Mercyhurst University

Data Science Master's Degree

The data science master's degree program educates students to collect, analyze, visualize and communicate actionable insights for data-driven business decisions. A master’s degree in the data science field can be a valuable asset in acquiring employment in many types of companies ranging from insurance to security firms.

Apply online for the MS in Data Science today for free. Applications are currently being accepted for entrance into the Fall 2018 cohort beginning August 2018. Priority application deadline is March 31, 2018. Applications will be accepted after this date only as space is available.  

Data scientists collect, analyze, and model information for decision makers in businesses, non-profits and government agencies.  Business analytics can be used to maintain competitiveness, adapt business strategies, increase sales, or enhance security.

The Ridge College data science graduate program educates students as professional data scientists and data analysts who produce, visualize and communicate actionable competitive intelligence for data-driven business decisions in both the public and private sectors. 

Data science at the Ridge College is a cornerstone of cross-disciplinary learning, featuring a comprehensive, challenging curriculum that emphasizes:

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

The master's degree in data science is a STEM major (CIP code 30.0801).

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What is data science?

As a result of globalization and advances in technology during the 21st century, the complexity and variety of data has 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.

Industry and governmental organizations collect, organize and analyze data and information for several reasons whether they're trying to maintain their competitive edge,  alter business strategies in order to increase sales, or to enhance national security.

What will I learn in the master's degree in data science?

The Master of Science in Data Science program at the Ridge College will educate students as professional data scientists who will serve as key informants for decision makers in both the public and private sectors.

Graduates 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.

Those interested in receiving additional information about the data science master's program at the Ridge College, including an application packet, should complete the online inquiry form.

What are the requirements of the data science graduate degree program?

To obtain a data science master's degree at the Ridge College, the graduate students must complete 36 graduate hours of study that includes eight core courses and four elective courses. For full course descriptions, click here.  

Required Courses

(8 courses): 24 credits

  • Analytics for Decision-Making
  • Data Wrangling with R
  • Introduction to Programming with Python
  • Machine Learning Concepts I
  • Machine Learning Concepts II
  • Intelligence Communications
  • Research Methods in Intelligence
  • Managing Strategic Intelligence

Required Electives

(4 courses): 12 credits

Data Science Electives

(2 courses; 6 credits)

Intelligence Electives

(2 courses; 6 credits)

  • DATA 562: Data Visualization with JavaScript
  • DATA 580: Data Science App Development
  • DATA 620: Database Technologies
  • DATA 650: Topics in Data Science
  • DATA 670: Big Data Tools
  • DATA 675: Internship
  • INTL 520: Advanced Analytic Techniques
  • INTL 560:Cyber Threat Analysis
  • INTL 540: Competitive Intelligence
  • INTL 548:Market Research and Primary Intelligence
  • INTL 595: Geospatial Intelligence
  • INTL 605: Data Analytics for the Private Sector
  • INTL 612: Social Media Analysis
  • INTL 625: Intelligence and Business Strategy
  • INTL 626: Financial Intelligence Analysis
  • INTL 638: Social Network Analysis

What is the typical full-time course schedule?

Semester Fall Semester Spring Semester
First Year
  • Analytics for Decision-Making
  • Data Wrangling with R
  • Intro to Programming with Python
  • Machine Learning Concepts I
  • Intelligence Communications
  • Research Methods in Intelligence
Second Year
  • Machine Learning Concepts II
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Managing Strategic Intelligence
  • Elective
  • Elective

What is the estimated cost of the Master of Science in Data Science graduate degree program?

The following represents the cost estimate of the program for tuition and fees based on costs in academic year 2016-17. Tuition/fee rates and do not include housing, books, or other costs associated with attendance in an academic program. Please note that tuition and fees may be increased each academic year.

  • Tuition
    • 3 Credit Course: $2,520.00 USD
  • Required Fees
    • Registration Fee (per semester): $75.00
    • Technology Fee (per semester): $100.00
    • Data Science Program Fee (per semester): $140.00
  • Approximate Total Degree Cost
    • Full-time 36 credits in 4 semesters (two years of study): $31,500.00 USD

To find out more about financing your graduate education, use the following links:

>> Graduate Assistantships and Employment

>> Employer Reimbursement

>> Federal Direct Loans

>> Mercyhurst Billing and Payment Options

Does the program welcome veterans and participants in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Veterans are encouraged to apply to the data science  and intelligence programs. Mercyhurst University is a participant of the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows veterans to attend graduate programs which cost more than the state tuition cap. To find out more about using your veteran benefits and our veteran's services at Mercyhurst University, click here.


For More Information

Should you have any questions regarding this program, the admissions process, graduate financial aid or to set up a campus tour, please contact us via the information below:

Office of Graduate & Continuing Education
501 East 38th St 
Erie, PA 16546
Phone: (814) 824-3351

Dr. M. Afzal Upal, Chair of the Data Science Graduate Program
Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences
Mercyhurst University
501 E 38th St
Erie, PA 16546-0001 USA
814-824-2117 (EST)


Data Science Graduate Degree Information Sheet

Data Science Graduate Degree Course Requirements and Completion Plan

Data Science Course Descriptions