Several California universities offer master's degrees in data science. These programs typically consist of between 32 and 36 units, with many options requiring a capstone project for completion. Keep reading to explore some of these degrees and their features.
California Schools with Master's Programs in Data Science
Stanford University offers a Master of Science (MS) in Statistics: Data Science program that consists of 36 units taken for a letter grade, with a total of 45 units being required for the degree. The program is designed to span 5 quarters. Students are required to submit a Master's Program Proposal before they finish their first quarter. This proposal must include courses from 5 core areas of study covering topics like algorithms, statistics, software development, data mining, and research. A thesis is not required.
University of California - San Diego
The University of California - San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering offers a Master of Advanced Study (MAS) in Data Science and Engineering. This 2-year program consists of 38 units split over 10 courses and a capstone project. This capstone project is completed in teams. Geared towards professionals in engineering, this degree contains courses on data visualization, programming, and analysis to prepare individuals for leadership positions in their line of work.
University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco's MS in Data Science is a 1-year program made up of 35 units. The program begins with rigorous introductory courses covering topics like linear algebra, probability and statistics, and computation for analytics. After this introduction, degree candidates move on to core courses and 5 required seminars. Students in the MSDS program also have access to practicum opportunities, during which they can do 10-15 hours per week of data science work for nearby companies.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering offers an MS in Applied Data Science program consisting of 32 units. Ideal for students with strong math and science skills, this program does not require an extensive background in computer science upon applying. Students complete a series of core courses covering topics like data management, machine learning, and data mining. Then, students choose from a variety of elective courses to finish their degree.
University of the Pacific
The University of the Pacific has a 2-year MS in Data Science program that includes a hybrid course format. Convenient for working learners, this program allows students to take online classes on weekday evenings and in-person classes on weekends. Students must complete a total of 32 units to earn the degree. The program begins with foundational courses in math and computing and concludes with a required capstone project focused on a real-world application.
Common Entrance Requirements
Entrance requirements and necessary supporting documentation vary between master's in data science programs in California. Students applying to these programs must hold a bachelor's degree, with some institutions requiring completed coursework in math, engineering, or computer science. Several programs require letters of recommendation in addition to a statement of purpose. Applications also commonly ask for official transcripts and a resume.
Data science master's degree programs in California typically take 1-2 years to complete, and many include a final capstone project to encourage real-world applications of knowledge. Students generally take foundational courses in math and computing and move on to electives later in their degree.