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Master's in Data Science Vs. Business Analytics

Although a master's in data science and a master's in business analytics have some similarities, the scope and specific degree requirements for these programs are different. Explore some of these differences and learn how to apply to each program.

Comparing a Master's in Data Science to a Master's in Business Analytics

Master's in Data Science

Master's degree programs in data science are usually offered as a Master of Science (MS) degree and help train students in computational science and statistical methods that can be used to analyze and manage large sets of data from any number of industries. Some master's degree programs in data science are available in online formats, and it commonly takes students 3 semesters, or 1.5 years, to complete this master's degree. Applicants to the program typically need to have a bachelor's degree and while in the program, students are usually required to complete a final capstone project or thesis which involves conducting original research. Coursework in these master's degree programs includes hands-on programming training and project-based assignments as students explore topics in areas like data science, data analysis, algorithms, machine learning, and statistics. Some master's in data science degree programs may offer specific tracks to help prepare students for their future careers, which may include titles like data scientist, data analyst, or data mining engineer, in a wide range of industries, such as business, science, and public health.

Master's in Business Analytics

Master's degree programs in business analytics are usually offered as an MS or Master's in Business Analytics degree and are designed for students interested in studying data science and applying skills in this field to solving real-world business problems. Students can earn a master's degree in business analytics on-campus or online, and these degree programs typically take 2 semesters, or 1 year, to complete. Students interested in applying to these programs usually need to have a bachelor's degree. These degree programs may also culminate in a capstone project and usually provide coursework with hands-on programming training and discussion of topics in areas including software tools, ethics, statistics, data mining, and data visualization. Graduates with their master's in business analytics may work in a range of industries, including health care, finance, or education, but usually take on positions that have a business-focus and may hold titles like business intelligence analyst, risk analyst, or business analyst.

Degree ProgramProgram LengthProgram RequirementsRelated Careers
Master of Science in Data Science3 semesters/1.5 years Bachelor's degree*Data Scientist
*Data Mining Engineer
Master of Science or Master of Business Analytics2 semesters/1 yearBachelor's degree and/or work experience*Business Intelligence Analyst
*Risk Analyst

Admittance Requirements for a Master's in Data Science

In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, it is common for applicants to master's degree programs in data science to need to meet a GPA requirement of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Although there may not be formal requirements, most of these degree programs require candidates to have strong analytical skills, usually with some prior coursework in areas like algebra, statistics, probability, calculus, and other quantitative subjects. Most of these degree programs also expect applicants to have some prior knowledge or background in programming, with languages such as Java, C++, or Python, and/or have some experience working with relational databases. Some programs may allow students who do not have prior coursework in these various areas to take exams to demonstrate competency in these different skill sets. Most master's degree programs in data science require applicants to submit transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and/or a resume with their application.

Admittance Requirements for a Master's in Business Analytics

As an addition to having a bachelor's degree, some Master of Science or Master's in Business Analytics degree programs typically may require applicants to have a minimum of 1 to 5 years of experience. Some of these degree programs may expect applicants to have a strong GPA, but there is usually not a specific GPA requirement. Most of these degree programs require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT test scores and may require students to have at least 3 credits of college-level coursework in statistics and/or demonstrate quantitative preparedness through other coursework. Applications for these degree programs usually require students to include their transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, essays, and resume and some programs may require an interview process after an application has been submitted.

Master's degree programs in data science and business analytics both cover topics in data science, but master's programs in data science are usually longer and can be applied to more industries than just those related to business. Admissions requirements for each degree program are unique, but usually include analytical skills and an undergraduate degree.