Gold BlogBest Online Masters in Data Science and Analytics – a comprehensive, unbiased survey

The first comprehensive and objective survey of online Masters in Analytics / Data Science, including rankings, tuition, and duration of the education program.

Data Science and Analytics is a very hot field, and demand for data scientists is still growing strongly. Many universities stepped in and created many degrees in the field, primarily Masters degrees. This, in turn, gave rise to many posts claiming to list best online masters in data science. However, such lists are typically not comprehensive, and appear to be biased towards a sponsor, and their rankings are not convincing (can Dakota State University rank no. 1 and Berkeley n. 37?)

We have not seen a comprehensive survey of education options in Analytics / Data Science, hence our effort. Many thanks to Ilan Reinstein for comprehensive collection of information. Of course, the tuition numbers can change, various fees can be added, program durations (especially for online degrees) can be flexible, so treat the numbers on page 2 for tuition and duration as our best effort.

This post lists Masters/MS/MSc online degrees, and will be followed later by posts that list degree options in US, Europe, Asia/Pacific, certificates, etc.

Of course, any ranking is only an approximation and in data science actual knowledge and ability are more important than the label on the degree, but if having a rank is useful, we offer an unbiased ranking here.

There are several sources of rankings such as US News and World Report, but we chose Top Universities which give both global university rankings and also ranking specifically for Computer and Information Systems graduate programs, which is closest to Data Science and Analytics.
They give individual CS rankings for top 50 schools, and then ranges (51-100, 101-150, etc) for the next 450 schools. To separate schools that have the same range of rankings, we added the global ranking divided by 10 to the start of the range.

We have assembled nearly 100 such options, both online and on campus, and here is an overview chart.

MS in Analytics / Data Science, Global
Fig. 1: MS in Analytics, Data Science - Online and On Campus
Symbol color is blue for online, green for on-campus; shape is circle for MS in Analytics; square for MS in Data Science.

This is an interesting chart and we note a few patterns.

There is little correlation between ranking and tuition.

Most high-ranking universities do NOT offer online degrees. Berkeley and CMU are the exceptions.

Slightly over half of MS degrees we surveyed are called "Data Science" - most of them are technical oriented, and slightly less than half are called "Analytics" - mostly business oriented. There are also a few degrees in BI, Big Data, and one degree in Data Mining. We did not include degrees in Statistics here.

Here is an overview of online degrees.

Ms Analytics Data Science Online 737
Fig. 2: Online MS in Analytics, Data Science
Symbol shape is circle for MS in Analytics; square for MS in Data Science.

Finally, next page has a table with 50+ institutions that offer online education. If we missed some, please add in comments and we will update the table.