Statistics and data analytics experts collect and interpret data to help consumers and businesses make informed decisions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow significantly between 2019-2029, including operations research analysts (25%) and mathematicians and statisticians (33%).
The demand for specialists in this field means bachelor’s degree-holders can often find jobs after graduation. However, due to the complex nature of the field, many employers prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree in statistics and data analytics. These programs typically comprise 30 credits and require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
This guide ranks the top online master’s in statistics and data analytics programs. It also covers important information for prospective students, including career and scholarship opportunities.
What does a data analyst do?
Data analysts often work with IT teams and upper management. They gather, study, and apply data to uncover trends and make inferences that aid in the decision-making process.
What jobs can you get with a statistics and data analytics degree?
Graduates with a statistics and data analytics degree may work as market research analysts, logisticians, and software developers, among others, depending on their area of focus.
How much does a statistics and data analytics degree cost?
Several factors affect the cost of a master’s degree in statistics and data analytics, including enrollment status and delivery format. However, costs typically range from $7,000-$11,000.
Do you need to have a bachelor's in statistics in order to get a master's in statistics and data analytics?
Some master’s in statistics and data analytics programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in the field. However, many schools consider applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer science, mathematics, or engineering.
What Can I Do With a Statistics and Data Analytics Degree?
Master’s in statistics and data analytics programs develop advanced expertise through individual and group projects, class discussions, research papers, and internship experiences. Graduates qualify for advanced positions in the public and private sectors. Statisticians and data analysts can work for any type of organization that requires sifting through large amounts of consumer and industry data. Examples of typical employers include insurance agencies, mortgage companies, and government departments.
Some master’s degree-holders pursue careers in academia as full-time researchers or professors. Working in academia typically requires applicants to hold a doctorate or be in the process of pursuing one.
Accreditation for a Statistics and Data Analytics Program
Before applying to a school, prospective students should verify its accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic rigor. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.
Accreditation impacts students in important ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire candidates with an accredited degree.
Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. For example, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits business programs. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Commission for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process in the United States. To date, neither ED nor CHEA recognize an accrediting body specifically for statistics and data analytics programs. Therefore, prospective data analytics and statistics students should look for a school’s accreditation status.
What Are the Requirements for a Statistics and Data Analytics Program?
Many master’s in statistics and data analytics programs require applicants to hold an accredited bachelor’s degree in a closely related field. Programs may also require applicants to meet minimum GPA requirements and/or submit GRE or GMAT scores.
Once admitted, students must meet course, internship, and project requirements. Postgraduate statistics and data analytics programs often require degree candidates to write a thesis or complete a capstone project prior to graduation.
Courses in a Statistics and Data Analytics Program
Learners in master’s in statistics and data analytics programs gain skills in various cutting-edge analytical tools and software. Students also learn how to analyze data to make informed decisions and communicate their findings effectively. Some programs offer specializations in areas such as modeling, data engineering, management, and artificial intelligence.
The following list outlines courses commonly offered in a master’s degree in statistics and data analytics program.
Students in this course explore topics such as discrete and continuous distributions, multiple linear regression, exploratory data analysis, statistical inference, and contingency tables. The course also teaches enrollees how to use the R language in data visualization, report generation, and statistical analysis.
This course introduces enrollees to topics such as structured query language, relational database systems, and the normalization process. Students develop programming skills through hands-on training that enables them to extract and prepare data using different types of file formats and data sources. The course also teaches students how to work with unstructured data using the latest technologies available.
This course covers topics including integer linear programming, metaheuristic algorithms, queuing modeling, and stochastic simulation. Students also examine the concept of variability and its implications for decision-making. By reviewing relevant case studies and engaging in simulated scenarios, students learn how to make sound business decisions using data.
Students in this course learn how to design and develop data-focused applications. Learners study topics like data structures, open-source software, and integrated development environments. Students also learn how to evaluate systems and processes using tools such as formal models, benchmark experiments, and simulations.
This course covers various machine learning techniques, such as model selection and regularization, principal components analysis, artificial neural networks, and tree-based methods. Students learn how to discern underlying patterns that help them with classification, prediction, and feature analysis. Learners also study model-based and algorithmic machine learning methods such as regression and classification trees.
Professional Organizations for Statistics and Data Analytics Students
Professional associations provide benefits such as networking and mentoring opportunities, career resources, and professional development programs. They also help members stay abreast of the most recent research findings and developments in their field.
- American Statistical Association ASA members include statistics professionals and students. Students can participate in various competitions and apply to several scholarship and grant programs. ASA also offers continuing education units, an active members-only job board, and internship and fellowship opportunities.
- Digital Analytics Association This organization offers short courses, self-assessment tools, webinars, and certification review materials for analytics professionals and students. DAA also maintains an active job board and an updated list of volunteer opportunities that can be counted as professional development units.
- Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Members of this organization can access scholarships, continuing education opportunities, and digital and onsite career fairs. INFORMS also maintains a video library; publishes a journal on data science; and offers diverse resources for organizations, educators, and policy-makers.
- International Institute of Business Analysis IIBA maintains several industry-recognized certifications that members can access at discounted rates. Members can also access informative industry-focused webinars, digital professional resources, and free career and academic guidance.
Scholarships for Statistics and Data Analytics Students
Pursuing a master’s degree in statistics and data analytics often requires a significant investment of time and finances. Fortunately, students can take advantage of scholarship opportunities to help offset the cost of the degree. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students pursuing an online master’s in statistics and data analytics.
Who Can Apply: The program accepts applications from undergraduate and graduate enrollees pursuing a degree in data science or a related field. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Full-time and part-time students may apply.
Who Can Apply: Administered by the American Society for Quality Statistics Division, the Ellis R. Ott Scholarship accepts applications from master’s and doctoral students pursuing a degree in data analysis, statistical process control, quality assurance, or a related field. Applicants must show proof of relevant industry experience and an outstanding academic background.
Who Can Apply: The scholarship program welcomes applications from female students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in data science or a related field. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship or legal residency status.
Top Online Master's in Statistics and Data Analytics Programs 2021
#1 Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO
Master of Applied Statistics (MAS) – Statistical Science Specialization
Students interested in a statistics and data analytics program should consider Colorado State’s master of applied statistics (MAS) offered through the College of Natural Sciences. The 31-credit program maintains specializations in data science and in statistical science. Enrollees can pursue the degree online or on campus.
Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and submit their latest GRE scores or pass the Math Entrance Exam. Applicants must possess an academic background that includes a minimum of three semesters of calculus, a course in linear algebra, and at least three credits of undergraduate statistics. The MAS program begins in the summer term and takes as little as one year. Courses follow eight-week delivery schedules.
The curriculum includes coursework in regression models and applications, quantitative reasoning, and methods in multivariate analysis. Throughout the program students focus on real-world applications, allowing them to develop an in-depth grasp of applied statistical procedures and data visualization.
#2 Pennsylvania State University - World Campus
University Park, PA
Master of Applied Statistics
Penn State World Campus offers a 30-creditmaster of applied statistics (MAS) entirely online. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, applicants must submit their GRE scores. They must also show completion of a three-course calculus sequence and display a solid knowledge of matrix algebra. Applicants with a doctoral degree in a related field can request for a waiver of the GRE requirement.
Like most statistics and data analytics programs, the core curriculum includes introductory courses in mathematical statistics and in probability theory. Classes also cover regression methods and analysis of experiment variance and design. MAS candidates must complete a capstone project prior to graduation.
Students can transfer up to 10 credits from another accredited institution completed in the last five years. The admission committee will review all transfer credits. The program meets the educational requirement for the Base Programming Certification Exam administered by the Statistical Analysis System.
#3 Stanford University
Master of Science in Statistics
Students wanting a master’s degree in statistics and data analytics should consider Stanford’s 45-credit onlinemaster of science in statistics in The School of Humanities and Sciences. The school offers the program as a terminal degree and prepares graduates for careers in a STEM field. Applicants who wish to pursue a doctorate in statistics must apply directly to the doctor of philosophy program.
The school requires applicants to demonstrate programming proficiency in addition to a background in advanced linear algebra, statistics, and probability. Students must complete all credits for the MS degree at the university. Most enrollees earn the degree within two years.
MS candidates complete core coursework in probability, implied and theoretical statistics, and stochastic processes. Students who demonstrate sufficient knowledge in foundational courses within these areas can enroll in advanced classes with their advisor’s approval. The school offers all required courses for the MS degree online, but students may need to take some elective and specialization coursework on campus.
#4 University of Kansas
Master of Science in Applied Statistics, Analytics & Data Science
Themaster of science in applied statistics, analytics, and data science at the University of Kansas comprises 30 credits entirely online. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. The program also requires applicants to show completion of advanced calculus and statistics coursework. Candidates must also demonstrate mastery of a computer programming language. Applicants may optionally submit their GRE scores.
Students admitted to the data science, statistics, and data analytics degree choose one of the three areas as their emphasis. Foundation and emphasis area courses make up 24 credits, with the remaining credit requirements coming from elective classes. Foundation coursework includes categorical data analysis, multivariate statistics, and linear regression. Classes also cover professionalism, ethics, and leadership in the statistical sciences. Students must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.
#5 North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Master of Statistics
The 30-credit onlinemaster of statistics at North Carolina State University at Raleigh consists of 21 credits of required core coursework and nine credits of electives. The university offers all required courses, but only some of the electives, online.
Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and show that they completed courses in multivariable calculus and matrix algebra. The program does not require the submission of GRE scores, but applicants may include them in their application if available.
Students can pursue a traditional statistics and data analytics program without a concentration or choose from three concentration areas: statistical genetics, biostatistics, and environmental statistics. The core curriculum includes courses in statistical methods and theory, linear models, and statistical programming. Students who took similar courses at another school may enroll in a substitute class, but the program does not accept transfer credits. Full-time enrollees typically graduate from the program after one year.