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Illinois Data Science Master's Degrees

Sep 29, 2019

This article highlights five universities in Illinois where students can enroll in data science master's degree programs. Aspects of each program are discussed in addition to what is necessary to be admitted into one of these programs.

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There are a number of universities in the state of Illinois that offer master's degree programs in data science. Below, you can learn about five of these programs in greater detail, including information about the required curriculum and admissions standards.

Overview of Master's Degree Programs in Data Science in Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an online Master of Computer Science in Data Science that consists of a total of eight courses. Because this is a coursework only program, students do not have to complete a thesis or capstone project in order to earn their degree. Students can customize their degree by selecting from the course options rather than having to complete a certain set of required courses. For example, students are required to complete one course each in the fields of data mining, cloud computing, machine learning, and data visualization. They then must select three more courses from the advanced coursework option and can complete their eighth course by selecting one of the offered electives.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology offers a Master of Data Science program that requires the completion of a total of 33 credits. This includes both the coursework and a six-credit practicum that students will complete in partnership with a real-world company or organization. Of the 33 credits, 18 of them are earned by completing the core courses, and nine are earned by selecting three elective courses. Some elective options include operating systems, advanced data mining, computational mathematics, and online social network analysis.

University of Illinois Springfield

Another option for students interested in data science is the Master of Science in Data Analytics offered by the University of Illinois Springfield. In this program, students will need to complete a total of 36 hours - 28 of which are required courses and eight of which are electives that students can select. Some of the required curriculum covers topics in data mining, big data analytics, and machine learning. Elective options include data visualization and research methods, among others. Enrolled students are also required to complete a capstone project as part of the required curriculum.

Lewis University

Lewis University offers an online Master of Science in Data Science in which students can select from two different concentrations. The computational biology and bioinformatics concentration may be well-suited for students who are interested in working in fields like biology, pharmaceuticals, or healthcare in the future and requires the completion of a master's thesis. The computer science concentration focuses more heavily on computing and requires either a master's thesis or project. Students will complete four courses according to the concentration they select in addition to the seven required core courses.

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago offers a Master of Science degree program in analytics that focuses on data science. Students can complete the program either on a full or part-time basis. In order to complete the curriculum for this program, students are required to take 14 courses and complete a final project. These courses are split into foundational courses, core courses, and electives. Some elective course options include health analytics, data visualization techniques, real-time intelligent systems, and financial analytics. Additionally, before the program begins, students are expected to complete a boot camp in statistics to help make sure students are prepared for the advanced coursework.

Admissions Standards for Master's Degree Programs in Data Science

When applying for a master's degree program in data science, students will need to make sure they meet the program admissions standards and will need to complete the application process. Generally, data science master's degree programs require that students have taken a number of prerequisite courses in mathematics and computer programming in order to be prepared for the program curriculum. Some programs may specify that applicants should have a certain type of bachelor's degree, like in computer science, while others may just require that applicants have completed a four-year bachelor's degree in any field as long as any prerequisites are fulfilled.

In addition to submitting a completed application form, students also will usually need to submit their past academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement when applying. Programs may also require that students submit the results from the GRE.

There are many options available to students who are seeking a master's degree program in data science in Illinois. The five schools above all offer unique data science programs, with some offering real-world practicum experiences and specific concentrations in areas like computational biology and bioinformatics.

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