Certificates in Data Science: Undergraduate and Graduate

With data science certificate, generally speaking, in a short time frame (such as a year or less), people can acquire the basic skills necessary to become business analysts, quality analysts, machine learning engineers, or any other opportunity in the world of big data.

What is a Data Science Certificate?

An academic certificate is a credential that somebody has received specialized education and training in a certain subject. This is a form of secondary education offered at various colleges and universities in the United States. By obtaining a certificate, this signifies that the person has been able to reach a level of education in their studies and abilities. There are both undergraduate and graduate certificates, which demonstrates the completion of courses parallel to a Bachelor's degree and beyond.

Online Data Science Certificate Options

Certificates are a good way to demonstrate that professionals have the skills necessary to pursue a different career path without the time commitment toward a full degree. Many are offered online or in a hybrid format of on-campus lectures and online coursework to allow for maximum flexibility for those that want to continue working while obtaining a certificate. Typically, course credit from certificates can be applied toward a Master's degree in the future.

Software Specific vs. Program Specific Certifications

Data science certificates are becoming more common with high demand for workers in the tech industry. People are able to quickly become proficient in the field, and most certificate programs allow for customizability with elective options alongside a group of core courses.

Along with universities, there are companies and organizations that offer certification processes that show the skills needed to use their program tools. For example, SAS has various levels of certification, Cloudera has certifications for data analysts and data engineers, and Dell Technologies has options for Data Scientist Associate and Data Scientist Advance Analytics Specialist.

Online data science certificates are a good way to get into the industry or get specialized in a specific area. However, a Bachelor of Data Science or a Master of Data Science is often also offered online, with flexible schedules and coursework.

Featured Online Data Science Programs

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Program at Syracuse University Syracuse University
18-Month Data Science Master's Online. No GRE required.
Master of Science in Data Science Program at University of Denver University of Denver
Earn University of Denver’s MS in Data Science online. No computer science experience required.
MS in Data Science and Policy Program at Johns Hopkins AAP Johns Hopkins AAP
Four specializations. Courses designed to teach skills in statistics, programing, data visualization, and communication.

Undergraduate Certificate vs. Graduate Certificate

Undergraduate Data Science Certificates

Undergraduate certificates are course specializations that can be taken alongside a traditional, full degree. The completion of these courses will signify credentials in the specific topic chosen.

For example, completing an Undergraduate Certificate in Data Science would feature courses like data analysis, data mining, and data visualization, and that would be on top of a Bachelor's degree in Data Science. These skills would be paramount for those looking to become a business analyst.

Some colleges and universities offer standalone undergraduate programs, usually in the technical field, to gain an advantage in employment opportunities. It is not uncommon to have the ability to customize the certificate with electives to showcase a wide range of skills and knowledge in the data science field. For example, the data science undergraduate certificate could have electives such as bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, predictive modeling, or theory of linear regression.

Graduate Certificates in Data Science

Graduate certificates are for those seeking continuing education or a slight career change after obtaining an undergraduate degree. These are truncated programs when compared to a full Master's degree in Data Science or in a similar subject. Some certificates will have a set of courses to complete without any flexibility, but many programs provide elective options to customize the experience. Unlike undergraduate certificates, students do not have to be enrolled to a full Master program, but they are typically ineligible for any scholarships or fellowship the schools offer.

Those obtaining a standalone graduate certificate will likely need some fundamental knowledge before pursuing the certificate, such as calculus, linear algebra, and programming in Python and R. In some instances, these schools will provide prerequisite courses that can be taken before entering into the certification process. Many programs will require the completion of a Bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Data Science Certificate Concentrations

Here are examples of data science certificates that can be earned at various institutions across the United States:

  • Data Science
  • Statistical and Computational Data Science
  • Business Analytics
  • Computational Modeling
  • Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing
  • Applied Business Data Analytics
  • Applied Statistics

Online Graduate Certificates

There are a growing number of data science certificates that are offered online. Every organization, like Amazon, Cloudera, and Microsoft, provide resources and testing opportunities online to complete a certificate. Many colleges and universities offer this convenience as well. Instead of moving to an institution's location, students can simply view lectures and complete assignments and projects from the convenience of their own home.

Deliver-ability of Coursework

Schools vary on distributing classes in a live or asynchronous format, and sometimes coursework, group projects, and exams will need to be completed by certain dates. Proctored exams will be taken at a testing center in an college-approved location. It is important for students to have the right technology before pursuing a graduate certificate. Understand what computer devices and operating systems are needed to complete the program. Data science courses typically require Windows or Mac computers for compatibility with various programs like Python, R, and SQL.

Benefits of obtaining a graduate certificate online is the quick ability to change skill set. As technology changes over time, there will be new skills needed to adapt. For example, social media marketing has become an increasingly popular role over the past decade. In this position, it is important to understand how various social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn, can be used to sell a company's goods and/or services. All of these programs are interacted with differently, and it is the marketer's job to determine what content should be posted where, and which platforms work best to pay more attention to.

Graduate Certificate vs. Master in Data Science

Graduate certificates are essentially a truncated version of a full Master’s degree. There are a handful of courses, typically four to six of them (or 12 to 16 credit hours), that are needed to complete the program. The curriculum generally consists of the core courses in the subject matter, or a mixture of a few core courses and elective options that students can select to customize the certification. Sometimes, the entire process can be customized by selecting a variety of courses straight from the Master’s degree curriculum.

In comparison, a Master’s degree is full version of these programs. They expand on the various subjects with core courses, elective options, and usually a capstone project that culminates the degree, where students showcase what they have learned in their education. Generally, these programs take twice as long to complete, but many of them are geared toward professionals. There are plenty of online courses across the country with asynchronous courses that can be completed at the student’s pace, or on-campus opportunities that have courses in the evening or weekends. Some colleges will have a mixture of both options.

Graduate certificates are also much cheaper to obtain than a Master’s degree. Even a prestigious school like Harvard University that offers a Data Science Certificate, and all four courses are able to be completed online, costs just over $11,300 for the full program. Staying in the Ivy League, a Master of Science in Data Science at Columbia University would cost approximately $46,000 on an annual basis. Even cheaper options, such as Colorado State University’s in-state tuition in one year, hovers at the rate of Harvard University’s entire certificate.

Professionals that do not have the time to complete a full Master’s degree program can opt for a graduate certificate. These will take around 6 to 12 months to finish compared to a Master program that takes around two years or longer. Certification is best suited for those that may have some work experience and are looking to advance their career, or make a job position change in a related field. They are significantly cheaper than the alternative.

There are benefits to completing a Master’s degree, however. Many high-level and well-paying job opportunities require the full degree. This is best suited for professionals looking to gain an advantage over the competition and rapidly move up in their career. Most universities provide flexibility for graduate students to study at their own pace, and those options are continuing to grow across the country.

Examples of Online Graduate Certificates

California State University-Fullerton

Certificate in Data Science

One of the university’s Extension and International Programs is a graduate certificate that is geared toward data analysts and computer scientists who are looking advance in their careers, or graduates that are ready to enter the data science field. Upon completion of the program, students will understand how businesses are using big data to optimize their processes and to gain an advantage, be comfortable with software tools that can mine, store, and process data, and they will be able to present their findings to managers and other employees through data visualization techniques.

These courses will look beyond the basic knowledge of data analysis and business intelligence, so the college recommends that students have a Bachelor’s degree and/or at least three years of working experience in a related field. Cost for the certification is approximately $3,420 and is completed in 10 months. The following coursework is needed to complete the program, which equates to 117 educational hours of lecture and class discussion:

  • Foundational Data Science I
  • Foundational Data Science II
  • Statistical Analysis, Modeling, and Data Mining
  • Computational Data Sciences and Machine Learning
  • Applied Data Science Capstone Project

Indiana University-Bloomington

Graduate Certificate in Data Science

The School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering offers graduate certificates in Cybersecurity, Information Architecture, and Data Science. The Data Science program can be completed fully online in two semesters, which equates to less than a calendar year. Students will need to complete the program within two years after enrollment, and there is an opportunity to transfer credits to complete a Master of Science in Data Science at the university. Tuition for the certificate is at approximately $1,380.

12 graduate credit hours are needed to complete the certification, and it can be fully customized to the student’s needs. Any four courses in the Master of Science in Data Science program can be taken. Course categories include statistics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics and visualization, intelligent systems engineering, precision health, and cybersecurity. It is recommended that students have prior coursework in Python and R programming, probability, linear algebra, and calculus. There is an optional Data Science Essentials class that can be taken to fulfill this need.

Northeastern University

Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics

The Khoury College of Computer Sciences offers a graduate certificate in foundational big data categories, like data management, data visualization, and statistics. It provides an opportunity to professionals to advance their career or they can use these credits toward a full Master of Science program, such as Bioinformatics, Health Informatics, and more. Part-time students are able to complete the program within 8 to 12 months. Tuition for the program is set approximately at $26,100.

In order to get into the program, prospective students are required to submit an application with fee and hold an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and prior coursework in statistics. Other submissions when applying to the college include a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, resume, and unofficial or official transcripts. The following courses are needed to complete the certification:

  • Collecting, Storing, and Retrieving Data
  • Introduction to Data Mining and Machine Learning
  • Introduction to Computational Statistics
  • Information Design and Visual Analytics

Available Online Data Science Programs for

Syracuse University
University of Denver
Johns Hopkins AAP
Online Data Science Programs
Programs That May Be Currently Accepting Applicants
American University
Washington, DC
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona
Aspen University
Aspen, Colorado
Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama
Bay Path University
Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Bellevue College
Bellevue, Washington
Bellevue University
Bellevue, Nebraska
Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts
Cabrini University
Radnor, Pennsylvania
California State University - Fullerton
Fullerton, California
California State University - Long Beach
Long Beach, California
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, Connecticut
Chapman University
Orange, California
City University of New York
New York City, New York
City University of New York (CUNY)
New York City, New York
Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina
Cleveland State University
Cleveland, Ohio
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Columbia University
New York, New York
CUNY Graduate School and University Center
New York City, New York
CUNY Queens College
Queens, New York
Davenport University
Grand Rapids, Michigan
DePaul University
Chicago, Illinois
Drexel University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University Online
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Elmhurst College
Elmhurst, Illinois
Full Sail University
Winter Park, Florida
George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, Georgia
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, Michigan
Grantham University
Lenexa, Kansas
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Husson University
Bangor, Maine
Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, Illinois
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw, Georgia
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio
Lewis University
Romeoville, Illinois
Loras College
Dubuque, Iowa
Marist College
Poughkeepsie, New York
Maryville University
St. Louis, Missouri
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Merrimack College
North Andover, Massachusetts
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, Michigan
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Misericordia University
Dallas, Pennsylvania
National University
La Jolla, California
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Newark, New Jersey
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Boston, Massachusetts
Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Oakland University
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Pace University
New York City, New York
Pasco-Hernando State College
New Port Richey, Florida
Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pennsylvania
Radford University
Radford, Virginia
Regis University
Denver, Colorado
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York
Rockhurst University
Kansas City, Missouri
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Saint Joseph's University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, Missouri
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, Indiana
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Winona, Minnesota
Saint Paul College
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Salem University
Salem, West Virginia
San Jose State University
San Jose, California
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California
Southern Arkansas University
Magnolia, Arkansas
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, Texas
Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Weatherford, Oklahoma
St. Catherine University
Salt Lake City, Utah
Stanford University
Stanford, California
Stevens Institute of Technology
Hoboken, New Jersey
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York
Temple University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tennessee Technological University
Cookeville, Tennessee
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
The College of Saint Scholastica
Duluth, Minnesota
The New School
New York, New York
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee
The University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas
The University of Texas at San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
Thomas Edison State University
Trenton, New Jersey
Trocaire College
Buffalo, New York
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
  • smartphone Online Master of Science - University at Buffalo School of Management and Amrita University
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
University of California - Berkeley
Berkeley, California
University of California - Davis
Davis, California
University of California - Irvine
Irvine, California
University of California - Riverside
Riverside, California
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, Colorado
University of Colorado Denver
Denver, Colorado
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, Illinois
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland
University of Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis St Paul, Minnesota
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri
University of Nebraska Online
Lincoln, Nebraska
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska
University of New Hampshire
Manchester, New Hampshire
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
University of North Texas
Denton, Texas
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford
Bradford, Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
University of Saint Joseph
West Hartford, Connecticut
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida
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Los Angeles, California
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Joliet, Illinois
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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Seattle, Washington
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin Colleges 
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Utica College
Utica, New York
Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania
Washington State University 
Pullman, Washington
West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
Western Governor's University
Salt Lake City, Utah
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
Notice a missing or inaccurate program? Our data is hand-collected and edited. If you notice a missing data science program, please email schools at datascienceprograms.org to enter a program to be reviewed or to adjust a current listing.