Data science encompasses the acquisition, processing, and reporting of large amounts of data, while business analytics is a field dealing with the statistical analysis of the data in order for an organization to track and understand its performance. There are a variety of master's programs available in both of these areas as well as different career options for graduates. This article will provide an overview of both master's program options.
Differences between Master's Programs in Data Science and Business Analytics
Master's Degree Programs in Data Science
For these programs, the prospective student must have completed prerequisite courses in the fields of computer science, linear algebra, and calculus. Students will cover topics such as machine learning, the basics of data science, language components specific to data science, and statistics. Some master's programs include a period of work experience where students work on data science projects within certain organizations. Students might also be able to concentrate their master's in data science in another area such as statistics or computer science. To complete a master's degree in data science, students may need 30 credits at a minimum and be finished in as little as two years, after which the candidate can pursue a career as a data scientist or data engineer.
Master's Degree Programs in Business Analytics
Unlike a data science master's program, persons may apply for a master's degree program in business analytics even if they do not have prerequisites in a mathematical field. Applicants can sometimes use work experience to satisfy any prerequisites. In business analytics master's programs, students learn how to manage and analyze data that has been collected by covering topics such as data communication, marketing analysis, and social media analysis. In some programs, students get the opportunity to conduct research projects with faculty members as well as work on real-world business analysis projects in certain organizations. A master's degree in business analytics may require between 11 months to a year to complete, and in some cases can be combined with another master's program. A student could be able to graduate with two master's degrees in as little as 18 months. Graduates often explore careers in business and market analysis, among other things.
General Program Admission Requirements
For either master's program, the prospective student must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of at least 3.0. For a data science program, in particular, persons should have a background in certain mathematical and science-based subjects. Along with official school transcripts, candidates may be required to submit letters of recommendation, a resume, a statement of purpose, passing scores on a GRE or GMAT test, or passing scores on an English proficiency exam (for non-native English speakers). If previous work experience is being used to fulfill the requirements, the candidate will need to submit proof of their working experience in a field relevant to the program.
While both master's programs in data science and business analysis give students significant exposure to the mathematical and scientific subject material, business analytics focuses more on the analysis of data for an organization's understanding of its success. Course topics and completion timeframes vary in each type of program.