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Big Data Analytics Master's Degrees: 20 Top Programs

These one-year and two-year graduate programs are just what's needed to close the big-data talent gap. Read on to find a school that fits your ambitions and background.
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It's well documented that there's a big data talent gap, but what's being done about it? What's needed is knowledge and experience. On the first front, hundreds of colleges and universities worldwide are gearing up business analytics, machine learning and other programs aimed at analysis of data in a business context.

Data growth is headed in one direction, so it's clear that the skills gap is a long-term problem. But many businesses just can't wait the three to five years it might take today's undergrads to become business-savvy professionals. With that and InformationWeek's readership in mind, there's a great opportunity for experienced information management professionals and even data-savvy IT generalists to fill the talent void. Thus, here's our short list of one- and two-year business analytics and big-data-oriented masters programs in North America.

All of these programs are geared to candidates who already have undergraduate degrees, and most favor professionals with three or more years of work experience. In many cases part-time options are available, so students can continue to work as they learn more about big data analytics.

This is not a ranking. It's an alphabetical listing of well-known and emerging masters programs specifically targeting the big data analytics talent gap. We've included several of the masters programs at elite schools of engineering where grad-school-supported research programs have sprung up around big data. Columbia, for example, has its Institute for Data Sciences, Harvard has its Institute for Applied Computational Science and the University of California, Berkeley has its AMPLab (which explores the role of algorithms, machines and people in big data analytics).

Getting into a masters program at an elite school is no guarantee you'll be tapped for an interesting big data research project working alongside a well-known professor. Nevertheless, graduates of these schools tend to have their pick of future employers.

More than half of these schools are offering fairly new masters programs in business analytics. These tend to be interdisciplinary degrees sponsored by schools of business. In some cases it's an MBA degree with a specialization in analytics and information management (see New York University and Rutgers). In other cases it's a focused, business-meets-analytics program that can be completed in one year or less (see North Carolina State University, Drexel, Louisiana State University and Canada's York University). In still other cases, departments of statistics and operations research have dialed up their applied learning to create more business- and big-data-oriented programs (see University of Cincinnati and University of Tennessee).

Those specifically interested in big data analytics as applied to marketing should investigate Bentley University and DePaul. Insurance and financial services get special attention at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where State Farm has a research center that offers tuition assistance and internship opportunities.

Given the number of universities developing business analytics and big-data related programs, a list of 20 schools can't be comprehensive. Thus, our last slide offers links to 10 more masters programs for big data analytics, including new programs at Arizona State, Fordham University and The University of Maryland.

We encourage schools not listed here to add appropriate masters programs using the comment tool at the bottom of the page (note: all comments that include URLs must be reviewed before posting to eliminate spam, so either omit links or count on a delay). It will take some time to fill the big data talent gap, so we'll be updating and expanding this career-development compendium as a service to our readers.

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LinghuiZ086
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LinghuiZ086,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/27/2013 | 3:02:12 PM
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute also has MS in Business Analytics 2013
The M.S. in Business Analytics provides students with the knowledge and essential skills needed to respond to the new challenges characteristic of the data intensive decision-making environments in the world today.

The M.S. in Business Analytics program prepares students with the skills to understand, analyze, and integrate data in business functions:
  • Master cutting-edge analytical modeling
  • Perform statistical analysis
  • Excel at data management techniques
  • Understand emerging concepts, practices, and techniques in handling big data
  • Utilize data modeling and analysis to identify patterns
  • Apply skills to real-world problems in specific business domains

The program is one year and 30 credits.(Business Core Courses - 12 Credits/Analytics Core Courses - 12 Credits/Domain Focused Courses - Six Credits)
hlbaker
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hlbaker,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/12/2013 | 4:36:45 PM
Pace University - MS in Customer Intelligence and Analytics
 Pace University - Lubin School of Business: New York, NY

Degree: MS in Customer Intelligence and Analytics

Description: This program develops your expertise in collecting, managing and interpreting customer data from a wide variety of sources. Graduates will be prepared to drive smarter marketing and business strategies focused on optimizing customer relationships, and be able to take advantage of the significant job growth in the field of data analytics.

Duration: The MS degree can be completed in 12 months based on full-time study, depending on your previous educational and professional background.

Program format: in-class

Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree, GMAT/GRE

More information available at: http://www.pace.edu/lubin/ms-in-customer-intelligence-analytics
CanadaGreg
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CanadaGreg,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/9/2013 | 1:23:58 PM
Data Analysis in Canada
University of the Fraser Valley in Canada has a post-degree certificate available in Data Analysis. It is an ideal program for those wanting to leverage their undergraduate skills with the data analysis skills needed in modern enterprise.

University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia

Degree: Post-degree Certificate in Data Analysis    www.ufv.ca/data

Description:  Data Analysis students at UFV acquire the skills needed to extract reliable information from large data sets. With carefully designed courses taken in both computing and statistics, you will gain the data-base skills you need to house, extract, manipulate and maintain data in the real-world ways in which it arises and you will learn the statistical techniques needed to collect data correctly, assess its quality, analyze it, and present the information effectively to decision makers. The industry standard statistical software environments SAS and R will be used throughout.

Prerequisites: A Bachelor's degree, an introductory statistics course and an introductory programming course (see website for details)

Full-time program: 10.5 months

Part-time program: yes

Distance-learning options: No

 
mbinst
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mbinst,
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12/9/2013 | 8:22:56 AM
Applied Data Analytics MSc at Bournemouth University
I would like to draw your attention to masters courses in data/business analytics outside of US. One which seems to stand out as it is delivered in collaboration with SAS Institute, is the Applied Data Analytics (ADA) MSc at Bournemouth University, UK. I think this might be relevant for US students due to lower fees and no language/visa barrier.
allison225
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allison225,
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12/2/2013 | 12:39:17 PM
Update CMU listing to include PT and Online
Can you update your original listing for Carnegie Mellon's Master of Information Systems Management degree to reflect that it has both Part-time and Online degree options through its sister program, the Master of Science in Information Technology www.heinz.cmu.edu/msit-bida? Other sites are sharing your list so I want to make sure they have the right info at the source and the previous comments have all been removed.  Thanks for your help!
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