Best Online Bachelors in Data Science Degrees for 2023

Bachelor's Degree in Data Science Career Options & Salary

Search Programs

Students who decide to pursue post-secondary education after completing high school will often choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field they are interested in. Bachelor’s degrees are available in a variety of topics covering science, engineering, mathematics, social science, language studies, art, music, economics, business, computer science, and more. Schools may offer a dozen or more majors for students to study (some have over 100 choices all together), and candidates often switch majors while pursuing their bachelor’s degrees. Most bachelor’s degrees entail completing around 120 credit hours of courses, which is typically spread out over four years of full-time education. Students can choose to take more courses each quarter or semester to graduate early or take the minimum number of courses required, which can differ depending on their educational institution, and may graduate faster or slower than the typical four years. Overall, a bachelor’s degree is a great starting point for students to build a more tailored educational foundation and acquire the skills necessary to excel in a particular career path. In some competitive industries, employers may require job applicants to have completed their bachelor’s degrees before they will be competitive in the interview process, while some employers will hire students as entry-level workers or interns.


Search Programs

What are the Best Online Bachelor's in Data Science College Programs?


1

University of California-Berkeley

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $14,226
    • Out-of-State: $43,980
  • Net Price: $19,329
  • Retention Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Total Enrollment: 42,327
  • Undergrad Students: 30,799
  • Graduate Students: 11,528
  • Grads Salary: $92,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • University of California-Berkeley
2

New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $17,674
    • Out-of-State: $33,386
  • Net Price: $18,328
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Total Enrollment: 11,652
  • Undergrad Students: 9,084
  • Graduate Students: 2,568
  • Grads Salary: $83,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
3

Indiana University-Bloomington

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,333
    • Out-of-State: $38,352
  • Net Price: $13,191
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 80%
  • Total Enrollment: 43,064
  • Undergrad Students: 32,986
  • Graduate Students: 10,078
  • Grads Salary: $70,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Indiana University-Bloomington
4

Arizona State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,348
    • Out-of-State: $29,438
  • Net Price: $14,653
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Total Enrollment: 74,795
  • Undergrad Students: 63,124
  • Graduate Students: 11,671
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Arizona State University
5

Western Governors University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,452
    • Out-of-State: $7,452
  • Net Price: $8,786
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Total Enrollment: 147,866
  • Undergrad Students: 104,919
  • Graduate Students: 42,947
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 42:1
  • Western Governors University
6

Central Washington University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,685
    • Out-of-State: $25,213
  • Net Price: $16,441
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Total Enrollment: 11,174
  • Undergrad Students: 10,518
  • Graduate Students: 656
  • Grads Salary: $70,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • Central Washington University
7

Northern Kentucky University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,296
    • Out-of-State: $20,256
  • Net Price: $9,664
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Total Enrollment: 16,211
  • Undergrad Students: 11,507
  • Graduate Students: 4,704
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Northern Kentucky University
8

Maryville University of Saint Louis

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $27,166
    • Out-of-State: $27,166
  • Net Price: $28,087
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Graduation Rate: 75%
  • Total Enrollment: 10,979
  • Undergrad Students: 5,504
  • Graduate Students: 5,475
  • Grads Salary: $74,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Maryville University of Saint Louis
9

DePaul University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $41,202
    • Out-of-State: $41,202
  • Net Price: $33,319
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Total Enrollment: 21,922
  • Undergrad Students: 14,145
  • Graduate Students: 7,777
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • DePaul University
10

University of North Dakota

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,596
    • Out-of-State: $15,037
  • Net Price: $16,780
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Total Enrollment: 13,615
  • Undergrad Students: 9,796
  • Graduate Students: 3,819
  • Grads Salary: $71,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of North Dakota
Full Ranking Report

Where Do You Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?


There are many avenues for students to pursue bachelor’s degrees, but they are primarily offered by a college, which generally focuses on educating only undergraduates, or a university, which has post-secondary schooling options for graduate students on top of their available undergraduate programs.

The traditional path to earning a bachelor’s degree meant attending classes in person on a college campus and, many times, living on or near campus. However, changes have come along with society’s increasing digitalization and many competitive universities are now offering online programs, which provides non-local students with more varied opportunities when it comes to pursuing their bachelor’s degrees. Furthermore, some universities offer both in-person and online, part-time college programs for students pursuing their bachelor’s degrees. While this will usually extend the amount of time it takes for a student to complete their undergraduate degree, many students who wish to work while attending school find this option more suitable for their needs.

Some students choose to complete their associate degree first at a local community college and may be able to transfer to a four-year post-secondary institution with credits that apply to their bachelor’s degree. Typically, community colleges will only offer associate degree or certificate programs, but some may offer a small selection of bachelor’s programs.

Online Vs. Traditional Education in Data Science


Over the past few decades, studying for a bachelor’s degree in data science has become an increasingly popular choice amongst students. It’s an area that requires intensive study at the college and even post-graduate level due to the highly technical coding and risk management requirements that come with working in the field post-graduation. However, both traditional and online programs in data science will adequately prepare students for pursuing a career in a variety of areas like data analysis, cyber security, systems management, security analysis, and web design. The pros and cons of studying for one’s data science degree in person or online depend greatly on one’s learning style and other obligations.

Data scientists are trained to follow iterative processes, manipulating and analyzing complex datasets through codes and programs to problem solve. The majority of theory coursework, like understanding Python, SQL, data wrangling, and algorithmic techniques related to data science, can be acquired through lectures that occur either online or in a traditional classroom. Students will often be expected to spend many hours every week working either individually or collaboratively on problem sets that train their ability to apply theory to practice and solve real data challenges.

Given that the majority of work can be completed through independent coding, both online and traditional programs offer robust training, and most employers in the data science field respect both modes of education equally. Some students may find it easier to code in person next to the rest of their classmates in a traditional classroom setting, which would allow them to ask questions and receive answers right away. Others may enjoy the flexibility of asynchronous teaching offered by online programs.

What Are the Admission Requirements?


Most bachelor’s programs will require students to have completed and received their high school diploma or GED before they are eligible to enroll. Often, colleges and universities will have an application process that can be completed online. Many schools require students to submit exam scores from popular tests like the SAT, ACT, AP, or IB programs, though some schools may waive this portion of the application. Students will usually need to request one or two letters of recommendation from their teachers to support their college application. Additionally, students should be prepared to write a personal statement and answer a few short-answer essay questions before paying a fee, usually between $50-100 per school, to submit their application. (This may be waived if you fill out certain paperwork or request a waiver for the application fee.) Some universities have strict application deadlines every year, typically between October-December for freshman applicants, while other schools have a “rolling admissions” policy, which allows students to apply any time during the year. Once students have submitted their applications and are waiting to hear back on their admissions status, they may also consider applying for financial aid, grants, or student loans to fund their education.

Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?


When it comes to post-secondary education, pursuing a bachelor’s degree is typically the most popular path because of its relative versatility and return on educational investment. Any student who completes their high school education or equivalent is eligible to apply. Specifically, most universities offer a few dozen majors and, given the standard four-year timeline of a bachelor’s degree, provide students with the opportunity to explore and discover areas of interest before committing to a particular field of study. This may be more difficult to do with an associate degree, which is typically completed within two years.

Another important point to consider is post-graduate job prospects. Associate degrees may not fully prepare individuals to take on the highest-level positions at different organizations and many recruiters will even specify bachelor’s degrees as a minimum requirement for entry-level positions in tougher industries.

On the other hand, master’s programs will require students to have already completed their bachelor’s degrees before they can apply. Some students may find it difficult to immediately afford a master’s degree after paying for their four years of college, as well. Moreover, master’s degrees typically signal a continued specialization within a specific industry of study and there may be additional prerequisites, like certain math classes, science graduate degrees, or work experience before one is eligible to apply.

Why a Degree in Data Science?


The field of data science is broad and there are many opportunities to pursue more specialized career pathways. In particular, data science skills are widely transferable to analysis positions within the science and business fields. Many graduates find themselves with job titles like data scientist, biostatistics analyst, cyber security analyst, risk management analyst, business analyst, financial analyst, market research analyst, and more. The strong technical knowledge base that comes alongside programmatic accreditation is highly transferable among different industries, the majority of which are moving toward a more data-driven future. Moreover, data science is a field where experience can lead to promotion over time.

What’s Involved in an Online Data Science Bachelor’s Degree?


As a whole, students wishing to study data science at the bachelor’s level must complete a very similar array of technical prerequisite courses. Most schools will require students to take one or more introductory programming courses, calculus, and linear algebra before they can begin taking the core courses for the data science program. Required courses typically include subjects like discrete mathematics, data structures, algorithms, programming, coding, data management, and statistics. Students must also select three to four data science elective courses in their areas of interest, which can include topics like machine learning and data mining. More rigorous bachelor’s programs will require further courses, sometimes four or more, in advanced data science applications that may range from bioinformatics to autonomous robotics to mathematical modeling in finance. The wide variety of courses available means that students will have plenty of opportunities to specialize in specific fields while pursuing data science.

Depending on the school, data science degrees can often be offered in a variety of variations. Some universities will offer a computer science bachelor’s degree with a data science concentration, while other schools will offer a standalone major in data science. Schools with a more robust computer and data science department may offer further specialization opportunities, like majors in informatics or machine learning. Some schools may even choose to offer data science simply as a minor within their computer science program. These differences will mainly factor into the types of major electives that are available for selection.

Common Courses

  • Introductory programming
  • Calculus I
  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Applied Regression Analysis
  • Introduction to Machine Learning
  • Introduction to Data Mining
  • Structural Bioinformatics
  • Game Theory
  • Computer Vision
  • Modeling Infectious Diseases
  • Autonomous Robotics
  • Web Archiving
  • Topics in Biostatistics
  • Information Retrieval
  • Quantitative Methods of Political Analysis

What to Consider When Choosing a Bachelor’s Program for Data Science


Accreditation


Given the highly technical nature of the data science field, it’s extremely important to attend a bachelor’s program that is accredited, whether the courses are in-person or online. This signals to employers that students have engaged in a rigorous course of study, vetted by a third-party organization that can vouch for the teaching and curriculum of the data science program. The accreditation boosts employers’ confidence that their employees can perform the tasks expected of them and provides students access to more financial aid.

Educational institutions are either regionally or nationally accredited, with the non-profit organization the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) overseeing the process. The CHEA is also responsible for reviewing federally recognized agencies that set the accreditation standard and ensure quality. Students looking for science, technology, engineering, and math programs should also be on the lookout for recognition by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology to ensure that their bachelor’s program is providing the technical education necessary to excel in their field beyond graduation.

Further Online Data Science Education


Online Master’s Degree in Data Science


A master’s degree in data science is a very popular option to improve skills in the field and employment opportunities. While bachelor’s programs tend to offer a wide array of elective courses in the data science field, students may cultivate an interest in a specific area but find that their undergraduate institution only offers a few courses in that area. Pursuing a master’s degree in data science or a related field like machine learning, applied statistics, information systems, or business analytics can allow students to take their application skills to the next level through one or two more years of additional studies. Typically, obtaining a master’s degree in data science will allow candidates to start at a higher salary range, be eligible for higher-level jobs within the field, or be fast-tracked for promotion opportunities.

Online MBA in Data Science


A master of business administration is a popular degree for students who are interested in running businesses and can be effectively combined with a data science foundation to help drive analytical approaches to solve business problems. However, MBA programs typically do not offer data science concentrations, focusing more on areas like finance, operations, human resources, technology management, entrepreneurship, or supply chain management. However, you can find an MBA with a data analytics concentration, so that is definitely an option. Also, data is highly important in those other business areas and MBA programs are increasingly offering data science, coding, and analysis courses to their elective offerings, which students can add to their arsenal of skills. While the MBA is probably not the best choice for students looking to pursue highly technical careers as data scientists, it can be a good program for those who are interested in pursuing a career in technology management or business analytics, particularly if they already pursued data science in college.

Online PhD in Data Science


Those who are interested in pursuing a PhD in data science are usually interested in pursuing careers as academics or highly specialized consultants. Many people who complete their doctorate in data science will go on to become college professors, helping to educate the next generation of data scientists. Others can choose to work in analytical positions for the government or in research. Job titles include data scientist, applications architect, data engineer, biostatistician, and more. While a PhD graduate will typically begin with a higher salary than those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in data science, it will usually take around 5-6 years for a student to complete their studies after graduating college. PhD programs are also highly competitive for applicants and require students to have excellent grades, research, experiences, and recommendations from their university professors.

Data Science Certifications


Data scientists are expected to excel at problem-solving and manipulating large amounts of data and professional certifications can help signal your skills to employers. This may help employees advance to higher job titles within their organization or pursue more lucrative opportunities at other organizations seeking their data skills. While students don't have to have obtained data science certifications right out of college, many consider obtaining them while they are working to help continuously upgrade their technical skills while on the job. Certification will typically cost $100-200, though some certifications can cost upward of $600. Some certifications do not expire, while others must be renewed after a few years.

Some well-received certifications within the field include:

  • SAS Advanced Analytics Professional Certification
  • Data Science Council of America: Senior Data Scientist
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

Potential Careers for Data Science Graduates


  • Data Scientist:
    Data scientists help organizations solve complex data problems by analyzing large amounts of information to discover trends and patterns. They will usually help cleanse data and build predictive models, leveraging coding tools and machine-learning algorithms.
  • Business Analyst:
    These individuals will help gather and analyze data to help make specific recommendations in support of future business actions and strategies.
  • Data Warehouse Analysts:
    These employees help design and manage an organization’s database, which can contain sensitive employee, organizational, and client data. They also help troubleshoot when issues arise.
  • Data Visualization Developer:
    Data visualization developers leverage data to help with charting and building interactive data visualization programs used across an enterprise. These may also be published outwardly so that the public can access and interact with data supplied by the organization.
  • Business Systems Analyst:
    These employees study existing business practices and help streamline project procedures and milestones and may work with large amounts of project data.

Salary Expectations


According to Payscale, workers with a bachelor’s degree in data science can expect to earn an average of $65,000 per year, which is quite lucrative. Depending on one’s job title and experience, an employee with a bachelor’s degree in data science can expect to earn between $45,000 and $106,000. For instance, the average data scientist with a bachelor’s degree in data science can earn around $78,750 per year, while a financial analyst with a data science background will earn an average of $62,450 per year. Starting out one’s career with a bachelor’s degree in data science can allow graduates to begin with a higher salary than those who start with only an associate degree. Additionally, employees can move towards more senior job titles within the field after gaining more experience on-the-job to earn a higher salary.

Outlook


Data science is a rapidly growing field with varied sub-specialties that can provide both lucrative and rewarding careers for those who enjoy problem-solving and technical questions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of Computer and Information Research Scientists is projected to grow at a rate of 22% between 2020-2030, which is significantly faster than the national average growth rate among all industries. This means that there is a high demand for skilled workers within the field, so data scientists with a strong educational and technical foundation will most likely see a strong job market in the years to come. Given the high national demand for employees with data science skills, data scientists can often find employment in a variety of related fields and will find opportunities to work in every state in the USA.

Search Programs