Aarshay Jain — Published On July 10, 2016 and Last Modified On August 2nd, 2019
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Doing Post-graduation in the United States of America (USA) is a dream of countless students across the world. Every year, million of students worldwide appear in examinations like GREs, SATs, TOEFL with a hope of studying in the top US universities. Only a small percentage of these applicants get through!

Qualifying for studying Analytics / Data Science as a post graduate course in US is not easy. But it’s not impossible either. I recently got selected in 2016-2018 batch for MS in Data Science at Columbia University. So, I thought I will share my learnings and research with our community.


Why study in the US?

Before starting the research, you should be asking this. If you follow this field closely, the answer should be obvious. US is the largest analytics / data science market in the entire world. The major benefit of pursuing Masters in US is to gain access to the large pool of upcoming job opportunities in US. It is also one of the most mature market in analytics / data science evolution.

If you’ve ever dreamed of working as a data scientist in US, this guide with take you a step closer. In this article, I’ve provided a detailed analysis of 10 good MS Programs in Analytics /Data Science in US. I’ve seen that people become clueless in choosing the best college / university for themselves. Therefore, I’ve also provided a detailed explanation of selection parameters which can be used to evaluate goodness of any university program.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. I’ve only listed the best universities which one should consider which applying for analytics programs in US.

10 Good Universities which offer Masters in Analytics / Data Science Program in USA



How to decide if a Program is Good ?

Before jumping into the programs, I would like to discuss some aspects which you should consider while judging a program. There is no absolute ranking among programs because each program is stronger / better than others in some aspects. So, choosing a university completely depends on your preference and choice of parameters as described below:

  1. Program Name
    • The traditional philosophy – ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ works in this case as well. Since these are non-traditional programs, you’ll find all sorts of names like Masters in Analytics, Masters in Business Analytics,Masters in Data Science, Masters in Predictive Analytics, Masters in Marketing Analytics, Masters in Information Systems, etc.
    • Trust me, names can be very misleading. Though, they do give some idea, but this should definitely be your last concern, if at all!
  2. Curriculum
    • I believe this is the most important aspect and the first thing which you should check out.
    • The curriculum actually tells you what subjects you’ll be studying and straight away gives an impression about the relevance of the program for you.
    • Typically, coursework is divided into core courses (compulsory courses) and electives. You should also check out the list of courses from which you can choose the electives.
    • Curriculum flexibility i.e. the ratio of elective courses, is another important factor. It can vary from as high as 60-70% in some course to almost none in others.
    • Universities also have a provision to wave off some core courses if you’re already experienced in them. But you should talk to existing students and try to figure out how easy this is and how easily the faculty approve this.
  3. Practical Training Opportunities
    • Practical training typically comes in the form of internships, capstone projects, weekend hackathons, etc.
    • Given that data science is a highly application-oriented domain, practical training would play a crucial role in your overall development.
    • Location plays a pivotal role in practical learning opportunities outside the campus.
    • While you are in the program, location can have academic impact in terms of getting good internship opportunities. Also, a strong data science community gives access to specialized skill meetups and hackathons. For instance, the data science communities in cities like New York or Silicon Valley will be much stronger than other suburban locations.
    • After the program, a good location definitely helps in the job search as there will be ample of employment opportunities.
  4. Industry Collaborations
    • Since most of the programs in data science related courses are professional, industry collaborations will play a key role in your experience through the program.
    • You should check out the particular companies, which domain they belong to, what sort of activities are conducted like technical talks, research collaboration, capstone projects, etc.
  5. Research Opportunities
    • Though most of the programs are professional in nature, you should understand that research forms an important component of the analytics industry in US. If you’re interested in doing some research in data science, some of the programs offer this option as well.
    • You should consider the faculty in your area of interest, read about ongoing research projects, government of industry sponsored research opportunities, etc.
  6. Class Profile
    • You prospective colleagues will play a crucial role in your learning because you will invariably have various collaboration opportunities where you’ll learn a lot from your peers.
    • A careful examination of the profiles of people who also got selected into the program will help you in evaluating your credentials for the program and you’ll also get an idea of the quality of people you can expect.
    • Some universities may directly share this information or else you’ve to check it out via LinkedIn or Facebook.
  7. University Reputation (Rankings)
    • This factor is important in general but more so for the data science programs. This is because most of them are relatively new, i.e. around 2-4 years old and it’s difficult to establish credibility in the industry in such a short duration.
    • Thus, the university brand name plays a key role on how your candidature will be perceived in the industry after completing the degree. No doubt, your knowledge would always matter more, but university reputation plays a crucial role for new courses.
    • You should specifically check out the ranking of the universities in Statistics, Computer Science and Business because these are the three main pillars on which data science and analytics courses are built.
  8. Return on Investment
    • Post-graduate education in the US is expensive and most of the data science programs will not offer any financial aid. As a matter of fact, some universities treat such programs as cash cows and use them to make money.
    • One important thing to check is the tuition fee of the program as compared to similar programs in engineering like an MS in Computer Science or an MS in Statistics. If there is a big difference, its probably because the university is using this professional program to make money.
    • Please note that when I say cash cow, I don’t mean to place it in a negative sense. There is a big demand for data scientists in the US and there are very high chances of you getting a good job after the program even if you do it from a tier 2 college. So its like a win-win situation. You get the experience with the best faculty in the country, you pay a price for it and you get the return as well. Its a good bet if you’re not the research focused person and not interested in the traditional research oriented programs.
  9. First Hand Experience
    • First step is obviously to log onto the program website and check its details. You can do a first level filtering based on the evident information on website.
    • But, an equally important aspect is to talk to people who are already studying there and its alma mater. You can definitely apply to all the colleges you like, but for making the final choice, I can’t over-emphasize the importance of this step.
    • This gives you a true picture about the college administration and recognition in the industry, which is really hard to judge from any university’s website. Also, given that these programs are mostly new, the amount of discussions on third-party websites like Quora are also limited.
    • If you’re wondering how to find these people, again LinkedIn and Facebook are your best friends!


Analytics / Data Science Programs by Top Universities in the US

Having understood the key parameters we should keep in mind while evaluating a masters program, lets consider some of the good  programs that I came across while applying for my masters.

For a better view, I’ve provided ranking to these universities on 4 parameters namely Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science and Business based on US News.

Therefore, for you to decide which is better, you would have to weight these parameters accordingly. For example, if you think that you are good at mathematics but not computer science, choose the programs with a higher concentration on mathematics in the curriculum.


1. MS in Data Science, Columbia University

Columbia University is located in the heart of New York city. Being an Ivy League institution, there are no questions about its reputation. The MS program is being run by the Data Science Institute at Columbia. The students have access to courses from all the top programs at the institute. The general course duration is 16 months,i.e. 3 semesters of study and an internship semester.

  • Curriculum:
    • Courses worth 30 credits are required to be completed and most of the graduate level courses are 3 credits each.
    • It consists of 6 core courses covering the essentials of computer science, probability, statistics and machine learning.
    • There is a capstone project in the last semester.
    • Remaining 3 courses can be taken as electives from across the university.
  • Practical Training:
    • These come in the form of an internship semester and capstone project.
    • Additionally, the Columbia Data Science Society organizes workshops and other events where you can get ample opportunities to interact and solve problems with your peers.
    • The city of New York has a strong data science community which will offer many opportunities to apply data science knowledge.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities:
    • The data science institute runs 7 research centers which run some good research projects which can help students get a working knowledge of data science
    • Since the department consists of professors from various departments including computer science, statistics, business, civil, etc. there are ample research opportunities available.
    • Industry collaborations work in terms of sponsored research projects as well career development center which organizes career fairs, tech talks, etc.
  • Rankings:
    • Business: 10
    • Computer Science: 15
    • Statistics: 20
    • Mathematics: 9

Conclusion: The program provides a good foundation in machine learning and programming along with practical experience. Moreover Columbia is ranked in top 20 in all the domains related to data science making it a good choice. One drawback of the program could be that the curriculum is a bit inclined towards programming and more technical in nature than few other programs, which are more business oriented.


2. MS in Data Science, New York University

NYU is located in New York city and is fairly reputed. The MS program is being run by the Center for Data Science at NYU. The students have access to courses from a wide range of departments including statistics, AI, bio-statistics, business, economics, psychology etc. The course can be completed in 3 or 4 semesters, depending on the choice of students.

  • Curriculum:
    • 12 courses worth 36 credits are required to be completed.
    • It consists of 6 core courses covering the essentials of statistics and machine learning and a capstone project in the last semester.
    • Remaining 6 courses can be taken as electives from a wide pool of domains which can be found here. This course has a unique structure offering 50% of the courses as electives which is rarely seen in courses.
  • Practical Training:
    • These come in the form of an internship semester and a capstone project.
    • It has a similar location advantage of being in New York City as Columbia university. As said above, NYC’s strong data science community offers ample opportunities of applying data science knowledge.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities:
    • Since the program consists of electives from various departments including computer science, statistics, business, civil, etc. there are ample research opportunities available. You can get some idea about the research projects here.
    • The department conducts workshops, tech talks and other events in collaboration with industry professionals. Details about those events can be found on the program website.
  •  Rankings:
    • Business: 20
    • Computer Science: 29
    • Statistics: 49
    • Mathematics: 9

Conclusion: This program will provided a strong foundation in machine learning and ample experience in a particular domain through the 6 electives courses. NYU might lack slightly in terms of the departmental rankings but the program structure and location of NYC will definitely


3. MS in Computational Data Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is one of the topmost universities for research in computer science. It’s CS department also run few specialized masters programs.

These programs focus on one core domain, have higher tuition fee and offers no assistance. They treat them as cash cow programs but students benefit from the high quality pedagogy. MSCDS is one such program. It spans over 16 months with 3 semesters of study and an internship semester.

  • Curriculum:
    • There are 2 concentration to choose from – Analytics or Systems.
    • Analytics will focus on machine learning aspect and Systems will focus on big data and computational aspects.
    • Total 8 unit-courses, 2 seminar courses and 1 capstone project is required to complete the course.
    • Out of the 8 unit-courses, 3 are electives which can be taken from the Department of Computer Science.
  • Practical Training:
    • These come in the form of an internship semester, seminar courses and capstone project.
    • The location of Pittsburg is a definite disadvantage but the brand name of CMU is too big for it to have an impact on the internship or job search. Obviously, relocation could be a potential challenge.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities:
    • This is a coursework oriented program and the research/industrial collaboration opportunities come from sponsored capstone projects.
    • The institute also helps in acquiring internships and job opportunities.
  •  Rankings:
    • Business: 18
    • Computer Science: 1
    • Statistics: 9
    • Mathematics: 34

Conclusion: This is a CS oriented program and ideal for people with some coding experience who want to get into machine learning. The drawback being that the business side of the program is weak and you should not expect getting some domain experience like finance/healthcare. It is better suited for software engineering roles rather than data scientist roles.


4. MS in Machine Learning, Carnegie Mellon University

This is another program like #3 offered by the Machine Learning Department in the dept of CS at CMU. The core idea is the same except for a couple of changes:

  • It is solely based on ML and is more mathematical nature. Covers theoretical ML at a broader level.
  • There are only 2 elective courses and 1 final project. No seminar courses like above.
  • The tuition fee is slightly less.

This would also prepare you for software engineering or research roles. You should choose this if you have a theoretical bent of mind and would like to pursue a doctorate (Ph.D) after masters.


5. MS in Analytics, Northwestern University

This interdisciplinary masters program is being run by McCormick (engineering), Kellogg (management) and Medill (journalism) schools at NWU along with industry professionals in the Chicago area. It’s a 15 month program with a 10 week internship.

  • Curriculum:
    • The curriculum consists of 14 courses, 18-month industry practicum and 1 capstone project.
    • Only 2 courses out of the 14 are electives and that too from a small pool. So, the curriculum is more or less fixed. One of the reasons for a stringent curriculum is small batch size of just 35. This is a big advantage in terms of interactions and learning during the program.
    • The courses touches upon crucial aspects of analytics including statistics, programming, databases, optimization with a focus on industry applications.
  • Practical Training:
    • The course is heavy on practical training which start with an 8-month industry project running across the first 3 quarters. This project is organized in collaboration with an industry partner.
    • There is an internship in the summer and a capstone project in the final quarter.
    • The location of Chicago is a definite disadvantage in terms of the local opportunities, but NWU strives hard to get industrial connections to cover up this disadvantage.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities:
    • The coursework is rich in industrial exposure as a plethora of activities like workshops, tech talks are conducted.
    • Both practicum and capstone projects are industry sponsored.
    • The program has no inclination towards research and you should not go there expecting any.
    • The institute also helps in acquiring internships and job opportunities.
  • Rankings:
    • Business: 5
    • Computer Science: 34
    • Statistics: 49
    • Mathematics: 17

Conclusion: This program is designed for people working in a particular domain who want to understand analytics and its applications in different industries. It is not designed for techies who want to incorporate machine learning algorithms in their software. The program makes heavy use of the industry connections coming from Kellogg School of Management, which is one of the most reputed management institution of the world.


6. MS in Analytics, Georgia Institute of Technology

This interdisciplinary program is run jointly by the College of Engineering, Business and Computing at GaTech. Its a 1 year program and covers the fall, spring and summer semesters.

  • Curriculum:
    • The program is designed in the form of 3 tracks – Analytics Tools, Business Analytics and Computational Data Analytics. The details can be found here.
    • Each track covers statistics, operational research and computing courses. The number of courses of each type differ by track.
    • There is a fair share of electives which depend on the chosen track. In general, there are 5 core courses and 5 electives.
  • Practical Training:
    • The program is typically a coursework based culminating into 2 capstone projects in the summer semester or an internship, if approved by the faculty.
    • The location of Georgia is a definite disadvantage in terms of the local opportunities, but there are still some meetup groups and online hackathon events which you can attend.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities:
    • The capstone projects undertaken are in collaboration with the industry.
    • Some guest lectures and tech talks are also organized.
    • The program has no inclination towards research and you should not go there expecting any.
    • The institute also helps in acquiring internships and job opportunities.
  • Rankings:
    • Business: 34
    • Computer Science: 9
    • Industrial and Systems Engineering: 1
    • Mathematics: 29

Conclusion: This is a typical coursework based program. One drawback could be the choice between a capstone and internship. Also, the short duration of the program will put additional academic burden and restricts the networking opportunities. The positives are in terms of GaTech’s brand name and the involvement of operations research courses in which GaTech is one of the best institutes.


7. MS in Analytics, North Carolina State University

This program is managed by the Institute of Advanced Analytics at NCSU and is the first analytics program started way back in 2007.

Most of the other programs are 2-4 years old and thus lack recognition. But NCSU is a highly reputed program in the analytics industry, even though NCSU as a whole is considered a tier 2 institution. This is a 10-month intensive program, with 3 semesters starting in the summer and ending in spring. Moreover, GRE score is not required for application, only TOEFL is required.

  • Curriculum:
    • The curriculum exposes students to a wide spectrum of topics which can be found here.
    • The program ends with an industry sponsored capstone project.
    • The curriculum focuses on mathematics and statistics and covers many statistical techniques.
  • Practical Training:
    • The program is a typical coursework based with 2 practical courses. There is no option of an internship.
    • The location of North Carolina is not rick in local opportunities in data science, but the course is intensive enough to keep students exhausted during the 10 months.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities
    • The capstone projects are in collaboration with the industry.
    • Some guest lectures and tech talks are also organized.
    • The program has no inclination towards research and you should not go there expecting any.
    • The institute also helps in acquiring internships and job opportunities.
  • Rankings:
    • Business: 52
    • Computer Science: 48
    • Statistics: 15
    • Mathematics: 52

Conclusion: NCSU is a well reputed program with good future prospects. It prepare candidates well for data scientist roles as it exposes them to a wide spectrum of analytics techniques. Strong mathematics and statistics fundamentals are required to get into this program and you should apply only if you are confident about the same.


8. MS in Analytics, Texas A&M University

The masters program at TAMU is offered by the department of statistics and it’s a part-time program for working professionals. The program website is not much informative but TAMU as an institution has a decent reputation in the industry. Being a part time program, it is spread over 5 semesters.

  • Curriculum:
    • The curriculum consists of 12 courses, details of which can be found here.
    • The program ends with an industry sponsored capstone project.
    • There are only 2 elective courses.
    • The curriculum has a focus on statistics with applications in finance and marketing.
  • Practical Training:
    • The program is typically coursework based with a capstone project and a seminar with oral presentation.
    • There is focus on SAS programming which prepares you well for the industry.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities
    • Being a part time program, there is no focus on research.
    • The program’s advisory body is made up of industry professionals so the program runs hand-in-hand with the requirements in the industry.
    • TAMU organizes some other events as well like the Analytics 2015 conference.
  • Rankings:
    • Business: 31
    • Computer Science: 40
    • Statistics: 15
    • Mathematics: 41

Overall, it is a decent program and designed specifically for working professionals.


9. MS in Business Analytics, Michigan State University

This is a 1 year program which commences in the spring semester and continues in summer and fall with graduation in December. The course prepares students for data scientist roles in industries such as consulting, automotive, consumer products, retail, and financial services.

  • Curriculum:
    • The curriculum consists of 12 courses, details of which can be found here.
    • There are only no elective courses as all courses are pre-defined.
    • The summer semester has workload of only 2 courses and in addition a capstone project of a 10-12 week internship can be completed in that period.
  • Practical Training:
    • The program is typically coursework based with an option of capstone project or an internship.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities
    • It’s a typical coursework based program with no attention on research.
    • The capstone projects are conducted in collaboration with an industry partner.
    • University organizes internship and job fairs as well.
  • Rankings:
    • Business: 35
    • Computer Science: 56
    • Statistics: 47
    • Mathematics: 46

Conclusion: This is a good program and if you like the fixed curriculum, it might work out. Also, since Michigan State University is not as reputed as some other universities mentioned here, it might be easier to get in.


10. MS in Business Analytics, University of Cincinnati

This is another 1 year program commencing in fall, with a more or less fixed curriculum. It prepares the candidates for business analyst and data scientist positions.

  • Curriculum:
    • The curriculum consists of 12 courses, details of which can be found here.
    • The program ends with an industry sponsored capstone project.
    • There are only 2 elective courses.
  • Practical Training:
    • The program is typically coursework based with a capstone project.
    • The location of Cincinnati also doesn’t offer a vibrant data science community to take advantage from.
  • Industrial Collaboration & Research Opportunities
    • The program has no focus on research.
    • List most other courses, industry collaborations are in the form of job fairs, tech talks and sponsored capstone.
  • Rankings:
    • Business: 63
    • Computer Science: 112
    • Statistics: –
    • Mathematics: 115

Conclusion: This is a slightly less reputed university with a decent program which should be comparatively easier to get through. But you should be comfortable with the curriculum before you think about taking it up.


Summary Table

Analytics / Data Science Programs in US


Some More Programs

I’m adding a list of other programs which you can consider and evaluate using the ideas shared above. Please feel free to drop a comment if you feel other programs should be added and I’ll be happy to make a mention here.


MS in other departments with Data Science/Machine Learning specialization:


Other related programs:


List of online data science programs – click here.

List of online business analytics programs – click here.


End Notes

In this article, I’ve discussed the various factors which you should consider while selecting a masters program in data science in USA. I have also evaluated 10 programs on some of these factors based on available information.

This should be sufficient for making an initial selection of which courses to apply to. But while making the final selection of which institution to attend, you should consider additional factors which might require your extra effort and research.

Please note that these days there are many traditional courses which offer a specialization in data science like an MS in Computer Science with machine learning track or an MS in Statistics with data science track. I haven’t considered such courses here because they have a focus on the core subject with subtle emphasis on data science. If you have a core domain, you can check out such courses as well.

I would like to restate that this is by no means a ranking of the institutions. Actually, rankings will be very relative because each program has some pros and cons making the suitability vary from one individual to other. However, I have provided rankings from a trusted source for different subjects here which can be used as a metric to judge the university in area of your interest.

Hope this helps you in making a good career choice. If you have any questions, please feel free to discuss in comments.

You can test your skills and knowledge. Check out Live Competitions and compete with best Data Scientists from all over the world.

About the Author

Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain

Aarshay graduated from MS in Data Science at Columbia University in 2017 and is currently an ML Engineer at Spotify New York. He works at an intersection or applied research and engineering while designing ML solutions to move product metrics in the required direction. He specializes in designing ML system architecture, developing offline models and deploying them in production for both batch and real time prediction use cases.

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70 thoughts on "10 Analytics / Data Science Masters Program by Top Universities in the US"

Evelyn says: July 11, 2016 at 5:53 am
Maybe the MS of Data Science at University of Washington (http://www.datasciencemasters.uw.edu/) will be included in the future, considering our CS ranks 6 and statitics ranks top 3 :) Reply
Pals says: July 11, 2016 at 6:03 am
Hi, Could you please let me know any online masters program in Analytics.I am looking for Masters in Science but not an MBA in analytics I cannot afford a full time on campus kind of a degree. Reply
Arun says: July 11, 2016 at 6:16 am
Dear Aadhray Thanks for such interesting knowledge about courses in US. But you did not discuss how to get there or get selected for the course. Requirements of TOEFL or anything else???? Please discuss. Reply
Anon says: July 11, 2016 at 6:53 am
How can you have this list and not have Berkeley or Caltech!? Reply
Sudhindra Arsikere
Sudhindra Arsikere says: July 11, 2016 at 7:33 am
Awesome list! Reply
rahul27 says: July 11, 2016 at 8:57 am
Thanks a lot Aarshay...! It would be very much helpful. I was looking for such comparison since a long time. Reply
Manivassakam M
Manivassakam M says: July 11, 2016 at 8:58 am
You should look at MS in Analytics from University of Chicago as well. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 11, 2016 at 9:50 am
Thanks for pointing out Evelyn. Yes it should definitely be there. I'll make a mention towards the end. :) But I'm surprised that such a program exists and I skipped it. I myself applied for MS for Fall 2016 and I didn't come across this program. Is this a new program? Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 11, 2016 at 9:51 am
US Berkeley has one of the most prestigious online programs in data science. You can check out others here - http://mastersindatascience.org Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 11, 2016 at 9:52 am
Thanks for the suggestion. You'll be happy to know that I'm already writing another article on this. You can expect it next week. Stay tuned!! Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 11, 2016 at 9:53 am
Berkeley only has an online program and honestly, I've not heard good reviews about it. I don't think Caltech offers such a program. If it does, it might be a good one. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 11, 2016 at 9:54 am
Hope it helps! Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 11, 2016 at 9:55 am
Hope it helps.. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 11, 2016 at 9:55 am
Yes thats another program. But as I mentioned above, its not an exhaustive list! Reply
Dan says: July 11, 2016 at 3:24 pm
Southern Methodist University has an online MS in Data Science program. Reply
Utsav Maniar
Utsav Maniar says: July 11, 2016 at 3:35 pm
Hi, Aarshay, Thank you for the great information. How about MS in Data Science from USC? MS in Data Science : http://www.cs.usc.edu/academics/masters/msdata.htm https://gapp.usc.edu/graduate-programs/masters/computer-science/data-science MS in Data Informatics : https://gapp.usc.edu/graduate-programs/masters/datainformatics/datainformatics Reply
Kishore Manda
Kishore Manda says: July 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm
Hey, thanks a lot for the info. would you share a similar list of colleges in Germany or France. Heard that the MS is relatively affordable now a days in these countries...... Reply
Evelyn says: July 11, 2016 at 5:07 pm
Yes, it is totally new. This program began to accept applications from the beginning of this year and will start the first class this autumn. Considering it combines UW's CSE ans Stat (I remember also bio -stat included, which ranks top 1 I think) dept, I believe it is an awesome choice for many applications:) Reply
Geetesh Iyer
Geetesh Iyer says: July 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm
Great article, Kunal. As someone who spent a lot of time looking for the right course, I have a couple of points to add 1. The MS in Advance Analytics program at NCSU is possibly the toughest to get into and hence I guess it could be rated among the top 2 programs. Same is the case with the UC Berkeley Data Science program 2. Across the US, Analytics/Data science programs typically fall under a few categories thus leading to us messing them a. MS in Management Science b. MS in Analytics/Data Science c. MS in Operations Research/Systems Engineering d. MS in Statistics We often only look for b but there is a bunch of programs called one a,c or d which we do not normally consider Stanford for example has an incredibly competitive MS in Management Science Program which has pretty much the same curriculum as the others. So does MS in Operations research and Systems engineering program at Cornell P.S : Talking to a lot of people who are interested in these courses, I have also seen course fee/RoI to be a huge factor in making a decisions. Hence proximity to big analytics markets is a very important consideration too. Reply
Pals says: July 12, 2016 at 4:58 am
Thank q! all for the replies. Helped me a lot. And yes, cost consideration is one big deciding factor for me . Looking for affordable online MS programs. As mentioned in one of the comments MS in countries like France and Germany are affordable ,then it is worth looking into those programs as well. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 12, 2016 at 6:39 am
Yes thats another good program if it suits ur needs better. As I mentioned above, my list is not exhaustive. The core idea was to provide you a means to evaluate programs. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 12, 2016 at 6:40 am
Yes education is affordable there. Unfortunately, I don't have much information about those countries. But you can use the points mentioned here and evaluate those yourself. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 12, 2016 at 6:42 am
Yeah it should be a good program. Probably the fact that your first cohort starts in Autumn was the reason why I missed it. All the best with the program. :) Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 12, 2016 at 6:58 am
I'm Aarshay. First of all, by no means have I provided a ranking of the programs. I believe that a standardized ranking here makes little sense because of the interdisciplinary nature. It'll really depend on the individual what he really wants to do. - Regarding NCSU, its tough to get in if you don't have good mathematics and statistics background. They don't even take your GRE score. It tells that you need strong grades in mathematics to get in. Look at the class profiles. Very few people with less mathematics background which I believe they've taken for either domain or those guys must have taken additional courses. - Regarding UC Berkeley, if you're talking about the online program, I haven't seen good reviews for that. If you're talking about the Data Science specialization in the MEng in EECS program, its definitely tough to get in. But again, that because it would require strong computing background. - I think the different program names you've mentioned here are not exactly the same. I've seen even MS in Analytics and MS in Data Science programs to be different in structure and approach. The others will definitely focus on one niche and won't be as generic as analytics programs. As I've mentioned in my article, you should really look at the curriculum and not the program name to see if it aligns with your objectives. - Stanford program is great. But honestly, I don't think the Stanford course has same structure as others. The core idea is different. The Operations and Analytics concentration is closer, but still the kind of roles these programs prepare you for will vary. Same goes for MSOR at Cornell. I would like to repeat that the most important fact is fitness for purpose. So one should first understand what he really wants to do and then choose the program. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 12, 2016 at 7:00 am
Cost is definitely a thing to worry in the US. The average ROI in my opinion would be around 2 years if you work there after the program. I'm not sure about other locations. Reply
Deepali says: July 12, 2016 at 11:41 am
Can you suggest some online courses in analytics offered in Canadian universities Reply
Geetesh says: July 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm
Hey Aarshay, 1. Thanks for clarifying that it wasn't ranking that you mentioned. I wasn't refuting what you said but pointing out certain bullets that I felt would add value. 2. 2ndly , it is surprising you say Stanford and Cornell programs are good and are not part of the list. As you mentioned, I looked at the class profiles and most students from these schools have exactly the same roles as students from the schools in the list above. 3. I am however very surprised at your assessment of Analytics programs at NCSU and Berkeley. These are two phenomenal programs- rated top notch while hiring Analytics/Data folks , here in the valley. Peace and Good Luck! G Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 12, 2016 at 4:47 pm
I'm not so sure about Canada. You can search programs online and analyze using the ideas shared in this article. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm
Hi Geetesh, I wasn't taking it as criticism. I'm always open to feedback. Helps me improve :) Regarding Cornell and Stanford, I wanted to focus on analytics and data science programs only. Those programs are similar, but not exactly same. The underlying idea is kinda different. But I have created a new section at the end where I'll mention these so people don't skip them. No doubts about NCSU! But for Berkeley, are you talking about the online program? I read that people are leaving it because they are not really challenging and people said its like doing a Coursera course. But since you're there, you must be knowing better. Reply
Palash says: July 13, 2016 at 3:37 pm
Hi Aarshay , thanks a ton for listing it all in a very fine manner. It would be great if you could answer some questions of mine ? 1. What do you think about the MS in Business Analytics at Texas University,Austin and Texas University, Dallas? 2. I have heard that recruiters prefer MS in CS and MS in MIS candidates over MS BA candidates. Is it true ? 3. Does class size matter for international students during placements ? 4. I am inclined more to the business side and less to technical. Also, I have a GMAT score already which I will be using to apply. Which school will you recommend in this case ? Thanks in advance, Aarshay. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 13, 2016 at 3:43 pm
Hi Palash, My responses below: 1. I haven't explored these. But the points mentioned in this article should help you in evaluating. 2. I think it would depend on the role. If you're going for tech companies, they'll prefer CS with ML background. But if you're talking about data scientist roles in say finance or healthcare industries, I don't think they should prefer CS. This is my intuition, but I'm not 100% sure. 3. I don't think so it should. Very few colleges there will have Indian university style placement season. Its more like professional counselling and most of the effort has to be put in by the students. 4. You should go for MS in Analytics/Business Analytics courses mentioned above. Northwester and GaTech are good to start looking at. Hope this helps! 4. Reply
James says: July 13, 2016 at 6:30 pm
For Canada, there is Queen's University where you can do a part time 1 year Masters of Management Analytics in Toronto Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 13, 2016 at 6:31 pm
thanks for the info James! Reply
Anon says: July 13, 2016 at 8:21 pm
I disagree with both. It depends on what you call data science. They are the best. Reply
Prathamesh says: July 14, 2016 at 1:23 am
Hello, Great article. I was interested to know more about your thoughts on the MS in Business Analytics from MIT Sloan. The programme is new, but do you think with just the college name of MIT and Sloan mean that this programme will rise in the rankings rapidly in the near future? Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 14, 2016 at 6:37 am
Hello, Since its MIT, I cannot doubt its value and I wouldn't care about the rankings. I'll share some personal experience, which might help. I had a chance to apply in it this year but I didn't. Thats because: 1. I had an admit from Columbia till then. MIT's curriculum is good but personally I like Columbia more 2. MIT's program has a tuition of $75,000 for 1 year which is pretty huge. It clearly shows that program is a cash cow for MIT, i.e. its designed to mint money. Given that its just inaugural year, 75k seems pretty high. 3. I had a chat with a friend of mine from MIT and even he recommended that I should go to Columbia because its a regular MS program there. He said that at MIT, professors will take these classes for money and they wouldn't have any research interest in the course. But I didn't apply given that I had Columbia. I would have applied if I didn't have that admit. So the bottomline is that its worth applying and then you can compare all your admits and make a decision in the end. Noone can take the MIT brand away from it which is itself a big thing. Hope this help! Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 14, 2016 at 6:41 am
Agree with your second point. It depends on what data science means for you. So I wouldn't call any college as the "best". You have to judge each program on its merits and demerits and see which one fits your future goals the best. That's the whole idea behind not providing any rankings. Btw, which program at Caltech are you referring to? Reply
anurag says: July 14, 2016 at 7:25 am
hi , good article and discussion following that !. I just want to ask given the huge surge in the online courses of this particular topic( analytics ), some from very renowned institutes too , Why are we not seeing increased participation of recruiters or if there is some traction that these courses are gaining when it comes to job guarantee why is it still that we have to have brand name with us to get a plush job . I mean seriously i m fed up with constantly looking for programs then apply then get all worked up , i want to ask you when we will see a batch of non college goers getting jobs by studying what they like online only while still doing all the silly thing that we like to do Will learning and job ever get deinstitutionalised ? Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 14, 2016 at 7:38 am
Valid points raised. I think there are various things to consider here. 1. Formal education in analytics vs practical experience is still a long debated topic. Honestly, I think both are good paths for going forward and it really depends on what the individual wants. As far as recruiters are considered, I'm not sure how much a "degree" matters when it comes to giving jobs. I think ultimately what matters is knowledge, however you gain it is up to you. 2. Online courses are good but they can't match the level of institutionalized learning as of now. I think the effort required for completing an online course vs that in a credit program are very different and thus the learnings are also different. Although online platforms are evolving rapidly, there is still much scope for improvement. 3. In #2, I don't mean to say that institutionalized learning is essential. I'm just saying ONLY online courses are not enough. You have to learn and then also apply your knowledge. There are various platforms like Kaggle, Analytics Vidhya which allow you to benchmark your knowledge. If I am a recruiter, I would give more value to practical experience than online course. Same goes for institutions as well. If you only take courses and not apply them through internships and capstone projects, its not going to impress recruiters. Overall, I strongly feel that knowledge is what is important. If you have what it takes, you'll get a good break someday. Remember luck also plays a crucial role. I personally chose to go for university because I am from a Manufacturing background and I felt that I need some formal education related to data science to understand the concepts deeper. If I were from a computer science background, I probably wouldn't have taken this step. Bottomline is that it really depends on what you want. If you have the knowledge, you will succeed for sure! Reply
Rahul Sangole
Rahul Sangole says: July 16, 2016 at 1:11 am
Aarshay, Good article. I must mention that Northwestern has two programs - a MS in Analytics which you have mentioned, and also a MS in Predictive Analytics. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 16, 2016 at 7:38 am
Right. but Predictive Analytics is offered by school of professional studies not engineering school. Reply
Shirish says: July 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm
Hi Aarshay, Thanks for the nice article. Could you please share the average GRE/GMAT score that should be required to get into the universities you mentioned. Also, as the Business Analyst profile deals with handling clients (in many organizations) and is more inclined towards management side, what are your thoughts on the TOEFL score? Apart from these, I believe, skills play an important role as well. Could you please list skills that an applicant must know to build a good profile? Thanks Reply
Joe Clay
Joe Clay says: July 18, 2016 at 3:05 pm
I would like to add Depaul University to the list. They have a MS in Predictive Analytics program with three tracks, a general Computational Methods and then two specialization: Medical and Hospitality. Furthermore, their program is also offered completely online. Reply
Chris Nickerson
Chris Nickerson says: July 20, 2016 at 12:14 am
Hi Aarshay, Aarshay - I enjoyed your article. I work for Southern Company and am the Manager of Customer Analytics. Kennesaw State University, in the metro Atlanta, GA area, has an excellent analytics program, Masters of Applied Statistics. I have several KSU graduates working full time in my group and I routinely hire students to work as interns and co-ops and find them all top knotch. KSU has a Phd. program in Data Science as well. KSU is a large university but not as well known nationally as Georgia Tech. I highly recommend their program for students considering a career in data analytics. Reply
Chris Nickerson
Chris Nickerson says: July 20, 2016 at 12:16 am
Aarshay - so sorry I misspelled your name twice! Tried to edit but hit send. Forgive me. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 25, 2016 at 4:48 am
No worries I'll make the correction :) Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 25, 2016 at 4:49 am
Thanks Chris for sharing your thoughts. I'm sure people reading the post and comments will take your advise :) Reply
Vishwajeet Shelar
Vishwajeet Shelar says: July 25, 2016 at 6:16 am
Hi Aarshay, Great Article!! What do you think about the Ms in Applied Urban Science And Informatics from NYU CUSP? Reply
Saurabh Jain
Saurabh Jain says: July 25, 2016 at 6:38 am
Hi Aarshay, Could you please provide your views and review comments for MS Data Science, Indiana University, Bloomington. http://www.soic.indiana.edu/graduate/degrees/data-science/graduate/ Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 25, 2016 at 11:41 am
From a curriculum perspective it looks good. Almost everything you study is an elective so you can tailor the program as per your liking. I'm not sure about the pedagogy though. You can probably contact some guys who've already taken this course and they should be able to help you. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 25, 2016 at 11:45 am
Course looks solid. Its more of a specialization in urban science and if that's your thing, it might work out. A big advantage is that the university is in New York so you'll get a lot of practical exposure because developed cities will have most applications of such a domain. All the best! Reply
Vamshi Krishna
Vamshi Krishna says: July 27, 2016 at 3:03 pm
Hi, I am planning for masters in business analytics and I found the University of Southern California and Rochester university as top 2 schools for this programme.Is this programme is different from what you are talking about or do you have any other reasons for not including them in the list? Reply
Disha says: July 27, 2016 at 6:46 pm
Great article Aarshay... very helpful!!!! I have just started my research and It gave me the parameters that are important to judge a university. Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 28, 2016 at 9:01 am
Great! Reply
Aarshay Jain
Aarshay Jain says: July 28, 2016 at 9:02 am
I would not rate these as the "best" programs. But honestly, I don't believe in rankings. You should check out each individual program and try to see which one aligns best with your career goals. All the best! Reply
Shivam Dhawan
Shivam Dhawan says: August 23, 2016 at 8:51 am
How is USF for MS in Business Analytics and Information Systems Reply
Mohamed Galal
Mohamed Galal says: August 31, 2016 at 4:44 am
Dear Aarshay , i would like to proceed with Data Analytic,, i do not have time to attend full time. please send me the name of the universities recommended by you. hope to hear from you at the earliest. Reply
Ayesha Bhimdiwala
Ayesha Bhimdiwala says: September 04, 2016 at 7:24 pm
Hey! Nice article. The University of Chicago and University of Washington program looks adapted for working professionals who want to study part-time. But it also enrolls full-time students. What difference would it make for a full-time student? What are your views on such programs which enroll Full-time and Part-time students in the same cohort? Thanks. Reply
SivaD says: September 19, 2016 at 11:35 am
Hi Aarshay, Thanks for the compilation, it really helped me a lot! As you mentioned in one of the answers that you were from a Manufacturing background, how did you make the transition to Data science? Do you have work experience in a company or did you apply right after UG? I'm asking this becuse my case is similar in that I'll be transitioning from a BTech in ECE myself. How did you convince the admission panel effectively in your SOP? Reply
Nareshkumar says: September 30, 2016 at 8:04 pm
Hi, I would like to pursue business analytics in university of Alabama Huntsville to fulfill my goal of becoming data scientist . What do you think ? Reply
Ameya says: October 02, 2016 at 2:11 pm
Hi Aarshay, really helpful article! I found some more universities offering Data Science program during my research, namely Colorado-Boulder, UMass- Amherst and U Minnesota, Twin cities. Considering your "brand name" point to judge the course, can I assume these as good programs? All these universities are in the top 50 for CS at least. Thanks. Reply
Tejasvi says: November 21, 2016 at 8:13 am
Thank you for this article sir. Could I know your graduation degree ? Reply
Bentley says: November 26, 2016 at 7:12 am
Thanks for this article. It has really helped. Please comment on the ms analytics at university of new Hampshire. I have applied there for the summer 2017. Reply
Rajshri says: December 09, 2016 at 2:03 am
Hello! I wanted to know the pros and cons of an online masters in data science (from UCB) and a full time one from Columbia! Reply
Shreyashi Ganguly
Shreyashi Ganguly says: March 25, 2018 at 9:57 pm
Hi Aarshay, very useful article! I know I am entering the discussion very late, but was really hoping you could help me out! I have a masters in statistics from IIT Bombay and 4 years of work ex in analytics thereafter. I was wondering if pursuing a MS in Data Science will make sense for me? Or will it be a redundant second masters? Should I look more at PhD programs? P.S. I am more interested in a professional degree than a research oriented one. Thanks in advance! Reply
Sreekumar says: March 26, 2018 at 6:53 am
Hai Aarshay, Thank your for valuable article. I have few doubts : 1. Can only the Students who has completed their UG in ECE or CS Related field can only do MS in DATA ANALYTICS? Can a mechanical engineering graduate apply for this course, if so is there prerequisites for the students? 2. Is there any criteria for UG Course Scores ? Please Reply Soon. Thank you. Reply
Faizan Shaikh
Faizan Shaikh says: March 26, 2018 at 11:09 am
Hi Sreekumar, 1. There is no compulsion on the field of study of the student, as long as it is a STEM field. 2. Also, there is no clear cutoff for UG scores. It is more important that you showcase your skills in the field you want to apply in. Reply
Faizan Shaikh
Faizan Shaikh says: March 26, 2018 at 11:21 am
Hey Shreyashi - my recommendation would be to get more practical and hands-on experience in Data science, such as internal/personal projects or off-shore experience instead of going for another masters program. This would help you skill-up and move on to bigger and better positions in your career. Reply
Muhammad Arslan
Muhammad Arslan says: March 29, 2018 at 10:53 am
Dear concerned, Will MS in Bioinformatics be okay to be a Data Scientist? Reply
Aishwarya Singh
Aishwarya Singh says: March 29, 2018 at 3:18 pm
Hi, MS in Bioinformatics is not a formal training in Data Science. The article has mentioned other relevant programs. Reply

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