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Top 10 Online Data Science Masters Programs

A Master's in Data Science opens doors to a myriad of lucrative careers. MSDS graduates go on to successful careers in business, data engineering, developing, and much more. In May 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Computer and Information Research Scientists were making on average $122,840 a year. The flexibility of online education allows you to earn your degree without sacrificing your current job or other responsibilities. Here are the top rated online data science masters programs, based on academic quality, affordability, and depth of offerings.

1. University of Southern California

Boasting a graduation rate of 92%, USC offers a Master's in Data Science through the Viterbi School of Engineering that is 100% online. Students learn via live streamed lectures or recorded ones, and study Python, data infrastructure, databases, data mining, and more. USC requires that applicants hold a BS in engineering or a related subject.

2. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is a little more flexible when it comes to its applicants–candidates don't need to hold a specific Bachelor's, but do need to fulfill some prerequisites, as well as submit GRE, GMAT, or MCAT scores. The program takes two years to complete, and incorporates both live sessions and self-paced work. Courses include "Ethics of Big Data," "Data Mining," and a capstone course.

3. Brandeis University

With a graduation rate of almost 90%, Brandeis offers 14 online master's programs. MSDS students can pick between a variety of electives: their website includes examples such as "Data Security, Privacy and Ethics," "Marketing and Customer Analytics," and "Project Management for Analytics".

4. George Mason University

GMU describes its Master's in Data Science program as "career-based," and not without reason–faculty regularly consult a committee of industry experts when developing curriculum, and courses include real-world training and research. The Volgenau School of Engineering was named one of "The 20 Best Schools to Study Big Data Analytics" by TechRepublic.

5. DePaul University

Students of DePaul University's MSDS program are required to take foundational and advanced courses, but get to choose their elective, which include courses such as "Enterprise Cloud Computing" and "SQL Server Business Intelligence Program." The program culminates in a capstone course.

6. Western Governors University

At $3,540/six-month term, with most students completing the program in 18 months, Western Governors University is the most affordable option on this list. Each student is assigned a faculty mentor, who provides one-on-one guidance and instruction throughout all courses. All students complete a capstone at the end of the program, in which they identify a problem in the data science industry and propose a solution.

7. Regis University

Regis University's 2-year online MSDS program organizes the year into 8-week terms. While there are required core classes, students can customize their experience in their selection of elective courses, and have the option to partake in the Data Engineering Specialization. Regis students go on to successful careers, with almost 90% of students employed six months after graduation.

8. Northeastern University

The Master's of Professional Studies in Informatics at Northeastern can be completed in 1.5-3 years, depending on if you're studying part-time or full-time. Courses are divided into general requirements, electives such as "Web Creation Boot Camp," and experiential learning, including a capstone project. Students benefit from Northeastern's 255,000+ alumni network and 3,350+ employer partners.

9. Davenport University

Davenport has extensive financial aid support, with over 95% of students receiving assistance. The online Master's in Data Analytics program is five semesters long and requires 30 credits. Courses from Davenport's other colleges (including the colleges of Business, Technology, and Arts and Sciences) are incorporated into the curriculum.

10. Austin Peay State University

At $450/credit in-state, APSU is one of the more inexpensive top online colleges. The M.S. in Computer Science and Quantitative Methods offers 3 concentrations online: Data Management and Analysis, Predictive Analytics, and Mathematics Instruction. Students finish the program with either a capstone or thesis project.