Online Data Science Degree

To respond to industry demands, more online schools have started to offer degrees in data science. Data scientists are a new kind of data analyst. They use their math, statistics and computer skills to make sense of big data. If you enjoy spotting risks and trends, a degree in data science may ready you for this growing field.

Applied data science studies the skills that turn data into usable info. Then applies the meaning derived from this data to help all kinds of business. One may find these online degrees at all levels. Bachelors, masters and PhDs. At each level, you may learn methods to comb through data. Things such as data mining and machine learning. If your program is from a school of engineering, you may study the design of the systems that use and make sense of data.

At the bachelor’s level, the classes are intro level. You may study many Python, SQL and information technology basics. Grads may leave with a solid knowledge of theory. Plus, the practical skills to manage and analyze complex data. Data science master’s are the more common form of the degree. These programs tend to dive deep into the ways of how to capture and organize data. Then prepare you to scale it for certain fields. E commerce, health care, finance and business are a few. PhDs are research focused. They often have broad course plans and foster thought leadership. This may mean being able to forge new theory on how to work with data structures.

When looking into these programs, you may want to check accreditation. Many regionally accredited schools take part in state and federal financial aid. If eligible for financial aid, it may offset the cost of studying in the data science field.

Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science

Online degree programs tend to award a bachelor of science (BS) degree. Most are BS degrees in computer science (CS), software development or business analytics. You may be able to focus your studies in analytics while learning other data basics.

A BS in one of these fields is often an entry point to careers in computer and IT. Most BS programs will thus cover a wide range of topics, tools and skills – in about 120 credit hours and four years. BS courses may touch on operating systems (OS), how to program, hardware, and security. While learning these things, you may gain a problem solving mind set especially to complete a capstone project. This is key to uncovering hidden patterns in oceans of data. Also, you might learn how to work with the processes and people within a business.

If you worry about ‘getting in’ each online school sets its own standards. You may need some high school statistics and computer courses under your belt. But things like GPA, SAT/ACT scores and other entrance standards will differ. Another variable is tuition rate. At last check, the average cost of a CS degree from an in state college is $6,478. For an out of state school, this cost is $31,584. This means you may find online programs that either cost less or more than those.

Master’s Degree in Data Science

Most programs award a master of science (MS). A MS is a professional grad program. That means it is for students who seek an entry level statistician career. Most analysts working with data have a master’s degree or higher. Many MS programs study data engineering from all sides. Plus, how to apply tools and methods to a certain business. For instance, how to mine data to design custom medicine. Or create large scale cloud computing systems.

Many masters programs cover these areas in 33 to 39 credits. They often take between a year and two years depending if you study part time. Longer programs include extra courses on how to program, and in statistics and math. This often makes up for courses not already finished as an undergrad. To apply to one of these master’s you need a bachelor’s and in some cases, GRE/GMAT scores. You may also need a strong background in a few key areas. Linear algebra, statistics, data bases, and some programming languages. But if your undergrad degree did not cover all these areas, don’t stress. Many online schools start their programs with the basics in math and computer courses to bring you up to speed.

PhD in Data Science

An online PhD is a research degree. They are the highest level of award a scientist of data may achieve. Many are only available on campus, but online schools do offer them. To get a PhD requires a lot of academic work and from 60 to 71 credits. Most students need between three and five years (and sometimes more) to complete one. The first few years you may take a menu of courses and electives.

Once you complete these courses, you may need to pass an exam. Students that pass this exam then move on to their dissertation work. Some programs also have practical training in predictive analytics. This is a way to apply one’s skill and research knowledge to real world problems. PhD grads may choose to remain in academia. Some programs thus instruct students on effective teaching methods. There may also be a research rotation. Here, PhD students design and carry out research projects. While many course do suit online learning, you may need to factor in some campus presence for practical parts.

You may be able to enroll in an online PhD program with a bachelors or master’s. But keep in mind, each school sets its own admissions requirements. Relevant degrees might include a math degree or a degree in statistics, CS, engineering, etc.

How much might it cost to earn a masters in data science or PhD online? The average cost of a grad degree from a public college is $11,617. This means you will be able to find online programs in this field that are both easier to afford and more expensive than this amount.

What can I do with an Online Data Science Degree?

This degree may be a gateway to a wide range of current and up and coming fields. Data is creating opportunities in business, healthcare, e commerce and more. As data science careers are still evolving, there may be jobs for all levels of education and career goals. In many computer and tech fields, one needs a bachelors for entry level roles. Apart from having a bachelor’s degree, most data science professionals have a master’s or higher degree. Some may also need education in the field in which they work.

1. Data Scientists

A new job title for Statisticians who work in deep learning and have skills that go beyond math, IT and CS. They also have a knack for turning high tech ideas into profit. As such, they are in demand in many places. Jobs vary but often include lots of collaboration. One often needs to know how to manipulate large raw sets of data. Then produce reports that are intuitive and easy to read/understand.

2. Chief Data Officers

Chief data officers or chief information officers (CIOs) are managers who work with data. They are the ones who create policies for how their business will use data. They also oversee analysts, programmers and other workers. Many of these jobs require a masters.

3. Software Developers

Software developers write computer programs. These programs organize, process, analyze and visualize the data. Many of these pros enter the field with a bachelors degree. But many employers prefer those with a master’s and relevant skills.

4. Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer scientists are problem solvers. Part theorist, part designers and part inventors. These pros come up with the systems that process and make sense of data. Most have at least a master’s.

5. Computer Systems Analysts

Also called systems architects, computer systems analysts have business and IT skills. They will have a solid grasp of how to model, program and beyond. A bachelors degree may be good for entry level roles. But the industry is changing and a masters may suit very tech based roles.

6. Bio statisticians

Bio statisticians often work in the pharma industry. They may use data gathered from drug trials for evidence based drug therapy. Or to track disease outbreaks in real time. Most have a masters or PhD.

Is an Online Degree in Data Science worth it?

Expertise in with data may provide a wide range of skills, opportunity and above average earning potential. Jobs in math occupations (data is one) are among the fastest growing. Per the U.S. BLS, if you have strong analysis skills, the future is bright. Jobs in these areas predict growth between 28% and 34% to 2026. This is well above average (7%) for all occupations.

People who can interpret and present data in a clear way face many good prospects too. This is something that many programs in the field highlight. Beyond the technical skills of harnessing the data. Being able to communicate in ways the lay person can understand. Such skills may be useful to these industries:

  • E-commerce – many commercial websites use predictive models and monitor purchase transactions
  • Business – digital data informs every part of the supply chain
  • Finance – working with financial market data, and transaction data
  • Government – working with data informs policy
  • Healthcare – working with data maps genetic makeup and medical treatments
  • Science – working with data might inform climate science, chemistry, etc.
  • Social networking – working with data helps marketing, online maps, product development
  • Telecommunications – working with data informs phone companies about products and services
  • Education – research to advance the field of science and complex math

Salaries in all these industries vary. But many jobs that look for these complex data skills paid an average annual salary of $101,900 in 2018. If you favor computer and IT, jobs in this area are in demand too. The need for mining services and cyber security is creating yet other jobs. One example is computer research scientists. This field is growing by 19% to 2026. Salaries are also above average ranging from $69,230 to $183,820 and more.

Data Science Degree Jobs & Salary

Occupation Average Salary Jobs
Computer and Research Scientist $122,840 31,700
Database Architect $88,550 412,800
Information Systems Analyst (ISA) $96,160 589,060
Mathematician $104,700 2,730

Top States for Jobs as a Data Scientist

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
CA 147,930 $98,460
TX 19,640 $90,570
D.C. 17,020 $116,670
GA 16,580 $88,190
IL 16,050 $92,960

What classes will I take with an Online Data Science Degree?

Most of these online programs draw from math, statistics, and programming. These areas help students understand the five stages of the data life cycle.

  1. Capture – data entry, data extraction
  2. Maintain –warehousing, data processing
  3. Process – mining, modeling, classifying
  4. Analyze – predictive analysis, text mining
  5. Communicate – business intel, decision stage

You may study many of these topics when you are going for a degree online. But each level of degree is likely to do this in a different way. Below are some of the classes you may find at the bachelors, masters and PhD levels.

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

BS classes may help you build a well rounded knowledge of how to solve problems with math and coding. At the same time, you may learn how to mine and analyze large sets of data. This may mean learning about how to scrape data, data crawling and other areas. Among them, networks, security, and ways to trouble shoot. The following classes may also be part of your program:

Data Analysis Techniques

Students who take this course may learn about common methods in analyzing data. They may learn what this kind of analysis is and how to perform it. Many programs teach critical tools often used in the industry to perform this type of analysis. Students may also learn how to take that data and draw conclusions from it that relate to the organization.

Role of Data Analysis in Organizations

Students learn how analyzing data fits within organizations and business. They may learn how the various types and areas of analysis provide different benefits to companies. Some classes also focus on the professional roles people have in these varied areas. The goal is often to share the importance and fit for pros working in this field.

Emerging Tech

This type of course often focuses on new systems and technology. Students may learn how these new types of tech impact the industry. This could include semantics for the web, AI, and clouds. Students may have an opportunity study many methods that workers in the field use often.

Applied Data Analysis

A key course, applied analysis focuses on how various data scenarios can play out in the industry. They may learn about using imperfect data. Some classes may teach methods like collaborating on hypothesis testing. They may also discuss performing a roof cause analysis. Some students will learn how to present this information and insights gained from data to the company.

Apart from your major, you may also need to complete gene ed classes and a final project.

Graduate Degree Courses

MS classes focus on how to clean, organize, analyze, and interpret data. As such, you may learn how to detect hidden patterns in the data to derive meaning. They also highlight application. In other words, what to do with these findings. How to then take results and portray them in a clear way using various methods to visualize the data. Some of the other topics you might study are:

  • Semantic Web
  • Artificial Intel
  • Complex Math

Apart from these topics, many course plans feature a class in how to manage projects This is about how to budget, schedule, assess risk, build a team and other aspects of the life of a project. This can also include how to explain technical details to clients. Often, a PhD will focus on using data systems to analyze trends and build models. This usually means a broad and deep course plan. One that also includes research methods, statistics and advanced CStopics. This may mean learning about how to scrape data, data crawling and other areas. Among them, networks, security, and ways to trouble shoot. The following classes may also be part of your program:

Decision Management Systems

This master level course talks about the way data can be used in decision making within companies. It may focus on the process of using it. The focus in this program is often on the framework that makes decisions. This may include how to using reusable assets, automation, and business rule creation. Students may also learn how to improve the process of making decisions in various applications.

Machine Learning

This type of course focuses on modern methods. The focus is often on how to make informed business decisions using this data. Students may hold various discussions and embrace numerous learning methods in this type of course. They may also learn real world applications of these skills. That may include how to handle missing data or providing measuring precision.

Data Management and Visualization

This type of course offers a managerial oversight focus. Students may learn how to manage and present data in a way that it can then be used for making decisions. Topics range widely. They may include indexing methods and data storage. They may also include data warehousing, dimensional modeling, and ETL.

Predictive Modeling

The master level course teaches more advanced elements of predictions. This involves finding patterns in data. This could include learning how to develop predictive models for various concepts in the field. Students may learn how to develop, assess, and compare data to create these models. Some courses focus on things like genetic algorithms and selecting methods and tools.

Add specific skills and know how through a focal area. 

1. Business Analytics

Also called Business Intelligence. Both refer to the ways one uses data to inform decisions for use in business. You may also study the the use of data analytics to forecast outcomes and assess risk. 

2. Data Engineering

Learn how to design and build pipelines that bring data from various sources to an end user. 

3. Deep Learning

This is a technique used by machine learning to approach artificial intelligence. You may learn to build deep networks and use optimization. 

4. Spatial Data Science

Use the science of spatial analysis and modeling to develop new workflows. Also study Geographic Information Systems (GIS), data visualization and programming.

5. Big Data Management

This area taps into business IT, math and statistics. You may study big data analytics. Classes like data mining, cloud computing, and business intelligence too.

How long does it take to get a Data Science Degree online?

It may take a full time student about four years to earn a bachelors degree online. If you have transfer credits from an associates program, you may be able to complete this sooner. Most master’s degree programs take between a year and two years of full time study. Although if your background is unrelated, you may need up to three years. These programs often have you take a few extra courses. To earn a PhD online, you may need between three and five years. Often, the first three years are set aside for courses. The final years for your dissertation. But, some online schools build the dissertation work into the program, to help reduce length.

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Salem University Bachelors 120 Monthly 48
Saint Louis University Bachelors 120 6 48
Illinois Institute of Technology Masters 33 2 12
Lewis University Masters 33 4 18
St. Mary’s College Masters 36 4 24
Northcentral University PhD 60 Weekly 50
Colorado Technical University Doctorate 100 3 36
Grand Canyon University Doctorate 60 Multiple 39

Scholarships for Data Science Majors

Many eligible online students qualify for financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships. 

Simplr AI Scholarships

This $7,500 award goes out on the basis of merit, passion and financial need. It is for one student who is going for an undergraduate or graduate degree in CompSci, Math, IT or law school. DACA and international students who fit the criteria may apply as well.

Deadline: December 31

CEU Future of Big Data, Morgan Stanley, Women in Tech scholarships

Central European University offers 10 to 15 scholarships valued at $12,000. They go to eligible women with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Applicants must be going for a career in science. It may be relevant if you also have a passion for data and coding.

Deadline: January 30, 2021

Richard Gaines Russell Memorial Computer Science Scholarship

For juniors and seniors at Midwestern State University. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.5 or above and be CompSci majors. Unmet financial need is also a criteria. One or more scholarships of $3,500 are awarded.

Deadline: March 1, 2021

VIP Women in Technology Scholarship

Visionary Integration Professionals offers a $2,500 scholarship. It is available to women in the U.S. enrolled in college with plans to go for a career in a CompSci field. Applicants must write a 1500 word essay about a specific IT area. 

Deadline: April 1, 2021

codePost Computer Science Education Scholarship

For both undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants must be going for a degree in computer science or a related area. The winner of this award receives $500.

Deadline: June 30, 2021

15 Online Data Science Degrees

Many online schools offer data science as a focal area within CS programs. There are also more broad data science degrees. We have ranked our top 15 schools based on the number of graduates from the program in 2019. Our process looks at 2019 data from the NCES. And, it may help you narrow your search down.

  1. Central Georgia Technical College
  2. New Mexico State University-Dona Ana
  3. Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  4. Greenville Technical College 
  5. American Public University System
  6. Bellevue College
  7. Midlands Technical College
  8. Gwinnett Technical College 
  9. University of Southern Mississippi
  10. Capella University 
  11. Community College of Philadelphia
  12. Atlantic Cape Community College 
  13. Pennsylvania State University 
  14. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  15. George Washington University


Here is a closer look at the data science programs these 15 schools offer.


Central Georgia Technical College

Associate of Science in Computer Programming


Central Georgia Technical College offers programs at the associate and certificate levels. This one is a CISCO Systems CNAP program. It aims to lay out the basics needed to write computer software. As such it may suit those who want to enter the IT profession. 

  • C++ Programming
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Computer Networking

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $3,042 / $5,442
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Business & Computer Technologies
  • Health Sciences
  • Public Safety & Professional Services
  • General Studies


New Mexico State University – Dona Ana

Associate of Applied Science in Computer and Information Technology


DACC’s program may pave the way to industry certs. At the same time, you may gain a range of skills in software support, hardware repair and more. One may also choose to go for a networking or programming option.

  • Microsoft OS
  • Computer Programming
  • Networking

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $1,776 / $2,160 / $5,664
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Business & Computer Technologies
  • Health Sciences
  • General Sciences


Georgia Northwestern Technical College

Associate of Applied Science in Business Technology


Georgia Northwestern’s program aims to introduce key skills and information. From basic accounting and communication. To internet research, and electronic file management.

  • Databases 
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Word Processing

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $3,062 / $5,462
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Accounting
  • Business Healthcare Technology
  • Cybersecurity
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management


Greenville Technical College

Associate in Applied Science in Computer Technology


Greenville’s program focuses on entry level computer skills. Also, communication. One may select a focus in cyber security, network admin, system admin or programming.  Classes in programming are about using object oriented languages and database

  • HTML 
  • Web Applications
  • CSS

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $4,778 / $5,186 / $9,410
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Accounting
  • Computer Technology
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management


American Public University System

Bachelor of Science in Data Science


APU’s program aims to grow your technical skills. It covers the basics of data science, moving on to more complex tools, techniques, and methods. These may build your capacity to collect and organize data from various sources. Along the way you may learn to also tell the data story using data visualization tools. Three focal areas are available and you must choose one. Flex, business intel, or deep learning. 

  • Discrete Math 
  • Probability
  • Intro to Python

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $7,324
Grad $7,005

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More Degree Programs:

  • Accounting
  • Business Analytics
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Psychology


Bellevue College

Master of Science in Data Science


Bellevue’s program studies how to make sense of large sets of data. It thus goes into the tools, methods and systems needed to solve complex problems. While you also study statistics, the other courses bring in ways to present findings to business leaders as well as analytics. 

  • Applied Data Science
  • Data Presentation
  • Exploration and Analysis

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $7,851
Grad $11,205
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Management Information Systems
  • Business Analytics 


Midlands Technical College

Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems


Midlands program is for students who plan to transfer to a four year engineering program. It presents basic electrical eng. and related computer eng. courses. Including circuits and computer logic. Both of these study the components and board level concepts.

  • Algorithmic Design 
  • Statistics
  • UNIX Operating System

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $4,788 / $5,916 / $13,812
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Accounting
  • Criminal Justice
  • Management
  • Marketing


Gwinnett Technical College

Associate in Applied Science – Computer Programming


Gwinnett Tech’s program offers two Hope Career Grants to eligible applicants. The classes are in a sequence. And, aim to provide basic concepts, principles and methods in computer info processing.

  • IT Analysis
  • Java Programming
  • Database Management

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $3,236 / $5,636
Grad N/A

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More Degree Programs:

  • Accounting Technology
  • Business Management
  • Business Technology
  • Marketing Management


University of Southern Mississippi

Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Technology


U of South Mississippi’s program is for those who have a technical two year degree. It focuses on the practical side of business mgmt. Including HR and product process planning. At the same time, you may learn how to manage technical projects. And leverage IT to improve business performance. 

  • Strategies for Technology Training
  • Workforce Analysis
  • Applied Tech Leadership

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $8,896 / $10,896
Grad $8,886 / $10,886
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Library and Information Science

Capella’s program aims to build broad knowledge of IT. You study programming, networks, systems and more in core courses. The data section is also deep with about one third of all credit hours for the minor. It looks at mining, storage, delivery and also, how to interpret data. At the end of the program, you complete a capstone in IT as well. 

  • ETL and Data Transformation 
  • Data Distribution 
  • Governance

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540
Grad $15,233

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More Degree Programs:

  • Analytics


Community College of Philadelphia

Associate in Science in Computer Science


Community College of Philadelphia’s program intends to be a transfer degree to a four year CompSci bachelor’s. It frames the skills needed to solve math oriented problems. And, aims to help you develop algorithms and data structures to solve those problems using computers.

  • Calculus
  • Database Management 
  • Computer Organization 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $4,632 / $9,264 / $13,896
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Engineering Science


Atlantic Cape Community College

Associate in Applied Science in Computer Programming


Atlantic Cape’s program focuses on programming and includes Java, C++ and Visual Basic. At the same time, it looks at basic managerial functions. Like organizing, staffing, directing, planning and controlling.

  • PC Operating Systems
  • System Analysis
  • Oracle SQL

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $5,238 / $6,738 / $8,238
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Communication
  • Education
  • English
  • Liberal Arts
  • Psychology


Pennsylvania State University

Master of Science in Spatial Data Science


Penn State’s program is about learning how to use location based data to develop insights and decisions. It studies at the cross roads of several areas. GIS, data science, visualization, and programming. While looking at these subjects you may want to work towards a certificate for extra skills. Choices include remote sensing, web map development and others.

  • Cartography
  • Imagery and Elevation Data
  • Advance Python

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $13,988
Grad $22,186
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Geographic Information System


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Master of Science in Computer Engineering


Missouri U’s program covers both leadership and technical areas. One may choose a thesis or non thesis option and an area of emphasis. There are four choices. Digital systems design, electrical eng., embedded computer systems and software eng. 

  • Neural Networks
  • Digital Circuits
  • Testing and VLSI Design

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $9,936 / $27,484
Grad $11,608 / $30,219
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Computer Science


George Washington University

Bachelor of Science / Master of Science in Data Science

Mostly Campus

GWU offers a dual degree though you may go for each independently. The BS/MS program allows you to take up to 7.5 graduate credits as part of your bachelor’s. You may thereby complete the master’s degree on an accelerated track. 

  • Data Warehousing
  • Visualization
  • Machine Learning

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $56,935
Grad $31,824
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • Statistics

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.