But they are not alone. In the tech era all companies have millions and billions of data points that need to be dealt with in some way. Which is why they often turn to experts in Big Data for help.
What is Big Data?
Big Data refers to the large volume of data (facts and statistics) that a business collects on a daily basis. This information can be structured or unstructured, and come from a wide range of source or relate to many different elements of the business. Big Data experts help to identify what information is important, and to interpret it in meaningful or productive ways.
If you’re considering another degree, but know you want an affordable online education, check out College Choice’s ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges.
How Much Money Can I Earn Working in Big Data?
Because of the high level of expertise needed to process big data, those trained in this field are in high demand and have a number of well-paying careers available to them.
For example, data scientists, (also known as computer and information research scientists) have a median salary of $114,000/year. The job market for this lucrative career is also expected to grow by 19% in the coming decade, meaning 5,000 new job openings.
Why Choose An Affordable Degree in Big Data?
The national news has been plagued by stories about students leaving school with mounds of debt in the form of student loans. It’s important to get a good education, but students should not be forced to borrow tens of thousands of dollars just to get that education.
Affordable programs provide a great education, but with tuition costs that are workable for all students. And with university aid, grants, and scholarships available, a large number of programs can become even more affordable than simply their tuition would suggest.
What Are the 30 Most Affordable Online Big Data Programs?
College Choice considers several factors including institutional merit, student well-being, and return on financing to develop rankings. Institutional merit combines metrics such as student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates and endowment to measure each school’s ability to provide excellent and cost-effective education for each student.
Student well-being measures how satisfied current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at their school. And finally return on financing looks at the monetary benefits that students are likely to receive from each school’s education, weighted against the costs of attendance, namely tuition and student loans. In the end, we believe these are the 30 Most Affordable Online Big Data Programs.
See our rankings methodology page.
California State University, Fullerton
Average Net Price: $7,915
California State University-Fullerton is a public research university located in Fullerton, CA. Fullerton is the largest school in the Cal State system, with a total enrollment of around 40,000 students, including around 6,000 graduate students. Cal State Fullerton offers more than 240 undergraduate degrees, as well as 118 types of master’s and a number of doctoral degrees.
Cal Fullerton offers a Master of Science degree in Information Technology. It is a 30-unit program available fully online. Students attend a Boot-Up camp before the program begins, as well as an end-of-the-year seminar to assess their progress. Courses from the program include:
- Systems Analytics, Design and Development
- Business Database: Design & Process
- Integrated Enterprise Information Systems
- Revenue Management Modeling
The program utilizes a cohort format, with students completing the same year-round schedule taking two courses per semester over a 20-month period.
Students are only allowed to be enrolled in this program part-time and must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. For admission to the program, students must either submit GRE or GMAT scores, as well as a professional resume and a statement of purpose. Students also prepare a leadership and creativity statement.
North Carolina A&T State University
Average Net Price: $8,589
North Carolina A&T State University is a public university located in Greensboro, NC. North Carolina A&T is a historically black college, and has a little under 12,000 total students, most of which are undergraduates. It is the largest historically black university in the United States and has one of the leading engineering departments for African Americans.
NCAT offers a Master of Science in Information Science degree in Information Technology. Students complete either 30 or 36 units of coursework, depending on if they choose a thesis or non-thesis option. Foundation and elective courses include:
- Telecommunications Management
- Optical Communication Systems
- Enterprise Management Systems
- Computer Database Management
Students in the thesis track take one six-credit thesis course during their last semester, while non-thesis students choose an extra two elective courses to pursue during this time. Students on the coursework only track must pass a comprehensive exam.
Graduates from the program have gone on to pursue careers including computer networking and communications, web technologies, and database management. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and an overall GPA of at least 3.0 may be given unconditional admission.
Average Net Price: $8,727
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university located in Bellevue, Nebraska. The school was founded in 1966 and has traditionally focused on providing adult education, with most of its undergraduates being 25 or older. They have a student body of around 10,000 total students and an endowment of approximately $28 million. It became a full university in 1994, after originally starting as Bellevue College.
Bellevue University has a Master of Science in Business Analytics degree program. This is a 36 credit-hour program comprised of courses in business foundations, information system foundations, and business analytics courses, such as:
- Advanced Data Mining Applications
- Information System Management
- IT Infrastructure
- Financial Reporting & Analysis
Graduates from the program may be eligible for professional licensure or certification through certain professional organizations, depending on their requirements.
Bellevue also offers a Master of Science in Data Science, as well as a Master of Science in Management of Information Systems and in Computer Information Systems. Applicants must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution, with a minimum GPA of 2.5 for the most recent 60 credits of coursework. Students who do not meet all requirements may be granted conditional admission on a limited basis.
West Virginia University
Average Net Price: $10,405
West Virginia University is a public university located in Morgantown, West Virginia. The school has secondary locations in Beckley and Keyser, as well as clinical campuses for their medical programs located in Charleston. Around 29,000 students attend the main campus, while another 3,000 students attend classes through the secondary locations. Their endowment is over $560 million.
West Virginia has a Master of Science degree program in Business Data Analytics. This is a 10-course, 30 credit-hour program, including classes such as:
- Foundations of Business Intelligence
- Ethics & Data Collection
- Decision Sciences & Analytics
- Business Simulation Modeling
In many of these classes, students utilize a tool called GoFirst Cluster, which is a WVU computing resource that gives students the opportunity to gain experience with a controlled, secure cloud-computing environment.
Students in the program also gain exposure to tools including R, Tableau, Python, SQL, Hadoop, Spark, Hive, Shiny, Microsoft Excel, RStudio and GitHub. Students come to campus for orientation at the start of the program, as well as when they finish the program. During the final on-campus visit students will also present their capstone projects.
Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix
Average Net Price: $13,175
Arizona State University is a public research university located in Tempe, AZ. ASU is one of the largest universities in the United States, with a total enrolled population of around 72,000 students, including almost 60,000 undergraduates. In the past decade, ASU has cultivated a reputation as one of the top research universities in the world.
ASU offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics degree, which is offered fully online through their distance learning service. The degree plan includes ten courses, for example:
- Marketing Analytics
- Data-Driven Quality Management
- Introduction to Enterprise Analytics
- Data Mining II
The final course in the sequence is an Applied Project course, where students address a problem in a domain where the use of their analytical skills give them real-world experience through real world problems and case studies.
There is also a full-time, on-campus MS-BA degree program offered at ASU’s Tempe campus. Applicants to the program must submit GRE/GMAT scores, along with a current resume and responses to provided essay questions. There is no minimum GPA and military veterans are eligible for a fee waiver.
Iowa State University
Average Net Price: $13,647
Iowa State University, also referred to as Iowa State, is a public research university located in Ames, Iowa. The school is considered a flagship of the Iowa state university system, with a student population of around 36,000. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching ranks Iowa State as having a very high level of research activity.
Iowa State University offers a Master of Business Analytics, which is a blended, fully-online program that brings together a multitude of different departments and specialties. Students must take 30 credit-hours of classes, divided between core and elective courses such as:
- Business Analytics Foundation
- Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
- Applied Time Series (Forecasting)
- Applied Statistical Modeling
Courses draw from departments including the Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Statistics, and Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.
Applicants to the program should be currently employed, with two-plus years of work experience in a data analytics related job. They should also have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM or STEM-related field. GMAT and GRE scores are not required, but students should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Average Net Price: $13,808
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a public university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the second largest university in the state of Wisconsin and one of only two public universities in the state to offer doctoral degree programs. They have a student body of around 26,000 students, which includes 21,000 undergraduates.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers a graduate certificate in Business Analytics, which requires students to complete a total of 15 credit-hours of study. Courses from the program include:
- Predictive Analytics for Managers
- Business Forecasting Methods
- Database Marketing
- R Programming for Business Analytics
The program teaches students to use a wide range of reporting and OLAP tools, such as Excel Data Mining Client, Python, R, SAP, and others. Students wishing to apply to the program must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75.
Students may take up to 20 percent of their required course credit at a school other than UWM. Students must complete the program within three years from the initial enrollment in the certificate sequence. UWM has an MS in Management degree program that can be combined with this graduate certificate program.
University of California Los Angeles
Average Net Price: $13,816
The University of California Los Angeles is a public research university located in Los Angeles, CA. It is the second oldest university in the University of California system, and offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs from a diverse cross-section of disciplines and professions. Just under 45,000 students attend UCLA each year, and the school also maintains a number of celebrated athletic programs.
UCLA has a Master of Science in Engineering program, which includes a specialization in data science engineering. It is a 36 credit-hour, nine course program, with sample courses such as:
- Database Systems
- Machine Learning Algorithms
- Advanced Topics in Speech Processing
- Web Information Systems
Students have two options for completing the degree program. They may take a Capstone Project course during their final semester at UCLA or they may take three written exams for three different graduate level courses within the student’s area of specialization.
Once students have completed the required electives for their degree, the remaining credits may be drawn from engineering electives without needing approval from their advisor/the department. Students are expected to complete the degree with two academic years and one quarter. Three years is the maximum allotted time for this program.
Missouri University of Science & Technology
Average Net Price: $13,910
Missouri University of Science and Technology, also known as Missouri S&T, is a public university located in Rolla, Missouri. The school has around 9,000 students, most of whom choose to pursue either STEM or Business programs. The flagship college at the school is its school of engineering, whose students make up more than 70 percent of the university’s overall enrollment.
- Introduction to Big Data Analytics
- Cloud Computing and Big Data Management
- Use of Business Intelligence
- Data Mining and Machine Learning
Students take a total of four courses, which includes one core courses and three electives.
Certain elective courses from the program are also available on-campus. The graduate certificate program is open to those holding a BS, MS, or PhD degree in business, social science, or STEM-related majors/fields. The minimum overall GPA for graduating from the program is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The certificate courses can count towards an MBA or MS program, if the student is dual enrolled.
Dakota State University
Average Net Price: $13,953
Dakota State University is a public university located in Madison, South Dakota. DSU emphasizes the use of technology in its classrooms and through its curriculum. Dakota State requires all of its undergraduate students to take introductory computer science courses and to use tablets and laptops in class. The school has around 3,300 total students, including around 350 postgraduates.
Dakota State offers a Master of Science in Analytics degree program, which includes four different specialization tracks: business, healthcare analytics, information systems, and general. The degree involves completion of 30 credit-hours of study, in courses such as:
- Statistical Programming
- Modern Applied Statistics I/II
- Big Data Analytics
- Data Warehousing and Data Mining
Students take a base of 24 credits, split between electives and core courses, before then pursuing two courses in their chosen specialization.
The program can be delivered either online or on-campus. Online students utilize a series of tools including live and encoded streaming videos of classes, interactive course web boards, course websites, and E-mail. Full-time students can complete the program in four semesters, but all students must complete the degree within five years of starting the program.
Oklahoma State University
Average Net Price: $14,222
Oklahoma State University is a public university located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It was originally founded as the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1890, before eventually becoming OSU in 1957. They have a $1.3 billion endowment and a student population of around 24,000. It is considered the flagship school of the Oklahoma State University system.
Oklahoma State offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics. The fully-online program emphasizes the use of analytical tools including SAS, Python, R, SQL, Tableau, and others. Courses from within the program include:
- Predictive Business Analytics
- Optimization Applications in Marketing Analytics
- Advanced Business Analytics
- Advanced Marketing Research Analysis
The program also puts an emphasis on soft skills and the development of business acumen, through the providing of free trainings and workshops through the year.
OSU offers career-focused elective tracks in marketing analytics, statistics, healthcare analysis, human resource analysis, and optimization. Students within the online learning degree program take a total of 33 credits, while the on-campus version of the program includes 37 units of study.
University of Arkansas
Average Net Price: $14,693
The University of Arkansas is a public research university located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is the main campus of the University of Arkansas System, and has more than 26,000 students enrolled in over 188 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. In 1948, they became the first major Southern public university to admit an African-American student without litigation.
The University of Arkansas has a Business Certificate program in Business Analytics. It is a 9-month, 12 credit-hour program. Students complete three core courses and one elective course. An example track of study from the program:
- Data Management Systems
- Decision Support and Analysis
- ERP Fundamentals
- Seminar in Business Intelligence & Knowledge Management
The degree program is almost fully online, but does technically operate as a “blended” program, requiring one Saturday per month in-person. Students work on platforms including IBM, Microsoft, SAP, SAS, and Teradata.
Students do not need to take either the GMAT or the GRE for admission to the certificate program. Admission is granted based on the student’s undergraduate GPA and their work experience since graduation. The GRE or GMAT may be required if students choose to pursue the MIS program after their certificate program.
University of Maryland, College Park
Average Net Price: $14,697
The University of Maryland, College Park, is a public research university located in College Park, MD. As the flagship institution of the state’s public school system, the university is often referred to simply as Maryland. The school has often been referred to as one of the Public Ivies, being a public school that offers an educational quality on par with Ivy League schools such as Harvard.
UMCP has a Master of Science in Data Analytics degree program, which combines technical and business disciplines for creating strong data analysts. It is a 36 credit-hour program, which includes courses such as:
- Machine Learning
- Predictive Modeling
- Big Data Analytics
- Decision Management Systems
Most courses in the sequence are worth six credit-hours. The final course in the program’s sequence is the Data Analytics Capstone.
Applicants are recommended to have a background in software programming and statistics. Students without coursework or demonstrated experience in this area may be required to take an additional Essentials of Computer Programming course. Introduction to Research Methods and Structure of Computer Programming may also be assigned, based on the students’ background in statistics and computing.
Colorado Technical University
Average Net Price: $14,724
Colorado Technical University is a for-profit college located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. CTU was founded in 1965, and offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, with around 92 percent of students taking classes fully online. Colorado Tech has no affiliation with the state of Colorado, and has a reported enrollment of around 21,000 students.
- Time Series Analytics
- Applied Managerial Decision-Making
- Strategic Management in Dynamic Environments
- Strategic Capital Management
The sequence of courses is completed with a Management Capstone that is taken in the student’s final semester of study.
Students wishing to enter the program are expected to have a solid foundation of business courses/experience. Students entering the program who do not possess an undergraduate degree in business will be required to complete three foundational MBA courses before beginning their degree program.
Central Connecticut State University
Average Net Price: $15,273
Central Connecticut State University is a public university in New Britain, Connecticut. Central Connecticut was originally founded as the State Normal School, which helped to educate future public school teachers. It is the oldest publicly funded university in the state of Connecticut and has around 12,000 total students, most of whom are undergraduates.
Central Connecticut offers a 33 credit-hour Master of Science in Data Mining program. The program includes 27 units of core courses, including ones such as:
- Clustering and Affinity Analysis
- Data Mining for Genomics and Proteomics
- Text Mining
- Multivariate Analysis for Data Mining
Students complete the program through a capstone course, which can involve the preparation of a final thesis.
Other elective course options offered at Central Connecticut include Web Mining, Experimental Design, Fundamentals of SAS, and Nonparametric Statistics. Applicants to the program are expected to have either completed or be in the process of completing at least one course in statistics. All data mining majors are classified as part-time students for tuition/business purposes.
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Average Net Price: $15,648
The University of Nebraska- Lincoln, often referred to as Nebraska, is a public research university located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska is the largest school in the University of Nebraska system, and is also the state’s oldest university. There are more than 1,000 academic staff members at the university, who support a population of around 20,000 undergraduate and 5,000 postgraduate students.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a Graduate Certificate program in Business Analytics. It is a fully-online program, with courses being delivered through the school’s online MBA program. The courses required for the certificate are:
- Business Analytics
- Introductory Econometrics
- Data Driven Marketing Strategy
- Business Data Mining and Descriptive Analytics
These courses are generally taken in the above order, though depending on the term of entry that can vary based on the availability of certain courses.
Nebraska-Lincoln offers additional business graduate certificate programs in Supply Chain Management Systems and Survey Research and Methodology. For admissions consideration, the department requires a letter stating background and professional goals in pursuing the certificate. Students must also display minimum English proficiency and have taken at least one statistics course.
Slippery Rock University
Average Net Price: $16,021
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania is a public university located in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The school is located around 50 miles north of Pittsburgh, and has one of the largest campuses in the state of Pennsylvania. They have a $16.5 million endowment and a student body of around 9,000 total students.
Slippery Rock has a Master of Science in Data Analytics program, which includes 33 credit-hours of study. It can be completed in 10 months by a student pursuing the degree full-time, or in two years if a student chooses to work part-time. Courses options include:
- Optimization Methods
- Regression Methods
- Forecasting and Time Series
- Statistical Computing
The coursework is 100 percent online and includes training in big data analytics, machine learning, and state-of-the-art technologies. Students also have the option of pursuing an internship during their course of study.
Students who complete the program receive a joint certificate in statistical applications and data analytics from SRU and the SAS Institute Inc. The program also includes the training necessary for the Certified Analytics Professional exam. Applicants should be familiar with multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical statistics.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Average Net Price: $16,469
Indiana University is a public university located in Bloomington, Indiana. It is the largest university in the state of Indiana and is considered the flagship school of the Indiana University system. IU Bloomington has a $2.2 billion endowment and a student body comprised of around 43,000 total students. IU is often referred to as on of the “Public Ivies,” being a public university offering an Ivy League level education.
Indiana offers a Master of Science degree in Data Science, which is a 30 credit-hour degree. Students must complete the following requirements:
- Two core courses (6 credit-hours)
- Two courses to form a specialization (6 credit-hours)
- A Capstone Project (3 credit-hours)
- 5 Elective Courses (15 credit-hours)
Example courses that can fulfill these requirements include Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Application Area. Students complete the degree program through a capstone course.
During the capstone, students are required to solve real-world problems for a company, organization, or individual. The aim of the course is to demonstrate the student’s capabilities to future employers. Elective courses can include special topics such as Python and Data Science OnRamp Basics.
University of California Berkeley
Average Net Price: $16,601
The University of California-Berkeley is a public research university located in Berkeley, California. Berkley is the oldest of the ten research universities in the University of California system, and is often ranked as one of the top pubic and one of the top research universities in the country. Berkley gained national attention in the 1960’s and 70’s as a hub of the Free-Speech and Anti-Vietnam War movements. The school now offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and awards almost 1,000 doctoral degrees annually.
Berkley offers a Master of Information and Data Science. It is a 27-unit interdisciplinary curriculum, made up of foundation courses, advanced courses, and a culminating capstone. Courses from within the program include:
- Data Visualization
- Machine Learning at Scale
- Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning
- Behind the Data: Humans and Values
The capstone project that ends the course serves to combine the core data science skills and also the “soft skills” that students have learned throughout the program. Students engage in real-world problem solving, and work in teams to create innovative solutions.
Applicants to the program are required to provide GRE or GMAT scores, as well as two professional letters of recommendation and their statement of purpose. Students should have a working knowledge of fundamental computer science concepts, including but not limited to data structures and analysis of algorithms.
Florida State University
Average Net Price: $16,708
Florida State University is a public research university located in Tallahassee, Florida. FSU is the oldest, continuous institute of higher learning in the state of Florida, having been founded in 1851. More than 40,000 students attend Florida State annually, including almost 10,000 postgraduates. They have around 6,000 academic staff members and an endowment of $652 million.
Florida State has a Master of Science in Management Information Systems. Students typically complete the program in 24 months, taking two online courses each semester. Courses from within the program include:
- Business Intelligence
- Corporate Information Security
- Marketing Strategy in the Global Environment
- Organizational Behavior
Students are allowed to take up to four elective courses during their time in the program, in addition to the core courses required by the department.
Applicants to the program must have either two years of technology-related work experience or an undergraduate degree in information technology, computer science or related field plus two years of general work experience. Students must also submit GMAT or GRE scores, as well as TOEFL/IELTS scores if applying internationally.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Average Net Price: $18,398
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more commonly known as Virginia Tech, is a public research university located in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia tech also maintains six regional campuses throughout the state of Virginia. It is considered one of six senior military colleges in the US, thanks to their ROTC program. Tech has just over 30,000 students, around 5,000 of whom are pursuing postgraduate work.
Virginia Tech has a Master of Business Administration program with a concentration in Business Analytics. The program requires the completion of 30 credit-hours and can normally be completed in 10 months. Course options include:
- Principles of Finance
- Applied Business Intelligence and Analytics
- Analytics for Marketing
- Computer-Based Decision Support Systems
The program is completed through a final Business Analytics Capstone. Students generally progress through the program in a cohort.
Individuals applying to the program are expected to have basic skills in statistics, computer programming, and database management. Students may be able to take business electives courses in place of more mathematical/analytics based courses, with the approval of the department. The program’s course requirement is evenly split between core courses and electives.
The University of Alabama
Average Net Price: $18,814
The University of Alabama is a public university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It is the oldest and the largest public university in the state of Alabama, having been founded in 1820. Academic programs are divided between 13 schools and colleges, which serve a student body of just under 40,000 students. They are also home to one of the country’s most celebrated college football programs.
The University of Alabama has a Master of Science in Marketing degree program, which includes a specialization in marketing analytics. It is a fully-online, 33 credit-hour program, composed of marketing and statistics courses such as:
- Advanced Marketing Analysis
- Global Business
- Advanced Data Mining
- Advanced Statistical Data Management
Students have one open marketing elective course that they are able to choose. They complete the program with a Marketing Capstone Project course in their final semester.
Students applying to the program must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.3. They must also have a minimum GMAT score of 580 or GRE score of 308. Other required application materials include an updated resume and a statement of purpose. The program is accredited by the Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Average Net Price: $19,109
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst is a public university located in Amherst, Massachusetts. Often called UMass Amherst, it has more than 30,000 total students, which makes it the largest public university in New England. They offer 111 bachelors, 75 masters, and 47 different doctoral programs. They have a $304 million endowment and are classified by the Carnegie Foundation as having the “highest research activity” level.
UMass Amherst offers a graduate certificate in Business Analytics. The program includes 15 credit-hours of study, divided between nine core credits and six credits of electives. Elective course offerings include:
- Sport Analytics
- Social Media Management, Leadership, and Strategies
- Quality Analytics
- Modeling Emergence
Core courses from the program include Data Management for Business Leaders, Business Data Analysis and Statistical Methods, and Business Intelligence and Analytics. All core courses are worth three credit-hours of study.
Students may apply by submitting an unofficial transcript and an updated resume. Additional elective offerings from the program include Web Analytics and SEO and Rethinking eCommerce: Intro to Digital Business Strategy and Metrics. Elective courses in the program can range from one to three credits in value.
Average Net Price: $19,986
Lewis University is a private university located in Romeoville, Illinois, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs for its 6,800 students. The school has an association with both the Roman Catholic tradition, as well as with the Brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as the Lasallian Brothers. They have 235 full-time academic staff members and a $56 million endowment.
Lewis has an online Master of Science in Data Science program. It is a 33 credit-hour program, offering concentrations in either Computational Biology and Bioinformatics or Computer Science. Courses from each of these options include:
- Computer Science: Semantic Web
- Computer Science: Cyber Security Essentials
- Research in Biotechnology
- Data Systems in the Life Sciences
The program can be completed in two years, with students taking seven core courses (21 credit-hours) and then four courses in their chosen concentration (12 credit-hours).
Students may apply to the program even if they do not have an undergraduate background in Data Science or a related field. However, these students may be asked to take up to two additional courses in data science foundations before they may begin the programs’ core and elective sequence of courses.
University of Cincinnati
Average Net Price: $20,141
The University of Cincinnati is a public university located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati is the second largest university in the state of Ohio. They have more than 44,000 students, including around 33,000 undergraduates. The school has around 6,600 academic staff members and an endowment of over $1.1 billion.
Cincinnati offers a Master’s Certificate in Data Analytics. It is a 12 credit-hour program, which includes four core courses and two elective courses. Courses offered in the program include:
- Statistical Computing
- Data Management
- Data Mining I/II
- Managing Business Intelligence Projects
Students may be able to choose different electives than listed above or on the program’s website when such a decision would match the student’s career goals and with the approval of the program director.
Students applying to the program should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They should have at least a B average in the relevant coursework, or else provide the department with “evidence of promise” satisfactory to the admitting department.
Average Net Price: $21,457
Auburn University is a public research university located in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn is the second largest university in the state of Alabama, with a student body of just over 28,000 students. Auburn was previously known as the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, which reflected its focus on science and technology-oriented programs.
Auburn has an online, Master of Science degree program in Information Systems. The program involves 30 hours of coursework, or ten courses. Distance students generally are able to complete the requirements in two to three years. Course options include:
- Predictive Modeling I/II
- Communicating Quantitative Results in Business
- Advanced Business Data Communications
- Clientside Internet Programming
The degree is mostly an open degree, with only three required courses. Those being foundational database and systems courses, which contain material necessary for the final required course: the project course.
Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 within the program to satisfy graduation requirements. The final project involves the investigation/exploration of an approved topic/problem that allows the student to demonstrate the application of knowledge and capabilities gained during the program. Students are assisted by an advisory committee of university faculty.
Illinois Institute of Technology
Average Net Price: $23,371
The Illinois Institute of Technology is a private university located in Chicago, Illinois. IIT was originally known as the Armour Institute, which focused on giving students practical educations that would have them learn by doing. Armour eventually merged with the Lewis Institute, and the combined entity of IIT now has more than 7,200 students and 650 academic staff members.
IIT offers a Master of Data Science degree that requires students to complete a total of 33 units of study, which includes a six-unit summer practicum course. Students take a combination of 18 units of core courses and nine units of electives. Elective options include:
- Cloud Computing
- Software Testing and Analysis
- Data Mining
- Natural Learning Processing
Certain courses are unavailable for online/distance learners. All students complete their course of study with a final capstone course taken during their final semester. The online program is mostly intended for students working full-time in data-related fields.
Students are not required to complete a thesis to complete the degree program. Applicants are expected to have a basic knowledge of discrete mathematics, linear algebra, probability, statistics, relational databases, and some certain types of programming such as Java or Python.
Nova Southeastern University
Average Net Price: $23,638
Nova Southeastern University, better known as NSU or Nova, is a private nonprofit university located in Davie, Florida. Nova is currently made up of 18 colleges and schools that offer over 175 academic programs with more than 250 majors. The school also maintains a number of professional degree programs, which include pharmacy, law, medicine, and optometry, among others.
Nova Southeastern offers a Master of Science in Management Information Systems. The 36 credit-hour program is available fully online utilizing the Blackboard learning management system. The program offers courses including:
- Data Mining
- Data Visualization
- Information Security Governance
- Social Media
The program allows students to choose a concentration, though this is not required. Available concentrations include User Experience/Human-Computer Interaction, Information Assurance & Cybersecurity Management, and Business Intelligence/Data Analytics.
Students choosing not to pursue a concentration take a mixture of courses from each of the different specialties. The concentration courses also stand-in for the elective credits of the degree program. Students take a total of twelve courses, made up of seven core courses and five electives.
Average Net Price: $23,688
Elmhurst College is a private, liberal arts college located in Elmhurst, Illinois. It has an official affiliation with the United Church of Christ, which is a mainline Protestant denomination. When it was first founded, classes were taught in German and focused on the classic and hard sciences. Now their 3,350 students may pursue a diverse range of different majors and programs, primarily in English.
Elmhurst offers a Master of Science degree in Data Science. It is a two-year, fully online, part-time degree program, which includes 30 semester-hours of study, in courses such as:
- Data Warehousing
- Analytical Methods
- Advanced Data Mining and Analytics
- Research Methods in Data Science
Students complete the courses in eight-week sessions. Students are allowed to choose two elective courses to add on to the eight required/core courses in the degree sequences.
The program has a thesis option for completion. Students interested in this option take two thesis courses, one in each of their final two semesters in the program. Applicants are not required to have a particular undergraduate major; however, they should have at least one year of full-time work experience (though this requirement can be waived with the director’s approval).
University of Bridgeport
Average Net Price: $24,530
The University of Bridgeport is a private university located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bridgeport has a high international student population, with students from more than 80 countries. Along with domestic students, they combine to form a student body of more than 5,500, roughly split between undergraduates and postgraduates. They have 128 full-time academic staff members and an endowment of $34 million.
Bridgeport offers a Master’s in Business Administration, which can include a concentration in Analytics Intelligence. Students pursue 36 credit-hours of study in core, and concentration courses, which include options such as:
- Global Program and Program Management
- Organizational Behavior
- Advanced Financial Management
- Analytics Intelligence
Each of the concentrations ends with a final capstone course at the end of the student’s course of study. During the course students pursue business planning or research methods, as well as learn about policy, strategy, and ethics cases.
The other two available concentrations for the Bridgeport online MBA program are Human Resources Management and Management. Applicants who do not have undergraduate experience in business may be required to complete up to 12 credits of preparatory coursework.