We live in the information age. There’s no denying it. The dramatic rise and constant creation of new data has resulted in an ocean of information.
Whether you work in finance, healthcare, information security, or engineering, every industry is currently confronting this inundation of data growth, and that growth has ignited a vital call for the identification, interpretation, and explanation of data patterns and trends.
Currently, the top five jobs in technology are positions that rely heavily on data mining and analytics, according to U.S. News & World Report. If you want to see the data on the best degrees available online, have a look at our ranking of the Top Online Colleges and Universities.
Top 10 Best Online Big Data Programs
||Carnegie Mellon University
||Pennsylvania State University World Campus
||University Park, PA
||University of California–Berkeley
||California State University–Fullerton
||Johns Hopkins University
||University of Southern California
||Los Angeles, CA
||University of Massachusetts–Amherst
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Accredited Online College Programs
From computer systems analysts to information scientists, the need for people to collate, investigate, and interpret big data is on a dramatic rise in the U.S. A recent study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute projects a 21 percent rise in data analysis jobs in the next eight years alone.
This means the need for people with analytical and data mining education is in high demand. Indeed, demand is high and the return is even higher; data analysts of all stripes and skills make, on average, between $81,000 and $131,000 annually.
Online programs in big data are an affordable, accessible, and flexible way to earn an advanced degree, especially if you find yourself in a situation that makes going back to school either logistically or financially problematic.
Despite the stigma online programs once held, they have mostly shed those stereotypes and have increasingly solid reputations, in large part because online programs are developed and taught by the same faculty who teach the traditional, on-campus courses. And in most cases, the diploma looks exactly the same as those garnered by “traditional students,” yet it was obtained at half the price.
What are the Best Big Data Programs in the Country?
Below are the fifty best online big data programs in the country. While some programs are MS in Data Science degrees and others are MS in Business analytics programs, they all share one thing in common despite the difference of name and emphasis: they are the best at teaching big data.
Here at College Choice we’ve collated and compared the academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, and average annual salary of graduates from online big data programs across the country to create a definitive ranking of the nation’s fifty best.
We first chose programs with the most renowned academic reputation and from those pared the list down to those with high retention rates—a reflection of student satisfaction—added those with the most economical accessibility, and finally we included the averages of early career salaries (care of PayScale) to arrive at a list marked by thorough research and extensive data aggregation.
Our figures come from the university and colleges’ websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
See our rankings methodology page.
Carnegie Mellon University
The top-ranked Information Technology and Management program in the country (by U.S. News & World Report, Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) degree offers a specialization in business intelligence and data analytics. This fully online program can be earned from anywhere in the world, requires no campus visits, and is delivered through an asynchronous model, meaning you can complete all of the coursework at your pace. Through multimedia video lectures and a state-of-the-art learning management system, you can engage in a curriculum that combines data analytics, management strategy, and information technology.
As a Carnegie Mellon online MSIT student, you will take classes covering analysis in several spheres, including economics, business, finances and accounting, geographic systems, and more. Additionally, core courses will cover database management, statistics, privacy in the digital age, data warehousing, exploring and visualizing data, and applied data mining. Carnegie Mellon tops our list for a number of reasons: its excellent program ranking, its higher-than-average retention rate of 96 percent, and its early income averages of over $100,000 annually for graduates. Finally, CMU offers one of the more competitive tuition packages, making this a great return on investment and an overall solid academic choice.
Carnegie Mellon is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
A leader in information technology and, specifically, in big data, Virginia Tech’s Master in Information Technology program is consistently ranked the second best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Moreover, Virginia Tech is home to the Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics, the Discovery Analytics Center, and the Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory, where significant research gains are made in intelligence analysis and its related fields of sustainability, neuroscience, business data, social and behavioral science, and more.
Virginia Tech has several avenues of graduate study in analytics, including three masters degrees and one graduate certificate in addition to their fully online Master in Information Technology program. Whether you’re interested in the business or technology end of the spectrum, Virginia Tech provides a multi-disciplinary foundation in descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. The number of degree opportunities (there’s a PhD certificate program too) plus the substantive and influential research activities make Virginia Tech one of the best schools in the nation for analytics.
Virginia Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Requiring only sixteen credits and a completion time of eight to twelve months, the graduate certificate in data analytics at Boston University is at once economical, affordable, and well recognized. For working professionals who are eager to advance their business or tech careers, or even transition to a new field of data analytics, this program blends theory and methodology, training its students on how to first collate and analyze data then how to generate compelling visual representation of that data.
Through the four courses—foundations of analytics, data analysis and visualization, web analytics and mining, and data mining—students learn applied probability and statistics, how to explore data visualization techniques, how to navigate hidden patterns in structured and unstructured text, and they gain a broad understanding of web analytics and metrics. The certificate is already competitively priced (the whole program has an estimated cost of under $11,000), but Boston seeks to ensure affordability for its students, offering graduate loans, assistantships, scholarships, and payment plans. This program is offered completely online, and graduates have gone on to become computer and information systems managers, computer systems analysts, database administrators, and computer and information research scientists.
Boston University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus
University Park, PA
Ranked fourth among universities proffering online information technology masters degrees, Penn State World Campus offers three graduate analytics programs: a general Master in Data Analytics, a graduate certificate in business analytics, and a Master of Professional Studies in Business Analytics. Each prepare students to have working knowledge of the design and maintenance of big data and analytical systems. With an emphasis on data mining, modeling, and architecture as well as extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) development, the Penn State World Campus curriculum can be completed fully online. Despite the distance, Penn stands out for its cross-departmental model, as this program is specifically delivered through a partnership between four Penn State colleges.
Coursework covers applied statistics, predictive analysis, data-driven decision making, database design, regression methods, genetic algorithms, and more. Faculty—who are recognized leaders in their respective fields of business, technology, and systems management—work closely with students to teach the collection, classification, analysis, and modeling of data across domains. Students thus graduate from Penn State World Campus fully knowledgeable of and trained in statistics, computer science, machine learning, and software engineering.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The online Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) at Villanova University is all about the analysis of complex, real-world business problems. So, whether you want to advance your career, change paths, or become a leader in analytics, this program will help you develop in-demand skills that can be applied to almost any and every industry. Offered through Villanova’s AACSB-accredited business school, students gain access to a breadth of networking opportunities while working closely with Villanova faculty and peers.
The thirty-three credit hour curriculum covers data models and structured analysis, multivariate data analysis, enterprise data management, analytic methods for optimization and simulation, business intelligence, advanced applications, and a practicum. Though the degree is fully online, it is expected that you will take one to two classes per term over the course of five semesters, finishing around twenty months. Forbes recently ranked Villanova in the top 100 of “America’s Top Colleges,” and U.S. News & World Report specifically ranked the Villanova School of Business School as 6th in the nation for its online graduate business programs.
Villanova University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of California–Berkeley
The Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) degree program at renowned UC Berkeley is offered both on campus and fully online, though the latter option requires students to attend at least one three-to-four day immersion experience on campus. The MIDS curriculum comprises a number of disciplines and departments—the social sciences, computer science, statistics, management, law—and develops eight key skills in its students: research design, cleansing, communication, storage and retrieval, statistical analysis, mining and exploring, ethics and privacy, and data visualization.
A top-ranked program, Berkeley’s MIDS wholly prepares its students to advance their careers or transition to new work in data science. In fact, in a recent survey 45 percent of graduates reported receiving a promotion and 76 percent reported receiving a raise. These graduates have also gone on to work with top tech companies (e.g., AirBnB, Fitbit, Linkedin, etc.) as well as in the finance, healthcare, and computer science industries, solving complex social, economic, and health problems. Full-time online MIDS students are able to finish the degree in twenty months, while students on the accelerated path finish in as little as year. UC Berkeley also offers an online part-time track, which takes thirty-two months to complete.
The University of California Berkeley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
California State University–Fullerton
Through the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, you can earn a Master of Science in Information Technology entirely online. This program—ranked first in the state and sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report—takes twenty months to complete and is delivered through a synchronous, year-round model, in which students take two courses per term along with the rest of their cohort. In fact, CSU’s program is notably relational (rather than independent), as students participate in online lectures, discussions, chats, and course readings.
This MSIT degree allows students to choose from two concentrations, one of which is data science. In addition to the core curriculum, this specialization includes classes on business intelligence, regression analysis, forecasting, statistics, project management, database design and processing, data mining, and more. Through this blend of business and tech classes, students learn to identify, design, and manage data storage and sets, while also recognizing strategies for analysis, decision-making, and effective methodology. If you’re looking for a program that emphasizes relationships as well as leadership building, this MSIT with a concentration in Data Science may be the perfect fit for you.
California State University–Fullerton is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Johns Hopkins University, a leader in information technology, offers a MS in Data Science degree (as well as a Post Master’s Certificate in Data Science) that can be pursued online or as a hybrid degree, in which the student takes classes online and on-site. This program concentrates on applied mathematics, statistics, and the fundamentals of computer science in order to introduce students to complex data sets and how to discover patterns and relationships among those sets.
The faculty at JHU is comprised of leading and practicing data scientists (and engineers) who work closely with students to create models that solve real-world problems. And for those students who choose to take classes on campus in addition to online, they have access to the state-of-the-art facilities at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Either way, both online and on-site students take a range of courses, the cores covering data visualization, Java programming, Python, and mathematics, and electives that cover the stochastic process, game theory, simulation, and probability, among others.
Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of Southern California
The MS in Computer Science degree at the University of Southern California includes the option to specialize in data science. Offered through the Viterbi School of Engineering, this online MS program trains students on the algorithmic, statistical, and systematic elements involved in acquiring, storing, accessing, analyzing, and visualizing data. Students take classes on artificial intelligence, information integration on the web, geospatial information management, machine learning, and information retrieval and web search engines.
This degree requires completing thirty-two units, and graduates from the University of Southern California have found work in an array of industries, applying their gained knowledge of heterogeneous and real-time data knowledge to energy research, environment and health promotion, media interpretation, medicine advancement, tech research, and transportation engineering, and more. Though most of the courses for this MS in Computer Science degree can be taken online, some on-campus (in Los Angeles) coursework is required.
The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
University of Massachusetts–Amherst
The University of Massachusetts–Amherst offers a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics that prepares students to process and visualize data as a way to solve real-world business problems. This fifteen-credit degree is for new graduates or working professionals who seek leadership positions in today’s business world. Proffered through the renowned Isenberg School of Management, this certification is comprised of core courses on data management and business leadership, business data analysis and statistical methods, and business intelligence and analytics. Electives cover a range of topics, from e-commerce and social media management to SEO, lean process improvement, and sport analytics.
Graduates from UMass Amherst have found rewarding careers in all sectors of the business world, making on average, over $62,000 annually in the first few years of their career. Though this degree certification in business analytics is offered completely online, having access to campus will be a huge benefit to your studies, as campus is home to a number of research centers, including its Center for Data Science, its Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, and its Computational Social Science Institute.
The University of Massachusetts–Amherst is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
University of California–Los Angeles
At the University of California–Los Angeles you can earn a Master of Science in Engineering degree that is paired with a Certificate of Specialization in Data Science Engineering. The program is fully online and can be completed between two and three years. Because this is primarily an engineering degree, the curriculum covers key techniques to designing and building big data systems in addition to the interpretation of data patterns. And, even though this is primarily an engineering degree, UCLA ensures its students are well acquainted with business applications of analytics too.
Classes at UCLA includes four core data science engineering courses plus another four to five courses in information technology, statistics and probability, machine learning algorithms, and web information systems. UCLA is a renowned research university, ranked among America’s top research universities by U.S. News & World Report with similar accolades from Forbes, ARWU, Washington Monthly, and others. Most notably, its online engineering program is ranked first, its business department is ranked fifteenth in the nation, and its on-site engineering department is ranked fourteenth in the country.
UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln you will learn how to communicate with information technology and statistical specialists about gathering, analyzing, and maintaining data and how to make effective and strategic decisions through big data translation. UN Lincoln offers a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics that is made up of twelve credits and can be easily completed in under a year. But don’t let the length and size of the program fool you. Nebraska prepares students to solve a broad set of problems by utilizing a similarly broad set of data and statistical techniques.
Core courses for Nebraska’s Business Analytics certificate include business analytics, introduction to econometrics, strategic database marketing, and data mining applications. As an online student you will receive individualized attention from the lauded University of Nebraska business and technology faculty, and you’ll have access to their (and other UN faculty) research contributions and ongoing work. Furthermore, Nebraska is globally and nationally ranked by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, and more.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, CO
A leader in online and distance education, Colorado Technical University specializes in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in business, management, and technology. U.S. News & World Report has ranked many of their programs as among the best online degrees in the country, including those coming from the graduate information technology department and the graduate business department. Colorado Tech is the only school on our list to offer a fully online, well-recognized Doctor of Computer Science in Big Data degree. Requiring ninety-six credit hours of classes covering database systems, business intelligence, analytics for big data, principles of research methods, qualitative and quantitative research methods, plus a number of courses on creating your dissertation, this degree can be earned in as few as three years.
CTU doctoral students are trained to discover solutions to the unsolved problems popping up in an array of fields, and they cultivate the analytic and research skills necessary to interpret large amounts of distributed and unstructured data. For that reason, this degree is optimal for those who wish to work in senior level leadership, consulting, higher education, and in the technological sectors of the business, government, nonprofit, and education industries.
Colorado Technical University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Sports management and performance analytics, web and network data science, advanced modeling techniques, marketing and risk analytics, and data visualization are just some of the online classes you can expect to take while earning your Masters in Predictive Analytics degree from Northwestern University. This program specifically emphasizes database administration, predictive modeling and quantitative analysis, communication of analytics, and leadership skills, and it requires students to take on a capstone project and do thesis research toward the end of their studies.
Notable of the Northwestern program is its part-time schedule, allowing students to work at their own pace and through an asynchronous model. Northwestern also has small classes with elite faculty, through which it develops in its students the ability to articulate analytics, transform data, prove leadership acumen, analyze data structures and lifecycles, develop and oversee business plans, and create sustainable and innovative analytic solutions. Northwestern University is a highly ranked research institution, consistently ranked as among the top twenty universities in the country by ARWU, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly alike.
Northwestern University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) offers a Master of Science in Data Analytics degree that can be taken fully online or in a hybrid format with some on-campus classes. This program equally combines technical and business coursework in its curriculum, which has been designed, reviewed, and maintained by a team of advisors and industry experts. Core coursework include decision management systems, data management and visualization, data mining, predictive modeling, and big data analytics, while electives delve more into methodology, data validation, and analytics initiatives.
Unique to the online UMUC MS in Data Analytics program is its community focus. Students are encouraged to participate in the business and management club, the computing club, or the marketing club. Likewise, students work closely with faculty in building a foundation of data applications and methods. This program has been deemed a finalist in the Distance Education Innovation Award just last year, which is no surprise considering UMUC is frequently praised for its academic and research contributions.
The University of Maryland University College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Quinnipiac University is known for being home to the nationally recognized Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in addition to being ranked among the best business schools and, generally, among the best colleges in the country. They offer a Master of Science in Business Analytics degree that can completed online in a flexible format. In fact, this program was specifically created with working professionals in mind.
Whether you’re interested in specialization or cultivating a broad leadership and managerial approach to data and data systems, as a Quinnipiac University student you will be fully prepared to become a vital business asset. Courses cover a diverse range of subjects, including visualization, mining, management and warehousing, statistical analysis, information technology project management, and predictive modeling. Graduates have gone on to find rewarding and high-paying work in insurance firms, with marketing agencies, in financial services companies, and in manufacturing organizations, among others. And these graduates, on average, make nearly $70,000 annually in the earliest years of their careers. The cost of attendance plus the early to mid salary career numbers make Quinnipiac not only a flexible choice, but an affordable one.
Quinnipiac University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Through one of the largest business schools in the nation—the W.P. Carey School of Business—Arizona State University offers an online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MS-BA) degree. Ideal for working professionals who plan to study while maintaining their current jobs, this program is 100 percent online, takes sixteen months to complete, and is comprised of five-week courses, in which the student takes one class at a time. This ASU program is also STEM-designated, meaning eligible students get access to international study and research opportunities.
As an ASU online student you will take ten courses to complete the degree: enterprise analytics, applied analytics, data mining I and II, data-driven quality management, analytical decision-making tools I and II, business analytics strategy, marketing analytics, and an applied project. For those online students who seek expedience and structure, this program is maybe one of the better fits for you. You will also work closely with a MS-BA ambassador, an advisor who will guide you through your ASU experience.
Arizona State University is accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
If you’re looking to specifically combine marketing and big data, then the University of Alabama’s Bama by Distance program is for you. They offer a MS in Marketing with specialization in Marketing Analytics degree that prepares you to evaluate marketing campaigns based on a collation of data. This program also uniquely features communication and time management training. So you will take classes on global marketing management, advanced marketing analytics, and import/export strategy in addition to classes covering statistical methods, data mining, and advanced statistical data management.
For those working professionals who want to further their knowledge and skills of advanced marketing and data analytics, this program is fully online and notably flexible. Faculty work closely with students to help them achieve work as supervisors, administrators, managers, and coordinators after graduation. This MS in Marketing Analytics degree is offered through Alabama’s AACSB-accredited business school, which is ranked the fourteenth best online graduate business school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This is also the most affordable program on our list with an average credit hour cost of merely $367.
The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Through Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing you can earn a Master of Science in Data Science degree fully online. This program takes only a year to eighteen months to complete and includes courses on business analytics, python, real world data science, data semantics, systems and protocol security, applied machine learning, and the management, access, and use of big and complex data. Students are also expected to incorporate an internship into their studies, whether on-campus or in their own communities.
Indiana University goes to great lengths to ensure its students receive the research experience and business exposure that will secure their success in the future. For that reason, IU has created a number of initiatives and programs such as their BEST Aspiring Entrepreneur Program, their ICE (Informatics and Computing Entrepreneurs) group, the Velocity Conference for graduate students, VisionTech Entrepreneur Advisory Sessions, and much more. Indiana University also pairs each student with faculty and staff advisors who work with the student from orientation through graduation, helping him or her plan course work, research, and more.
Indiana University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Saint Joseph's University
You can earn a Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics degree fully online through Saint Joseph’s University. If you’re looking for a program that equally covers tech and business with classes on data warehousing, DSS modeling, enterprise data, business intelligence, critical performance management, and business process modeling, then this program is perhaps for you. Offered through their AACSB-accredited Erivan K. Haub School of Business, this program has been nationally ranked among the top twenty-five of its kind by U.S. News & World Report.
Also unique to the SJU experience is that graduates don’t just walk away with their masters degree, they earn a Business Intelligence certificate that is SAS endorsed, a honor that will set you apart from the crowd. In fact, many graduates from this Business Intelligence degree have gone on to become IT Business Analysts, a career that pays (on average) above $65,000 annually with very positive prospects for future growth and expansion. Other graduates have found work in healthcare, education, the tech sector, medicine, and more.
Saint Joseph’s University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Technology and management make a perfect marriage at Florida State University. The Master of Science in Management Information Systems degree brings together technical, analytical, and leadership strategies to offer a curriculum that covers social and organizational issues in information systems, project management, corporate information security, knowledge management, and e-business. For those who want to specialize in big data or analytics, they can supplement their program with courses on advanced systems analysis, database management, business intelligence, and business conditions analysis.
Typically, Florida State online students take approximately two courses per semester and finish the degree in two years. In those two years they work closely with world-class professors who teach on campus as well. Ranked fourth among best online graduate business programs by U.S. News & World Report, Florida State also holds rankings from Forbes, ARWU, Washington Monthly, and others, and it is most known for its excellence in research among its computer science, business, and engineering departments. Not only does FSU have an academic reputation, it is also known for the high early salaries of its graduates, which average over $60,000 annually.
Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
North Carolina A&T State University
Known for its investments in research, especially in computer science, national security, energy, and technology, North Carolina A&T State University is a great option for online graduate education. Their Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) degree is consistently ranked among the top twenty best online graduate computer information technology programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. For many reasons NC A&T has earned this accolade, but much of the credit is due to the faculty, who are leaders and experts in their respective fields, and who have contributed greatly through research initiatives to the university and their industries.
Online MSIT students can specialize in a number of ways, in computer networking and communications, computer security, web technologies, digital media technologies, and database management. However students decide to narrow their academic focus, the NC A&T curriculum provides a sturdy foundation of analytics and data management. Graduates have found work in both high-profile and start-up technology firms, as well as in industries across the employment sector, from non-profit organizations to healthcare.
North Carolina A&T State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
This online MS in Enterprise Analytics degree from Pace University is a blend of computer science, statistics, data warehousing, database design, and data mining education that readies students for a career in big data no matter the specific industry or field. While foundation courses at Pace cover analytics computing, the mathematical foundations of analytics, data mining, big data warehousing, and enterprise intelligence and development, students can customize their studies through a range of electives. So if you want to pair your analytics with marketing, social media, product development, accounting, or supply-chain management, Pace makes that an option for you.
Pace University is a private liberal-arts school based in Manhattan but with a well-recognized distance education program. In fact, U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks their online graduate business and technology degrees among the top twenty best in the country. And so graduates from Pace find stable, high-paying work in a range of fields, from technology architecture and database programming to analytic and algorithmic consulting and data interpretation. This thirty-credit hour degree takes approximately two years to complete.
Pace University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Bridgeport is based in Connecticut but offers a number of fully online degree programs, including their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Through the online MBA, which can be completed within a year, students have the opportunity to specialize in analytics intelligence. This means that in addition to the MBA core curriculum—that is, classes covering organizational behavior, marketing and branding, information systems and knowledge management, managerial cost and accounting, and finance management and policy—analytics students also take courses on enterprise intelligence, decision support systems, technical concepts for analytics professionals, and foundations in advanced enterprise analytics.
Perhaps a one-year MBA sounds too intensive for you? Well, Bridgeport has a number of incentives that make the twelve-month program worthwhile. Foremost, classes are still flexible and allow students to work when and where they need. And the schedule was specifically designed to offer convenience; students take five, eight-week sessions to complete the degree, with two-week breaks between each session. Finally, the courses, though online, still offer face-to-face interaction among students and faculty, making this both an efficient and relational MBA program.
The University of Bridgeport is accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business offers a number of analytics and data mining programs, including their online Master of Science in Business Analytics degree. Housed in Spears’ marketing department, this is a distinctly interdisciplinary STEM-recognized program that gives students a hands-on education. Perhaps one of the more diversified programs on our list, the curriculum at OSU includes coursework in programming languages (such as Python), analytics, marketing, business, statistics, and MIS and industrial engineering.
To further prove your range of academic and professional skills, you may wish to supplement your degree with additional certification. OSU offers three opportunities to do so. They provide the options to earn a Data Mining Certificate, a Predictive Analytics Certificate, and a Marketing Data Science Certificate. These have shown to give students a huge advantage upon entering the job market post-graduation. In addition to this degree being one of the more affordable ones on our list, OSU makes summer internships, semester co-ops, and company funded assistantships available for students to ease the weight of cost of attendance.
Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but offering a number of online degree programs, Marquette University is a Catholic school that is nationally ranked by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly. Likewise, their online programs, including the Master of Science in Computing, are well ranked and regarded. With a self-described “classroom in the cloud” approach to distance education, Marquette’s distance education is ideal for those balancing their professional and personal lives with their academic ambitions. The online MS in Computing program further enables students through its “Integrated Practicum,” which provides both financial aid and flexibility.
This computing science degree offers a big data and data analytics specialization that gives students a broad foundation in business applications and the knowledge to describe the collection, organization, and processing of data. Marquette students take classes on mathematics, statistics, computer science, parallel and distributed systems, advanced database systems, and data mining, and this is one of the few programs on our list in which students can earn an accelerated bachelor through master degree in computing science in under five years.
Marquette University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Graduates from Auburn University’s online Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) have gone on to work in business intelligence and analytics, database analysis, administration, systems architecture, information security, mobile computer, and software engineering. This program can be completed in two to three years and consists of ten three-credit hour courses, most of which build upon the foundations of information systems while exploring big data and analytics through courses such as predictive modeling, data communication, quantitative methods, advanced database administration and development, and more.
Specific and unique to Auburn’s online MSIS degree is that students get to design their course of study to fit with their vocational aspirations and passions. Students collaborate closely with faculty members and an advisory committee to create an academic program specific to that student, from coursework to practicum. Ranked among the top fifty public universities in the country for over twenty years, Auburn University is also known and recognized for the research contributions coming out of its business, engineering, and computer science departments.
Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
A private, research university based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Brandeis University is frequently ranked among the top 100 universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, ARWU, and Washington Monthly. Brandeis offers a fully online Master of Science in Strategic Analytics degree that teaches students to identify patterns and trends in big data, to communicate and interpret data results, and to then implement that data strategically. Online Brandeis students thus take classes on everything from business intelligence to marketing analytics, data governance, and visualization.
Because the Brandeis program is specifically big data oriented, students graduate fully trained to apply their analytic knowledge and skills to a range of industry needs. In fact, Brandeis graduates have become project consultants, compliance managers, data architects or scientists, marketing consultants, senior IT managers, and so much more. The online model at Brandeis is also worth noting because of its long history (Brandeis has been delivering education online for over a decade), its small classes, its faculty who are fully trained in the nuances of distance education, and the virtual meeting opportunities for students. For students desiring a concentrated study of big data at a nationally ranked university, Brandeis is a great option.
Brandeis University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Through the AACSB-accredited College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University offers an online Master of Science in Business Data Analytics degree. Requiring only one year of full-time study to complete, this program is comprised of classes on business intelligence, ethics and data collection, business statistical methods, data mining, simulation modeling, visualization, decision science, management, and a business analytics practicum. Though these courses can be completed entirely online, students are expected to come to campus for an orientation at the start of the program and then again at the end to present their capstone projects.
This Business Data Analytics degree prepares students to become experts in statistical techniques, to develop data mining strategies, to efficiently utilize databases, and to cultivate sustainable and effective analytic tools. Furthermore, the online program seeks to support students in all areas of study, pairing them with enrollment coaches and academic advisors in addition to the faculty, who are experts and leaders in the field of business analytics. Offering a perfectly balanced combination of business and data, this program is ideal for students who want to take their analytics and data intelligence experience into the business industry.
West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
At Syracuse University you can earn a Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science through the School of Information Studies. This is a fifteen-credit, graduate-level certificate program that can stand alone or can be incorporated into further graduate studies. It is also offered fully online or can be taken through the hybrid model, with some on-campus coursework. Syracuse’s CAS in Data Science is distinct in its emphasis on electives, and it provides four areas of concentration: data analytics, data storage and management, data visualization, and general systems management.
Moreover, Syracuse’s curriculum is made up of six core credits, while the rest are electives. That means you will take an applied data science course and a data administration concepts and database management course to begin with, and then you will have your choice of over a dozen courses to pair those with. Syracuse offers numerous elective options—enterprise technologies, information systems, natural language processing, digital data, metadata, text mining, and much more—so you can specialize your degree to your vocational goals and passions. This CAS option is a great choice for students who cannot yet commit to the full masters degree.
Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Missouri University of Science and Technology
At Missouri University of Science and Technology you can earn a graduate certificate in business analytics and data science, big data and security, or big data management and analytics. Whichever program feels like the best fit for you, you can anticipate an education that is at once descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive. First, Missouri S&T makes their data analysis certificates “descriptive” in that students learn what data tells us about past trends. The programs are “predictive” in that students then use that knowledge to predict future trends, and they then use that data to “prescribe” the best course of action.
Online coursework includes classes on big data analytics, information visualization, business intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning, applied time series analysis, regression analysis, Python, and much more. Again, these data analysis certificates from Missouri S&T are a perfect way to gain experience and knowledge in an accelerated format, and they fully equip students to go on to attain a masters degree, in business, technology, marketing, computer science, or information science and technology.
Missouri University of Science and Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Lunbar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee offers an online graduate certificate in business analytics. Students in this program learn to create statistical and predictive models for business analytics while also forecasting strategic methods of management, notably in the areas of finances and operations. They also learn how to utilize business intelligence solutions through data warehousing and mining techniques and they are fully trained in customer relations, specifically in the acquisition, retention, and profitability of those customers through analyzing their data.
To obtain the Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics students are required to complete fifteen credit hours. The only required course is predictive analytics for managers, and the rest of the certificate is customizable. Electives include business forecasting methods, web mining and analytics, marketing analytics, database marketing, and business intelligence technologies and solutions. Like some of the other graduate certification programs on our list, this one makes further graduate study streamlined for its students while also ensuring the certificate, in and of itself, sets its alums apart from the crowd.
The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
University of Arkansas
Once you complete twelve credit hours of this Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics from the University of Arkansas, you can easily transfer over to the Professional Master of Information Systems (MSIS) degree. Both are offered online and both respect the work-life balance maintained by their distance education students. To complete certification without the MSIS degree you’ll first take three required courses: data management systems, decision support and analytics, and business intelligence and knowledge management. Then you will take three of the four courses: IT toolkit, ERP fundamentals, e-business development, and/or systems development.
The University of Arkansas’ online big data program differentiates itself in many ways. Foremost, students receive actual hands-on experience through the use of large, real-world data sets (these come from some of the world’s most renowned companies). Students also gain access to and learn to leverage several enterprise platforms, including those from IBM, Microsoft, SAP, SAS, and Teradata. If you choose to transition from certification to masters degree, then you can anticipate another fifteen credits of courses covering IT management, global information systems, and systems development, among others.
The University of Arkansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Regis University—a private, Catholic university based in Denver, Colorado—offers students an opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Data Science that is completely online. This program is for those who want to go into data analytics, data engineering, statistics, predictive analytics, or data visualization. With an emphasis stemming from Regis’ Jesuit heritage, this data science degree stresses the significance in implementing data in a socially responsible manner. So, in addition to classes on statistical methods, experimental design, data engineering, and big data design patterns, students are also required to take classes on the ethics, privacy, and social justice in data science.
Whether you want to learn how to assemble data, identify trends and patterns, implement data to effectively communicate, analyze data to identify new areas of revenue, appraise data for ethical issues, or investigate how data science affects society, you will learn it at Regis. For that reason, this is perhaps one of the most thorough and broad programs on our list. Regis also offers certifications in data science, database administration with Oracle, database development, Enterprise Java software development, and Regis holds a number of rankings for its academic programs.
Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
A notably interdisciplinary program, the online Master of Science in Business Analytics at Iowa State University brings together faculty and curriculum from computer science, electrical and computer engineering, statistics, and industrial and manufacturing systems engineering departments. This program takes approximately twenty-one months to complete. And though the coursework can be done online, a one-week, on-campus business analytics overview course is required. Students are also expected to visit the Ames, Iowa campus midway through their studies and at the end of the program.
The ISU Business Analytics curriculum is comprised of courses on data analytics, project management, statistical and predictive modeling, consumer sentiment analysis, knowledge discovery, analytical reporting, segmentation analysis, and data visualization. Each student also participates in a capstone project, wherein they can specialize in a specific area of interest. Areas to choose among include fraud detection, risk management, text mining, and process improvement. Iowa State University is a great option for graduate study as the school has received strong rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, ARWU, and Washington Monthly.
Iowa State University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
CUNY School of Professional Studies
Whether you want to find work as a data scientist or an informatics engineer, a business intelligence analyst or a data warehousing manager, CUNY’s Master of Science in Data Analytics degree will equip you to succeed in a variety of industries. The curriculum, which is fully online, is comprised of thirty-six credit hours, twenty-seven of which are required cores that cover information and systems, programming, simulation and modeling, computational mathematics, statistics, data acquisition, visual analytics, and more. CUNY’s electives enable students to specialize in a diverse range of areas, including project management, web analytics, urban society and sustainability, and currents in urban sustainability (covering energy, transportation, and complex systems).
CUNY online students are privileged to have a hands-on education in addition to their online coursework. Throughout their education these students build portfolios of complex projects using programming languages such as Python and R. Similarly, students, through a close working relationship with faculty, create predictive and prescriptive models, lead presentations, and engage in peer review. This MS in Data Analytics degree is one of the more hands-on and communal programs on our list. Also unique to CUNY is the data analytics Bridge Program, which refreshes the knowledge and skills of students who have already earned credits in data analytics.
CUNY School of Professional Studies is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University’s main campus is based in Davie, Florida, but they have been offering distance and online education options since the 1980s. Included among their many online programs is the Graduate Certificate in Business Intelligence and Analytics. Offered through the College of Engineering and Computing, this program is ideal for students looking to further their understanding of business intelligence, data mining, and organizational decision making.
The certification requires completing the following courses, either online or on-campus (or a mix of both): decision support systems or business modeling, database management and applications, data warehousing, data mining, and a capstone project in business intelligence. Nova Southeastern’s program was designed to be completed in eighteen months and it fully prepares students to find advanced work in business intelligence analytics or architecture, data warehousing, and information technology business analysis. This fifteen-credit-hour certificate can also transfer to other programs if you decide to go on for the full masters degree. Nova Southeastern—with accolades from U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, The Economist, Times Higher Education, and the Carnegie Foundation—is a great option for continuing education on big data.
Nova Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
By earning a Master of Science in Analytics degree through Dakota State University you will be fully prepared to enter a career as a data analyst, scientist, architect, governance specialist, or visualization specialist. This program also readies its students for careers as predictive modelers, business intelligence developers, marketing analysts, financial analysts, and computational scientists. So, no matter where your passion with data lays specifically, this online degree can help you get there.
Dakota State’s MS in Analytics program differentiates itself from the others on our ranking in a few ways. It is not only one of the most affordable programs, it is the only one to offer a healthcare analytics track among its three specialization tracks (the others are information systems and general studies). As the only program providing training and education on healthcare analytics, Dakota State subsequently includes the following course options for those students: healthcare information, healthcare informatics and systems technology, data analytics in healthcare, and health information lifecycle governance. With its distinct concentrations and low price point, Dakota State University provides an affordable, flexible, and rewarding education.
Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock, PA
A member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Slippery Rock University is a moderate-sized, public graduate institution. They offer a Master of Science in Data Analytics degree that can be completed between ten months (if you’re studying full time) or two years (if you’re studying part time). But at Slippery Rock University you won’t only be earning a masters degree; students who complete the program also receive a joint certificate in statistical applications and data analytics from SRU and the SAS (Statistical Analysis System) Institute for advanced analytics. Slippery Rock is one of very few institutions in the country offering such certification, giving graduates a huge advantage in the workplace.
But this isn’t all. Slippery Rock analytics students are fully trained to take and pass the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) exam. They also can participate in an internship program, unlike many of the other programs on our list. In addition to all of these job training and placement aspects of the degree, students (of course) also take thirty-three credit hours of statistics, data mining, regression methods, big data analysis, forecasting, and capstone classes.
Slippery Rock University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Southern Methodist University
SMU was founded by what is now The United Methodist Church, in partnership with civic leaders. The University is nonsectarian in its teaching and committed to academic freedom and open inquiry. They also offer a number of distance education opportunities, including the online Master of Science in Data Science degree. With live online classes, an interdisciplinary curriculum, and a hands-on, project-based approach to education, this program is a great fit for those students seeking both flexibility and a more “traditional” graduate school experience.
Students graduate from SMU ready to manage and analyze large data sets in global business communities that span a wide range of industries, including education, government, large corporations, nonprofit, healthcare, and more. Southern Methodist University is frequently well-ranked by Forbes, The Economist, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, and ARWU, among others, and the data science program is as equally reputable and recognized as the larger university.
Southern Methodist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Saint Mary’s University is based in Winona, though it has several campuses and a strong distance education program. If you are looking for a degree in data analytics that can be taken online, at a quick pace, and emphasizes business intelligence, then Saint Mary’s accelerated online Master of Business Administration degree may be the perfect fit for you. This online MBA offers three areas of specialties, including the data analytics concentration, which teaches students data visualization, analytics strategy, and big data ethics. The specialization also emphasizes the crucial role of data interpretation in shaping business strategies and decision making.
Since the Saint Mary’s program is an MBA degree, students also take courses on quantitative analysis, economic theory, effective communication, evidence-based solutions, international development, financing, accounting, and information technology. Students are also required to take part in the capstone project, for which they apply what they’ve learned to project collaboration with a domestic or global organization. Saint Mary’s is a great school with a fantastic MBA program that will fully suit your data analytics goals.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
American University is a private research university located in the nation’s capital. They offer a Masters in Business Analytics degree program that takes between one and two years to complete. Not only is the university as a whole well ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and Washington Monthly, their business and technology programs are also consistently lauded. Even more, of all the analytics degrees on our list, American’s offers the most areas of specialization with seven options: accounting forensics, biostatistics, business fundamentals, computational statistics, IT consulting, marketing, and quantitative financial analysis.
However you choose to specialize, through American’s online analytics program you will become an expert in data analysis. You will be able to make organizational decisions and solve business problems through data interpretation and implementation. And you will be able to identify and collate data to substantiate those decisions. American University takes good care of its students, giving them real-world project cases with local organizations, and providing them with access to many career services, like one-on-one career coaching, networking events, and online toolkits.
American University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Ranked among the best business schools in the nation by BusinessWeek, Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and Entrepreneur Magazine, the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati offers a number of graduate degree and certification programs, some of which are attainable online, including the Data Science Graduate Certificate. A collaboration between the computer science and business analytics departments, this certification teaches students how to apply analytic techniques and algorithms, how to implement software tools, languages, and data models, and how to communicate the analytic translations effectively.
The Data Science certification requires completion of fifteen credits through the following courses: data warehousing and mining, intelligent data analysis, cloud computing, data visualization, data analysis methods, and statistical computing. This certificate is an ideal way to enter or advance vocational aspirations in business and technological industries. It also allows students to pursue further graduate study, if they so wish. The Carl Lindner College of Business is accredited by the prestigious AACSB.
The University of Cincinnati, as a whole, is accredited by the North Central Association of Higher Learning.
Boasting a highly flexible online environment, Lewis University offers a Master of Science in Data Science degree that comes with a substantive amount of academic, technological, and personal support. This thirty-six hour program comes with the option of two specializations: one in computer science and the other in computational biology and bioinformatics, a concentration unique to Lewis University’s program. While core courses cover data mining, visualization, predictive analysis, and data management, the computational biology focus includes course work on data systems in the life sciences, mathematics for data scientists, and the healthcare industry.
Lewis’s online Data Science program is led by an interdisciplinary faculty team of experts and data science professionals. They work closely with students to help them discover patterns within large quantities of data, cultivate and implement solutions to real-world problems, and to become fully trained in the areas of large-scale data storage systems, encryption and authentication systems, statistical programming, and languages such as Python and Java. Graduates from Lewis have gone on to become marketing advisors, financial analysts, healthcare analysts, public policy strategists, and more.
Lewis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Through the School for Professional Studies, Saint Louis University offers an online Master of Science in Applied Analytics degree. Combining data science, information technology, and business analytics, the curriculum takes students through a breadth of concepts and issues facing big data analysts. This includes programming and problem solving, applied research methodology, data mining technique, information retrieval and visualization, project management, and leadership development. Classes are offered in eight-week terms, and are perfect for working professionals who are balancing work with school.
The thirty-six required credit hours comprising this program include six hours of tangible design experience and implementation of a capstone project in analytics. It is expected that this project will reflect an applied, real-world approach and summarization of the student’s academic experience. Weekly assignments, term projects, weekly online interactive sessions with the teacher, recorded video lectures, and discussion forums are just some of the other ways you will experience Saint Louis’s online platform.
Saint Louis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
With its main campus located in Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University offers a number of online degree programs and has for many, many years. Their education model is based on proffering degrees in an accelerated, student-centered, cohort-based format, and they work closely with a student body who is largely older and looking to advance their careers. The Master of Science in Business Analytics degree works within this format to deliver an education that is at once flexible, affordable, expedient, supportive, and real-world focused.
Covering a range of disciplines spanning the business and information technology sectors, this Bellevue analytics degree teaches students to perform in-depth analysis of information systems to better improve business infrastructures and outcomes. Coursework includes business administration fundamentals, project management, computer information systems, management systems, accounting, marketing, data mining, and enterprise data. Upon graduation you will be able to adroitly analyze business big data, design information systems, and improve decision making. And, indeed, graduates from Bellevue tend to enter into a variety of mid to high-level careers in business analytics.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
For those who are interested in earning a degree part-time, Elmhurst College (a small, liberal arts school based in Elmhurst, Illinois) offers an online Master of Science in Data Science degree that can be completed in two years through part-time study. This program emphasizes the fundamentals of practical data techniques as well as the theory behind formal analyses and decision-making. Elmhurst students, though studying online, still experience hands-on education through the use of emerging software tools.
Unlike some of the other (interdisciplinary) programs on this list, Elmhurst students primarily take data-specific courses. In fact, this data science degree requires the completion of only ten courses: quantitative methods, data warehousing, data mining and business intelligence, data mining project, programming languages and environments, analytical methods, advanced data mining, and research methods in data science. Finally, Elmhurst also offers an online Graduate Certificate in Data Science that is comprised of five courses and can be applied to the masters degree at a later point in time.
Elmhurst College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Fairfield University is a small, private university based in Fairfield, Connecticut and affiliated with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. In addition to their traditional on-campus academic offerings, Fairfield also has a number of online options for distance and adult learners. Included among these online degrees is the Master of Science in Business Analytics degree. This thirty credit-hour program includes seven required courses on information systems, database management, data mining, business statistics and analytics, and forecasting and predictive analytics. Electives span a range of disciplines, including everything from project management to global logistics.
For those data science students who are most interested in the marketing applications of data, the degree at Fairfield is a great option, as they offer a marketing analytics concentration within the data science degree. These students take nine credits of coursework covering marketing management and research, multivariate data analysis for decision making, experimental research in marketing, and contemporary topics in marketing (for example, retail analytics). Whether you want to take all your classes online, or through the hybrid format, Fairfield’s program in notably flexible, affordable, and convenient.
Fairfield University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
DePaul University is a nationally ranked university that has been lauded by U.S News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune, and others. Likewise, it is often recognized for its focus on experiential and service-based education. DePaul offers a number of online degrees, including the Graduate Analytics Certificate, offered through the College of Computing and Digital Media. For those already holding a bachelor’s degree and who want to gain further knowledge and technical skills in data mining and analytics, this certification is an excellent way to advance careers or transition to a graduate degree.
This data analytics certification from DePaul requires completing three core courses: introduction to programming, tools and techniques for computational analysis, and statistics and data analysis. Students are then asked to choose two electives from the following: mining big data, social network analysis, programming machine learning applications, intelligent information retrieval, and web data mining. At DePaul University, an online degree or certification looks identical to those received on-campus, but it is delivered at a more flexible and affordable rate.
DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Central Connecticut State University
Located in New Britain, Connecticut, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) is a public university serving a student population of mostly commuters and distance learners. Included among the online degree options provided by CCSU is the Master of Science in Data Mining degree. Through state-of-the-art data modeling methodologies, this program equips students to discover patterns and trends in large data sets. All students will take classes on multivariate analysis, clustering and affinity analysis, predictive analytics, genomics and proteomics, and text mining. Students are also expected to prepare and submit a graduate thesis.
The MS in Data Mining electives allow students to specialize their degree, to concentrate in experimental design, artificial intelligence, nonparametric statistics, or applied stochastic processes, among other topics. The diversity of courses prepares graduates to find work in an equally diverse variety of industries. These graduates are proficient in leading data mining software, and in the clustering, estimation, prediction, and classification of data, and they have gone on to work in business intelligence, marketing analytics, consulting, information technology and security, and much more.
Central Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.