Master's in Business Analytics

The term 'business analytics' refers to the methodical investigation of organizational data in order to evaluate a company's year-to-year performance and enact measures that optimize daily operations. Analytics is concentrated in data, statistics, and predictive modeling. Many graduates who leave school with a master's degree in business analytics go on to become management analysts; the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects this profession will grow by 14% between 2014 and 2024, resulting in more than 103,000 new positions. Other potential career paths include marketing analysts, information security analysts, and project managers.

Employment Growth for Management Analysts, 2014-2024
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
758,000 861,400
Best Campus Business Analytics Master's Degrees
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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Score 8.11
Average Tuition $ 9,143
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 508

UNC holds the title of the nation's first public university and it delivers its prestigious academic programs to a diverse and talented student body, including students in its MBA program. The school’s on-campus, full-time MBA program offers several concentrations. The 63-credit, two-year program consists of 15 required courses and three additional core courses. Students choose one of 10 concentrations or combine two concentrations that reflect their career goals.

The MBA emphasizes data analytics and decision making, an area of expertise at UNC. The business analytics concentration focuses on quantitative toolsets students need to make effective decisions. Popular elective courses include marketing analytics, pricing, data analytics: tools and opportunities, operations management models, strategic economics, and healthcare analytics. UNC's MBA incorporates real-world business simulations and offers an optional capstone course in which leadership skills are put to the test.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Score 8.04
Average Tuition $ 46,400
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 725

Home to more than 11,000 students, MIT’s innovation has led to world-famous technological advances and scientific breakthroughs. Among other great programs, MIT offers a one-year master of business analytics designed for careers in data science. The program includes core courses like the analytics edge, applied probability and stochastic model, machine learning, and optimization methods. Students select elective courses from a list of offerings, including digital marketing and social media analytics, supply chain management, marketing analytics, and consumer behavior.

During the master's in business analytics capstone project, students work on data science problems with companies like GE Appliances, GroupM, and McKinsey and Company. Students focus on capstone projects during part of the year, participate in a 10-week summer internship, and submit a final report in September.

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University of Pennsylvania

Score 7.71
Average Tuition $ 31,068
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,525

Penn is well-known for its top-ranked educational offerings. The Wharton School of Business is a world leader in operations management, judgment and decision making, and information systems. These areas converge in Wharton's MBA, a 20-month program that offers 19 majors, including a business analytics MBA. Students immersed in study of the MBA core and an analytics focus on how to collect and manage datasets, use data to predict markets, and use analytics to inform decision-making.

Required major-focused courses include studies in operations strategy, quality and productivity, and business analytics. Students choose from a comprehensive catalog of MBA electives, including modelling for marketing strategy, analytics for revenue management, modern data mining, and applied probability models in marketing. Wharton offers campus recruiting services for students hoping to secure summer or permanent positions as well as a robust team of advisors.

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Columbia University in the City of New York

Score 7.52
Average Tuition $ 42,280
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,544

Since its inception 250 years ago, Columbia has educated great minds who go on to be pioneers their field. The School of Professional Studies offers a 36-credit MS in applied analytics that fosters professionals versed in data-driven decision-making. The program incorporates coursework, group exercises, guest lecturers, and networking.

The program ranks high among business analytics programs by developing the curriculum around a leadership, management, and communication core in which students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to have successful careers. The applied analytics core develops students' skills in data collection and usage in order to help solve an organization’s problems. The curriculum includes coursework in applied analytics in an organizational context, analytics to lead change, research design, and data visualization. A capstone requirement partners students with organizations to work on analytics projects. Students complete the program full-time in three semesters or part-time in six.

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University of Virginia

Score 7.51
Average Tuition $ 14,518
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 802

Established by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, UVA’s focus on cross-disciplinary studies makes the school a pioneer in education. Located in Charlottesville, UVA offers a 10-month, 32-credit MS in commerce— business analytics track comprised of a 17-credit integrative core experience and a 15-credit business analytics concentration. The core classes include global strategy and systems, strategic cost management, and financial accounting. The analytics track includes studies in business analytics, customer analytics, web analytics for ecommerce, and advanced quantitative analysis.

The program offers students the opportunity to present to top executives, work in diverse teams, and participate in a global immersion experience to Europe, Asia, India, Latin America, or the Middle East. Upon completing the master's in business analytics, graduates develop strategies that build customer engagement and brand loyalty, analyze data to inform decision making, and leverage analytics to bolster e-commerce.

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College of William and Mary

Score 7.48
Average Tuition $ 8,009
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 450

W & M offers rigorous, time-tested liberal arts curriculum and research opportunities to its 8,500 students. Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, W & M delivers programs taught in classrooms with a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students seeking a career in data analytics find the full-time, 30-credit MS in business analytics among W & M’s program listings. The program focuses on advanced analytic methodologies within a business management context. Students focus their study around the use of and communication about big data sets.

The 10-month master's in business analytics includes coursework in data management, probability and statistics, optimization, machine learning, and heuristic algorithms. A 12-week artificial intelligence course covers AI methods such as genetic algorithms, fuzzy logic, and neural networks. A capstone requires students to participate in a business analytics project focused on problem solving using large data sets. Students choose from among several business projects representing various industries.

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University of California-Los Angeles

Score 7.47
Average Tuition $ 11,220
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 623

The creation of nearly 140 companies through UCLA’s technological developments make it a global leader in education. The school boasts 13 Nobel Prize winners, 12 MacArthur Fellows, and is a titan in NCAA sports and the Olympics. Students seeking a career in data analytics partake in UCLA’s pioneering spirit with its 48-credit MS in business analytics program.

The two-year program requires students to study four core areas: programming and data management methods, model development and construction, business analytics, and industry applications. Students take courses online during the first fall quarter, with subsequent semesters involving on-campus study at UCLA Anderson. Capstone students work on projects that incorporate data analytics tasks common to businesses and organizations. The business analytics degree requires a supervised summer internship.

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Georgia Institute of Technology

Score 7.34
Average Tuition $ 13,452
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 561

Georgia Tech ranks nationally in multiple fields located throughout its six colleges, including its analytics department. It’s 36-credit MS in analytics cultivates an interdisciplinary approach with classes in statistics, computing, operations research, and business. Students complete the on-campus program in one year in one of three tracks: analytical tools, business analytics, or computational data analytics.

All students in the business analytics program are required to take the 15-credit core, which includes classes in data and visual analytics, big data analytics in business, and operations research. A six-credit applied analytics capstone incorporates either teamwork on a significant analytics project at a company or participation in an internship. Among the program's notable features is job placement assistance, including on-campus job fairs with recruiters from the analytics field. Students receive a travel budget for analytics conferences and free cloud computing resources and software.

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California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Score 7.06
Average Tuition $ 6,738
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 374

Located in San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly boasts a "learning by doing" credo. The curriculum delivers personalized learning in small classrooms dedicated to hands-on approaches. The school’s MS in business analytics is a 10-month program that incorporates economics, statistics, finance, marketing, and information systems into a comprehensive business course of study.

The business analytics degree core includes study of data visualization and communication in business, data management for business analytics, statistics for econometrics, computational methods in economics, and data analytics and mining for business. Students take electives such as advanced econometrics, evidence-based decision analysis, and research topics. Students work in teams on real-world projects for actual clients that add invaluable experience and resume building. The program is supported by an advisory board comprised of industry experts.

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The University of Texas at Austin

Score 6.95
Average Tuition $ 10,934
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 593

UT Austin’s 36-credit MS in business analytics is a 10-month program for data professionals dedicated to harnessing big data that builds stronger businesses. The MSBA, which sits high on national business analytics rankings, includes study of data analytics programming, predictive modeling, text analysis, database management, and stochastic control and optimization.

Throughout the program, students take unique courses designed to simulate the workplace. For example, the capstone project takes students out of the classroom and into real companies to help with work on current projects. Students have access to recruiters at business titans such as Deloitte Consulting, McKinsey, and Walmart, and a vast network of industry connections at UT. After the program, a career development team helps graduates get a job.

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University of Southern California

Score 6.92
Average Tuition $ 39,984
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,666

USC boasts more academic programs and international students than any other American institution. At the Marshall School of Business, students learn from world-class faculty who emphasize a rigorous business foundation. Aspiring data scientists enroll full-time or part-time in a 33-credit MS in business analytics. Full-time students complete the degree in 18 months. The program incorporates 11 courses designed both for managers seeking to hone their analytical skills and recent college grads with a background in analytics.

With coursework designed by one of the top schools for a master's in business analytics, USC students focus on data-driven decision-making, data management, applied modern statistical learning methods, and statistical computing and data visualization. Students have a catalog of elective options: database systems, probability and data modeling, and fraud analytics.

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University of Notre Dame

Score 6.79
Average Tuition $ 47,300
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 2,628

Founded in 1842 by a French missionary, Notre Dame is one of the nation’s leading Catholic research institutions. The school offers several specialized master's programs, including a 30-credit MS in business analytics. This one-year program accommodates business professionals with at least two years of relevant work experience and an aptitude for quantitative topics.

Coursework for Notre Dame’s MS in business analytics -- one of the top business analytics degree programs in the country -- includes subjects like business analytics, data visualization, predictive analytics, marketing and consumer analytics, and ethics and big data. Program scheduling includes students meeting on-campus in Chicago on alternating weekends, three, three-day on-campus intensives, and a three-credit capstone with a leading business organization. During the capstone, students work on data analysis at an industry partner, learn to effectively communicate analytics results, and solve problems. Career services for MSBA students include career coaching, alumni learning forums, and access to workshops and seminars.

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University of Maryland-College Park

Score 6.76
Average Tuition $ 11,376
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 632

UMD offers a 30-credit MS in business analytics. Students complete this flexible, on-campus program in one or two years. Learners at one of the top schools for a master's in business analytics learn how to deploy big data to solve business problems. Core areas of study include decision analytics, data analytics, database management systems, and a capstone project in operations analytics. Electives include healthcare analytics, Google online challenge analytics, and price optimization.

Students gain real-world expertise by working with partner companies such as KPMG and Deloitte -- part of the Smith Analytics Consortium -- who provide learners with consulting projects for the capstone course. Upon graduation from the master's in business analytics, students will also have competencies in programming languages such as Python, R, and SQL.

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Babson College

Score 6.65
Average Tuition $ 61,145
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,604

Babson is a global leader in business education, especially entrepreneurship education that helps solve problems in communities. The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business specializes in master's programs such as the 30-credit MS in business analytics. Students complete this business analytics degree in as few as 18 months and are not required to submit the GMAT for admission. The program’s unique, part-time offering meets the time-constraint needs of professional students. The curriculum's core has four areas of study: analytics and entrepreneurial thinking and acting, information technology, data exploration and analytics, and marketing analytics.

Students select their elective courses, including classes in health economics, decision-making, economic and financial forecasting, building social networks, and supply chain management. Students participate in a consulting project that directs their newly-acquired knowledge toward the successful completion of company-designated analytic tasks. Students present their findings to senior management at that local company.

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Stevens Institute of Technology

Score 6.58
Average Tuition $ 32,200
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,450

Stevens Institute of Technology focuses on innovative research and education that prepares professionals for the workplace. This New Jersey college offers several programs in business, engineering, and computing. The MS in business intelligence and analytics provides learners with the skills needed to use big data that informs fact-based decision-making. The full-time or part-time program builds on undergraduate level math, science, computer science, and engineering programs.

The curriculum includes studies in database systems, data warehousing and business intelligence, process optimization and analytics, and social network analytics. The concentration in data science allows students to take a few courses from the mathematics, computer science, or financial engineering departments. A capstone for the business analytics degree partners industry mentors with students to develop business solutions.

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Texas A & M University-College Station

Score 6.46
Average Tuition $ 5,598
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 241

Texas A&M College Station enriches the lives of 62,500 on-campus students in the Houston-Dallas-Austin triangle. Its 36-credit MS in analytics is a two-year, part-time program at the school's CityCentre facility. Students complete the curriculum in as few as five semesters and incorporate project-based learning that applies analytic skillsets to practical workplace problems.

Required areas of study include regression analysis, applied analytics using SAS Enterprise Miner, advanced programming using SAS, and financial accounting. The master's in business analytics requires students to form an advisory committee who supervise special projects. Admission requires students to have strong quantitative skills and a bachelor's degree in math, science, business, or engineering. Skills learned are applicable to many industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, finance and insurance, and IT.

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George Washington University

Score 6.43
Average Tuition $ 27,810
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,545

GW's School of Business has both a global presence and established relationships with organizations like the U.S. State Department, IMF, and the World Bank. Among the department's seven specialized master's is the 33-credit MS in business analytics, a program that prepares expert data scientists to deploy data solutions.

The curriculum for the business analytics degree includes studies in business analytics, statistics for analytics, programming for analytics, optimization methods and applications, and data mining. Students take 7.5 credits in electives approved by an advisor. Upon completion of the program, graduates will have mastered descriptive, predictive, prescriptive analytics, and how analytics improve decision-making. They will also have mastery of the tools and software used in the field such as SAS tools suite, Python, R Programming, SQL, and no-SQL.

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Northeastern University

Score 6.38
Average Tuition $ 21,801
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,363

Northeastern offers a comprehensive range of programs via nine colleges and schools. Its business school merges world-class academics with business experience to optimize student learning. Students complete the 30-credit MS in business analytics in 18 months. The program comprises coursework in data mining, multivariate testing, statistical and quantitative analysis, and predictive modeling.

Course topics in the program include business analytics methods, data analysis, information design and management, and information visualization. A three-course marketing track prepares students for customer analysis, marketing research methods, and analytics modeling for marketing. A capstone project requires that students incorporate the concepts and methods learned in the program to address a real-world project. Graduate students at Northeastern have access to career planning, job boards, and networking opportunities at the institution's Graduate Center.

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Emory University

Score 6.29
Average Tuition $ 38,800
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 2,156

An Atlanta-based college with an enrollment of about 15,000, Emory boasts academic excellence, a prestigious pedigree of alumni, and breakthrough research. Its 31-credit MS in business analytics provides comprehensive business knowledge and technical and quantitative training to data scientists. Students complete this fast-track program in 10 months and are not required to have prior work experience.

The curriculum includes studies in data and text mining, econometrics, relational and noSQL databases, data visualization, optimization, consumer and human behavior, and machine learning. The capstone gives students real-world experience as they work on data-intensive projects alongside executives at leading companies. Learners will have an opportunity to present their findings to executives at those firms. Students studying the business analytics degree also learn from faculty with valuable industry experience.

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Wake Forest University

Score 6.24
Average Tuition $ 36,420
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,300

Wake Forest combines personalized learning with a global perspective to help students in all disciplines. The school’s problem-solving emphasis is represented in its 37-credit MS in business analytics. Students learn to apply analytics to solve business challenges in operations, finance, marketing, and human resources. Students complete the curriculum in three semesters, covering topics like analytics in society, predictive analytics and data mining, marketing analytics, forecasting, probability and statistical modeling, and data visualization.

Experiential learning takes centerstage in this curriculum; practicum courses involve teams of students using analytics on various projects. This program serves as one of the top schools for a master's in business analytics, especially for international students. The program gives international students enhanced career options by being STEM- and Optional Practical Training-certified. Curriculum development was designed in concert with organizations like ExxonMobil, SAS, Procter and Gamble, and Oracle.

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New York University

Score 6.18
Average Tuition $ 38,592
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,608

NYU is a large institution of more than 50,000 students located on three campuses in New York City, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi -- as well as several other sites across six continents. NYU’s flagship campus in New York City offers data scientists an MS in business analytics. Designed for experienced students, the program focuses on the use of data analysis to improve an organizations' strategic management, operational efficiency, and financial performance.

The part-time, one-year program divides study between New York and two rotating locations around the globe. Coursework in the master's in business analytics are taught in modules focused on subjects like statistics using R, digital marketing analytics, data science for business analytics, decision models, and data mining in R. The capstone project combines the use of predictive models and optimization techniques by student teams.

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University of California-San Diego

Score 6.08
Average Tuition $ 11,220
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 623

UC San Diego's academic excellence and collaborative environment generates innovation that positively impacts society. UC’s MS in business analytics, an intensive 12-month program that prepares learners with the quantitative skillset necessary to become better decision-makers, team managers, and communicators.

The program is comprised of 50 units and includes studies in business analytics, collecting and analyzing large data, business intelligence systems, supply chain analytics, research for marketing decisions, and business forecasting. A capstone requires students to work as external consultants on a project for a client company such as CISCO, Hewlett Packard, or Rady Children’s Hospital. One of the top schools on the business analytics ranking, UC San Diego has a number of incubators for business innovations, including Social Venture Accelerator, Rady Innovation Fellows, and mystartupXX.

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Pepperdine University

Score 6.00
Average Tuition $ 30,200
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,510

Pepperdine University provides students with an educational curriculum steeped in Christian values and hands-on learning. The institution’s business school offers a 36-credit MS in applied analytics delivered in classrooms with a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students complete the degree at the Malibu campus in 12 months. Courses in the master's in business analytics include simulation modelling, business analytics and intelligence, project management, optimization modeling, and big data management.

Students choose electives that meet their education and career goals in finance, economics, or marketing. In addition to the core requirements, students work as applied analytics interns alongside business executives on real-life business projects. In addition to learning from business execs, student also learn from professors who are world-renowned academics, business leaders, and entrepreneurs.

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Boston University

Score 5.96
Average Tuition $ 47,422
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,482

As a world-class research college with a student body of 33,000 students, BU offers several reputable and accredited master’s programs. Its 40-credit MS in applied business analytics focuses on the concepts, tools, and techniques used by data scientists that inform data-driven decision-making.

The four core courses required by the business analytics degree are business analytics, operations management, financial concepts, and quantitative and qualitative decision-making. Four specialization courses are also required, two of which are enterprise risk analysis and web analytics for business. Students augment these course requirements with a choice of approved electives. Notably, the program also offers students a dual-degree option that applies eight credits of the applied business analytics degree to a different degree in actuarial science, computer information systems, or computer science.

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University of Utah

Score 5.95
Average Tuition $ 6,230
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 235

The University of Utah is one of the best colleges in the nation for start-up companies created through student and faculty research. Its business programs include a 30-credit MS in business analytics, which can be taken full-time or part-time at the Salt Lake City campus. Notable features include an evening schedule for nine-to-five professionals, an accelerated one-year format, and preparation for the INFORMS Associate Certified Analytics Professional certification.

Courses in the master's in business analytics program include studies in business analytics, database theory and design, data mining, data visualization, analytic decision models, and a capstone. The capstone includes an in-depth consulting project in which students complete data analysis for an industry partner. MSBA students have the option to enroll concurrently in an MBA, MS in finance, or MS in information systems.

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How We Ranked the Schools

To determine the best business analytics programs, we looked at common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. The rankings analyzed two major components: affordability (50%) and academics (50%). This includes graduate enrollment, retention rate, loan default rate, in-state graduate tuition, and average 10 year earnings. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities though a survey to the National Center for Education Statistics.

At the college level, students pursuing degrees in business analytics will learn the various analytical procedures for different areas of business, such as marketing, finance, pricing, supply chain, and transportation. The coursework also prepares them to use statistical data in predictive modeling, manage analytical projects, and drive improvements for their employers. Some schools offer dedicated master's degrees in business analytics (or similar fields, such as data science), while others allow students to earn an analytics specialization as part of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Most business analytics master's programs culminate in a capstone project, which typically takes the form of either an individual research project or a team presentation.

Concentrations Offered For Master’s Degrees in Business Analytics

Business Analytics Certificate Curriculum Skills
Skill Description Careers this skill pays for
Business Intelligence Business intelligence refers to the comprehensive set of tools, technologies, and systems used to analyze data and predict business outcomes. A business intelligence specialization will usually include multiple courses in Big Data, as well as studies in decision-making, corporate strategy, predictive modeling, and best-practices for creating large-scale databases.
  • Management Consultant
  • Management Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Financial Analyst
  • Marketing Analyst
Information Security Analytics Information security is a specialized area of data analysis that manages threats to sensitive organizational data. These threats may take the form of data thieves and other criminal entities, as well as network outages, data leaks, and other technical issues.
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Emergency Management Specialist
Computer Systems A specialization in computer systems (or information systems) will provide a comprehensive overview of the various tools, software programs, platforms, databases, and networks used in today's corporate sector. Courses will enable students to utilize these various systems, manage IT projects, and design and implement new systems based on organizational needs.
  • IT Manager
  • Information Systems Analyst
  • Database Administrator
  • Network Architect
Budget Analysis Budget analysis refers to the niche area of business dedicated to financial organization. These analytics are used to craft financial reports for companies, and generate budget proposals that allocate spending to different areas of the organization. Budget analysis also involves the evaluation of financial records to ensure the company is compliant with all applicable laws, regulations, and ethical standards.
  • Budget Analysts
  • Financial Analysts
  • Financial Advisors
  • Accountants and Auditors

What’s The Difference Between an MS in Business Analytics and an MBA in Business Analytics?

Although they share a name, there are some key differences between the 'MBA in Business Analytics' and the Master of Science in Business Analytics pathways.

  • MBA in Business Analytics: This is considered an MBA specialization. As such, the curriculum will include a handful of courses dedicated to topics like analytics and data science, database administration, and predictive modeling. The rest of the program will consist of courses in other areas of business administration, such as management, business law, finance and accounting, marketing and sales, human resources, and supply chain logistics. This pathway will be a suitable option for students who aspire to become corporate leaders with an analytics specialty, as well as IT managers.
  • M.S. in Business Intelligence: The Master of Science (M.S.) in Business Analytics will be primarily dedicated to topics in analytics and data science, such as data mining, workflow analysis, and analytics concentrated in marketing, supply chain, finance, and other niche business fields. The curriculum often includes labs and other types of hands-on training. Because the coursework generally does not include studies in management and corporate leadership, graduates with an M.S. in Business Analytics are often considered for non-supervisory roles at companies and organizations; with a master's degree, they may advance to leadership positions after gaining some experience in this field.

The requirements for admission into a master's in business analytics degree program will depend on the institution, so it's important for students to carefully research the policies of each prospective school. Typical requirements include the following:

Coin Stack Application and Application Fee: Applications are standard for virtually all colleges and universities, but the requested information will vary. Expect to provide personal contact details and financial information, as well as a brief academic/professional history and responses to essay prompts (see below). The application fee will also vary; most range from $30 to $60 per application.
Essay/Personal Statement: Some applications will ask applicants to describe their reasons for choosing that particular school, or provide an outline of their career goals. Others will feature an essay prompt, and request the applicant to craft a response. Most applications feature a total of two to five essay and/or personal statement assignments.
Paper Resume/CV: A resume should outline the applicant's employment history. A detailed summary of the applicant's last three to four positions should be included, as well as any notable achievements in these roles. A CV or cover letter is used to introduce the resume; applicants should always provide a CV/cover letter unless specifically instructed not to do so.
Interview: Many graduate programs require applicants to participate in a phone or in-person interview with a faculty member or school official. Like a job interview, it's important for candidates to research their program beforehand and come to the interview armed with questions about specific aspects of the school and degree pathway. Rehearse answers to a few standard interview questions, and try to be and relaxed and engaging as possible.
Standardized Tests: Many grad school programs require students to submit GRE scores, and select MBA programs may ask for GMAT scores instead. For more details on these exams, please scroll to the next section.

Is The GMAT or GRE Required to get Into a Master’s in Business Analytics Program?

Graduate students seeking a master's in business analytics should expect to sit for at least one standardized exam in order to be considered for admission into their program. In most cases, this exam will be either the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

Administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the GRE consists of four sections. The first two ― Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning (math) ― are scored out of a range of 130 to 170 points. The third section features two essays, an 'issue task' and an 'argument task'; this entire section is scored out of 0 to 6 points. The fourth 'Experimental' section consists of verbal and/or math questions that are designed to be used in future exams, and will not count toward the exam-taker's score. However, the Experimental section is not labeled, and exam-takers will not be able to differentiate this section from the others. For this reason, GRE candidates are encouraged to treat all sections as if they count toward the final score. The GRE takes roughly three and a half hours to complete; the exam cost is $195, and scores are valid for five years. The GRE is available as a standard paper or computer-adaptive exam; paper exams are widely available, but the computer-adaptive options may be limited to designated testing centers. Exam-takers can register online, over the phone, or by mail. A full list of possible test dates is available online.

The GRE is available as a standard paper or computer-adaptive exam; paper exams are widely available, but the computer-adaptive options may be limited to designated testing centers.

Administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the GMAT features four sections: a 30-minute Analytical Writing section; a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning (data analysis) section; a 75-minute Quantitative (math) section, and a 75-minute Verbal section. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are scored on a 0-60 and 0-51 point range, respectively; only these two sections will count toward the overall score of 200 to 800 points, which is derived incrementally. Analytical Writing is scored out of 0 to 6 points, and Integrated Reasoning is scored out of 1 to 8 points; both of these sections will be scored separately. Students must sign up for GMAT exams at designated testing centers. They are allowed to take the exam no more than once every 16 days. Exam-takers will provide a list of schools where their GMAT scores should be sent; upon completing the exam, they will be able to view their score and choose to cancel it or have it sent to the schools on their list. The GRE takes roughly three and a half hours to complete; the exam cost is $250, and scores are valid for five years.

Traditionally, the GRE has been used to screen graduate school applicants, while the GMAT is used to evaluate business school applicants. However, a growing number of business schools have begun to faze out the GMAT requirement and request GRE scores instead. Additionally, some colleges and universities do not require a standardized test score of any kind. Students should always defer to requirements of schools where they plan to send applications. In some cases, it may be wise to sit for both exams.

The cost of business analytics degree programs vary by institution, but even the cheapest options represent a significant financial investment for students. This next section will look at some of the expected costs of a business analytics master's program, as well as some options for applying for and receiving financial aid support.

How Much Does a Master’s in Business Analytics Cost?

Average Graduate Tuition and Fees
Private Nonprofit Public For-Profit
$25,171 $10,979 $14,265

Public universities tend to be the cheapest option because they are funded through the federal government.

As indicated in the table above, the cost of earning a master's in business analytics will depend on whether the student attends a private, public, of for-profit institution. Public universities tend to be the cheapest option because they are funded through the federal government. They offer larger campuses, but class sizes are generally larger and the student-to-faculty ratio is more extreme. Private colleges, on the other hand, are primarily funded through student tuition payments and private donations. As a result, they are usually the most expensive option; their campuses are smaller, but classes are more inclusive and the student-to-faculty ratios are smaller. For-profit colleges are essentially degree-granting institutions that function as businesses with the primary goal of earning positive returns for major stakeholders. They are typically more expensive than public universities, and cheaper than private colleges.

Other factors may impact how much students pay in tuition, such as state residency and financial aid. Students must also cover additional costs, such as administrative fees, textbooks, and course materials, as well as living accommodations, meals, transportation, and parking.

Financial Aid

To mitigate the high cost of earning a master's degree, many grad students turn to federal financial aid. Determining their eligibility for certain types of aid ― as well as calculating how much they will be qualified to receive ― can be a tricky process. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be a helpful tool during this process. By completing and submitting this application, students will receive detailed information about how much aid they will receive based on their personal and family income, academic achievements, and other criteria. A printable copy of this form. is available online. Most institutions require students to re-submit a FAFSA for each academic year they are enrolled.

Although undergraduate students represent the largest pool of federal financial aid recipients, there are several federal aid opportunities open to grad students as well. Master's degree students seeking federal loans have two options.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans. are available to graduate students without demonstrating financial need; the recipient's school will determine how much money they can borrow based on their enrollment level and other financial aid they have received; the current maximum amount for these loans is $20,500 per year. Recipients will be required to pay interest immediately; those who do not make payments while they are in school will see their interest accrued and added to the principal amount of their loan. The fixed interest for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is 6%. Grad students do not qualify for Direct Subsidized Loans.

Alternatively, Direct PLUS Loans. are available to grad students who do not have an 'adverse credit history' and are completing a degree or certificate program. In addition to submitting a FAFSA, many schools require candidates to request a Direct PLUS Loan at Like Direct Unsubsidized Loans, the recipient's school will determine how much money they can borrow based on attendance and other financial aid resources. Students will not need to begin repaying their Direct PLUS Loan until six months after graduating or leaving their master's program; the fixed interest rate for Direct PLUS Loans is 7%.

Additionally, grad students may apply for grants and/or scholarships to cover costs related to their master's in business analytics program. Federal grants and scholarships are not available to graduate students, but plenty of opportunities are offered through private companies, nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities, and other sources. Many scholarships and grants are exclusively available to students in certain academic areas of study; business analytics master's-seekers are encouraged to apply to awards that prioritize business studies.

Accreditation is a critical factor when researching institutions for master's in business analytics programs. The term accreditation refers to an extensive vetting process colleges and universities must undergo in order to be considered legitimate educational providers. The vetting is conducted by accreditation-granting organizations (also known as accreditors), who evaluate each school based on course curricula, faculty experience, campus resources, student outcomes, and tuition costs, among other criteria. The accreditation process can last months ― up to a year, in some cases. Schools must renew their accreditation status every few years. If they fail to do so, or accreditors find the school does not meet their academic criteria, then the school will lose its accreditation status. At this time, its credits will become non-transferrable, and students will not receive federal financial aid for attending them.

Currently, accreditation is divided into three primary categories. The first, regional accreditation, is awarded to schools that provide academic degrees. Six regional accreditors provide this type of accreditation to colleges and universities across the U.S. located in their area of jurisdiction. The second, national accreditation, if typically conferred to technical colleges, vocational schools, and for-profit institutions. A total of 10 accreditors provide national accreditation in the U.S. Most academic experts agree that regional accreditation is superior to national accreditation; the standards for the latter are considered more relaxed than those of the former. The third type of accreditation is known as programmatic accreditation, and is reserved for academic subdivisions at colleges and universities that specialize in one academic field, such as business, nursing, medicine, or law. Programmatic accreditation almost always applies to programs at the graduate level, since these academic subdivisions mostly provide master's and Ph.D. programs. Those researching master's degree in business analytics programs should ensure that all schools on their list have received the proper regional/national and/or programmatic accreditation, and that their status is current.

Two bodies recognize accreditation agencies in United States: the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), which is part of the federal government; and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a non-profit organization. It's important to note that neither the DOE nor the CHEA award accreditation directly; rather, they evaluate the accreditors responsible for doing so. To learn more about all recognized accreditors, please visit the full lists provided by the DOE and the CHEA.

There is no shortage of scholarship and grant opportunities for students in the United States, although opportunities are slightly more limited for those at the graduate level. Some scholarships and grants are non-renewable, meaning they provide a single payout; others are renewable, and will provide money to recipients on an annual or semi-annual basis. Scholarships and grants will also vary in terms of eligibility requirements, award amount, and other details. Four scholarships open to master's in business analytics students are outlined in the boxes below.

Business Analytics Scholarships

Asparagus Club Scholarship $8,000

Who Can Apply This award is open to upper-level undergraduates and grad students pursuing degrees in business or food management. VIEW SCHOLARSHIP


Who Can Apply This award is open to graduate students who have earned an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Recipients agree to work at a North American Jewish Federation for at least two years after earning their master's degree. VIEW SCHOLARSHIP

Golden Key International Honour Society Graduate Scholar Award $10,000

Who Can Apply This award is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are members of the Golden Key International Honour Society. VIEW SCHOLARSHIP

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Up to $10,000

Who Can Apply This award is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in pursuing careers related to fraud examination (including business analytics). VIEW SCHOLARSHIP

Professional organizations can be a very valuable resource for entry-level business analytics professionals. These organizations offer a wide range of perks, including reduced rates for certification programs and professional development opportunities, complimentary subscriptions to journals and magazines, invitations to conferences and networking events, and job leads related to the member's career path. Three of the leading professional organizations in business analytics are highlighted below.

  • International Institute of Business Analysis Established in 2003, IIBA has grown to represent more than 28,000 individual members, 220 corporate members, and 110 regional chapters. The institute is home to a four-tiered certification process that culminates in the Certified Business Analysis Thought Leader (CBATL) after 10 years of study and competency-based testing. Professional development opportunities are also available through the organization's webinar series and the IIBA Global Mentoring Program.
  • Digital Analytics Association The DAA abides by a mission to advance the use of data to understand and improve the digital world through professional development and community. Members may seek professional development through the DAA Web Analyst Certification Program, or through dozens of webinars available on the association's website. A comprehensive job-search tool also allows site visitors to browse positions for 13 different professional titles.
  • Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals SCIP is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit that was founded in 1986 to provide advocacy and create networking opportunities for business intelligence professionals. Membership benefits include free webinars and toolkits, opportunities to participate in the SCIP mentoring program, and invitations to peer-to-peer networking events. Individual membership starts at $195; students may obtain three-year membership for $75.