Data has the power to make businesses more successful, improve healthcare, and advance scientific research. This makes it—and the skills needed to analyze and interpret it—a valuable asset for organizations of all types and sizes. Demand for analysts who can provide data-driven solutions has more than doubled over the last few years, giving rise to new career opportunities for those who want to work in the field. As demand for data expertise has grown, so have the number and diversity of online degree programs in the field of analytics. Currently, there are online bachelor’s in data analytics programs, and three prevalent types of master’s programs: master’s in data analytics, master’s in data science, and master’s in business intelligence.
Analytics degree programs are both evolving and interdisciplinary. In addition, at the master’s degree level, there is no specific accrediting body that sets curricular guidelines, or oversees degree requirements and naming conventions. Consequently, analytics programs may be offered by one of more schools or departments within a college or university, including data science, computer science, engineering, statistics, and business. Also, because there is no standardized name for these degrees, it can be hard to compare programs across universities, as programs with the same name may have a different focus. Conversely, programs with totally different names may actually have very similar curricula.
Online bachelor’s in analytics programs are the equivalent of a four-year undergraduate degree with a major in data analytics, data management, and/or data science. These programs are accredited regionally and typically include a full range of general education requirements, as well as a clearly defined data analytics curriculum that covers foundational mathematics, statistics, and computer science coursework. These programs also incorporate training in database design, computer programming for analytics, data mining, and other core areas of analytics.
At the master’s degree level, online analytics programs are more specialized in their focus. OnlineEducation.com has researched over 200 master’s in analytics programs. Based on set criteria, we classify these programs and place them into one of three buckets:
With this research, we have created a comprehensive and proprietary database of programs that allows students to compare programs across universities without worrying about different naming conventions. For each program, we have included detailed information about course requirements and options, admissions criteria, tuition costs, and more.
In addition to classifying programs based on their curricula, on OnlineEducation.com we also classify programs based on the number of campus visits they require per year. For a program to be included on the site and classified as online, it must require two or fewer campus visits per year. Programs that require more than two visits per year are considered hybrid-online programs and are not included on the site.
As of April 2017, we have 71 non-profit colleges and universities offering 90 online analytics programs in our comprehensive database. (OnlineEducation.com only lists programs offered by non-profit institutions). The following is a breakdown of how these online analytics programs are classified:
A complete list of the 71 schools offering these programs can be found on our Schools Offering Online Degrees in Analytics, Business Intelligence and Data Science page.
To complement our comprehensive directory of programs, we have created a Guide to Careers in Data Analytics and Data Science. This guide features information from interviews we conducted with industry experts and includes sections on the major types of data analysis; careers within data analytics, data science, and business intelligence; key skills and knowledge employers look for in data hires; and relevant programming languages and platforms. It also provides details on how analytics is used across many different industries. This guide is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about careers in analytics. We have also created an analytics FAQ section and featured content that explores different aspects of data analytics, data science, and business intelligence.
Data analytics is a multi-disciplinary field that integrates coursework in mathematics, statistics, computer science, and IT systems. Bachelor’s degree programs in data analytics provide students with foundational instruction in these areas. This page details typical curricula, admissions requirements, and online learning options for online bachelor’s in data analytics programs.
Business intelligence combines the tools of data analytics and information technology with theories of organizational management. It is a distinct approach to analytics, with its own methodologies and training protocols. This page provides prospective students with research into online master’s in BI degrees. It also covers the coursework and training typical in BI degrees, and offers an overview of online learning considerations.
“Big data” and “analytics” have become popular terms, but those considering a career in data analytics should know that it is a far more diverse field than commonly regarded. This page offers prospective students an inside look at online master’s in data analytics degree programs, including how they differ from programs in data science and business intelligence.
Data science degree programs teach students how to collect, optimize, and analyze even the largest and most varied datasets. This involves programming advanced algorithms and using machine learning. As a result, data science master’s programs are more closely related to computer science than other analytics disciplines. This page details the courses and core concepts associated with online data science master’s degree programs.