As you probably know, data science has exploded in recent years. There is more data than ever before, and that data needs enthusiastic and skilled people to analyze it and gain meaningful insights. Many (including yourself we assume) are seeing the potential of a data science skillset and a data science degree seems like a sensible choice, right?
Universities have been adding this lucrative field to their curriculums for a few years but of course, they are not all equal. What this article has set out to do is introduce you to some of the more unique data science degree programs. The ones that are exciting but may have slipped under the radar.
We’ve hand-picked these programs for the budding data scientist who may want something a little different and we hope there will be something among these awesome degrees that suits you. If, however, you go through the list and are not feeling super enthusiastic about a university degree, remember that it’s not for everyone. Therefore, we have included an alternate educational route at the end of this article for you to consider.
The following are bachelor’s degrees and while some of these universities offer master’s degrees as well, we have not focused on what these have to offer. If you are looking for a master’s in data science, we recommend you visit this site from our friends ‘master’s in data science’ who have really put a lot of effort into compiling a comprehensive list of master’s programs.
Which are the 10 Most Exciting Data Science Degree Programs for 2020?
1.University of Portsmouth – Data Science and Analytics BSc
We’re going to kick this off with a UK university and one that is situated in the author of this article’s hometown. While that is exciting enough, it’s Portsmouth University's supercomputer, SCIAMA, that is the real star of the show.
SCIAMA has been used to probe dark matter and the origins of the universe, and as a student in this course, you’ll get to practice your skills on real-world datasets based on cosmology research.
Add their SAP Next-Gen lab into the mix along with close relations with IBM, UKcloud, and Intel for work placements… and you’ve got one of the most unique and practical Data Science degrees in the world.
Of course, if you do decide to make Portsmouth your University of choice, drop a line in the comments and we’ll also give you a list of the best places to visit!
2.Eindhoven University of Technology – Bachelor Data Science
Let’s jump to the Netherlands now, to The Eindhoven University of Technology. The interesting thing about this program is that it’s a joint one with Tilburg University and you will be a bachelor of both at the end of your degree.
They say two is better than one – two universities, two data science centers, and two groups of data science experts.
But what’s better than two?
Five, that’s what! And that’s the number of master’s programs you can directly transfer to on completion of your bachelors. They provide these specialized tracks through the two universities’ cooperation, called Jheronimus Academy of Data Science.
This University gives you everything you’ll need to make an informed decision on where to take your data science journey, after all, there isn’t just one route.
3.Florida Polytechnic University – Bachelor of Science Data Science
The data science degree at Florida Polytechnic University emphasizes practical applications. Health informatics is a big part of this program. With health care spending predicted to reach $5.5 trillion by 2025, that seems like a sensible move.
Data plays a huge part in the health industry and knowledgeable data scientists will be able to turn it into actionable insights that will make a meaningful impact on the lives and health of many.
So, if for you, a career in data science is not just about a high salary but also saving humanity then this degree may be the one for you.
With a strong and skilled faculty, Florida Polytechnic also boasts the ability to teach its students how to become the most talented data scientists in real-world environments.
4.Liverpool John Moores University – BSc Data Science
Liverpool John Moores University has one of the strongest data science degrees in the UK, equipping their students with a balance of theoretical and practical skills.
This program wants to give its students a strong foothold when it comes to entering the job market by incorporating a wide range of areas within its curriculum.
Where LJMU’s BS data science degree really gets exciting is with its sandwich year. The curriculum is designed to complement a paid work placement as it suits the needs of employers today.
All this means that LJMU has close ties with BBC, Warner Brothers, Microsoft, Barclays Bank, and Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals (among numerous others – over 450, in fact). And many of their graduates gain employment with the companies with whom they did their sandwich year.
With many students finishing university and feeling unprepared for the job market, LJMU sets itself apart by ensuring that its course is catered for your future career.
5.IT University of Copenhagen – BSc Data Science
The IT University of Copenhagen really takes its data science seriously. Projects, exercises, lectures, real-world problems, and the option of choosing between a business or a technical track make this degree one of the most interesting and comprehensive. Considering it’s also free to EU members, that’s not something to stick your nose up at.
They also offer live coding sessions for hands-on experience. Coupled with a Study Lab where students get the opportunity to further practice the skills they’ve picked up through the week. Non-curricular topics, review sessions, and professional lectures from external speakers not only give students that extra level of knowledge, but also show that this university is passionate about what it teaches.
Throw in the opportunity to travel abroad for a semester, and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome degree program.
6.Northern Kentucky University – BSc Data Science
Aside from being ranked among the best degree programs in the world, it was also one of the first, meaning it has had time to refine its curriculum to be the most effective.
However, this list was not about the best and the oldest degrees, it’s about the freshest and most exciting. Now, what NKU offers that sounds really useful and interesting is their co-op opportunities.
Co-op opportunities are not too dissimilar from internships, but they provide the student with credits for their degree.
NKU offers a good degree of flexibility with co-op programs with parallel and alternating options. They work with the employer and the student to ensure both get the most out of the placement. NKU has created yet another course that is designed to give the student an education that will affect them positively in the real world and, in turn, on the job market.
7.University of Rochester – BS or BA Data Science
The thing that makes UoR exciting is the options it gives you. Straight away they are giving you the choice of how you want to study data science. The more in-depth look of the BS or the flexible BA that combines nicely with a double major.
Then they give students the option of choosing the topic for which they want to do their advanced coursework.
The topic they choose is related to a capstone project where students can work with industries to conduct real-world analytics projects. These projects are at the center of the program and are essentially where students apply all they’ve learned. It is a chance to understand the business problem, clean, and analyze the data, and devise a solution, recording all findings along the way.
And if that wasn’t enough, the university organizes hackathons, discussions, parties and more. There are meetups, hacker groups, and a variety of talks throughout the year.
There really is so much going on at Rochester and all of it looks amazing!
8.The University of Warwick – BS Data Science
The University of Warwick can proudly say that it was the first University in the UK to offer a degree solely for data science.
Due to their outstanding research, they have been named one of the partners of the Alan Turing Institute of Data Science. Don’t expect the research at Warwick to slow down any time soon with this accolade.
Equipped with enthusiastic students who are proud of their multidisciplinary degree, The University of Warwick’s BS in Data science should be on your radar.
9.Mills College – BS Data Science
So, how about this? One of the professors at Mills helped write the national curriculum guidelines for the data science degree. If that’s not going to give you a huge advantage, I don’t know what will. Maybe studying in small classes, individual mentoring, a choice of four tracks to suit your preferences, hands-on experience, or meeting leading employers could give you an advantage too.
Well, Mills has all that and more.
Their program teaches students how to combine training in statistics, computing, communication, and practical skills to analyze and solve real-world problems.
Perfect for the student thinking about a range of data science career paths they could take. Mills will help you find your way and succeed.
10.Aalto University, Finland – BS Data Science
Aalto’s course offers everything you would expect from a top-class degree program – algorithm design, machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistical inference, operations research, and optimization.
Along with co-op opportunities, a masters track and flexible study choices make this course an amalgamation of great benefits.
But what makes Aalto that extra bit special is the university’s attitude. Rather than having their disciplines rigidly separate, they treat research, art, science, education, technology, and entrepreneurship as equally important in the modern world. The university encourages bold thinkers and works toward solving the biggest global problems. And as one of the highest ranked universities in Finland and the world, they are definitely doing something right.
So, that’s a list of what we believe to be some of the most exciting data science degrees out there.
But if I can have your attention a little longer, I have one last thing to say for those of you who have reached the end of this and are not feeling as excited as you think you should. Not because you don’t love data science and analytics, but because the idea of university doesn’t do it for you.
Higher education certainly isn’t for everybody, which is unfortunate for those who want a career that demands one. Luckily, data science is not one of those. Many data scientists come from academia for sure, but many also make their way into their careers through self-study and online courses.
The benefits of online courses are that you save on time and money while still gaining the necessary skills. If you think that this may be a better route for you, we implore you to first check out our blog for more information on the subject and, second, to consider our very own complete data science online program – we have put together a comprehensive course that is of the highest quality and a worthy alternative to a university degree.
Whichever route you decide to take, and trust us – there are many, we hope you put your all into it and make the most of this fascinating, revolutionary and exciting field that is Data Science.