Rice launches Master of Data Science degree program

Classes begin this fall for both online and in-person degree options

Rice Data Science Image with Houston Skyline

Rice University is launching a master’s degree program in data science with online and on-campus options.

Managed by the Department of Computer Science, this new Master of Data Science program offers recent graduates and professionals a versatile degree that will enhance their current careers or help them pivot to new ones. Applications are now open and classes begin this fall.

“The field of data science touches almost every industry in our economy,” said Rice CS Professor Scott Rixner. “This degree will provide those seeking to find new careers, or to advance in their current careers, the opportunity to acquire an indispensable skill set and to build future-focused critical expertise that will drive future innovation.”

According to 2020 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15% over the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations. This demand, coupled with salaries that are about three times the national average, makes the launch particularly timely for working professionals facing economic and job downturns greater than at any time since the Great Depression.

The Master of Data Science degree program offers multidisciplinary, interdepartmental and intercollegiate instruction with degrees that are customizable and specialized. The 31-credit program will be presented in both online and face-to-face options. The non-thesis curriculum consists of a rigorous blend of courses that deliver the skills needed to collect, evaluate, interpret and present data for effective decision-making across a variety of industries.

Along with the online Master of Computer Science degree that was launched in 2019, the new degree adds to the Brown School's portfolio of degrees in a field that has quickly become a critical enabler across many sectors. 

“Data science has revolutionized all fields of study and many sectors of the industry where data is central to the scientific or industrial endeavor,” said Rice Dean of Engineering Luay Nakhleh, who helped oversee the creation of the Master of Data Science program as department chair prior to taking the reins at the Brown School. “Data-driven discovery has complemented hypothesis-driven discovery, and it is here to stay. This degree positions our students for rewarding, life-long careers that provide meaningful impact in design and research in a multitude of industries.”

Learn more about the Master of Data Science program at