MS Data Science in USA: Best Universities, Eligibility, Cost, Jobs & Salary

Data science consists of 3 pillars: Statistics & Machine Learning, Computer Science & Software Development, and Domain Knowledge. Data scientists collect, manage, analyze and interpret vast amounts of data with a diverse array of applications. Data Science and Machine Learning are hot topics. Several students want to study Masters (MS) in Data Science and Analytics in USA. In this post, we will look at the best universities for MS Data Science in USA.

As discussed in one of the previous posts on MS Data Science and Analytics, data is the new oil of the modern digital economy. There is a huge amount of data around us, and it’s expanding at an exponential rate. The challenge is that this big data set (Big Data) is noisy and heterogeneous. So, it’s very important to extract knowledge or insights from the data around us. Read the Job Market Trends for Data Science, ML/AI & Data Analytics during COVID-19 Phase.

Why Study MS Data Science in USA?

ms data science in usa

Before proceeding to the list, let’s look at why study data science in USA. The US is the largest data science (and analytics) market in the world. The major benefit of pursuing an MS in the US is to gain access to a huge number of job opportunities in the US. The US is also one of the most mature and innovative markets in data science and related technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and IoT.

Most of the market leaders and tech giants are headquartered in the US. The US is also home to some of the most influential universities in the world. 30 to 40 US universities feature among the world’s top 100 universities every year on QS & Times Higher Education world university rankings. All these factors make the US the most preferred destination for pursuing MS in Data Science. Know more about Study in USA.

MS Data Science in USA: Top Universities, Eligibility, Cost, and Deadlines

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Curriculum at the Top 25 Universities for MS Data Science in USA

Harvard University

The Data Science master’s program at Harvard is led by Computer Science and Statistics faculties. Statistical modeling, machine learning, optimization, management, and analysis of massive data sets are some of the domains of data science that the course study revolves around. You will be required to be on campus for at least 3 months. GRE scores are accepted and TOEFL & IELTS are required. The tuition fees and other college expenses would cost you around $100,000 for the duration of the program. The university welcomes applicants from a wide range of academic disciplines. 

Columbia University

The Master of Science in Data Science at Columbia is run by the Data Science Institute at Columbia University. Being an Ivy League institution, there are no questions about its reputation. The MS program provides a good foundation for machine learning and programming along with practical experience.

The students will have the opportunity to conduct original research, be included in a capstone project, and interact with Columbia’s industry partners and faculty. The program revolves more around the technical aspects and does not cover business modules to a larger extent. However, students may also choose an elective track focused on entrepreneurship or a subject area covered by one of the institute’s seven centers.

Related Article: MS CS & Data Science Admissions at Top 25 Universities in the USA – Tips by UC San Diego Faculty Member

Stanford University

The MS in Statistics: Data Science program at Stanford is one of the finest in the lot. Students will develop a broad understanding of data science, statistical modeling, programming, and data mining. There is also scope for specializing in machine learning, big data in medicine, business intelligence, and distributed data management. Upon the successful completion of the MS program, students can also undertake Ph.D. in Statistics, ICME, MS&E, or Computer Science at Stanford (but of course, no guarantee).

Being located in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, California), students are ideally placed to pursue work experience and internships with the many tech giants. So, if you are looking to do MS in Data Science in USA, Stanford must be on your list. Based out of Palo Alto,  Stoodnt is working on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence as well. So, you could also end up in an internship with Stoodnt.

The Data Science program develops strong mathematical, statistical, computational, and programming skills. Students are required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 & classes are taken at a level of 200 or higher. International students are required to give the TOEFL test. The tuition and fees cost to pursue this program are around $45,000. The online application fee is $125 for all applicants, both domestic and international. GRE, Letters of recommendation & Personal Statements are some other requirements.

New York University

NYU was the first university in the world to offer an MS in Data Science program and is one of the best in the world. The MS program is being run by the Center for Data Science at NYU. It is a highly selective program for students with a strong background in mathematics, computer science, and applied statistics. The degree focuses on the development of new methods for data science. The students have access to courses from a wide range of departments including statistics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), biostatistics, business, economics, psychology, etc.

Students get the opportunity to work closely with folks in other fields to apply data science to solving real-world problems. You will get to study tracks like Big Data, NLP (natural language), mathematics, data, and physics depending on your interest and career goals. There is ample opportunity for practical training in the form of an internship semester and a capstone project. Besides, the department conducts workshops, tech talks and other events in collaboration with industry professionals. The acceptance rate for NYU data science program is around 15%. Although, the acceptance rate was 5% in 2014 & 2015.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is one of the most reputed and top universities for research in computer science in the world.  The MS in Computational Data Science at CMU trains students in all aspects of design, engineering, and deployment of very large information systems. Students will cover topics like databases, distributed algorithms and storage, machine learning, language technologies, software engineering, human-computer interaction, and design.

Students will develop a unified vision of very large information systems through cover core classes and electives. Additionally, the internship and capstone project requirements ensure that students are ready for the competitive job market. Tech giants such as Google and Amazon come to the campus to sign up students for placements and internships. So as you would expect, competition for admission is fierce, with an acceptance rate of around 10%. But, CMU is unarguably one of the best universities in the US for MS in Data Science.

Johns Hopkins University

As the Johns Hopkins institute quotes “The Data Science Master’s degree at the Johns Hopkins University will provide the training in applied mathematics, statistics and computer science to serve as the basis for an understanding, and appreciation, of existing data science tools.” A course grade of B- or higher is required to meet all course requirements. Johns Hopkins also offers online part-time Data Science programs. The fees for 2-year full-time master’s programs are around $112,000. 

Read: How to Write MS SOP for Ivy League Schools

UC Berkeley

UCB’s MS in Information and Data Science (MIDS) program is a new degree intended for professionals who want to learn how to solve real-world problems in the big data world. Unlike existing programs that focus on advanced mathematics and modeling alone, the curriculum provides students with insights from social science and policy research, as well as statistics, computer science, and engineering. Courses include statistics for data science, applied machine learning, and data visualization. Applicants are expected to have a working knowledge of the Python programming language before beginning the course.

Although all coursework is delivered online, students are expected to attend a 4-5 day immersion session on the UC Berkeley campus. Students generally complete the program in 20 months by studying two courses per semester but this can be accelerated to 12 months by taking three courses per semester. MIDS is a uniquely designed program to empower you with the knowledge and relationships you’ll need to accelerate your career wherever you may work and earn a degree simultaneously. It combines the best of on-campus and online education, in an intimate, collaborative environment.

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Read: Best Online Courses on Data Sciences 2022

University of Southern California

The MS in Computer Science with specialization in Data Science program at USC is run by the Viterbi School of Engineering. The program provides students with a core background in Computer Science and specialized algorithmic, statistical, and systems expertise in acquiring, storing, accessing, analyzing, and visualizing large, heterogeneous, and real-time data associated with diverse real-world domains including energy, the environment, health, media, medicine, and transportation.

The program puts a heavy emphasis on stats, algorithms, and systems expertise. The core curriculum is pure computer science—think classes in AI, data systems, data analysis. The department is one of the top 20 in the US and has got strong links with companies like Boeing and the US Military.

University of Pennsylvania

This full-time Masters’s (MS) Data Science program prepares students for a huge selection of data-centric careers, in fields such as technology and engineering, consulting, science, policy-making & art, or communications. A minimum GPA of 3.4 is required. The Data Science Program can typically be completed in one-and-a-half to two years. Preparatory coursework and a thesis are both offered by the domain specialization. The fees for the course are around $56,000 & IELTS, TOEFL exams are required to be given by students. 

University of Michigan

This program will help students apply statistical and computational tools to the dataset to answer questions posed by individuals, organizations, or governmental agencies, design and evaluate analytical procedures appropriate to the data. Regular admission to the program requires a Bachelor’s degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics field earned from an accredited program with an average of B and above. Students are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.0. The fee for the entire course is around $80,000.

Cornell University

Students from backgrounds of statistical, mathematical, engineering, physical, agricultural, biological, social, or computer science are welcomed. Cornell offers award-winning online certificate programs in data science. GRE scores and TOEFL  (minimum scores: listening 15, writing 20, reading 20, speaking 22) scored are accepted and required when applying for the program. 

Northwestern University

This Master of Science in Data Science is a part-time online program & requires the successful completion of 12 courses to obtain a degree. Applied Statistics with R, Introduction to Data Science, Database Systems and Data Preparation, Practical Machine Learning, Decision Analytics, Project Management are some of the courses students go through in this program. Students are required to maintain a GPA score of 3.0 or above. $56,000 is the average fee for the entire program. 

University of Rochester

The program is designed for students with a background in any field of science, engineering, mathematics, or business & provides students with a strong background in the fundamentals and applications of data science. This full-time program can be completed in two or three semesters. A total of 30 credits are required to complete the program. The fee for the entire course is $56,300.

Duke University

This Data Science program along with theory involves field knowledge and repeated practice in critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and collaborative leadership. This is a 2-year full-time program wherein students will interact with faculties from the background of computer science, statistics, math, economics, and many more. 

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University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is top quality and all-around school. Its reputation is equal to an elite private university but charges tuition fees at the rate of public universities. The MS in Data Science program at Virginia is an 11‐month professional master’s program, which starts at the beginning of July and ends the next year in mid-May. 

The compressed duration is designed to minimize the time from start to finish, and the cohort experience will allow students to consistently work together in teams and gain real-world experience. The courses are taught by faculty from the Departments of Computer Science, Statistics, and Systems and Information Engineering. Every year, the institute hosts Datapalooza, a University-wide showcase of data-driven research, resources, and outreach.

Students from the backgrounds of mathematics, English, biology, statistics, nursing, journalism, public policy, computer science & astronomy are welcomed at the University of Virginia. Graduates from this university are working in organizations like Amazon, Green Bay Packers, CIA, Capital One, Google, MITRE, Morgan Stanley, NIH, McKinsey, Workday & Deloitte.

The university offers an 11-month Masters’s program which is also offered as an online degree. $20,000 is the fee of the entire program & students are required to give Language Proficiency tests when applying.

Indiana University, Bloomington

The MS in Data Science program at Indiana University, offered by the School of Informatics and Computing is a unique program as it offers two distinct paths for students – a technical path and a decision-maker path. The technical track covers topics like analysis of algorithms, cloud computing, and network security systems.

The decision-maker path includes project management, strategy, business intelligence, and communication. The school has got a huge reputation in quantitative analysis and computer science, and there is scope for research opportunities as well. The school is also known for its focus on business, making it a great option for students who are also looking to go into management.

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MS in Computer Science in USA – Top Specializations, Top Universities & Application Tips

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

The MS in Computer Science with Data Science concentration is a great one if you want to develop and apply methods to collect, curate, and analyze large-scale data, and to make discoveries and decisions using those analyses. Regarded as one of the best research universities in the US, UMass Amherst is a great place to study. It’s a two-year program, in which you will develop an in-depth understanding of Machine Learning, NLP, Statistics, and Advanced Algorithms & Systems for Data Science.

Masters / MS in Data Science in USA

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

The MS in Data Science program at Minnesota is jointly delivered by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the School of Statistics, and the Division of Biostatistics. It is a great program for folks who want to dig deep into the data world; one of the best places for data mining and data management.

Research opportunities are available in a wide variety of fields that range from big data processing in mobile cloud platforms to comparing climate simulation model performances. The University of Minnesota is currently ranked 4th in the world among academic institutions in data mining. The program also offers excellent opportunities for those who want to work in the public health domain – healthcare informatics and healthcare analytics. For example, the Institute for Health Informatics at Minnesota has got a big team of researchers working on natural language processing.

University of Washington

The MS in Data Science program at UW provides technical skills to extract meaningful insights from large and noisy big data. The program will equip students to build deep expertise in managing, modeling, and visualizing big data to meet the growing needs of the modern world. Courses include Statistics & Probability, Information Visualization, Data Science Visualization, Statistical Machine Learning, Software Designs for Data Science, Experimental Design, Data Systems & Algorithms, and Capstone Project.

Students will get to work with the top talent from the data science world, and gain valuable real-world experience. Being located in Seattle, students will be in close proximity to tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon. Thus, it is a strategic geographic location to start your big data journey. Last but not least, classes are held in the evening on the UW Seattle campus. So, you can work while studying a top-notch program.

University of Chicago

The university’s one of the main goals of the program is to give students the tools to be highly successful professionals in business analytics and data science.  Statistical Analysis, Optimization & Simulation Methods, Data Mining Principles, Bayesian Methods, and Database Design & Implementation are some of the topics included in the coursework.

The course is offered both full-time and part-time, the full-time course can be completed in 5 quarters and the part-time course can be completed in 2-3 years. The cost of the course is around $50,000 including tuition costs and other expenses.  Students are required to give Language Proficiency tests when applying.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The MS in Statistics – Data Science at Wisconsin combines a statistical theory, methods, and practice related to data science along with communication skills to make the new generation of leaders who will use data effectively for planning, strategy, communication, and decision making. Located in the famous tech hub, UW features in the top 10 of U.S. News & World Report rankings for both comp science and statistics.

Best Universities for MS Data Science in USA

There is one drawback. Students enrolled in the MS Data Science (MS-DS) option are not allowed to accept research assistantships, teaching assistantships, project assistantships or other University appointments which grant waivers of tuition and/or academic fees. However, students can get corporate sponsorship. The course is highly suitable for folks who want to move up the leadership/career ladder.

North Carolina State University

The MS Computer Science with Data Science Track at NCSU is a multidisciplinary program. The program will help students to develop essential skills for knowledge discovery efforts. Besides, students will also gain exposure to decision-making skills – including skills in managing, querying, analyzing, visualizing, and extracting meaning from extremely large datasets.

Some of the key courses are Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Automated Learning & Data Analysis, Data Mining, Database Management, Cloud Computing, Human-Computer Interactions, Social Computing, Intelligent Game Learning, and Computational Methods for Molecular Biology etc.

UC San Diego

The MAS in Data Science and Engineering program at UCSD is primarily aimed at early- to mid-career data professionals working with massive data sets. So, perfect for the folks who are currently on a technical leadership track or those who are looking at a career shift in data science. Courses are delivered on alternating weekends, on a Friday/Saturday schedule, with instructional materials available online. Since it’s a career-focused program, the core curriculum is built around the fundamentals of data science fundamentals – programming, analysis, systems, and machine learning. In the second year, students are expected to work in teams to design a data science project.

Rutgers University

The MS Data Science program at Rutgers is a highly analytical degree course. Students will gain a deep understanding of algorithmic tools and computational skills for data extraction, data analytics, data visualization, and summarization. The practical training (internship) is a mandatory critical component of the program; thus, very effective for employability.

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

The MS in Computer Science – Data Science Track at UI-UC is offered in partnership with the School of Information Sciences and the Department of Statistics. It’s more or less an online program. The program emphasizes new statistical and computational tools that are transforming business and society. Apart from lectures, students will learn through Coursera’s MOOC platform.

Looking at to apply to these universities, and need professional guidance? Contact us today for personalized university list, SoP & Essay Review/Edit, CV & LoR guidance, assistance with financial aid, or end-to-end guidance!

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MS Data Science in USA: Eligibility

  • The basic eligibility for most universities is the same, which is a minimum GPA and test scores including language proficiency tests like TOEFL.
  • Most universities accept students from various backgrounds, but some need their students to hold a specific bachelor’s degree, this can be checked on the university’s official page.
  • Additionally, Letters of Recommendation & SoP / Personal Statement are required in almost all universities. 
  • GRE is required by the majority of universities. However, there are exceptions. Read 17 Best Universities Offering MS Data Science in USA without GRE.

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MS Data Science in USA: Costs

The cost of MS Data Science in USA, which is a Masters’s program for a duration of 1-2 years ranges between $25,000 – $100,000. Various factors influence the cost such as choice of university, location, or being a native or international student. The components that account for the total cost are tuition fees, extra academic fees, food and rent for mainly international students, etc. 

US is considered one of the best when it comes to data science colleges, not just that USA has a lot of recruiters like Apple, Amazon, Google, and HCL to hire these individuals who graduate as data scientists. Students pursuing a job as a data scientist can expect an average salary of $120,000 per year which can go as high as $200,000. 

Job Prospects after MS Data Science in USA

Data Scientist

This is one of the most common roles individuals seek after their graduation. Your job as a data scientist will involve collecting, analyzing, visualizing, and presenting data. A data scientist can help uncover patterns and trends as they are involved in almost all aspects of a project. Generally, data scientists are in charge of people and are specialized in certain skills themselves which help them navigate a project from beginning to end. 

Average salary : $110,000 – $200,000

Data Analyst

Major organizations depend on data to make business decisions such as developing a new project, markets to explore, investment planning, and analyzing target customers. That’s where the role of a data analyst comes in, it is the responsibility of a data scientist to use data to enable an organization to make more informed decisions. Data analysts are in high demand as there are about 2.8 million openings right now. 

Average salary : $60,000 – $145,000

Data Engineer

Data engineers are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining data pipelines, essentially preparing data for operational use. Their goal is to make data easily accessible and to optimize the organization’s big data. Unlike data scientists, data engineers do not need to know a large spectrum of skills as this is a rather broad field and hence data engineers would be dealing with more specifics. A data engineer mostly works with a data science team and helps them create and manage data.

Average salary : $50,000 – $110,000

Top Universities for MS Business & Data Analytics in USA

Please be advised that I have listed the programs (above) that are primarily focused on data science along with statistics,  machine learning,  data mining, and software/programming after referring to the university/program websites, course content, and popular Blogs on Data Science. I haven’t listed the programs that revolve around Analytics. For courses on Data & Business Analytics, please refer to Best MS Business Analytics Programs in USA.

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