Master of Science in Applied Data Science

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At a Glance

Earn your master’s degree fully online in 20-24 months.

Summer, Fall and Spring Start Dates

20-24 Months
30-36 Units
September 3
August 2

Quick Facts

Program consists of five semesters: two courses per semester, and seven weeks per course (taken one at a time).


Position Yourself for Success in This High-Paying, In-Demand Field

In the era of Big Data, employers across all industries are paying top dollar to data scientists capable of using advanced skills to uncover valuable insights hidden in the vast amounts of data produced every single day.

To help prepare current and future data scientists for the important work ahead, the University of San Diego offers this innovative, online degree program — the Master of Science in Applied Data Science — through USD’s Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering.

Taught by expert industry practitioners, the MS in Applied Data Science program has been developed in close collaboration with key industry and government stakeholders to provide in-depth practical and technical training designed to position graduates for career success in this vitally important and fast-growing field.


Annual median salary reported by recent MS-ADS graduates


Projected growth rate for data scientist employment, 2022 to 2032. (BLS)


Top projected growth occupation for 2024. (CompTIA State of the Tech Workforce)

Where ms-ads graduates work

University of California San Diego logo

USD Data science student insights

Who is this program for?

The Master of Science in Applied Data Science degree program is ideally suited to those with a background in science, mathematics, engineering or technology, but it is also structured to train those from other backgrounds who are motivated to transition into data science.

Potential candidates for the University of San Diego’s online master’s degree in applied data science include:

  • Bachelor-prepared science, mathematics, engineering, information technology or computer science graduates
  • Graduates from other fields who possess technical aptitude in the above fields or others, including STEM, business, and more
  • Mid-career data analytics, data engineering, and computer science professionals looking to advance their knowledge and skills
  • Professionals looking to transition into data science from other fields (comprehensive introductory courses build a strong foundation for those who are less familiar with data science)

Additionally, employers who have an ongoing need for skilled data scientists should be aware that this program is designed to:

  • Serve the professional development needs of employers across a multitude of industries, specifically with regard to sharpening the knowledge and skillsets of current team members
  • Groom graduates to provide immediate impact in the workforce by applying their technical knowledge and skills to business and commercial applications

The goal of the USD MS-ADS online program is to prepare prospective data scientists with in-depth analytical knowledge tied to real-world applications, relevant programming ability, and critical professional skills to both succeed in their career and to create meaningful social impact.

Ranked as one of the Best Master’s in Data Science Programs

How to apply

For details on admissions requirements and how to begin your application, please visit our Admissions page.

Data Science Careers

The need for skilled data scientists cuts across nearly all industries, public agencies, and nonprofits, with particularly strong demand and opportunity in such fields as financial services, health care, cybersecurity, manufacturing, marketing, retail, media, government and military, aerospace, food, and hospitality.

Data Scientist

  • Salary range:
Data Analyst

  • Salary range:
Business Analyst

  • Salary range:
Artificial Intelligence

  • Salary range:
Machine Learning

  • Salary range:

Salary data from employment websites including Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, PayScale, Salary and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

academic calendar

Degree candidates are admitted throughout the year to begin their degree during one of three semesters (spring, summer and fall). Students take two courses during each 14-week semester, focusing on one 7-week course at a time. This degree program can be completed in 5 semesters (20 months).

cutting-edge Curriculum

Our data science master’s degree curriculum is designed to equip graduates with the technical knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to apply powerful and modern analytical tools to real-world applications.

Taught by expert practitioners, the University of San Diego’s online Master of Science in Applied Data Science (MS-ADS) curriculum is designed to position graduates for success in the workplace. The program culminates in a Capstone experience that pairs them with fellow students, instructors, and potential industry partners on an in-depth project that showcases their ability to apply their data science knowledge and skills.



Recorded Lectures
Recorded Computer Programming Videos
Live Weekly Office Hours
Channel-based Messaging Platform
Supervision of Teamwork Final Projects
Real-world Dataset Applications

Assessment Methods

Programming-based Assignments
Interactive Discussions
Online Short Quizzes and Tests
Teamwork Final Projects
Oral Presentations
Writing Professional Reports
A Comprehensive Capstone

Program Goals

The University of San Diego’s program differentiates itself from the best online data science master’s programs in several unique and important ways. For example, the program:


Accreditation is an important quality indicator for college and university degree programs, generally regarded as a stamp of approval that ensures you will be able to apply for financial aid and transfer your credits if you decide to switch schools. Most state universities and private non-profit universities will have a regional accreditation. The University of San Diego has earned both regional and national accreditations.

Accreditations include:

The WASC Senior College and University Commission – WASC is a regional accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid. Learn more about the importance of selecting a regionally accredited program.

expert faculty

The faculty members selected for the M.S. in Applied Data Science program possess a unique combination of government, academic, and industry experience spanning enterprises focused on technology, engineering, business, marketing, education, and more. All courses in the M.S. in Applied Data Science degree program are taught by these real-world experts in the applied data science field.

Erin Cooke
Erin Cooke, MS
Adjunct Professor
Headshot of Matthew Vanderbilt
Matthew C. Vanderbilt, MS
Adjunct Professor
Headshot of Ebrahim K. Tarshizi
Ebrahim Tarshizi, PhD
Academic Director
Headshot of Jules Malin
Jules Malin, MS
Adjunct Professor

Tuition and Financial Aid

Program tuition is competitive with other top institutions. Federal financial aid can help you fund your degree. Scholarships and grants may also be available.

Affordable Tuition

Find helpful information on tuition and financial aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an undergraduate degree in science or engineering?

It is expected that most applicants will have an undergraduate degree in science, mathematics, engineering, information technology, computer science or a STEM field. However, the program is also open to those with a bachelor’s degree from other fields (such as business, for example); such applicants are asked to provide a written statement on how their skills and experience are suited to the program.

I’m a skilled data analyst who would like to advance, will this degree help?

This program is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of data analysts who are looking to advance to a data science role at their current organization or elsewhere.

I’m new to data science, looking to change careers — will this degree help?

The USD MS-ADS program is extremely well-suited to professionals who hold advanced degrees in other disciplines and are looking to develop helpful expertise in data science.

Is a GRE or GMAT required for admission?

Candidates who have a GPA above 2.5 are not required to take a GRE or GMAT; however, a standardized test such as GRE or GMAT will be required for applicants with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.5.

What is data science?

Now driving innovation and change across nearly all industries, data science is focused on uncovering valuable insights hidden in the vast amounts of data that humans and their machines now produce every single day

How much does the online data science master’s degree cost in tuition?

The Master of Science in Applied Data Science online program is 36 total credits at $965 per credit, for a total tuition of $31,845. However, this includes two prerequisite classes that may be waived for some students based on past experience. (those who qualify will complete 30 credits; total tuition: $28,950). Thanks to available federal financial aid, most students find the program to be a valuable, affordable investment that quickly pays for itself.

Does USD offer career development/advising support?

The University of San Diego is committed to steering you on a path toward educational and professional success. Right from the start, you’ll receive support from experienced University of San Diego advisors, and then further guidance from USD’s Career Development Center.

Is it true you offer the MS in Applied Data Science online for students in India? What is the difference?

Yes! We are proud to offer the MS in Applied Data Science from the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering to students who wish to study online in India. These students will get the same credential as an on-campus student or an online student in the US. The curriculum is just as rigorous and holistic as it is on campus, however it is globalized for the Indian audience so that the coursework applies to both Indian and the international job markets. In addition, to minimize language and cultural barriers the instructors are all from India and hired at the same standard as our campus faculty – with real-world experience and impressive academic backgrounds.

Must-Watch Webinar for Current and Future Data Scientists

Get an inside look at the University of San Diego’s online data science master’s degree program in this free, on-demand video.

USD MS in Applied Data Science Information Session Webinar