Master of Science in Applied Data Science


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Your Career in Data Science

Opportunities for data scientists continue to expand rapidly across a broad spectrum of fields. ZDNet reports that data from LinkedIn shows a three-year hiring growth of 37% for data scientist jobs.

TechRepublic called it the “No. 1 most promising job in America” in 2019, citing a median base salary of $130,000 and a single-year increase in job openings of 56%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median salaries of $126,830, with the top 10% earning more than $194,430.

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, Retail, Media, Government and Military, Aerospace, Food and Hospitality. This means you have the opportunity to target fields in which you have the most interest or experience when launching or advancing your data science career.

Analyst working with Business Analytics and Data Management System

Industry insights


Median salary for Data Scientists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Minimum earnings of top 10% of Data Scientists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Careers in Data Science

A master’s degree in applied data science is not just for current and future data scientists. The cutting-edge curriculum — including courses in Machine Learning, Text Mining, Predictive Modeling, and more — is focused on combining comprehensive technical knowledge and skills with a deep understanding of how to apply them in real-world applications. This is a degree program designed to position you for career success in a number of related high-tech roles.

Data Scientist

Data scientists add immense value to the organizations they work for by using advanced techniques and technologies to identify actionable business insights from vast volumes of data.

  • Projected Salary:
Data Engineer

Data engineers are chiefly responsible for ensuring that the data is production-ready, which can consist of proper formatting, scaling, resilience and security.

  • Projected Salary:
Business Intelligence Analyst

BI analysts are responsible for transforming data into insights that drive value for their organization and communicating such opportunities to company decision-makers.

  • Projected Salary:

*Salary estimates from employment sites such as U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LinkedIn, Springboard, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, etc. Estimates often update in real time based on changing data.

Take the Next Step in Your Data Science Career

a word from the academic director

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.

Student Support Services

When you select the University of San Diego for your master’s degree program, you not only open the door to a leading-edge learning experience guided by a faculty of engaged, industry practitioner-instructors, you also connect with a university support team that is invested in your success — from the moment you apply through Graduation Day and beyond!

Visit our USD Student Support page for information about:

  • Enrollment Advising
  • Program Advising
  • Academic Advising
  • Instructor Support
  • Library Access and Support
  • Technical (IT) Support

The MS in Applied Data Science student support page also includes helpful information about:

  • The MADS team
  • Admissions
  • Financial Aid Services
  • Military and Veterans Program
  • And more

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.

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 $925 per credit, for a total tuition of $33,300. 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: $27,750). 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 and guidance from experienced University of San Diego advisors who are invested in helping you achieve your education goals!

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

As part of the University of San Diego’s role as a thought leader in the data science sphere, we regularly publish blog posts about industry trends, the employment outlook, and data science career strategies, as well as additional information resources.

7 Questions to ask before selecting a data science masters degree program ebook

7 Questions to Ask Before Selecting an Applied Data Science Master’s Degree Program

7 Questions to Ask Before Selecting an Applied Data Science Master’s Degree Program Accelerate Your Career in an Exciting, High-Paying, In-Demand Field With data science driving innovation across nearly all industries, employers are seeking skilled data scientists and paying top dollar to hire them.

What is the Next Step?

Now that you’ve gathered some “data” about the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Applied Data Science degree program, a great next step is to start a conversation with a USD enrollment advisor who can answer all of your questions and offer more insight into this life-changing opportunity.