Top 25 Best Online Data Science Programs

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Now is the time to pursue a career in Big Data. Whatever you call it – data analytics, data science, business analytics, and business intelligence are just a few of the names – Big Data is the next wave of technology. More information is being recorded today than ever in history, between business, government, healthcare, and education, and while computers do the heavy lifting, it still takes highly skilled, rigorously trained human beings to program those computers, run the numbers, analyze outputs, and visualize and communicate the information. From data visualization to artificial intelligence, data science research is the future. And there are not nearly enough people in the data science field to do that work, meaning a major labor shortage and a prime opportunity to get into an in-demand profession.

Featured Programs

In the two years since the first Value College Big Data ranking – one of the first of its kind – Big Data in higher education has blown up, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. There are now nearly twice as many Big Data-focused online degrees being offered as there were just five years ago! That’s why Value Colleges is here. Value Colleges considers only regionally accredited, reputable colleges and universities with a proven track record of job market value and effective skills training. We rank online master’s in data science degree programs by three metrics:

  • Mid-Career Salary Potential (Payscale)
  • U.S. News & World Report ranking
  • Full Program tuition (as reported by the institution)

Be aware that all of the following programs offer fully online coursework, but some may require campus visits for things like orientations, workshops, or thesis defense/presentation. Some online programs, particularly from public universities, are only available in the institution’s home state, or have limited national availability; examine programs closely before committing.

Are you more interested in attending an on-campus data graduate program? Check out our residential Best Value Big Data Programs.

1. Georgia Institute of Technology

Value Colleges’ Best Value, the Georgia Institute of Technology – better known as Georgia Tech – ranks as the leading public STEM research university in the south. Founded in 1885 in Atlanta, GA – a city then still recovering from the utter devastation of the Civil War, and beginning to earn the name Phoenix City, rising from the ashes – Georgia Tech helped lead development as one of Atlanta’s economic powerhouses (one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, with the third-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies). Georgia Tech was founded to bring elite polytechnic learning to the rising South, and it accomplished its goal and then some, growing into one of the most prestigious STEM research and teaching institutions in the nation.

Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Analytics degree is an interdisciplinary model for the field, and Tech’s Analytics program draws on the best research and faculty from around the university to create a well-rounded, industry-accurate course of study in applied data science. The Georgia Tech Analytics program has been nationally ranked as one of the 10 best, and the OMS Analytics is priced far lower than the on-campus program, or any of the program’s competitors. The program can be completed in just 1-2 years, depending on the student’s level of preparation and choice of full-time or part-time study, and interactive course materials, expert instructors, and a mix of delivery tools help Georgia Tech create a rich online experience. Graduates step out into a job market that rivals Silicon Valley, making Georgia Tech the best Big Data investment.

Degree Title: MS in Analytics – 36 credits

2. Fairfield University

Founded in 1942, Fairfield University is a private Catholic institution and part of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Fairfield came about when the New England Society of Jesus – a Catholic religious order dating back to Ignatius of Loyola, a monastic reformer who emphasized education and service – acquired the estates of two prominent families in the area; the college’s first buildings, therefore, were mansions. Designed along the Jesuit principles of academic rigor and ethical responsibility, Fairfield has built a reputation for excellence, with research centers like the Center for Faith and Public Life and the Center for Microfinance emphasizing social engagement and service.

Fairfield University’s online MS in Business Analytics builds on Fairfield’s long history of innovation and development – the university has been named one of the schools most likely to earn international recognition by Times Higher Education. The Dolan School of Business, in particular, has regularly been ranked among the best business schools by U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review, and Businessweek. The 30-credit program focuses on business intelligence and database management, and an interdisciplinary faculty brings together the best aspects of mathematics, computer science, and business. Fairfield’s networks in New England and New York give graduates access to a thriving analytics job market, making it a clear value.

Degree Title: MS in Business Analytics – 30 credits

3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The flagship of the University of Illinois System, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a land-grant, public research university founded in 1867. The purpose of the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Act was to establish public universities focused on agriculture and mechanical science, along with a base in the liberal arts, and like many other land-grant institutions, U of I built on this foundation to create a leading STEM research and learning center. The University of Illinois is a top-tier national university with the highest Carnegie Classification for research, and Illinois’ College of Engineering is one of the oldest and most influential in the nation, from its two dozen research centers and 10 laboratories to excellent undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The University of Illinois’s online Master of Computer Science in Data Science is a one of the top data science degrees; Illinois’ computer science graduate degrees have been ranked in the top 5 nationally. Drawing on the most current computing technology, the MCS-DS focuses on areas like data mining, machine learning, and cloud computing, preparing data science students for a flexible and adaptable skillset that can take them into a wide variety of industries. The MCS-DS program uses a Coursera MOOC format for convenience and simplicity, giving students a thorough but easily-digestible grounding in every aspect of data computing. With the University of Illinois’ prime reputation, graduates can expect a strong return on their online investment.

Degree Title: Master of Computer Science in Data Science – 32 credits

4. La Salle University

La Salle University was founded in 1863 by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Catholic religious order dedicated to education. Though the school developed a strong reputation in the region, it faced bankruptcy and closure twice in the 20th century – first because of the Great Depression, and then when WWII almost completely emptied it of students (as an all-male school, most enlisted to fight). However, the post-War boom in college attendance, thanks to the GI Bill, saved La Salle. The college began accepting women in 1970, and by 1984 had grown to university status; in the 21st century, La Salle has made leaps in the rankings, reaching the top 35 among regional institutions in the North, and gaining national attention as a best value and major force for social mobility for low-income students.

La Salle University’s online MS in Analytics degree program is designed to give students a full, adaptable understanding of data analytics in both theoretical and practical realms. La Salle uses an accelerated 8-week course schedule that allows students to concentrate on one course at a time, getting a deep and detailed immersion in each subject, and still complete the program in two years or less. With its Jesuit heritage, La Salle puts a priority on ethical responsibility, as well as ethical leadership and collaboration. La Salle’s reputation, and its deep connections to the business of Philadelphia and the Northeast, give students assurance of success on the job market and a solid return on investment.

Degree Title: MS in Analytics – 30 credits

5. Saint Joseph’s University

Founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus, Saint Joseph’s University is a private Jesuit, Catholic institution in Philadelphia, PA. Saint Joseph’s is part of the prestigious Association of Jesuit College and University, known for academic excellence and top-tier student support. Catholic faith and Jesuit values (including intellectual rigor and community service) are central to Saint Joseph’s curriculum, from undergraduate to graduate. Frequently ranked as one of the top 20 regional universities in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report, Saint Joseph’s is home to the Haub School of Business, one of the most trusted in Pennsylvania, combining Jesuit ethics and modern business practice and theory.

The Haub School offers the Saint Joseph’s University online MS in Business Intelligence and Analytics, developed in collaboration between the business faculty and STEM researchers to combine Saint Joseph’s uniquely Jesuit approach to business with the needs of big data. Saint Joseph’s online program is directed toward the needs of business, particularly in giving data management team leaders the tools they need to use data to design and implement plans, improve performance, and guide decision-making and problem-solving. Graduates receive not only a highly valuable master’s degree, but also a SAS-approved certificate that will provide even more of a job market advantage for a data scientist.

Degree Title: MS in Business Intelligence and Analytics – 30 credits

6. Johns Hopkins University

Named for its benefactor, the entrepreneur Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins University began in 1876 with the single largest gift ever made to a college at that time – $7 million. That donation funded the establishment of a college and a hospital, and in the century and a half since its auspicious beginnings, Johns Hopkins University has been best known as a world leader in medical research and treatment. However, medicine is only part of the Johns Hopkins story. Other programs, like the Carey Graduate School of Business and the Whiting School of Engineering, are ranked among the best schools in their fields worldwide. The university itself ranks #11 nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The Johns Hopkins online MS in Data Science, from the Whiting School of Engineering, is a fully online program dedicated to bridging theory and practice together for real-world applications. JHU’s online engineering programs are ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and the Data Science MS is part of that selection. Steeped in engineering, the Data Science program is highly technical, giving students a deep, thorough grounding in the technology of applied mathematics, statistics, and computing, all taught through online learning by experienced experts in some of the most advanced laboratories in the world. Johns Hopkins is perpetually named among the best values in the US, thanks to its commitment to meeting students’ financial needs.

Degree Title: MS in Data Science – 30 credits

7. University of California, Los Angeles

The #1 public university in the nation (tied with the UC System flagship, Berkeley), the University of California, Los Angeles was founded in 1919, but dates back to 1882 and the State Normal School at Los Angeles, a teacher training program. With the explosive growth of Southern California, the normal school became a state university in 1919, and began a century of expansion and development that has made it one of the largest universities in the US, as well as one of the most acclaimed. A productive and influential research university, UCLA is well known for the Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which, among many other accomplishments, is heralded as the birthplace of the internet, having sent the first computer message to Stanford University in 1969.

With that incredible pedigree, the UCLA online MS in Engineering, with a concentration in Data Science Engineering, is a program that would be hard to beat. Students develop the skills necessary to build big data systems, from data mining to analysis and personalization, that can be used for practical purposes by industry, government, and science. UCLA’s emphasis is on problem-solving, using technology to make informed and well-reasoned decisions, and students learn from some of the most decorated faculty in the field. The program is expected to take two years and a quarter, and no more than three years. An online Data Science Engineering degree from one of the pioneers of computer science is of value in itself.

Degree Title: MS in Engineering – concentration Data Engineering – 36 credits

8. City University of New York

The City University of New York – the largest urban university in the US – was founded in an unusual way, and is built on an unusual structure. In 1961, the legislature of New York State combined several long-standing smaller schools in the city of New York to create a public university that would meet the needs of the city’s population. Today, CUNY is composed of 24 individual institutions, ranging from community colleges to graduate and professional schools, each semi-independent but held together under the same umbrella. One of these, the School of Professional Studies, was founded in 2003 specifically to serve as CUNY’s institution for working adults, and is the home of CUNY’s fully online degree programs.

The CUNY School of Professional Studies offers an online MS in Data Science, an updated replacement for its highly-ranked MS in Data Analytics scheduled to begin in spring 2020. Ranked nationally as one of the top programs in the field, the online MS in Data Science is built on experiential learning, using a programming bootcamp-inspired format that provides students with hands-on projects that end in marketable work samples. This cutting-edge program is focused not only on the technology, but on presenting work and reviewing the work of colleagues – necessary soft skills for the workplace. These innovations help make CUNY’s online Data Science MS a top investment.

Degree Title: MS in Data Science – 30 credits

9. Brandeis University

Founded in 1948 as a rebuke and safe haven against antisemitism in higher education, Brandeis University has made its commitment to acceptance and public good into a worldwide reputation. Brandeis was very nearly named after Albert Einstein (who declined out of embarrassment), but Einstein was still influential in the university’s founding and structure. Ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Brandeis is also recognized as one of the most liberal, one of the most socially engaged, and one of the most rigorous universities in America; it has also been named one of the most entrepreneurial schools in the nation by Forbes.

That unparalleled reputation backs Brandeis’ online degree programs as well, such as the Brandeis online MS in Strategic Analytics, a degree that prepares professionals for decision-making positions in big data. The Brandeis online program brings together computer science and business expertise, with courses in statistics, data analysis, and visualization, alongside courses in management and professional communication. Graduates from the Brandeis online program will be primed for both sides of Big Data – the technology, and the business. Brandeis’ high ROI and average income for graduates is a testament to its value on the job market.

Degree Title: MS in Strategic Analytics – 30 credits

10. Merrimack College

Merrimack College is a private Catholic college founded in 1947 by the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, a group of Augustinian friars. Merrimack was founded by the special request of the Archbishop of Boston, intending the new college to help meet the large increase in demand for higher education from returning WWII veterans using the GI Bill to return to civilian life. The new college was dedicated to providing educational opportunities for the Merrimack Valley region, the industrial area along the Merrimack River that also serves as a suburb of Boston. Merrimack has long been listed among the top regional institutions in the North by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review and has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for their commitment to the region.

There are two fully online Big Data degree programs from Merrimack College: the online MS in Data Science, and the online MS in Business Analytics. Both are focused on the needs of working professionals seeking to add a valuable credential to their career, or enter a whole new career field. These programs help students build knowledge in using technology to make better decisions in a business situation, from data modeling to visualization and analyzation. Students students graduate knowing how to turn information into usable results, and the online MS degrees from Merrimack College help working professionals turn an online degree into a successful career in Big Data.

Degree Title: MS in Data Science and MS in Business Analytics – 32 credits

11. Boston University – Metro College

A private research university in one of America’s most iconic cities, Boston University was, surprisingly, not originally associated with Boston. Founded in 1839 by the Methodist Church, BU was originally the Newbury Biblical Institute in Newbury, VT, then the Concord Biblical Institute in Concord, NH; Boston was, in fact, Boston University’s third location. However, it was in Boston that the small seminary became a world-class, top-tier research university. Regularly ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world, with pace-setting programs in business, law, and medicine, BU also offers Boston University’s Metropolitan College Online, a high-quality distance education system that provides degree programs for working adults,

The Boston University MS in Computer Information Systems has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 3 of its kind. Students interested in a Big Data career will find the concentration in Data Analytics offers all of the knowledge and skills necessary to enter any field that needs data structured and analyzed. Graduates from BU’s online Data Analytics program will have a grounding not only in theory, but practical action. The MSCI focuses on data mining, analysis, and visualization, preparing students for the big data field and arming them on the job market with the Boston University name, a major value in itself.

Degree Title: MS in Computer Information Systems/Concentration in Data Analytics – 40 credits

12. Elmhurst College

A small, private liberal arts college, Elmhurst College was founded in 1871 by the German Evangelical Synod of the Northwest, a denomination that today is part of the United Churches of Christ; Elmhurst’s original intention was to prepare young men for the ministry and to train teachers for the church’s schools. Elmhurst has long been ranked in the top 10 Midwestern colleges by U.S. News & World Report, but its strongest selling point is location: a short ride from downtown Chicago, Elmhurst provides students with access to that major business and tech industry, and a name with a strong reputation in the region. Elmhurst established its School for Professional Studies to administrate its growing slate of fully online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Elmhurst offers an online MS in Data Science dedicated to preparing students for the demands of a Big Data career. The Elmhurst online MSDS fuses theory and practice, using hands-on, experiential practice with standard and emerging data technologies to help students learn to apply the knowledge they learn to actual, real-world situations. The online MS is available only part-time, but even on a part-time schedule online students can finish in two years; working professionals in the field can also obtain a Data Science graduate certificate online. With Elmhurst’s reputation in Chicago and the Midwest, graduates can hit the job market with confidence.

Degree Title: MS in Data Science – 40 credits

13. Northwestern University

Founded in 1851, Northwestern University’s name seems a bit out of place today – it’s in a suburb of Chicago named for Northwestern’s founder, John Evans. But in 1851, Illinois was part of the Northwest Territory, the American frontier, and Northwestern’s influence helped grow a rugged frontier into a major metropolitan area, from its medical and law schools to its pioneering business and technology programs. A U.S. News & World Report Top 20 national university, Northwestern is one of the largest and most productive research universities in the world, with an endowment topping $10 billion and a reputation that puts many Ivy Leaguers to shame.

Northwestern’s online MS in Predictive Analytics was one of the first online Big Data degree programs ever (established in 2011). They’ve had time to get it right; Northwestern pulls together computer science and business, providing students with a strong grounding not only in the technology but in how to use that technology in a professional setting. Students learn to use the technology to make realistic predictions so businesses can make informed and profitable decisions. Northwestern’s high-quality, market-ready degree and strong job market reputation translate into the best possible investment.

Degree Title: MS in Predictive Analytics – 36 credits

14. University of California, Berkeley

One of the original Public Ivies (a public university with the reputation of the Ivy League), the University of California, Berkeley is the flagship of the world-renowned UC system, one of the top public university systems in the world. Berkeley, as it stands now, was founded in 1868, when the private College of California merged with the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College. UC Berkeley has long been a hub for entrepreneurship, innovation, and game-changing research, and Berkeley’s online programs take part in that reputation. Berkeley is currently tied for the U.S. News & World Report #1 public university (with its sister institution, UCLA).

The Berkeley School of Information – one of the most influential of its kind – offers Berkeley’s online Master of Information and Data Science program that brings together many disciplines and approaches to data collection, structuring, and analysis. Berkeley’s MIDS degree is focused on practical problem-solving for a variety of fields, making it a highly adaptable, flexible degree that can be applied across many career paths. Berkeley has long been a leader in technology and computer science, and the online MIDS degree allows the nation’s top public research university to provide working professionals and traditional students alike with an online degree that carries the legendary Berkeley name.

Degree Title: Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) – 27 credits

15. University of Wisconsin–Extension

Online education is a big deal in the Midwest, where states are large, populations are spread out and rural, and not everyone can make it to campus. It creates a challenge for public universities, which have a responsibility to provide education for anyone who wants it, and that’s why the University of Wisconsin system has developed an unusually collaborative approach to online education. The UW-Extension was originally a division of UW-Madison providing distance education for farmers, way back in 1906, and became an independent entity in 1965, but it’s really become crucial with the advent of the Continuing and Online Education division.

All of the UW system institutions contribute their expertise and faculty to the UW-Extension online MS in Data Science online degree program, ensuring that Wisconsin students get the very best education in big data collection and analysis, with a recognized brand for the job market. Six of UW’s regional colleges collaborate to provide the MSDS, which gives online students a deep foundation in organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data for a variety of clients and industries. Innovative thinking like this makes the University of Wisconsin system a smart investment in Wisconsin or anywhere else – tuition is the same for all students, in-state or out!

Degree Title: MS in Data Science – 36 credits

16. Northeastern University

A top-tier private research university with the highest Carnegie Classification, Northeastern University dates back to evening classes offered at the YMCA in 1889, a common educational track around the turn of the century. The university started with a law school led by professors from Harvard and Boston University and became a pioneer with Automobile Engineering, then the School of Commerce and Finance. Northeastern is highly entrepreneurial, and best known for its cooperative education programs, in which students alternate conventional classroom education with experiential learning in real workplaces. Northeastern is regularly ranked one of the best private research institutions in the world.

The Northeastern online Master of Professional Studies in Analytics is designed to give students a full understanding of the data process from beginning to end, from the technology itself, to collection and organization, to putting data to real-world use. Students come out of the program with adaptable skills that can be applied to every field from government and nonprofit to industry. Students also finish with a marketable portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to solve real-world problems with a variety of tools. Northeastern’s deep network of relationships with the Boston and New England job market gives graduates a clear pathway to their careers, whether getting their foot in the door, or climbing the ladder.

Total Cost of Program: $31,095 – 45 credits
Degree Title: Master of Professional Studies in Analytics

17. University of Southern California

California’s oldest private research university, the University of Southern California was founded in 1880, originally as a Methodist college (it became independent in 1952). USC is one of the largest and most productive private research institutions in the nation, as well as one of the wealthiest; USC boasts the fourth-highest number of billionaire alumni in the US. With its emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology, USC has been at the center of the tech boom – one of the first nodes of the ARPANET (the precursor to the internet), the birthplace of domain name technology, and currently home to the world’s most powerful quantum computer. USC is a top U.S. News & World Report ranked national university, and a top 10 Dream College according to the Princeton Review.

The USC online MS in Computer Science-Data Science concentration builds straight from the world-changing tradition of a pioneering computer science school. The USC online program focuses on the technology, giving students the fundamentals of computing skills needed for gathering, managing, and communicating Big Data; students are also prepared for making practical use of information, from population statistics to energy and environment. Students must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, or a related science to apply, and the 12-course, 32-credit program is taught by the expert faculty of the Viterbi School of Engineering.

Degree Title: MS in Computer Science – Data Science – 32 credits

18. Villanova University

Villanova University, a private, Catholic institution, was founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine (the same order that founded Merrimack College, #10). With its deep roots in the life and culture of Philadelphia, Villanova is one of the most prestigious academic and professional institutions in the North, with the School of Business named the best undergraduate business program in the US by Bloomberg Businessweek. Villanova has recently made the leap from U.S. News & World Report’s regional rankings (where it was long ranked as the #1 regional institution in the North) to the top 50 national universities, and Villanova’s reputation is continually on the rise.

The Villanova online MS in Analytics degree can be completed in less than two years from a 33-credit program offered by the respected Villanova School of Business. The online MSA is equally well-suited to engineering or computer science degree-holders as it is for business undergraduates and working professionals, providing a full foundation in the technology, as well as in the art of making secure, well-informed business decisions. Villanova’s reputation, with the job market pull, high salaries, and strong ROI that go with it, secure Villanova’s status as a best value, and graduates can expect a major return on their investment with an online degree from Villanova.

Degree Title: MS in Analytics – 33 credits

19. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 as Virginia’s land-grant research university and built on the grounds of a former Methodist school. Designed around the land-grant model, Virginia Tech was originally Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, but that foundation set the stage for development into a polytechnic institute by 1896. The grounding in agriculture and mechanics made Virginia Tech an ideal ground for biotechnology and engineering, and the College of Engineering has been a national leader since 1903. Virginia Tech is regularly ranked in the top 25 public universities by U.S. News & World Report.

The Virginia Tech online Master of Information Technology degree program is a cutting-edge program based on a module format rather than traditional data science courses. Students work through competencies in areas like Health Information Systems, Software Development, and Business Information Systems, with a strong grounding in both technology and management. The program is designed in collaboration between the College of Engineering and the Pamplin College of Business, both recognized as some of the top schools in their fields. Ranked #2 in the nation by U.S. News, Virginia Tech’s online computer technology programs are trusted on the job market and perfectly designed for contemporary professionals.

Degree Title: Master of Information Technology (MIT) – 33 credits

20. Quinnipiac University

A small, private liberal arts university in Connecticut, Quinnipiac University was built on business, founded in 1929 by business professor Samuel Tator when Northeastern University closed their regional program in New Haven, CT due to the Great Depression. First just a junior college of commerce, Quinnipiac grew quickly throughout the 20th century, earning a strong regional reputation for business and law. Already a U.S. News & World Report top-ranked regional institution, Quinnipiac has raised its national profile immensely in recent years by going full-force into online education. the introduction of Quinnipiac University Online, with numerous undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs available for working adults and other nontraditional students, has taken Quinnipiac to another level of excellence and accessibility.

Quinnipiac offers an online Master of Science in Business Analytics that is specifically designed for busy working professionals and has been named one of the best online master’s programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Students will learn the full scope of Big Data, from collection to interpretation, and practice using those insights to make reasoned, evidence-based decisions about common and uncommon business problems. Graduates also earn a certification in Business Analytics Using SAS, thanks to Quinnipiac’s partnership with the trailblazing analytics company. An affordable degree from one of the leading names in online education, and one of the pioneering names in analysis, makes for one of the best values anywhere for aspiring data scientists.

Degree Title: MS in Business Analytics – 33 credits

21. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University, a highly influential, private research institution, was founded in 1967 from the merger of two previous schools: Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Technical Schools, which were founded to provide opportunities to working-class young people in Pittsburgh; and the Mellon brothers’ Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, a research center originally part of the University of Pittsburgh. Over the rest of the 20th century, and into the 21st, Carnegie Mellon has proven the equal of any institute or research university in its class. Carnegie Mellon regularly appears in the highest ranks of national universities, consistently making U.S. News & World Report’s top 25 national institutions.

Carnegie Mellon has added to its reach and reputation by offering strong online programs, such as the MS in Information Technology degree. The Carnegie MSIT can be earned online with a specialization in Business Intelligence & Data Analytics, guided by the world-class faculty of the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. Carnegie Mellon uses an unusual method of measuring coursework; the MSIT is measured in 144 units, the equivalent of 12 traditional credits. Students must have at least 3 years of professional experience to apply. Working adults can earn a degree that will jumpstart their career in Big Data with the reputation and job-market pull of Carnegie Mellon.

Degree Title: M.S in Information Technology (MSIT) – 12 credits

22. Lewis University

A small, private Catholic liberal arts university, Lewis University has a strong name recognition and ranks as a solid regional institution in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review. Lewis was founded in 1932 by the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Brothers of the Christian Schools; unusually for a Catholic institution, Lewis started as a technical school, and then as a school of aeronautics. After WWII, Lewis began to evolve into a more traditional college, but retained its focus on STEM, leading to a strong reputation in technology. Lewis has been ranked in the top 25 regional institutions for the Midwest for an undergraduate degree by U.S. News & World Report.

The Lewis University MS in Data Science, which prepares students for all of the technical and analytical demands of a career in big data. The MS in Data Science is focused on the mathematical and computer science side of data, developing the skills to use available technology, and emerging technology, to analyze the masses of data produced in the modern world. As an interdisciplinary field, the MSDS from Lewis draws on every area from social science and business to computer science and engineering to give a full picture and full mastery of data analysis. This 36-credit program is reasonably priced for a private Catholic education, making it a clear value.

Degree Title: MS in Data Science 33-39 credits

23. Central Connecticut State University

Connecticut’s oldest public university, Central Connecticut State University was founded in 1849 as a normal school (an early, 2-year training program for schoolteachers, before the advent of the teacher’s college). Over the 20th century, the normal school became a teacher’s college, then a full regional university, responsible for providing opportunity for the people of the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor. As a regional institution, CCSU is focused on practical education areas like teacher education, business, and technology. Central Connecticut State is ranked in the top 100 regional institutions for the North, as well as a best choice for veterans and a best value, by U.S. News & World Report.

The online CCSU MS in Data Mining is designed around the needs of Connecticut’s working adults, including those who are seeking new career paths, and those seeking advancement in their current careers. Like other smaller or mid-sized regional publics, Central Connecticut State University has found that the way to meet students’ needs and progress in the 21st century is through online education. While all coursework is fully online, prospective students should be aware that they will have to visit campus to present their thesis project. But with a low tuition cost, especially for New England, CCSU provides a lot of opportunity for future analysts.

Degree Title: MS in Data Mining – 33 credits

24. Auburn University

One of Alabama’s two flagship universities, Auburn University is one of the foremost STEM-focused public research institution in the South. Originally founded in 1856 as a men’s college by the Methodist Episcopal Church (now part of the United Methodist Church), the college was re-established in 1872 as a public, land-grant agricultural and mechanical institution. Over time, Auburn grew into a polytechnic institute, and eventually into a large, comprehensive university, and today stands as a land, sea, and space-grant university ranked in the top 50 public universities nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

Auburn University is well known for its design, engineering, and business programs, strengths that the Harbert College of Business brings together in the Auburn online MS in Information Systems degree. A business degree heavy on IT, the MS-IS is a 30-credit program designed for recent college graduates in a quantitative field, with no particular amount of work experience required. The online degree can be completed in two or three years. With a low public university tuition cost, Auburn graduates will be big returns from a career in big data like business intelligence analyst.

Degree Title: MS in Information Systems (MSIS) – 30 credits

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Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

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