Top Master's in Data Science Programs 2019

Data has a better idea

Data scientists leverage large amounts of raw data to draw valuable insights to help organizations reach goals and make sound business decisions. With an ever-growing amount of data collected in the world every second, the need for talented data scientists grows across every industry. As a result, there are now several institutions offering Best Masters in Data Science programs around the United States.

Demand For Data Scientists


It’s no secret that the demand for data scientists has continued to soar over the past few years. In a 2017 report, IBM estimated that by 2020 there would be an increase of 364,000 job openings for data and analytics talent in the United States alone. In addition, these specific data-centered skills have risen in popularity across job postings:

Data Science: +40%
Quantitative Data Analysis: +38%
Data Visualization: +31%
Machine Learning: +17%
and so on...
An Indeed report from January 2019 also revealed a massive upswing in employer demand for skilled data-driven professionals. In just one year (from 2017 to 2018), job postings on the site targeting “data scientists” increased nearly 30 percent. With no signs of data creation slowing down in the foreseeable future, the field of data science will continue to grow. Consequently, there’s no telling what new positions will appear in the coming years.

Data Science Salaries


Data Scientists in 2019 enjoyed an average base pay of $117,345, according to Glassdoor. This salary varies by industry, location, and experience. Comparatively, Data Analysts can expect to earn $67,000/year and Data Engineers about $116,000/year. If you’re planning on participating in Masters in Data Science programs, you will have a bright future for your career and high earning potential. The same Indeed report referenced earlier states that the highest paying data science positions are clustered around Houston, San Francisco, and Seattle. Of course, it’s important to also factor in living cost when considering salaries.

What To Consider When Choosing A Masters In Data Science Program


1. The Faculty

Are the professors in your desired field of study experts or thought leaders in their field? Master’s degree students are more likely to interact directly with professors, so it is important to understand where your professor’s research and expertise lie, and whether it aligns with your own interests.Universities with best Masters in data science programs often have faculty pages specific to their schools featuring their lead researchers.

2. Potential Employers

What employers are frequenting the university’s career fairs? What companies are sponsoring or partnering with the university in research? If you intend to look for new employment after graduation, applying at a company that has already built a relationship with a good university can bring quicker, better results. Even if you already have an employer, you may interact with other companies for research, case studies, and tours; so knowing what companies you will be learning from is an important consideration. Be sure to visit the career pages of these universities, but also study the background of your program’s faculty, including what companies they worked with.

3. Accreditation

Make sure to do your research. One sign of a credible university is accreditation by a reputable organization. Accreditation ensures that the university’s degree programs meet a minimum quality standard, and ensures that graduates of a program meet a set of graduation criteria. All of the universities listed on this page have proper accreditation.

4. Overall Reputation

There are countless websites that aim to rank foremost universities based on algorithms consider a variety of factors. The most popular ranking system for most universities in the US is the US News & World Report. The best universities table below shows the overall ranking, but you would want to see how the university fairs in the subject of your interest. For those interested in a MS in Data Science, do ranking bodies consider the university to be a leading university in information science and computing? Please remember that rankings are meant to be guidelines to evaluate university reputation; they are not meant to be treated as decisive factors on their own.

5. Master of Data Science Requirements

Many Masters in Data Science programs require at least a strong quantitative background, knowledge of data structures, and linear algebra. Some programs may also require working proficiency in data wrangling programming languages, such as R, Python, or SQL.

Best Universities With Master’s In Data Science


Syracuse University Logo

Degree:MS in Applied Data Science
Online/On-Campus: Online
2018 US News Ranking: #11
Accreditation:Middle States Commission On Higher Education

Sponsored Program
UC Berkeley School of Information Logo

Degree:Master of Information and Data Science
Online/On-Campus: Online
2018 US News Ranking: #21
Accreditation:Western Association Of Schools And Colleges

Sponsored Program
Data Science at SMU Logo

Degree:MS in Data Science
Online/On-Campus: Online
2018 US News Ranking: #61
Accreditation:Southern Association Of Colleges And Schools Commission On Colleges (SACSCO)

Sponsored Program
Best Universities With Master’s In Data Science
University Degree Online/On-Campus 2018 US Ranking Accreditation
Bay Path University MS in Applied Data Science Online (102 in regional universities north) New England Association Of Schools And Colleges
Brown University MS in Data Science Campus #14 (tie) New England Association Of Schools And Colleges (NEASC)
Columbia University MS in Data Science Campus #5 Middle States Commission On Higher Education
Elmhurst College MS in Data Science Online (11 in regional universities north) The Commission On Institutions Of Higher Education Of The North Central Association
George Washington University MS in Data Science Online #56 Middle States Association Of Colleges And Schools
Illinois Institute of Technology Master of Data Science Online #103 Higher Learning Commission
Indiana University Bloomington MS in Data Science Online, Campus, or Hybrid1 #90 Higher Learning Commission
Johns Hopkins University MS in Data Science Online or Campus #11 Middle States Commission On Higher Education
Lewis University MS in Data Science Online #23 Higher Learning Commission
Loyola University Maryland MS in Data Science Online or Campus (4 in regional universities north) Middle States Commission On Higher Education (MSCHE)
Merrimack College MS in Data Science Online (56 in regional universities north) New England Association Of Schools And Colleges
New York University MS in Data Science Campus #30 Middle States Commission On Higher Education (MSCHE)
Northeastern University MS in Data Science Online #40 New England Association Of Schools And Colleges, Inc. (NEASC)
Regis University MS in Data Science Online or Campus (27 in regional universites west) The Higher Learning Commission
Saint Mary's College MS in Data Science Online (101 in national liberal arts colleges) Western Association Of Schools And Colleges (WASC)
South Dakota State University MS in Data Science Online or Hybrid1 #216 (tie) Higher Learning Commission
University of Minnesota Twin Cities MS in Data Science Campus #69 (tie) Higher Learning Commission
University of Missouri, Columbia MS in Data Science and Analytics Online #120 Higher Learning Commission
University of North Carolina Wilmington MS in Data Science Campus (14 in regional universities south) Commission On Colleges Of The Southern Association Of Colleges And Schools
University of Notre Dame MS in Data Science Online #18 Higher Learning Commission
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus MS in Data Science and Analytics Online or Campus #97 Higher Learning Commission
University of Southern California MS in Data Science Online or Campus #21 (tie) Western Association Of Schools And Colleges (WASC)
University of Virginia MS in Data Science Campus #25 (tie) Southern Association Of Colleges And Schools Commission On Colleges
University of Washington - Seattle Campus MS in Data Science Campus #56 (tie) Northwest Commission On Colleges And Universities (NWCCU)
University of Wisconsin Colleges MS in Data Science Online #46 (tie) Higher Learning Commission
Utica College MS in Data Science Online #130 Commission On Higher Education Of The Middle States Association Of Colleges And Schools
Worcester Polytechnic Institute MS in Data Science Campus #61 (tie) New England Association Of Schools And Colleges, Inc.
1Hybrid degree programs are on-campus programs that offer many classes online as well, which could potentially allow students to take an entire semester online.Return to footnote reference