ms in data science in usa requirements

Last Updated on September 9, 2022 by Alvina Ibe

MS in Data Science in USA: Detailed Information for International Students

Masters in Data Science in US is a 1.5 to 2 years program offered by most of the universities as MS degree. It is amongst those programs which are going to decide our technologically advanced future based on the numbers. Approximately 20 universities offer MS in Data Science in USA.  Some universities such as Northwestern University also offer MS in Analytics which is a specialization of MS in Data Science.

  • Students are required to have a bachelors degree in computer science, mathematics, economics, statistics to the related field to apply for masters in data science in US.
  • Tuition fees of US universities offering MS in Data Science range between 21,000 USD to 75,000 USD per annum.
  • Average annual salary of data scientists in USA is 96,072 USD. 

Why Study MS in Data Science in the USA?

Data Science market is one of the most mature markets in the evolution of analytics. With more and more organizations realizing the power of big data, demand for data scientists is also increasing. The USA is no exception to this.

  • Glassdoor ranked Data Scientist as the best job in the USA for three consecutive years ie. from 2017 to 2019.
  • With a job satisfaction rate of 4.0, data scientist was named as the third most desired job in the USA in 2020 by Glassdoor.
  • Data Scientist was ranked by LinkedIn as the most promising job of 2019. 
  • San Francisco is the highest paying city for Masters in Data Science in US with employees getting 26.4% more salary than the national average. 
  • Over 61,799 new jobs are expected to be created in USA for data scientists and similar advanced analytics role in 2020, according to IBM’s Analytics Department. 
  • With 5 years of experience, the salary of data scientist in the USA increases by 26%. 

Salary Increment for Data Scientists in USA

Top Universities for MS in Data Science in USA

Some of the top universities for Masters in Data Science in US are listed below for you to take a look, along with their course name and duration.

THE Ranking 2020UniversityProgram & DurationTotal Program Fees (in USD)
4Stanford UniversityMS in Statistics: Data Science; 2 years149,080
7Harvard UniversityMS Data Science; 2 years109,760
8Yale UniversityMA in Statistics & Data Science; 2 years86,600
11University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)MS in Engineering in Data Science; 1.5 years75,715
12John Hopkins UniversityMS in Data Science110,700
13University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)MEng in Data Science & Systems; 1 year52,508
16Columbia UniversityMS in Data Science; 1.5 years63,120
21University of Michigan – Ann ArborMS in Data Science; 2 years42,778
29New York University (NYU)MS in Data Science; 2 years129,240
31University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego)MAS in Data Science & Engineering; 2 years66,960

Course Curriculum of MS in Data Science in USA

Masters in Data Science imparts advanced knowledge in making decisions, understanding observations and solving problems related to data. To study in the USA, students have to complete approximately 30 credits. Some universities ask for the submission of a project at the end of the program.

Following are the core programs taught in most of the universities offering Masters in Data Science in US:

  • Statistics
  • Data Mining
  • Software Development
  • Data Optimization
  • Machine Learning 
  • Data Mining
  • Business Intelligence from Big Data

Admission Process for MS in Data Science in USA 

Students applying for Masters in Data Science in US can be from a variety of backgrounds such as Statistics, Computer Science, Physics, Business, Mathematics, Engineering, Economics, Biology and Psychology. A bachelors degree in any of such fields is compulsory for applying to US universities

Admission Requirements for Masters in Data Science in US

Following table provides information on eligibility and documents required to get admission in top-ranking universities of the USA

UniversityEligibilityAdditional Requirements
Stanford UniversityLinear algebra, statistics, programming in bachelorsGRE; Letters of recommendation, Personal Statement
Harvard UniversityMaths, CS, statistics or scientific computing in bachelorsGRE; 3 letters of recommendation; Statement of Purpose
Yale UniversityBachelors in related fieldGRE; 3 Letters of recommendation; Work experience; Personal Statement
University of PennsylvaniaMathematical & statistical proficiency; Programming experienceBiographical Information; Resume; Personal Statement; 2 letters of recommendation
John Hopkins UniversityMaths, Java or C++, data structure in bachelorsCV
UC Berkeley3.0 GPA (80%) in bachelors; Experience in programmingGRE
Columbia UniversityCalculus, linear algebra, programming in bachelorsGRE; 3 letters of recommendation; Personal Statement; CV
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor2 semester of calculus, 1 semester of linear or matrix algebra, 1 introduction to computing course in bachelors2 letters of recommendation; Statement of Purpose; Personal Statement; CV
New York UniversityCalculus, CS in bachelorsGRE; 3 letters of recommendation; Statement of Purpose
UC San DiegoBachelors in engineering, maths, physics, other science-related fieldsGRE; 2 letters of recommendation; Statement of Purpose; CV; 2 years of work experience

Proof of English Proficiency for International Students

Appearing for an English proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS) is mandatory for any applicant who is either a native from a non-English speaking nation or has not done the studies (undergraduate) in the English language. Though any of these two exams’ score is acceptable by the universities, still some prefer TOEFL over IELTS score for admission to their course. So always check that particular university’s guidelines for admission prerequisites while applying to their course.

Minimum score required by most of the universities are: 

  • IELTS: 6.5 to 7.0
  • TOEFL (iBT): 80 to 100

Cost of Studying MS in Data Science in USA

Another important factor that affects the decision of international students is various types of costs incurred while studying abroad. This cost can be broadly divided into three categories: Pre-arrival Cost, Tuition Fees and Cost of Living.

Pre-arrival Cost

Expenses incurred even before arrival to the study destination is known as pre-arrival cost. A general estimate of such costs is provided below:

Type of ExpenseCost (USD)
Program Application Fees100-200
US Student Visa Application Fees160
IELTS Fees185-190
TOEFL Fees160-250
GRE Fees205-230

Tuition Fees of Masters in Data Science in US

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor has the lowest tuition fee for MS in Data Science in USA among top 10 universities ie. 21,389 USD per annum. Stanford University which ranks at top among all universities of the world has the highest annual tuition fees of 74,540 USD. Tuition Fees

Cost of Living in USA

Considered as quite expensive country, cost of living in USA is calculated to be approximately 15,000 USD per month. An average of monthly expenses incurred while living here is provided below:

CategoriesCost per month (in USD)
Rent of Apartment1000-2000
Personal Expenses300-400 
Health Insurance450-700 

Scholarships for MS in Data Science in USA

It can be inferred from above section that studying Masters in Data Science in US is a costly affair. However, various universities, third-party organizations and government of student’s own home country provide variety of funding options to ease this financial burden. 

Some of the scholarships for international students in USA specifically to data science students are as follows:

ScholarshipAwarding CommitteeAward (in USD)
ACM SIGHPC and The Intel Computational and Data Science ScholarshipsThe Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on High-Performance Computing15,000 annually
Bill Caspar Memorial Diversity ScholarshipThe Collective, LLC10,000
MinneAnalytics Data Science ScholarshipMinneAnalytics1,000 to all the applicants; 5,000 to the grand winner of the award.
National GEM ConsortiumGEM’s Masters Fellowship Program7,000 USD per term
National Defence Science and Engineering Graduate FellowshipAmerican Society for Engineering EducationVaries
Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate FellowshipDOE CSGF Program CoordinatorVaries

To know more about scholarships available for international students in the USA, click here

Job Prospects after MS in Data Science in USA

After completion of Masters in Data Science in USA, a student can earn an average salary of 96,072 USD per annum. This can go as high as 134,000 USD per annum.

To become a successful data scientist, knowledge of Machine Learning, Python, Data Analysis and Statistical Analysis is necessary. The curriculum of US universities is designed around these subjects. Hence, students are able to secure jobs in reputed organizations. Top paying companies

Students can also work as Financial Analyst, Data Analyst, Data Administrator, Business Analyst and other such professions which involve managing of big data. Apart from masters in data science, students interested in the field of data management and administration can also pursue MS in Data Analytics from USA

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