?

The curriculum of a master’s in data science program will vary slightly from one institution to the next, but they all focus on the same core concepts of mathematics and computer programming. The mathematics courses are advanced in nature and may include classes like calculus, probability, and linear algebra. As for computer programming courses, these are more likely to vary depending on which institution the student attends. Many programs include some form of machine learning coursework along with data mining, big data, and data analysis classes. Along with these main courses, students can also choose several electives which allows them to home in on an area of specialization or explore a variety of concepts related to data science. To complete the degree, most programs will require around 30 credits.


There are a plethora of options available for those who wish to pursue a master’s degree in data science online. This offers maximum flexibility for those who may be currently working a full-time job or who otherwise have time restraints that do not align with a traditional college schedule. It also eliminates the need for traveling back and forth which means that students are free to select programs from across the country instead of being limited to one small region. Online courses typically offer full and part-time enrollment, which allows the master’s in data science degree to be completed in 1-2 years depending on prior academic experience and enrollment status.

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