The School of Professional Studies (SPS) at Northwestern University offers two types of online master’s in data science programs: an online Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) program, and an online Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program with a Data Science specialization. The MSDS program focuses on mining, managing, and interpreting large datasets using statistical modeling and machine learning. It’s a 12-course program that can be completed in two-to-three years through part-time enrollment. The MSIS Data Science program is an 12-course program that can be completed by part-time students in two-to-three years. It emphasizes the design, implementation, and evaluation of data science software applications and the technological assets that support big data systems. Both of these programs are 100% online and do not require students to attend any campus-based activities.
Northwestern’s online master’s programs employ asynchronous instruction, which means that lectures and course materials are available on-demand to students 24/7. This is enabled through a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) that allows assignments and exams to be submitted remotely, and enables students to communicate with professors using text, audio, and video. The LMS also includes a mobile app compatible with IOS and Android devices. The MSDS and MSIS programs are designed to accommodate a range of students who may have work and/or family obligations outside of school.
The MSDS curriculum is built on eight core courses that explore topics like database systems, data preparation and management, and R programming. It also incorporates organizational leadership, communication skills, and training in other professional areas that are important in the field of analytics. Core requirements include: Math for Data Scientists; Applied Statistics with R; Introduction to Data Science; Database Systems and Data Preparation; Practical Machine Learning; Decision Analytics; Project Management; and Business Leadership and Communications. Students then have the option of completing a general data science track, which requires the completion of four electives, or pursing one of four designated specializations: Analytics and Modeling; Analytics Management; Artificial Intelligence; and Data Engineering. Electives range from general analytics subjects like Web and Network Data Science, Data Visualization, and Text Analytics, to industry-specific subjects like Analytics Consulting, Sports Management Analytics, and Medical Data Science. The program culminates with a choice between a capstone course or a thesis project.
The MSIS’s Data Science specialization is built around five courses that address skills and knowledge necessary to work with the technologies used in today’s data-intensive business world. These include: Telecommunication Networks; Object Oriented Programming; and Database Systems Design and Implementation. Students must take one leadership class to fulfill the program requirements, as well as five Data Science specialization courses, which may include: Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning; Math for Modelers; Statistical Analysis; Data Visualization; Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning; Information Retrieval and Real-Time Analytics; and Decision Analytics. The program culminates with a Computer Information Systems research/capstone project. Students enrolled in the MSIS program have access to an array of educational and professional resources, including ebooks and software, through a partnership with IBM.
Northwestern University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.