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Best 29 PhD in Data Science in 2021

March 23, 2021 | Staff Writers

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As the need for skilled thought leaders in the data science sector of businesses, government, health informatics, and other industries increases so has the advanced educational opportunities to train the next generation of data scientists.  The following schools offer renowned programs that provide students with a multidisciplinary education at the highest level to prepare them to be the leaders in this growing industry of research, big data management, data analysis, machine learning, statistical methodology, and much more. The schools have been ranked according to cost, faculty to student ratio, and time to completion.  Most programs will allow and encourage students to be junior colleagues, part-time faculty members, and junior research partners within the scope of their degree program.  Some programs offer stipends for participants in their programs.  

1. Boise State University

Boise State University offers a traditional on-campus, in-person Doctorate program in Computing with an emphasis in Data Science.  This degree requires fewer credit hours than many other institutions, coming in at 60 hours for completion and that includes the dissertation. The emphasis takes students through mathematical and statistical algorithms, software, and computing systems as they analyze data and draw insights from what they learn.  Students will take required core courses at first then they are able to choose 10 credits of electives to customize their program to fit their interests and educational goals. Electives are offered across fields such as econometrics, ecology, biometry, hydrology, material science, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Tuition: $470 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $827 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio:  18 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60

2. Bowling Green State University

Careers in Data Science are ranking among the top careers in the nation currently with multiple openings, a high median salary, and job satisfaction.  Earning a Ph.D. in Data Science from Bowling Green State University makes that career a reality as students can earn their doctorate degree upon completing the 60 credit hours for the degree.  Graduates of the Ph.D. in Data Science will be able to demonstrate competencies in core concepts and techniques of data science.  Students strengthen skills in both computer algorithms and understanding the statistics and drawing evidence-based conclusions from their findings.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Tuition: $445 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $778 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours:  60

3. University of Colorado Denver

At the University of Colorado Denver, students seeking to earn a Ph.D. in Data Science have a unique opportunity to do so through a fellowship program.  Students must first be admitted to the Ph.D. in Computer Science and Information Systems program.  Within that program, they will complete the required 30 credit hours beyond the master level as well as 30 credit hours of dissertation research.  Students can apply to the fellowship program in Big Data Science and Engineering that will allow them to pursue research in big data science and engineering.  Students of the fellowship program are required to have an advisor in the core discipline as well as in the application discipline.  The fellowship also covers a full stipend, tuition, and fees up to $50K annually.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Tuition: $646 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,378 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 3 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60

4. University of Maryland

At the University of Maryland students of the Ph.D. program in information, studies can take the path of data science as their research area.  Within this program, students will learn to analyze and research big data, data science, and data mining.  Prior to applying, candidates should have already completed the following courses; program languages, data structures, design and analysis of computer algorithms, calculus I and II, and linear algebra.  Once admitted to the program students will complete 6 core courses, 2 qualifying courses, and a minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation research.   

At A Glance

  • Location: College Park, Maryland
  • Tuition: $731 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,625 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60

5. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

A truly interdisciplinary degree and program the Ph.D. program in Genetics and Data Science at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai offers a program that is coauthored by the program of Biomedical Sciences as well as the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences.  This program blends the biomedical sciences with machine learning, network modeling, and data analysis.  The program takes three years to complete and then additional elective courses that students choose to take.  These courses include laboratory rotations, proposal and thesis defense, computer systems, machine learning, translational genomics, and others.  Graduates of this program are employed in multiple different disciplines across genetics and genomics and data science.     

At A Glance

  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Tuition: Contact School To learn more about Competitive Support
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 2 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Not Required
  • Credit Hours: 64

6. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

A program designed for students that are driven to lead out in new research and programs in Data Science, the Ph.D. at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis is the first of its kind in the Big Ten.  Candidates are expected to hold an MS in social science, health, data science, or computer science.  This unique program helps participants gain the skill to make valuable research contributions to data science theory and practice in the data science and academic sectors.  Not a single student is self-funded in this program, they are either funded by faculty grants or funded by the federal government.  The expected completion time of this program is 7 years.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tuition: $368 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,006 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 2 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 90

7. Jackson State University

Jackson State University offers a Ph.D. program in Computational Data-Enabled Science and Engineering that can be completed in as little as 5 years.  Students of this program can choose from five concentrations including computational biology and bioinformatics, computational science and engineering, computational physical science, computational public health, and computational mathematics and statistical science.  Students will complete the core coursework in the first year of the program and then they will complete their specialization credit and elective credits.  Students have flexibility in designing their degrees to fit their career goals through the elective courses they take.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tuition: $460 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $960 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident) 
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

8. Kennesaw State University

Developed to meet current and future market demands of data scientists, Kennesaw State University’s Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science.  In this degree, students will gain the knowledge and skills to translate large, structured, and unstructured complex data sets into usable information that leads to evidence-based decisions.  The degree focuses on three areas of study including computer science, mathematics, and statistics.  This degree allows students to advance their careers in either the private or public sector using their knowledge and skills.  The entire program takes 78 credit hours to complete which includes 12 credit hours for a dissertation and 12 credit hours for an internship. 

At A Glance

  • Location: Kennesaw, Georgia
  • Tuition: $296 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,066 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident) 
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 21 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 78

9. Clemson University/Medial University of South Carolina

Students have an opportunity to earn a specialized Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Data Science and Informatics through this joint program from both Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina.  Within this program, there are currently three tracks for students to enroll in; population health, precision medicine, and clinical and translational informatics.  Courses cover five areas that build a solid foundation in statistical computing within the fields of biomedical data, population health, and more.  Candidates for this program must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in computing, mathematics, health science, engineering, or related fields.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Clemson, South Carolina
  • Tuition: $668 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $995 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 65 to 68

10. George Mason University

A degree that is interdisciplinary in mathematics, computation, science, and engineering, leads to the Computational Science and Informatics Ph.D. at George Mason University.  This is a truly interdisciplinary degree that promotes research across traditional domain boundaries.  This degree can be completed in 72 credit hours if students only have a bachelor’s degree with experience.  Those that hold a master’s level degree in computer science, informatics, engineering, or other related fields can reduce the time and credit required to earn a Ph.D.  Students can choose between two specializations within this degree, either computer modeling and simulation or data science.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Fairfax, Virginia
  • Tuition: $506 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,394 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

11. Brown University

As the need for more data scientists grows with the use of cloud storage and complex computational statistics so does the need for educated prepared professionals to meet those challenges.  Brown University offers an on-campus Ph.D. in Computer Science with a concentration in Data Science to prepare the future with such professionals.  Candidates for this program must have strong skills in system building.  Applicants also should have an interest or better experience researching TupleWare, MLbase, MDCC, Crowd DB, or PIQL.  It is recommended that those seeking to join this prestigious program complete an internship with Brown University or at a large company, it is also beneficial if applicants are knowledgeable in C++.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Tuition: $66,702 Annually
  • Faculty to Student Ratio:  6 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60 to 70

12. University of Massachusetts Boston

As more businesses and financial institutions become global the need for data scientists to analyze big data within the context of business, health informatics, and the government is becoming ever greater.  The University of Massachusetts in Boston has risen to become a leading institution to provide a Ph.D. level education for data science in the context of business.  During the first two years, students will have coursework focused on data science in business such as markets and technologies. Students will need to pass qualifying and comprehensive exams.  At the end of their fourth year, they will need to defend their theses.  Students with degrees in statistics, economics, math, computer science, information systems, and management science are encouraged to apply, but it is not required to have a degree in one of these fields.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tuition: $768 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,499 Per Credit Hour (non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60+

13. University of Nevada Reno

The University of Nevada Reno offers a Ph.D. in Statistics and Data Science that students can complete within 4 to 5 years from start to finish.  Pure and applied options of data science are available through mathematics programs.  For those seeking to apply to this program, it is strongly recommended that they hold a master of science in mathematics or statistics but it is not required.  This data science program is heavily based on statistics with courses including probability theory, statistical theory, statistical computing, multivariate analysis, statistical learning, linear models, and time series analysis.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Reno, Nevada
  • Tuition: $286 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $600 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

14. University of Southern California

While earning a Ph.D. in Data Science and Operations students will be seen as junior colleagues to the expert faculty that will be mentoring them at the University of Southern California.  This Ph.D. program is offered through the USC Marshall School of Business and can be completed within 5 years.  Students can choose either the operations management path or the statistics path within the degree program.  COursework will be particular to each path the first year.  Most students can complete and defend their dissertation by their fourth year.  Students that already have a Master’s degree will have advanced standing and shave off 20 credit hours of the program.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Tuition: $2,075 Per Unit
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 8 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60

15. University of Tennessee  Knoxville

At the University of Tennessee Knoxville, graduate students have access to some of the most powerful computing and data science platforms in the world.  With the Data Science and Engineering program partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UT Health Science Center, and UT Chattanooga graduate students have a unique opportunity to perform big data research.  The Ph.D. program requires students to complete 36 hours of coursework and 36 hours of dissertation research if they are entering with a bachelor’s degree.  For those with a master’s degree, they will complete 24 hours of coursework.  Once admitted, students will choose a specialization in one of the following fields; health and biological sciences, advanced manufacturing, materials science, environmental and climate science, transportation science, national security, urban systems science, and advanced data science. 

At A Glance

  • Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Tuition: $639 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,650 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

16. New Jersey Institute of Technology

The Ph.D. program in Business Data Science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology is open to students that hold a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in a relevant field.  Those that enter with an undergraduate degree will first complete 36 credit hours of graduate-level courses, whereas those enrolling with a master’s degree will only need to complete 18 credits before advancing into their dissertation research.  Students have a wide array of elective courses to choose from to meet their educational and career goals through their degrees.  Some of the electives offered include strategic management, organizational behavior, linear systems, corporate finance, advanced database system design; there are so many courses available to customize the degree.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Newark, New Jersey
  • Tuition: $1,122 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,163 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60+

17. New York University

For students seeking to earn a Ph.D. in Data Science at New York University, they have ten years to complete the entire program including their dissertation.  Students can apply to the program if they have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field such as mathematics, computing, engineering, statistics, computer science, etc.  Coursework will include an introduction to data science, probability and statistics for data science, Machine learning, big data, computational statistics, inference, and representation.  Candidates are also required to have working knowledge and experience with calculus, probability, statistics, as well as computer programming.  

At A Glance

  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Tuition: $1,856 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 9 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

18. University of Wisconsin

The Ph.D. program in Biomedical Data Science is a unique program offered by the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics at the University of Wisconsin.  Students greatly benefit by being at the research hub of BMI for biomedical data science.  Participants will take courses in sequence for the first three years in statistical theory and methods, computer science and informatics, and a specialized sequence of their choosing.  Students have opportunities to perform research in discovery science, image analysis, genomics, computational biology, population studies, and more.  Graduates gain knowledge and experience of a blend of programming, data management, data analysis, and machine learning.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Tuition: $12,010 Per Year (Resident) $25,336 Per Year (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60+

19. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University recognizes the growing need for next-generation biomedical data science experts that are investigators as well as practitioners that will be developing the new technologies data analysis strategies that will advance the profession of data science.  The Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics with the data science track is the path that will lead data science experts to become industry leaders.  Participants will take coursework in biomedical informatics, computer science, statistical methods, and biomedical science.  Students have five years to complete the required coursework and complete and defend their dissertation.  Candidates will need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in one of the following disciplines; computer science, biology, engineering, biochemistry, nursing, mathematics, statistics, physics, information management, or another health-related field.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tuition: $2,026 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60

20. Washington University in St. Louis

As many if not most disciplines require and have come to depend on data and computing the need for trained professionals of data science has grown exponentially.  Washington University in St. Louis offers a Ph.D. program in Computational and Data Sciences that prepares students to solve complex computational problems and data analysis across various disciplines.  Students have four tracks to choose from; computational methodologies, political science, psychological and brain sciences, or social work and public health.  This program offers a full stipend for at least five years contingent on the student’s progress within the program. 

At A Glance

  • Location: St. Louis. Missouri
  • Tuition: $27,125 Per Semester
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60+

21. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is home to one of the first Ph.D. programs in Data Science in the nation.  With a history of managing and analyzing large and complex data sets, WPI has developed new models and tools to handle such data sets to meet the needs of today’s industries.  Participants will participate in courses that focus on five areas of study; integrative data science, business intelligence and case studies, data access and management, data analytics and mining, and mathematical analysis.  This program takes students through a master’s degree first then they will begin the courses for the doctorate program.  Once doctorate level courses are complete students will begin the 30 hours of dissertation research.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Tuition: $1,566 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

22. Yale University

Graduates of Yale University’s Ph.D. in Data Science program have gone on to work at universities, within the government, and in various industries.  This program provides students with a broad knowledge and skill base of statistical theory, probability theory, stochastic processes, information theory, machine learning, statistical computing, data analysis, graphical methods, and asymptomatics.  As part of this program, students will be required to teach one course during their third and fourth years.  During the fifth year, students will complete and defend their research dissertation.  Candidates should have a degree and experience in statistics, mathematics, computer science, or related fields.  

At A Glance

  • Location: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tuition: $43,300 Per Year Per Year
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 6 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On  Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

23. Northcentral University

Recognizing that society at large utilizes data every day, in government, in healthcare, in retail, in manufacturing and beyond, Northcentral University aims to prepare professionals to gain the skills and knowledge behind gathering and interpreting the data.  Data Scientists are the professionals behind the data and its evidence-based findings.  Applicants need to hold a master of science in a related field prior to applying.  The Ph.D. program in data science requires 60 credit hours including core courses, research, Ph.D. portfolio, and dissertation courses.  To receive the data science specialization students will need to complete the 6 courses including data mining, knowledge management, quantitative methods for data analytics, data visualization, predicting the future, and big data integration.   

At A Glance

  • Location: San Diego, California
  • Tuition: $3,234 Per Course
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: N/A
  • Delivery Method: Online
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60

24. Stevens Institute of Technology

At Stevens Institute of Technology students engage in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Data Science that is jointly offered through the Schafer School of Engineering and Science and the School of Business at Stevens.  The rigorous curriculum emphasizes mathematical and statistical modeling, machine learning, computational systems, and data management.  Graduates go on to become thought leaders and innovators within this growing and evolving field.  Students of this program work closely with faculty whose research and breakthroughs have developed this industry in areas of artificial intelligence, deep learning, and computational science. 

At A Glance

  • Location: Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Tuition: $18,340 Per Semester
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 11 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 62+

25. University at Buffalo

At the University at Buffalo students of the Ph.D. in Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering program learn to tackle large-scale research problems across a wide array of fields.  Students become trained scientists as they learn they learn to analyze data and multi-source datasets across multiple disciplines.  Students work directly with expert faculty from multiple departments including Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Math, Physic, and Chemistry.  This particular program focuses on three areas; data science, applied mathematics and numerical methods, and high performance and intensive data computing.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Buffalo, New York
  • Tuition: $5,655 Per Semester (Resident) $11,550 Per Semester (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 72

26. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology provides a seamless path to earning a Ph.D. in Data Science.  The first two years are technically the MS in Analytics, following this program students then begin their doctorate program.  For students that have already completed an MS, they can apply to just the Ph.D. portion. At Harrisburg, students participate in two phases of the degree, a learning phase where they participate in seminars, coursework, research, and fieldwork.  The second phase is the research phase where students focus on their personal research as part of their 12 credit hour dissertation.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $800 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 29 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 36 after completing MS in Analytics

27. Chapman University

At Chapman University participants of the Ph.D. in Computational and Data Science degree will find an interdisciplinary approach as they learn techniques to solve problems using mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, statistics, and computing.  Students will first take 13 required core courses and then choose 45 credit hours of electives.  It is in the elective courses that students can customize their degrees to fit their career and personal goals in specific areas. At the end of their program, they will complete their dissertation research.  Prior to applying, candidates should have completed courses in probability and statistics,  differential equations, and data structures.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Orange. California
  • Tuition: $1,630 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 70

28. University of Vermont

The Ph.D. in Complex Systems and Data Science at the University of Vermont provides a science-wide scope for students to perform their research and dissertation in.  Participants will take courses providing computational and theoretical training such as data science, principles of complex systems, and modeling complex systems.  From there, students will participate in research groups with other students across campus in their desired field.  Elective courses include machine learning, complex networks, data mining, evolutionary computation, and human/computer interaction.  Applicants should hold a relevant master’s degree prior to applying or show great promise in their abilities in this field.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Burlington, Vermont
  • Tuition: $683 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $1,720 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: N/A
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: No
  • Credit Hours: 75 

29. University of Washington Seattle

As a replacement of the Big Data track, the Ph.D. in Advanced Data Science at the University of Washington Seattle is a program that exists to educate the next generation of thought leaders and researchers of data science.  Participants of this program will focus their thesis work on building and using advanced data science tools.  As an innovator of new data science tools, graduates will be the ones designing and testing these tools for use worldwide.  Participants will still take courses in data management, machine learning, data visualization, and statistics.  As part of this program, all students are required to complete an internship where they gain hands-on experience and practical knowledge of big data.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Tuition: $19,293 Per Year (Resident)  $33,530 Per Year (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 21 to 1
  • Delivery Method: On Campus
  • GRE: Required
  • Credit Hours: 60+

Points Methodology

  • Cost: Under $50,000 For Program  Points:  5
  • Between $50,000 and $75,000 For Program  Points:  3
  • Above $74,000 For Program  Points:  1
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1 and Under  Points: 5
  • Between 10 and 20 to 1  Points:  3
  • Above 20 to 1 Points:  1
  • Completion Time:  4 years   Points:  5
  • 5 Years   Points:  3
  • 6+ years Points:  1
  • Stipend:  1 to 3 Points depending on amount and how long stipend is offered.  
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