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Online Data Science Master's Degree Program

Join the Online Master of Data
Science Program with Access to
Real-World Data Sets

A Top 20 Online Data Science Master’s Degree Program
(Fortune, 2023),(College Factual, 2023)

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BUILD CAREER CONFIDENCE

Online Data Science Master's Degree

Rice University's top-ranked, accredited Online Master of Data Science program offers a highly-engaging and interactive student experience, enabling you to solve real-world problems with data sets from companies, nonprofits and government. Rice graduates will be prepared to advance their careers in the rapidly-growing fields of data science and analytics, business analytics and AI/machine learning.

Here’s what working professionals will appreciate about Rice University’s online master of data science, machine learning and business analytics degree program:

  • $10K merit scholarships available for qualified applicants to the Summer and Fall 2024 cohorts (see application deadlines)
  • A Top-ranked degree program with 1:1, personalized learning opportunities
  • Ability to solve real-world problems with big data through Rice’s D2K Lab
  • Convenience to complete at your own pace, blended with weekly live sessions
  • A personalized, immersive online graduate student experience where you’re a name, not just a number
  • Earn the same Rice Master of Data Science degree online or in-person (no mention of “online” on your diploma)
  • Rice on your resume means more employment options at leading companies
  • A relevant and flexible data science curriculum with ability to specialize, taught by world-class faculty who care about you

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Online Master of Data Science
Information Sessions


Rice MDS Online: Student-Faculty Panel Discussion

Rice MDS Online: Student-Faculty Panel Discussion

Hosted by Faculty Director, Scott Rixner, and Program Director, Brooke Sabo, RSVP to our virtual live Student-Faculty Panel Discussion on April 3rd to hear directly from faculty and current students in Rice's Master of Data Science online program. Learn about their unique experiences and get your questions answered before the Fall '24 application deadlines.

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Proud to Be Among the Best: Our Rankings

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#1 TOP COMPUTER & INFORMATION SCIENCE SCHOOL IN TEXAS

TOP COMPUTER & INFORMATION SCIENCE SCHOOL IN TEXAS

CollegeFactual, 2024

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#1 BEST QUANTITATIVE METHODS & MANAGEMENT SCIENCES SCHOOL IN TEXAS

BEST QUANTITATIVE METHODS & MANAGEMENT SCIENCES SCHOOL IN TEXAS

CollegeFactual, 2024

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#2 BEST DATA SCIENCE MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMS

BEST DATA SCIENCE MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMS

TechGuide, 2024

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#4 BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN DATA SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAMS

BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN DATA SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAMS

TechGuide, 2024

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#4 BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN MACHINE LEARNING PROGRAMS

BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN MACHINE LEARNING PROGRAMS

MastersinAI.org

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6 ONLINE BUSINESS ANALYTICS COURSES FROM THE #10 RANKED ONLINE MBA BUSINESS ANALYTICS PROGRAM

ONLINE BUSINESS ANALYTICS COURSES FROM THE #9 RANKED ONLINE MBA BUSINESS ANALYTICS PROGRAM

U.S. News & World Report, 2024

men engineering

Application is Open for the Summer and Fall 2024 Intakes

To be considered for Rice University’s Summer 2024 cohort, including the $10K merit scholarship, all required application materials must be submitted online by March 1, 2024. For the Fall 2024 cohort, completed application materials are due for $10K merit scholarship consideration by May 1, 2024 (or July 1 for the standard deadline). To learn more about applying to our online Master of Data Science program, please visit our Admissions page.

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JOIN LEADING COMPANIES

Stand Out as a Rice Graduate

Rice's strong reputation with some of the world's best employers improve your chances of getting the job you want.
Some of our alumni have gone to leading companies including:

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A HIGH-DEMAND OCCUPATION

Enter a High-Paying Market That’s Growing Fast

Data scientists are not just statisticians, computer scientists or mathematicians, but highly sought-after individuals with expertise in all of these areas, as well as the ability to answer complex, strategic business questions using big data. With an online data science master's, you can break into one of the world’s fastest growing fields. As the demand for data scientists increases, an advanced master’s degree opens doors to every sector undergoing digital transformation, including tech, energy, healthcare, professional services and more.

NOW

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists and data analysts earn on average

$108.6K per year

FUTURE

The projected growth in Data Science employment for 2022-2032 is

+35%

compared to just +3% expected growth for all occupations.

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BROADEN FOUNDATIONS

An Interdisciplinary Curriculum Designed to Solve Business Problems

Rice's online Master of Data Science program is designed to support the needs of working professionals who want to apply data science and data analytics knowledge, theory and techniques to solve difficult, real-world problems, beginning with raw, unstructured data and ending with actionable insights. Discover the difference between Rice University’s data science online master's degree and other comparable programs.

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An Immersive Data Science Education

Program participants will develop a graduate-level understanding of the computational and statistical foundations of data science, including the use of data analytics to extract big data insights. Through in-depth study, online Master of Data Science students obtain mastery of either one of the core methods of data science or one application area of data science. As a leading research institution, students pursuing the online Master of Data Science program at Rice will gain immersive, experiential learning through the Capstone Project.

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Business Analytics and Machine Learning Specializations

Online Master of Data Science students can choose between relevant specializations in either machine learning or business analytics. Within these concentrations, you will develop the necessary technical skills needed to improve machine learning and AI or help executives make data-driven decisions using big data, data analytics, and data visualization.

a teacher doing a online class in front of the camera

Flexible & Convenient Pacing, Customizable Education Paths

The online Master of Data Science program is designed for non-traditional graduate students who need to balance their educational goals while working and/or raising families. You’ll be able to maintain your work-life schedule while earning your degree part-time in our best-in-class flexible and engaging learning format. Part-time students can expect to complete the flexible online Master of Data Science program within 2 - 3.5 years or full-time students may complete the program in 18-24 months with strong prerequisites.

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Women in the field of computer science.

Get Access to our World-Class Career Resources to Accelerate Your Career

As an online student, you'll be able to connect directly with your Master of Data Science Online faculty for support and guidance. You will also receive relevant job postings via email and get access to Rice University's Center for Career Development (CCD).

Resources available to you include:

  • Real-world experiences and networking via Hackathons, Datathons and competitions like the National Cyber League.
  • 1:1 phone, Skype, or in-person meetings with Career Advisors.
  • On-campus and virtual career fairs.
  • 12twenty Career Management Platform.
  • Weekly newsletters with featured jobs and upcoming career events.
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Important Dates

We offer three intakes per year, so you can choose the best time to start for you. For more information on program prerequisites, view Admission requirements.

SESSION SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY APPLICATION DEADLINE APPLICATION DEADLINE CLASSES START
SUMMER 2024 March 1, 2024 March 1, 2024 April 29, 2024
FALL 2024 May 1, 2024 July 1, 2024 August 26, 2024
SPRING 2025 October 1, 2024 November 1, 2024 January 13, 2025

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RICE DATA SCIENCE ONLINE MASTER'S

World-Class Faculty Dedicated to Your Success

Rice’s multidisciplinary data science faculty are experts in a variety of areas, including computer science, statistics, business analytics, quant finance, quant operations, and data-driven marketing. Rice faculty are dedicated to your success, engaging with you in small class groups, live sessions, office hours and even community events outside the classroom.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR FACULTY

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STUDENT SUCCESSES AND FACULTY RECOGNITION

MDS Community Spotlight

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MDS@RICE FAQs

What does the online Master of Data Science program cost?

Students in the Online Master of Data Science program will pay the standard Rice University part-time rate of $1,666.70 per credit hour. The program requires a minimum of 31 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.

For the Summer 2024 intake, completed applicants by March 1st will be eligible for $10K merit-based scholarship consideration.

Start your application to join our Summer 2024 intake today!

Are scholarships, discounts or financial aid available?

Yes, Rice OMDS applicants who submit completed applications by the March 1st Summer 2024 application deadline will be eligible for a $10K merit-based scholarship. Start your application today. 

Rice Alumni admitted to the program will receive 10% off the cost of tuition for the Online Master of Data Science. Visit the Rice Alumni financial offers page for further details, or start your application now.

Rice Engineering is also proud to provide financial aid and support to veterans and active military members. Learn more below.

Because the Master of Data Science (MDS) is a non-thesis (non-research) degree, Rice University does not offer tuition waivers, stipends, fellowships, or assistantships for this program. Students are also encouraged to visit the Rice Office of Student Financial Services for more information about loans and outside sources of aid.

 How does Rice MDS support veterans and active military members?

Veteran education benefits are available to qualified full or part-time Rice students who are active duty or reserve military personnel, veterans, or in some cases, the dependents of deceased or disabled veterans whose death or disability is a direct result of their military service. There are a variety of options to help you pay for your education at Rice.

Please select one option that applies to you to learn more about veterans education benefits.

I am a Veteran

I am a Dependent of a Veteran

Is Rice University’s Online Master of Data Science an accredited program?

Yes, Rice University's Online Master of Data Science degree program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Can I work while pursuing an online Master of Data Science at Rice University?

Yes! High-quality online graduate education is a great option for working professionals who need convenience and flexibility.

Working students may complete their degrees part-time in approximately 2.5 - 3 years, while maintaining full-time jobs. Students also have the option to complete the program full-time in approximately 18-24 months for students taking a hiatus from work (pending strength of prerequisites at time of admission).

Learn more about Rice University’s unique online student experience for graduate students.

How many courses or credit hours should I take per term (or semester)?

Since Rice's Master of Data Science (Online) program is tailored to be a part-time program for working professionals, most students take 1 or 2 courses part-time per term, or about 3-6 credit hours per term.

Upon acceptance into the program, you’ll be assigned a Student Success Advisor who can counsel you on course load and sequencing relative to your educational background, experience, and work-life balance.

How long does it take to complete the online Master of Data Science program at Rice University?

Since Rice's Master of Data Science (Online) program is tailored to be a part-time program for working professionals, most students take 1 or 2 courses per term. At this pace, students can expect to finish in approximately 2.5 - 3 years.  Students have up to 5 years to complete their degrees.

Students who are not working will be welcome to attend the program full-time, which would allow them to complete the program in 18-24 months (pending strength of prerequisites at time of admission).

Upon acceptance into the program, you’ll be assigned a Student Success Advisor who can counsel you on course load and sequencing relative to your educational background, experience, and work-life balance.

When does the online Master of Data Science program at Rice University start?

The online Master of Data Science program offers three start dates per year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

To learn more about applying to our program, please visit the Admissions page.

Is the program designed for students to work at their own pace?

Yes, Rice University’s online Master of Data Science curriculum is designed so you can work 100% online at your own pace, but with some structure. You will find that the course lecture material and content is available for you to work through on your own schedule. However, there are weekly live sessions, as well as due dates for all assignments and graded work. Content is released on a specific schedule so that you will move through the course with your cohort.

Rice considers the deep faculty-student and student-to-student interactions to be crucial components to effective graduate learning and overall student success. For this reason, students should be prepared to engage with faculty and with each other throughout the program.

What topics will be covered as part of the course curriculum?

The curriculum for the online Master of Data Science program is a rigorous blend of courses in Python programming, machine learning algorithms, big data, data visualization, statistical analysis, data security and privacy, and more.

You will be able to complement your core courses with a specialization in business analytics or machine learning. More specializations, such as bioinformatics, are planned future offerings. You can further customize your data science master’s curriculum by selecting from course electives in cybersecurity, project management, and more.

Learn more about the Rice online master’s in data science program curriculum now.

What is the difference between data science and data analytics?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between data science and data analytics. Data analysts focus on analyzing vast amounts of data to discern patterns that can be used in effective business decision-making. Data scientists know how to develop and apply analytical tools and build automation systems and frameworks to structure data, mine it, explain it and offer insight into how the data informs business decisions.

Should I apply if I don’t have a STEM undergrad/graduate background?

Yes! Rice’s online Master of Data Science applicants do not need have to have a computational (computer science) background, since the goal of the degree is to quickly cover foundational topics in computer science and programming, mathematics, and statistics.

The program is interdisciplinary by design so that it has direct application for students across industries.

What are the eligibility requirements to apply for the online Master of Data Science program?

Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. The program has three intakes per year, so you are able to choose the start date that works best for you (Fall, Spring or Summer).

Application requirements include:

  • Two letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with your professional experience, and technical and communication abilities
  • CV or resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • 3.0+ GPA (for exceptions criteria, see Admissions)
  • Application fee of $85
  • Optional: GRE scores with 3.0+ GPA
  • Optional: TOEFL/IELTS score if your native language is not English

To learn more about our application process, visit our Admissions page.

Applications must be submitted through our online submission portal.

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is recommended for all applicants, but is not required. If you meet or exceed the 3.0 GPA requirement, have strong math skills and relative work experience as indicated by the resume and letters of recommendation, the GRE is not required.

Visit our Admissions page to learn more about application requirements.

How do I decide between Rice's Master of Data Science and the Master of Computer Science?

Data scientists are part statisticians, part mathematicians, and part computer scientists, but above all, they love the idea of leveraging data to form hypotheses and uncover answers, solve big problems, and make strategic recommendations to improve their organizations and society

If, however, you prefer the prospect of engineering and building technologies like machine learning to create advanced software systems and digital innovations (for example, machine learning algorithms, autonomous vehicles), the Master of Computer Science may be right for you. Prospective students for the MCS program should have programming experience, although a CS background is not required with sufficient prerequisites.

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