DATA SCIENCE
MASTER OF SCIENCE

As a result of globalization and advances in technology during the 21st century, the complexity and variety of data have evolved while the volume of data continues to increase daily. This phenomenon has been dubbed “The Big Data Revolution.” The world is inundated with data and information, stemming from, but not limited to, social media platforms, business transactions, internet sources, cellular data usage, and file sharing.

The Master of Science in Data Science program prepares students to collect, analyze, visualize, and communicate actionable insights for data-driven decisions in business, non-profit, and government organizations. Data analytics can be used to maintain competitiveness, adapt business strategies, increase sales, or enhance security.

Offered on campus in Erie, Pennsylvania, students in the M.S. in Data Science program benefit from the recently completed MCPc Cyber Education Center (2018).

Program Overview

  • Options: Master’s, Graduate Certificate, 4+1 (MU Undergrads Only)
  • Location(s): On campus
  • Credits: 36
  • Duration: Minimum 21 months
  • Deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Start term(s): Fall or Spring semester
  • Careers: Data analyst, data scientist

Mercyhurst University pioneered the field of intelligence studies in the mid-1990s and is home to the largest and oldest academic intelligence enterprise in the United States. Founded in 1996, the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences has earned a reputation throughout the world for the quality and cutting-edge analysis skills of its graduates. 

As “The Big Data Revolution” evolved, Mercyhurst has invested heavily in both data science and cyber security. Drawing on the diverse learning resources and experienced faculty of the Ridge College, these programs harness our national security bona fides to offer unparalleled instruction in some of today’s most dynamic fields. 

Learning Outcomes

Mercyhurst graduate programs are designed to give our students a competitive edge in the marketplace. You will be prepared as a professional data scientist who will serve as a key informant for decision-makers in both the public and private sectors. You will be able to:

  • Assess, evaluate, and respond to decision-maker needs and requirements.
  • Collect, clean, store, and query data from a variety of private and public data sources.
  • Apply appropriate analytic techniques to provide estimates that support decision-making and action.
  • Communicate actionable information and findings in easy-to-understand written, oral, and visual formats.

The M.S. in Data Science is a 36-credit hybrid program offered primarily on campus in Erie, Pennsylvania. Some online coursework is offered as part of the program to help with schedule flexibility. With full-time enrollment, students can complete the program in as little as 21 months. 

Our program’s unique curriculum will prepare students, even those with limited to no previous experience with data analysis, for careers as data scientists. 

This 36-credit STEM program features a curriculum that emphasizes:

  • Programming
  • Data visualization
  • Machine learning
  • Database skills
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Communication skills

Prospective students looking to earn a quick credential or ease into graduate school can opt for the four-course, 12-credit graduate certificate in Data Analytics. The 100 percent online program can be completed in as little as 9 months. Those credits can then be applied to the master’s degree, should you choose to continue your education. 

Course Requirements

  • CIS 500: Computing & Information Science Concepts
  • CIS 501: Probability and Statistics
  • CIS 510: Algorithm Development
  • CIS 551: Big Data Analytics
Available to qualified Mercyhurst undergraduate students, the M.S. in Data Science allows students to begin earning graduate credits during their junior years at no additional cost.* Students starting the 4+1 in the fall of their junior years can earn up to 12 credits, shortening their time to master’s completion and saving more than $10,000. Learn More.

Career Paths

Data science is one of the most important disciplines of the future, and it will intersect with every professional area as the reservoir of the world’s data continues to grow. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, “the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.”

Admissions Requirements

Prospective applicants for the Master of Science in Data Science must fulfill the following admissions requirements. At the discretion of the director of the data science graduate program, acceptance may be granted to applicants who have not fulfilled all the admissions requirements provided they agree to the conditions of the acceptance prescribed by the director.

Admissions decisions are made by the program director on a rolling basis after a holistic review. Applicants can choose to start in either the Fall (preferred) or Spring semester.

  • Completed (free) online application
  • A bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited school with a preferred overall minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you’ve attended 
  • A current resume 
  • A 500- to 750-word personal statement outlining your reasons for enrolling and personal and professional goals
  • A letter of recommendation (1) from a professional or academic source (such as an employer or professor)
  • International applicants whose records are written in a language other than English must have their documents translated into English and a notarized statement attesting to the accuracy of the translations
  • International applicants whose primary language is not English must attain a TOEFL score of at least 79 on the internet-based exam OR an IELTS score of at least 6.5 OR a Duolingo English Test score of no less than 100.

Cost and Financial Aid

Mercyhurst graduate programs are competitively priced. Our goals it to provide you with an education that earns you an excellent return on your investment.

Tuition for the M.S. in Data Science graduate program is $926 per credit (2019/20 school year rates).

Estimated total program cost for the M.S. in Data Science is $36,000.

Learn more about available financial aid for graduate programs including:

  • Graduate Assistant (GA) positions
  • Graduate Employment (GE) positions
  • Corporate partner tuition rates
  • Veteran benefits
  • Employer reimbursement
  • Federal Direct Loans

Contact Us

Dr. M. Afzal Upal
Chair, Data Science Graduate Program
Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences
Phone: 814-824-2117
Email: mupal@mercyhurst.edu


Meet the Faculty

Computing and Information Science