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Best 5 Data Science Programs in 2021

August 10, 2021 | Staff Writers

Best Data Science Programs
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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

The study of data science seeks to extract meaningful insights from large amounts of data. The best data science programs include the study of programming and expertise in domains, statistics, and applied mathematical concepts. Professional data scientists utilize algorithmic learning systems to manage video, audio, numbers, and text to create artificial intelligence systems to perform repetitive tasks once needing human intelligence. Ultimately, these data science systems generate insightful data that can be converted into viable information to improve businesses and government programs.

More and more businesses across all economic sectors have begun to recognize the value and applications of machine learning, AI, and data science and now wish to implement big data metrics to stay competitive and efficient. This is one of the primary driving forces making data science and analytics one of the fastest-growing fields in the nation and the world. Examples of the industries that find valuable uses for data science applications include –

  • Healthcare – data generated by healthcare companies and agencies offer large complex sets of data that need skilled data scientists to extract relevant information to improve healthcare systems.
  • Aviation – managing the many moving parts of commercial airlines is quite complex and includes scheduling maintenance, customer service, and flight scheduling, among others.
  • Cybersecurity – cutting-edge technology requires sophisticated data security systems.
  • Agriculture – big data has been used in AI simulations to improve farming techniques, pricing models, and production.

The best data science programs noted below include academic bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. As students progress through each more advanced degree, their education (and experience) will begin to set them apart from other non-graduate degree-holding data scientists. The last few data science programs included offer students both on-campus and online options for the best data science programs available in the marketplace.

Best Data Science Programs

1. Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly)

Located in Central Florida, Florida Polytechnic University offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Data Science that offers students several academic tracks in Big Data, Quantitative Economics & Econometrics, Health Systems Engineering & Intelligent Mobility. The core curriculum for Florida Polytechnic University’s best data science programs includes data mining, machine learning, operations research, time series modeling, and statistical learning,  plus a data science capstone project. Florida Poly is the only public polytechnic higher learning institution in the Sunshine State.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 2,470 per semester (Resident – Florida)
  • Credit Units Required – 120 credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 1,336
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

2. Thomas Edison State University (TEU)

The Heavin School of Arts & Sciences Thomas Edison State University offers an on-campus and online Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Data Science and Analytics that is ranked among New Jersey’s best data science programs. Classes for this undergraduate data science degree program includes predictive analytics with machine learning, neural nets & regression, data visualization, optimization in linear programming, forecasting analytics, and risk simulation, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 3,579 per semester (Resident – New Jersey)
  • Credit Units Required – 120 credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 10,227
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

3. The University of Maine (UMA)

The University of Maine’s Professional Studies College, located in Augusta, Maine, offers two of Maine’s best data science programs with its Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Data Science and a certificate program in Data Science – both available in Bangor, Augusta and online. UMA’s undergraduate degree in data science includes classes in data structures, data mining, database management/design, and introduction to SQL, to name a few. Students can opt for concentrations in business analytics or social science. 

  • Tuition Fees – $ 3,675 per semester (Resident – Maine)
  • Credit Units Required – 120 credit unit.s
  • Student Enrollment – 4,361
  • Accreditation – NECHE

4. The University of Wisconsin (UW Madison)

The University of Wisconsin’s College of Letters & Science (CLS) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Data Science with a 30-credit residency requirement for students when completing their 87th (and beyond) credit unit. The core curriculum for UW Madison’s best data science programs includes data modeling, data/algorithms -ethics and policy, matrix methods, and mathematical methods in data science, to name a few.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 5,370.09 per semester (Resident – Wisconsin) for up to 18 credits
  • Credit Units Required – 120 credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 44,257
  • Accreditation – HLC

5. Duquesne University (DU)

Duquesne University‘s McAnulty School of Liberal Arts, located in Pittsburgh, offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Data Science that prepares students for rewarding careers in banking, social media, government, health care, and manufacturing, among others. Classes for one of Pennsylvania’s best data science programs include data visualization, machine learning, discrete math, predictive modeling, plus a data science capstone project, among others.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 20,946 per semester
  • Credit Units Required – 120 credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 8,197
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

Best Data Science Programs at the Master’s Level

1. DePaul University

DePaul University’s College of Computing & Digital Media offers a Master of Science degree (MS) program in Data Science that can be completed entirely online or on the Chicago campus. DePaul University’s best data science programs offer students several concentrations in hospitality, health care, marketing, or computational methods. Previous graduates from DePaul University’s data science undergraduate degree program have found rewarding careers with Facebook, IBM, GE Capital, and Allstate, to name a few.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 34,060
  • Credit Units Required – 52 credit units for each data science concentration.
  • Student Enrollment – 22,064
  • Accreditation – HLC  

2. Purdue University

Purdue University’s Krannert Business School offers a STEM-designated  Master of Science degree (MS) program in Business Analytics & Information Management (BAIM) that is recognized by several education-ranking organizationsamong the best data science programs in the nation. Degree candidates enrolled in this eleven-month degree program explore and develop proficient skills in SAS, SQL, Python, Gurobi, and Excel, to name a few. Purdue’s 2019 class graduated with a 100% placement rate.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 29,741 (Resident – Indiana)
  • Credit Units Required – 36 graduate credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 45,500
  • Accreditation – HLC  & AACSB

3. The University of Rochester (UR)

The University of Rochester’s Goergen Institute for Data Science offers a Master of Science degree (MS) program in Data Science that offers four academic emphases in statistical methodology, biomedical/health sciences, business/social science, and computational methods. The core curriculum for the University of Rochester’s best data science programs includes data mining, and an intro to databases, statistical & computational methods, and data structures, plus a practicum in data science, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 57,088
  • Credit Units Required – 32 graduate credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 12,233
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

4. New York University

New York University‘s Data Science Center offers a Master of Science degree (MS) program in Data Science that can be completed with several academic tracks in physics, data science, biology, biomedical, and big data. Additionally, coursework for these best data science programs from New York University includes probability and statistics, big data, machine learning, inference & representation, and computational linear algebra, plus a capstone presentation, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 67,212
  • Credit Units Required – 36 graduate credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 52,885
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

5. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University‘s (CMU) School of Computer Science offers a Master of Computational Data Science that is recognized among the best data science programs available in the marketplace. Each of Carnegie Mellon’s graduate degree in data science programs requires degree candidates to complete an internship prior to graduation.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 85,892
  • Credit Units Required – 144 units for a 16 month professional preparation program or 20 months for research preparation.
  • Student Enrollment – 14,180
  • Accreditation –MSCHE

Best Data Science Programs at the Doctorate Level

1. Kennesaw State University (KSU)

Kennesaw State University’s College of Computing and Software Engineering offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Analytics & Data Science that has been ranked among the nation’s best data science programs with the most value. Students enrolled in Kennesaw State University’s full-time, on-campus data science and analytics degree will find it offers tremendous flexibility among its main topics in data mining, statistical modeling, and programming, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 23,088 (Resident- Georgia)
  • Credit Units Required – 78 credit hours over four years.
  • Student Enrollment – 37,807
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

2. Boise State University (BSU)

Boise State University offers a Ph.D. in Computing with a Data Science concentration that requires the completion of 60 credits to meet program requirements. BSU’s best data science programs require data science students to have already completed undergrad work in calculus-based statistics and linear algebra when applying. Classes required for this undergraduate degree in data science includes machine learning, computational statistics, and probability and statistics, plus the completion and defense of a dissertation, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 28,178
  • Credit Units Required – 60 credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 26,217
  • Accreditation – NWCCU

3. The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) Tuchman School of Management, located just outside NYC in Newark, offers a Ph.D. in Business Data Science (BDS) that facilitates each Ph.D. candidate in the development of research and the publishing of their work in peer journals. Classes for this degree include machine learning, regression analysis, data mining, and research methods in business, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 40,392 (Resident – New Jersey)
  • Credit Units Required – 36 credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 11,518
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

4. Clemson University/MUSC – The Medical University of South Carolina

Located in suburban South Carolina, Clemson University/MUSC – the Medical University of South Carolina offers a joint MS and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biomedical Data Science & Informatics that prepares degree candidates for leadership roles in genomic imaging techniques in the areas of public health, medicine, and biology, among others. These best data science programs prepare students to develop prescriptive analytics extracted from the largest sets of data and information.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 49,385 (Resident – South Carolina)
  • Credit Units Required – 68 credit units for both degrees.
  • Student Enrollment – 25,822
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

5. Colorado Technical University (CTU)

Colorado Technical University (CTU) offers a Doctor of Computer Science degree program with a concentration in big data analytics that can be completed entirely online. As one of the best data science programs at the doctorate level that is available online, except for a limited number of symposium visits. Students can also opt for an accelerated dual MS and Ph.D. degree program offered by Colorado Technical University.

  • Total Program Tuition – $ 59,800
  • Credit Units Required – 100 quarter credit units.
  • Student Enrollment – 27,232
  • Accreditation – HLC  

Our Ranking Methodology

The colleges and universities noted above include the best data science programs at the baccalaureate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. These higher learning institutions offering these best data science programs are listed with the most cost-effective program first in the category of bachelor’s degrees, and then master’s degrees and finally doctorate degrees.

The tuition expenses used to determine these best data science programs were obtained from each higher education institution’s proprietary website and represents the tuition fees for the academic year 2020/2021 unless otherwise noted. The above list of best data science programs includes other relevant information to help students make the best decision for their particular situation. But note, that tuition is revealed for twelve to fifteen credits for baccalaureate degrees but may vary for graduate and doctoral programs with differing graduation criteria. If the school is a state school, the tuition will reflect tuition for a resident student. If the school is private, a residency status requirement has not been included as it is not applicable.

  • Credit Units indicate the data science degree program’s depth.
  • Enrollment data indicates the school’s size, which is important to many students.
  • Accreditation – each school is regionally accredited (and so indicated by the specific regional accrediting body). Specialized accreditation is also noted.

All other school information that was used to select these best data science programs was extracted from the College Navigator’s website (NCES) or the school’s academic degree program’s online disclosures.

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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