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Data Science Vs Computer Science Master's Programs

Oct 01, 2019

There are some differences and similarities in graduate programs for data science and computer science when it comes to course materials, admission requirements and potential career paths.

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Generally, data science focuses on obtaining, processing and reporting data while computer science deals with the details of computer systems and their applications. This can lead to data science being offered as a possible specialization area for a computer science master's degree. This article will provide an overview of the two master's degree programs.

Overview of Master's Degree Programs in Data Science and Computer Science

Master's Degree Programs in Data Science

Master's programs in data science generally offer a wide range of courses that cover detailed information on the area. Some of the subject areas that students can cover in a data science master's degree program are statistics, software, telling stories through visuals and how to detect fraud. Some data science master's programs also offer introductory courses that will cover some basic information on computer science. These master's degree programs may be offered online, on-campus or have blended options and can carry a minimum of 30 credits which take about two years to complete. After completing a master's degree program in data science, persons can pursue careers as data scientists or data engineers.

Master's Degree Programs in Computer Science

Master's degree programs in computer science will usually cover a range of topics relevant to computer science and offer students the option to specialize in data science. Some core topics in a computer science master's degree program cover the engineering of software, information on artificial intelligence, how to design programming languages and the basics of computer modeling. When students choose to specialize in data science, they are likely to cover topics such as introductory data science, statistics, how to handle data and databases as well as how to acquire data. Master's programs in computer science can also be completed online, on-campus or as a blended option, wherein students must complete at least 30 credits (on occasion, less than this if the non-thesis track is completed) to earn their degree in about three years. Once they have earned a master's degree in computer science, students can pursue careers like software development engineers, mobile application developers, and senior software web developers.

General Admission Requirements for Master's Degree Programs in Data Science and Computer Science

For both master's degree programs, applicants will need to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. For computer science master's degree programs, the undergraduate should be in computer science while for data science master's degree programs, it's preferable for the degree to be in a STEM-related area but isn't required as long as the applicant has comprehensive mathematical skills and computer science knowledge. To be admitted, the applicant must submit school transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and a resume. In some cases, the applicant may be required to submit passing scores on the GRE test and non-native English speakers may need to submit passing scores on an English Language proficiency exam.

A master's degree in data science is very specific to the topic and may only cover basic computer science which limits career options to data science or data engineering. A master's degree in computer science, on the other hand, covers a wider range of topics with the option to specialize in data science which opens up opportunities in career options in software, application and web development.

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