Applications Open for Fall 2022
Applications for the online master’s degree in computer science are being accepted for the Fall 2022 cohort. All required application materials must be submitted online by July 1, 2022 (Fall). To learn more about applying to our online Master of Computer Science program, please visit our Admissions page.
An Interdisciplinary Curriculum Designed to Solve Business Problems
Rice's online Master of Data Science program is designed to support the needs of working professionals who want to apply data science and data analytics knowledge, theory and techniques to solve difficult, real-world problems, beginning with raw, unstructured data and ending with actionable insights. Discover the difference between Rice University’s online data science masters and other comparable programs.
An Immersive Data Science Education
Program participants will develop a graduate-level understanding of the computational and statistical foundations of data science, including the use of data analytics to extract big data insights. Through in-depth study, online Master of Data Science students obtain mastery of either one of the core methods of data science or one application area of data science. As a leading research institution, students pursuing the online Master of Data Science program at Rice will gain immersive, experiential learning through the Capstone Project.
Business Analytics and Machine Learning Specializations
Online MDS students can choose between relevant specializations in either machine learning or business analytics. Within these concentrations, you will develop the necessary technical skills needed to improve machine learning and AI or help executives make data-driven decisions using big data, data analytics, and data visualization.
Flexible & Convenient Pacing, Customizable Education Paths
The online Master of Data Science program is designed for non-traditional graduate students who need to balance their educational goals while working and/or raising families. You’ll be able to maintain your work-life schedule while earning your degree part-time in our best-in-class flexible and engaging learning format. Part-time students can expect to complete the flexible online MDS program within 2 - 3.5 years, and starting in Fall 2022, students may complete the program full-time in 18-24 months with strong prerequisites.
An Epicenter of Innovation
Students will benefit from Rice University’s stature within Houston, Texas: Energy Capital of the World. Leveraging employer relationships within the Energy industry, Aerospace industry and Texas Medical Center in Houston, students will apply their knowledge to real-world applications like the Energy Transition, space robotics, and breakthrough biomedical innovations.
With Rice at the nexus of these influential industries, our online MDS students can leverage professional opportunities and resources, including:
- Connection to The Ion and networking opportunities within Houston’s entrepreneurship community
- Opportunities to collaborate with Fortune 500 companies, Rice Faculty and researchers, government, and non-profits
Best-in-Class Online Learning
Consider the benefits of achieving your Master of Data Science degree online from Rice: a best-in-class flexible and engaging learning format. In our online Master of Data Science programs, your classes are led by distinguished Computer Science Department faculty and enhanced by interdepartmental and intercollegiate experts. Learn from professionals in small class groups and via 1:1 faculty interactions. You will gain real-world skills that support your career goals.
RICE MDS ONLINE
Rice’s multidisciplinary data science faculty are experts in a variety of areas, including computer science, statistics, electrical and computer engineering, and business. In addition to core coursework in programming, data analytics, statistics, data visualization, machine learning and big data, our faculty will also provide instruction in other key areas, including:
- Ethics in data science
- Deep learning and network science
- Image processing and medical imaging
- Data-driven marketing, finance and operations management
- What does the online Master of Data Science program cost?
Students in the Online Master of Data Science program will pay the standard Rice University part-time rate of $1,666.70 per credit hour. The program requires a minimum of 31 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
- Is financial aid available?
Because the Master of Data Science (MDS) is a non-thesis (non-research) degree, Rice University does not offer tuition waivers, stipends, fellowships, or assistantships for this program. Corporate and employer scholarships are sometimes available, and all accepted students are eligible to apply. Students are also encouraged to visit the Rice Office of Student Financial Services for more information about loans and outside sources of aid.
- How do I decide between Rice's Master of Data Science and the Master of Computer Science?
Data scientists are part statisticians, part mathematicians, and part computer scientists, but above all, they love the idea of leveraging data to form hypotheses and uncover answers, solve big problems, and make strategic recommendations to improve their organizations and society.
If, however, you prefer the prospect of leveraging technologies like machine learning to build advanced software systems and digital innovations (for example, autonomous vehicles), the Master of Computer Science may be right for you. Prospective students for the MCS program should have programming experience, although a CS background is not required with sufficient prerequisites.
- What is the difference between data science and data analytics?
While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between data science and data analytics. Data analysts focus on analyzing vast amounts of data to discern patterns that can be used in effective business decision-making. Data scientists know how to develop and apply analytical tools and build automation systems and frameworks to structure data, mine it, explain it and offer insight into how the data informs business decisions.
- Should I apply if I don’t have a STEM undergrad/graduate background?
Master of Data Science applicants do not have to have a computational background as the goal of the degree is to quickly cover foundational topics in computation, mathematics, and statistics. The program is interdisciplinary by design so that it has direct application for students across industries.
- How long does it take to complete the online Master of Data Science program?
Since Rice's Master of Data Science (Online) program is designed as a part-time program for working professionals, most students take 1 or 2 courses per term. At this pace, students can expect to finish in approximately 2 - 3.5 years.
Starting with the Fall 2022 intake, students who are not working will be welcome to attend the program full-time, which would allow them to complete the program in 18-24 months (pending strength of prerequisites upon admission).