Top Online Master’s in Data Science Programs 2023

Aaron PerkowitzASO Rankings Team
Updated September 22, 2023
Edited by
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Data science combines elements of math, computer science, and business to collect and analyze data. Corporations utilize this information to better understand business needs and make forecasts. Most industries use data science to optimize manufacturing, sales, and employee workflow.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for data scientists and related roles to grow as corporations increasingly rely on big data. Individuals interested in analysis and making recommendations to management can pursue degrees and careers in data science.

This page explores the best online master’s in data science programs, covering information on typical courses, career pathways, tuition costs, and more.

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Best Online Master’s in Data Science Programs

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#1 Top Online Master’s in Data Science Programs 2023

Lewis University

  • Location-markerRomeoville, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$34,268
  • Out-of-state$34,268
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate66%
  • Students Enrolled6,437
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment89%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Top Online Master’s in Data Science Programs 2023

University of Pennsylvania

  • Location-markerPhiladelphia, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$53,166
  • Out-of-state$53,166
  • Retention Rate95%
  • Acceptance Rate9%
  • Students Enrolled26,552
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment85%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Top Online Master’s in Data Science Programs 2023

New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Location-markerNewark, NJ
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,448
  • Out-of-state$30,160
  • Retention Rate89%
  • Acceptance Rate66%
  • Students Enrolled11,652
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Top Online Master’s in Data Science Programs 2023

DePaul University

  • Location-markerChicago, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$40,551
  • Out-of-state$40,551
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate70%
  • Students Enrolled21,922
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment99%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Top Online Master’s in Data Science Programs 2023

University of Detroit Mercy

  • Location-markerDetroit, MI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$29,562
  • Out-of-state$29,562
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate79%
  • Students Enrolled4,987
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes

Why Get Your Master’s in Data Science Online?

An online master’s in data science program teaches individuals the skills to pursue careers in the field. Master’s-level graduates demonstrate to employers that they have the programming, data gathering, and analysis knowledge necessary to work in data science. Data science program applicants can choose between in-person and online programs.

Prospective enrollees should consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option. Online programs offer increased flexibility and allow students to attend nationwide courses without having to relocate. However, distance programs may provide fewer opportunities for networking and one-on-one interactions with professors.

  • Flexibility: Programs may offer asynchronous classes, which offer more freedom in scheduling courses and completing assignments.
  • Education: Aside from their delivery methods, online programs typically share the same curriculums as their in-person counterparts.
  • Salary: Data scientists earned a median pay of $103,500 in 2022, according to the BLS. This figure far outpaces the national median pay for all occupations of $46,310.

Careers for Online Master’s in Data Science Graduates

Online master’s in data science programs prepare attendees to pursue multiple careers related to computer science. Graduates can qualify for roles in various industries as data scientists, data engineers, and software engineers.

Many data science careers have similar names but different job functions. Data scientists find patterns in data to help organizations, data engineers look through large data sets and build algorithms, and software engineers develop code. These in-demand jobs all received higher-than-average projected growth rates from the BLS for 2022-2032.

Individuals with master’s degrees in data science can pursue many roles across industries, but earning a Ph.D. in data science can greatly increase the likelihood of landing the top careers in the field.

Careers for Online Master’s in Data Science Graduates
Job TitleIndustriesMedian Annual Salary (May 2022)Job Growth Rate (2022-2032)
Data ScientistHealthcare, agriculture, telecom, cybersecurity$103,500+35%
Software EngineerRetail, healthcare, banking, business$124,200+25%
Computer and Information Research ScientistManufacturing, media, retail$136,620+23%/td>
Source: BLS

Did You Know …

Up to 99% of firms invest in data science and machine learning initiatives, according to a NewVantage Partners survey.

What to Expect From an Online Master’s in Data Science Degree

Data science programs help enrollees develop academic and practical literacy in computer science and business by examining real-world problems. Graduates multiple programming languages to gather data and use statistics to gain valuable insights.

Most full-time data science programs take 1-2 years and require 30-45 credits. Program tuition can range from $20,000-70,000, which does not include additional fees for books, extracurriculars, or the cost of living.

Data science, a broad term, includes many subfields. Prospective data scientists can often choose from data science specializations, including analytics, artificial intelligence, and technology entrepreneurship. Enrollees engage in core, analytical, programming, and business courses.

Some online master’s in data science programs require a capstone project or research paper. Institutions may allow students to choose between these pathways. Schools typically have the same costs, courses, and graduation requirements for online and in-person programs, though they may apply additional distance learning fees.

Students who must complete capstone projects can implement their cumulative skills to program and generate real-world business plans. Enrollees completing thesis requirements can demonstrate their knowledge of data science, research, and analysis.

How to Apply for Master’s in Data Science Programs

Admission requirements for master’s in data science programs vary among institutions. Generally, an applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Individuals do not need to hold data science or computer science degrees but may need to demonstrate relevant skills or take prerequisite courses.

Candidates can start the application process by confirming eligibility, completing an online application, submitting official transcripts, and paying an application fee. Programs typically require each applicant to submit a statement of purpose, a resume, letters of recommendation, and/or a writing sample. Most schools do not require GRE/GMAT scores, but prospective enrollees should always research this requirement before applying.

Popular Master’s in Data Science Courses

Data science programs offer various curriculums, electives, and specializations. However, most schools explore similar fundamental knowledge and core courses. The list below includes some of the most common courses in online master’s in data science programs.

  • Data Structures and Algorithms: Students learn to build algorithms in Python and other languages. Coursework covers topics like testing, debugging, and data structuring.
  • Machine Learning: This introductory course teaches business applications of the field. Attendees will study machine learning frameworks, regressions, classifications, and more.
  • Data Exploration and Visualization: Enrollees study how to assess data quality, create an analysis, and communicate results with visual data. The course focuses on teaching the programming language R.
  • Advanced Programming Techniques: Students develop their programming skills to assist with data gathering, analysis, and machine learning tasks. Courses may also cover computer security and computer architecture.
  • Data Governance, Ethics, and Law: This course reviews the legal and ethical boundaries of data gathering and data management. Relevant law topics include copyrights, patents, and contracts.

Is Accreditation Important for Online Data Science Degrees?

Data science program applicants should only attend schools that hold accreditation. Accredited institutions have undergone voluntary evaluation by third-party agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that they meet a certain standard of education.

Departments and programs within institutions can also hold accreditation. The primary accreditor for data science programs is ABET’s Computing Accreditation Commission, but the agency does not offer the status to graduate programs.

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

Online master’s in data science tuition can range from around $20,000-$70,000 for the entire program. In-person and online costs are approximately the same. Tuition costs depend on factors like school prestige, program length, and in-state vs. out-of-state residency. Attendees should also budget for necessities like housing, food, a computer, and any tech requirements.

Applicants can take advantage of financial aid programs to assist with their online master’s in data science program. Scholarships and grants, like the Great Minds in STEM scholarship and the Department of Defense Scholarship-for-Service program, do not need to be repaid, making them ideal sources of funding.

Enrollees who do not receive scholarships can apply for private and federal loans, which require repayment. Students can receive federal and local aid by filling out a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which will determine eligibility.

Questions About Online Master’s in Data Science Degrees

question-mark-circleWhat is the difference between data science and machine learning?

Data science uses individuals to filter and analyze data, while machine learning automatically learns by using past data. Data scientists can excel with strong business and analytical skills—machine learning engineers focus more on programming.

question-mark-circleHow long does it take to earn a master’s in data science online?

Online master’s in data science programs usually take 1-2 years to complete. A student’s timeline to completion depends upon their amount of transfer credits, courseload, and full-time vs. part-time enrollment choice.

question-mark-circleDo you need a master’s degree to work in data science?

Not all data science jobs require applicants to hold master’s degrees in data science. However, master’s degree-holders may receive preference among other job candidates and demonstrate their hard skills and commitment to the industry.

question-mark-circleDoes a career in data science require coding?

Data science requires coding to gather, clean, and organize data. Data scientists can use multiple programming languages, including Python, R, and SQL.

question-mark-circleIs an online master’s in data science worth it?

Individuals interested in data, analytics, and business may find data science master’s programs to be worthwhile ventures. Prospective data scientists often must take on a significant financial burden to learn necessary skills but can pursue roles that align with their skills and interests after graduation.

All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the ASO Rankings Team.

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