Online Master's in Business Analytics Degrees

A master's in business analytics is an advanced degree designed to build on the foundational knowledge and skills that students gain from undergraduate business programs. The curriculum of a business analytics master's often includes coursework in specialized areas of the field like big data, requirements analysis, and business intelligence.

An online master's in business analytics may be a suitable option for students that would like to earn the advanced degree, but may not be able to commit to a full-time on-campus program. Online students must complete the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and can use their degree to compete for jobs or qualify for advancement opportunities at their current employer. Read on to learn more about earning an online master's in business analytics.

Best Online Business Analytics Master's Degrees
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Georgia Institute of Technology

Score 7.24
Average Tuition $ 13,452
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 561

Georgia Tech outpaces hundreds of other research institutions throughout the country by offering more than 25,000 students 130 majors and minors both on-campus and online. Its business school offers a 36-credit MS in analytics -- business analytics track program that develops students' ability to decipher and harness big data, use mathematical models, and effectively execute an analytics project. The school offers three specialized degree tracks, including one in business analytics.

The program requires a 15-credit core with studies in operations research, data and visual analytics, statistics, and a six-credit applied analytics capstone. The program can be completed full-time or part-time in one or two years, respectively. The business analytics track covers data analytics, simulation, and business process analysis and design. The capstone includes either teamwork on an analytics project at a company or participation in an internship. The business analytics degree is delivered asynchronously, but synchronous hours may be scheduled for virtual office hours and project meetings.

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Texas A & M University-College Station

Score 6.93
Average Tuition $ 5,598
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 241

Texas A&M offers distance education courses in several disciplines to both graduate students and working professionals. Its 36-credit MS in analytics is an online program administered by the Mays Business School. The two-year, part-time program is open to professionals with strong quantitative skills usually earned during a bachelor's degree in math, science, business, or engineering.

Areas of study include regression analysis, advanced programming using SAS, applied analytics using SAS Enterprise Miner, and financial accounting. A statistics practicum spread over three semesters focuses on developing skillsets in data privacy and security, project management, communications and presentations, and teamwork. The business analytics degree requires that students practice problem-solving within their real work environments. Each student works with an advisory committee to complete an analytics project directed by the committee chair.

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University of Pennsylvania

Score 6.76
Average Tuition $ 31,068
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,525

Penn’s long-term commitment to expand access to working professionals across disciplines includes online programming from the prestigious Wharton School of Business. The business analytics MBA major is a 20-month program that compliments an MBA focus area like finance, accounting, marketing, and operations. MBA core coursework includes studies in quality and productivity, innovation, decision models and uncertainty, and math modelling. Students who choose the business analytics degree also study how to collect and manage datasets, use data for predictive purposes, and deploy data in decision-making.

Learners take courses in areas like modern data mining, decision support systems, models for market strategy, statistical computing with R, and applied probability models in marketing. Students in this analytics MBA program can earn an additional MS concurrently in fields like engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering. Wharton also offers campus recruiting services for students to secure summer or permanent positions.

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Boston University

Score 6.67
Average Tuition $ 47,422
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 623

Many of BU’s 33,000 students study online through asynchronous learning and interactive media. Its 40-credit MS in applied business analytics offers both online and hybrid programs that provide professional learners with the knowledge and skills needed for data-driven decision-making.

Four core courses are required in the business analytics degree: business analytics, financial concepts, operations management, and quantitative and qualitative decision-making. Four specialization courses are also required, including studies in enterprise risk analysis and web analytics for business. Students who hold a graduate certificate in applied business analytics may waive these courses. The program offers a dual degree option for students hoping to apply eight credits to earn simultaneous degrees in more than one discipline. Some dual degree options that combine with the business analytics degree include computer information systems, actuarial science, or computer science.

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Stevens Institute of Technology

Score 6.64
Average Tuition $ 32,200
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,450

Stevens offers access to 17 master's programs entirely online in high-demand fields like data analytics. The New Jersey college delivers its MS in business intelligence and analytics through the school WebCampus online platform. The degree, enables students to use big data to inform fact-based decision-making. Students pursue the degree full-time or part-time and build on skills learned at the undergraduate level in fields like engineering, computer science, and math.

The curriculum includes the study of data warehousing and business intelligence, database systems, process optimization and analytics, and financial decision-making. A concentration in data science provides learners with the option to take courses from the math, computer science, or financial engineering departments. A capstone project partners industry mentors with students to work on data-driven, business solutions.

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Texas A & M University-Commerce

Score 6.23
Average Tuition $ 3,630
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 202

Graduate students seeking to pursue a degree at A&M-Commerce have several distance-learning options. Data scientists who receive the 30 to 42-credit, fully-online MS in business analytics master the collection, analysis, optimization, and use of big data. Students can apply to the two-year program without a business background. The curriculum core in the business analytics online degree includes studies in statistical methods, market research, applied decision modelling, database warehousing, and advanced analytics.

The program offers electives in areas like mobile business, global network design, and internet marketing. Becoming a management or market research analyst, logistician, or computer systems analyst constitute some of the careers available to graduates. Applications to one of the top schools for a master's in business analytics requires a bachelor's degree, college transcripts, and a GRE score.

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New York University

Score 6.15
Average Tuition $ 38,592
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,608

Many of NYU's 50,000 students enjoy fully-online, hybrid, or low-residency virtual learning options. Learners pursuing careers in data science often opt for the one-year MS in business analytics. This hybrid program caters to experienced professionals hoping to harness data analytics that improve the operational efficiency, strategic management, and financial performance of an organization.

The part-time program requires students to complete five modules by attending classes on-campus for one or two weeks for each module, as well as supplemental coursework online. Classes in the master's in business analytics include studies in statistics using R, digital marketing analytics, data science for business analytics, decision models, and data mining in R. The strategic capstone places learners in teams to master the use of predictive models and the application of optimization techniques. Note that onsite sessions rotate between the New York campus and two international locations.

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Babson College

Score 5.89
Average Tuition $ 61,145
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,604

A global leader in business education, Babson fosters entrepreneurial thinking that leads to communities engaged with problem solving. Among the college's specialized master's programs is the 30-credit MS in business analytics. This hybrid business analytics online degree has students participate in face-to-face and online sessions. The curriculum's 18-credit core has four areas of study: analytics and entrepreneurial thinking and acting, data exploration and analytics, information technology, and marketing analytics.The degree can be completed in just 18 months and is only offered on a part-time basis.

Students may use up to 12 credits to study electives like health economics, economic and financial forecasting, building social networks, decision-making, and supply chain management. Students participate in a consulting project at a local company that puts theory into real-world business practice. Students must present their findings to senior management.

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Northeastern University

Score 5.78
Average Tuition $ 21,801
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,363

Northeastern offers several degrees both on-campus and online through its nine colleges and schools. The business school blends world-class academics with real-world industry experts to create the best learning environment possible. Students complete the 30-credit MS in business analytics in 18 months to two years. Courses of study include data mining, statistical and quantitative analysis, multivariate testing, 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 incorporates the study of customer analysis, marketing research methods, and analytics modeling for marketing. A capstone project requires students to apply concepts and methods learned in the program on a project that matches their career goals. Graduate students at Northeastern have access to job boards, career planning, and networking opportunities.

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University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Score 5.71
Average Tuition $ 15,844
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,320

UMN offers programs in fields like computer science, finance, and business in fully online and blended formats that accommodate adult learners. The Carlson School of Management offers a part-time, online 45-credit MS in business analytics for working professionals. The program prepares data scientists to leverage big data that helps today's businesses find optimal solutions. Students generally complete the program in two years.

Students complete six to nine credits each semester in several areas of study, including programming and application development, math for business analytics, and modelling and heuristics for decision-making. A capstone provides learners with the opportunity to apply what they have learned to an analytics challenge. Applicants to the business analytics degree must demonstrate an aptitude for rigorous academic study, mathematics and programming, and business fundamentals. Students are admitted only in the fall.

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Villanova University

Score 5.69
Average Tuition $ 17,119
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 901

A Roman Catholic institution located in Pennsylvania, Villanova offers online programs spread across all of its six colleges. The School of Business administers a 36-credit MS in analytics that explores the latest analytics technologies, practices, and applications deployed in business. One of the top programs on the business analytics rankings list, students take courses exclusively online in a part-time format.

Learners take 11 foundation and core courses that are delivered using both synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Students following the established degree plan complete the program in 24 months. Areas of study include programming in R, business intelligence, data mining, multivariate data analysis, and optimization and simulation. Students also complete an application-based practicum to meet capstone project requirements. Applicants are not required to take the GRE or GMAT, but the school recommends that students with a non-technical background or a GPA of less than a 3.0 take it.

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Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Score 5.65
Average Tuition $ 7,884
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 438

Learners can access one of SMUMN's 58 program majors either on-campus at the school’s three campuses or in its online programs. Its 36-credit MS in business intelligence and data analytics explores the use of big data in solving business concerns like competitive advantage, supply-chain savings, and pricing strategies. Students receive an iPad and take the year-long intensive program in classes delivered asynchronously.

Coursework in the business analytics online degree includes studies in economics and marketing, R programming language, data analysis and business modelling, data visualizations, and business support systems. The school's capstone project emphasises hands-on learning in which students complete a project in concert with either a company or a supervisor within the department. Online students at SMUMN are provided academic support, career counseling, and advisers.

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Notre Dame of Maryland University

Score 5.57
Average Tuition $ 10,345
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 575

NDMU inspires students to become high performers and agents of social change. Students access the school's transformative educational model through its online programs. Students who receive an MS in analytics take courses in math, business/economics, and specialized courses in data analytics like data design and management, data visualization, and data mining and warehousing. The program is delivered fully online and focuses on management technologies, qualitative processes, and change risk management.

The learning experience in the master's in business analytics involves collaboration with peers, access to tutoring services, personal success coaches, and a 24/7 help desk. Upon completion, graduates are prepared for positions in fields like data science and research. NDMU also has strong relationships with regional businesses who accept recent graduates into their ranks. Students are not required to take the GRE or GMAT, but they must submit undergraduate school transcripts.

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Pepperdine University

Score 5.47
Average Tuition $ 30,200
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 1,510

Pepperdine University offers learners access to an educational curriculum steeped in hands-on learning experiences and enriched with the school's Christian values. Pepperdine offers a 36-credit MS in applied analytics program delivered in classrooms with a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The curriculum in the business analytics online degree includes the study of business analytics and intelligence, optimization modeling, big data management, and simulation modelling.

A choice of electives gives students the option to specialize in finance, economics, or marketing. In addition to the core requirements, learners must participate in an applied analytics internship with company executives to get real-world business experience. Students apply what they have learned in the classroom and work alongside executive mentors to produce actual business solutions. Admission into the analytics program requires school transcripts and GRE or GMAT scores.

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University of St Francis

Score 5.47
Average Tuition $ 13,140
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 730

USF is one of the largest eLearning providers in Illinois. Each semester, about 1,500 students register to take online courses at USF. The school boasts a practical curriculum, faculty expertise in each field, and flexibility to accommodate the needs of working adults. The school offers a 36-credit MBA with a concentration in business analytics as an online program that students complete in 12 to 18 months.

Courses in the MBA core include economics, finance, and accounting. Students also take 12 credits in competency areas such as international business, strategic business management, operations management, and IT. The 12-credit specialization in business analytics focuses on business forecasting and econometrics, enterprise resource computing, business intelligence and analytics, and data mining. Students accepted into the program begin work on their concentration immediately.

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University of Alabama in Huntsville

Score 5.45
Average Tuition $ 9,548
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 547

UAH's hands-on curriculum prepares students to become leaders. The institution offers 21 flexible online programs in various fields, including a 30-credit MS in management science -- business analytics. Students complete the program in one year with full-time study in either a fully online or hybrid format. The program sits high on business analytics rankings by developing professionals versed in mining and analyzing data, conducting experiments, and deploying solutions to address business problems.

The curriculum covers topics like advanced analytics, decision modelling, modelling and simulation, quantitative methods, data management and data mining, games and networks, and operations management. A capstone course partners students with local organizations and executives to develop business solutions using analytic models and big data. A thesis option is available in place of a capstone, and students can transfer up to 12 graduate credits into the MS-MSBA.

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Indiana University-Bloomington

Score 5.42
Average Tuition $ 8,442
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 352

IU-Bloomington offers 100 degree and certificate programs, including business curriculums through its virtual platform. Among these programs is a flexible 30-credit MS in business analytics that allows students to graduate in just 15 months or to extend their time in school to five years.

One of the top programs on the business analytics ranking list, the degree covers operations management, data warehousing and visualization, quantitative analysis, and business econometrics. Graduates prepare for careers as executives who are able to identify invaluable statistical information in datasets, use analytic modeling in decision-making, and deploy models to solve business problems. Notably, those pursuing a business analyst degree may concurrently enroll in an MBA program, earning both degrees quickly. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.3, a strong GRE or GMAT score, and at least two years of relevant work experience.

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University of Connecticut

Score 5.41
Average Tuition $ 13,026
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 724

UCONN's eCampus delivers fully online and hybrid graduate programs in several disciplines. The 37-credit MS in business analytics and project management hybrid program combines on-campus classes taken at either Hartford or Stamford with online sessions. Students complete the program full-time in three semesters or part-time on a flexible timeframe. The curriculum divides time between coursework in business analytics and project management.

UCONN provides courses in predictive modelling, data mining and business intelligence, business process modeling and data management, project leadership and communications, project risk and cost management, and technical communications. Students choose electives from an equally qualitative list, including data science using Python and ethical and legal issues in project management.

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Score 5.39
Average Tuition $ 4,873
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 609

Learners seeking to become leaders in IT can develop their skills as data scientists by receiving UNCG's MS in information technology and management with a concentration in business analytics. The school offers a business analytics online degree that explores IT and management practices and data science. The fully online program covers accounting, operations management, data management, systems analysis and design, and information systems management.

UNCG offers three courses in its business analytics concentration: web programming, models and methods in business analytics, and the use of business analytics for competitive advantage. The program offers both a thesis and a non-thesis option and gives flexibility to students to determine their program length. The non-thesis, capstone option requires that learners develop business analytic solutions that are both economically and technically feasible in the real world.

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National University

Score 5.34
Average Tuition $ 10,962
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 623

Established to expand learning opportunities to a diverse student population, NU offers online learning that accommodates the needs of working professionals. The school administers nearly 70 fully-online programs, including more than 30 graduate degrees. Among them is the MS in business analytics. This program is comprised of 13 courses designed to prepare data scientists to analyze and use data found in sales, marketing, finances, and supply chain areas to make sound business decisions.

The business analytics degree curriculum includes studies in analytic models and data systems, data management for analytics, data mining techniques, categorical data methods, and prediction in marketing. The program requires students to complete two capstone projects. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will have competencies in developing data files and statistical models for use in decision making, developing business data models to achieve organization's' targets, and designing analytical models to forecast prices.

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Creighton University

Score 5.30
Average Tuition $ 15,052
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 800

Creighton serves approximately 7,500 students, many of whom take online courses from the school's professional and graduate program. The 33-credit MS in business intelligence and analytics is delivered asynchronously and prepares data scientists to manage and deploy big data that helps businesses and organizations reach their goals. The curriculum covers core areas like data visual analysis and visualization; database management systems; and business, ethics, and society.

Students choose electives based on their areas of interest in courses like finance, accounting, the economy, or investment management. Distance learners can take advantage of the dual degree option: combining the MBA program with the BIA -- earning both degrees in less time. Admission into one of the top schools for a master's in business analytics requires a bachelor's degree and GMAT score, though exemptions may be made for the latter.

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Arizona State University-Tempe

Score 5.25
Average Tuition $ 10,610
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 758

ASU Online is the largest virtual college in the country with 150 online programs and over 30,000 students. The school's notables include multiple start dates throughout the year and comprehensive support services for online learners. Its business school offers a 30- to 33-credit MS in business analytics that lasts for 16 months. Students with quantitative backgrounds and existing business skills bolster their experience by learning to harness data that helps their businesses make smart, market-driven decisions.

The required curriculum includes studies in enterprise analytics, data mining, data-driven quality management, and analytical decision modeling. An applied project gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their competencies in data analytics, communication, and leadership. Students may earn the MBA concurrently with the business analytics degree. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and GMAT or GRE test scores.

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Golden Gate University-San Francisco

Score 5.22
Average Tuition $ 16,830
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 935

GGU’s rigorous academics are taught by faculty with real-world experience in their respective fields. Online degrees include the 39-credit MS in business analytics, a program that explores statistical and analytic theory and the processes and techniques data scientists use to help business organizations. Areas of study include performance management and metrics, database theory and data management tools, business intelligence and decision support, tools for business analytics, and managing business frameworks.

In the business analytics degree, students complete a capstone project that combines hand-on learning with the theory they acquire in the classroom. Students may choose to work on a project for their employers using quantitative analysis and statistical modeling to find solutions. Students in the program come from a variety of professional and educational backgrounds. Application requirements include a bachelor's degree and quantitative and business experience.

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Bellevue University

Score 5.20
Average Tuition $ 9,450
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 525

Bellevue's growing virtual college enrolls thousands who benefit from 75 online programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Aspiring data analysts enroll in the MS in business analytics to learn how to implement business analytics that produce positive business outcomes. Curriculum in the business analytics degree includes a business core in management, financial reporting, and marketing and new media strategy.

The program also includes courses in information systems like business system programming, system development, IT infrastructure, and emerging technologies. Four courses comprise the data analytics core: SAS programming, enterprise data and information management, advanced business analytics, and data mining. Benefits of online study at Bellevue include tutorials, small class sizes, personalized learning, access to tools and library resources, and 24/7 tech support. Graduates will be prepared for mid-level to advanced-level careers as business analysts, project managers, or data scientists.

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University of Iowa

Score 5.14
Average Tuition $ 8,396
Part-time cost per credit hour $ 549

Students earn a virtual degree from the University of Iowa virtually in one of 40 online programs. The business school offers a 30-credit MS in business analytics comprised of 10 courses that absorb students in the real-world application of analytics. Curriculum includes studies in data management and visual analytics, advanced analytics, data programming in R, and data science. Elective topics include financial analytics, digital marketing strategies and analytics, and applied optimization.

Learners gain experience solving real-world business problems by working on one of the larger projects required of the business analytics degree. Graduates use data analytics to diagnose problems and deploy solutions that result in desirable outcomes. The school's MBA and the business analytics master's can be earned concurrently. The GRE is not required for admission.

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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 three major components: affordability (40%), academics (50%), and the availability of online programs (10%). This includes graduate enrollment, retention rate, loan default rate, in-state graduate tuition, and the number of online programs offered. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities though a survey to the National Center for Education Statistics.

This section includes curriculum and coursework expectations for a typical online business analytics master's program, as well as some considerations for full- and part-time enrollment, transferring credits, and choosing between cohort or individualized programs. Please note that specific requirements often vary by institution and degree program.

Online Master’s in Business Analytics Program Curriculum

The best master's in business analytics degree programs will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to immediately enter the workforce after graduation and compete for top-level positions. Due to the complex nature of modern analytics, some programs emphasize niche areas of the field in order to prepare graduates for specialized positions. Those who leave school with in-demand skills often see their salaries rise by a considerable margin ― more than 20%, in some cases. The following table details four critical skills that are usually included in a business analytics degree curriculum.

Business Analytics Certificate Curriculum Skills
Skill Description Career this skill pays for Salary premium
Big Data Analytics As the name implies, 'Big Data' refers to large, comprehensive datasets. Big Data findings can result in sweeping changes across an organization, and often affect factors like cost reduction, decision-making, and the implementation of new products and services. Big Data is a cornerstone of many different industries, including healthcare, retail, and hospitality, as well as the federal government. Business Intelligence Manager 10%
Requirements Analysis Requirements analysis looks at user data for various products and services, and attempts to use different metrics (known as 'requirements') to extrapolate the individual experience of different users. These requirements include the user's reaction to different features, how quickly conflicts are mitigated, and how clear the directions are for first-time users. Requirements analysis is fundamental to software engineering, and also plays a role in different types of marketing. Business Analyst 4%
Business Intelligence Not to be confused with business analytics ― which focuses on new tools and technologies ― business intelligence refers to metrics that have been consistently used in predictive modeling. Business intelligence may apply to operational factors, such as pricing and product positioning, as well as risk management, organizational goals, and other strategy-related aspects of business. In other words, business analytics can be considered a subdivision of business intelligence ― and master's students will typically learn about the fundamentals of business intelligence as part of their curriculum. Senior Business Intelligence Analyst 2%
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) This subfield refers to all analytics tools and technologies used to drive IT-oriented businesses and organizations. ITIL is divided into five volumes, each of which focuses on a different stage in the IT service management lifecycle: Service Strategy (SS), Service Design (SD), Service Transition (ST), Service Operation (SO), and Continual Service Improvement (CSI). Information Technology Director 22%

Is it Faster to Earn a Master's Degree in Business Analytics Online?

The length of a master's in business analytics program will vary from school to school. Generally speaking, these pathways span from 35 to 60 credits in length for semester-based programs, or 50 to 90 credits for quarter-based programs. In either case, students should expect to take roughly 10 to 20 courses in total, including a final capstone experience course. Most students complete their business analytics degree requirements within two years, but the following factors may also affect their time to graduation:

Coin Stack Enrollment Status: Most programs allow students to enroll full-time, which typically involves 12 credits or more per term, or part-time for fewer than 12 credits per term. Many students opt for part-time enrollment because they have jobs, young children, or other obligations that interfere with a full-time schedule. However, a study from U.S. News & World Report found that students enrolled full-time in online master's degree programs tend to graduate much faster than part-time enrollees; in extreme cases, this can mean one to two years ahead of their part-time counterparts.
Prerequisites and Transfer Credits: Most online master's in business analytics programs include prerequisite undergraduate courses; students who have not completed all the prerequisites may be admitted to a master's program on the condition that they take these courses first, or they may be denied until all of their prerequisite requirements have been met. On the other hand, some students may enter a master's in business analytics program with credits they have earned as part of their undergraduate studies, or in postbaccalaureate coursework. These credits are known as transfer credits, and they may reduce to total amount of time needed to complete the master's degree. However, it's important to note that a large number of programs put a cap on the number of transfer credits that will count toward the student's master's requirements.
Cohort vs. Individualized: In a cohort-based degree pathway, graduate students enter the program together and take all courses simultaneously. The cohort dynamic can be very conducive to peer interaction and networking, but these programs typically follow a fixed schedule with tentative completion and graduation dates. As a result, those enrolled in individual degree programs ― particularly accelerated tracks ― may be able to earn their master's at a faster rate than students in cohorts.

Online master's programs are costly and time-consuming, so it is crucial for prospective students to research a wide range of degree-granting institutions before deciding on a program. All colleges and universities should be carefully vetted for accreditation and student outcomes, but candidates should also take time to understand different curricula and program formats. This meticulous legwork ensures they will choose a program that best aligns with their current schedule, academic history, and career goals. The section below will explore some strategies for finding the best business analytics master's options.

What Are the Differences Between an Online and On-campus Business Analytics Master's Program?

Many of today's online degrees are designed to mirror brick-and-mortar pathways in the same subjects. Additionally, online and brick-and-mortar students generally complete the same credit requirements, and will be awarded identical degrees, resulting in a comparable number of job offers. However, there are some key differences between online and on-campus master's programs in terms of delivery, scheduling, and peer interaction.

Although they generally take the same courses, online students will have a different studying experience than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Current technology enables learners to live-stream lectures, submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors ― all entirely online. Programs with capstone experiences and/or internship requirements may include required campus visits or trips to off-site locations. Otherwise, students can usually plan to complete the bulk of their program from the comfort of their home computer.

Even in synchronous programs with regular online discussions, face-to-face interaction is generally limited between students and faculty members.

Brick-and-mortar students almost always follow a fixed course schedule. Online learners, on the other hand, typically choose between asynchronous or synchronous schedules. Asynchronous, or self-paced, master's degree programs do not have weekly course requirements; students are free to complete their assignments, exams, and projects on their own schedule, provided all requirements are met by certain deadlines. A synchronous program, on the other hand, will include weekly assignments and real-time online discussions. Some students ― particularly those with jobs and/or families ― prefer the flexible structure of asynchronous coursework, while others perform better within the fixed schedule of a synchronous program.

Online students may miss out on the dynamic team-building of brick-and-mortar education.

Peer interaction is another important consideration. Even in synchronous programs with regular online discussions, face-to-face interaction is generally limited between students and faculty members. Online students may miss out on the dynamic team-building of brick-and-mortar education that plays such an important role in business analytics and corporate culture. However, web-based students who live reasonably close to their school's campus can choose to plan study groups with their classmates and visit with professors, advisers, and other faculty members if issues arise.

Is it Better to Attend an Online Program in My Home State?

A recent survey by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) found that most graduate students attend school away from their home state. According to the survey, roughly 769,000 graduate students took only online courses during the 2014-15 academic year; of these students, 298,000 (38.8%) earned their degree at an institution located in their state of residence, while the remaining 61.2% enrolled at colleges and universities in a different state.

For many, the choice to earn a master's in business analytics in- or out-of-state will come down to two factors: finances, and personal preferences. Financially speaking, it can be much cheaper to attend college in-state. Another survey by College Data found that the average in-state student pays $9,650 in annual tuition for each year of postsecondary education; comparatively, the average out-of-state student pays $24,930 per year ― an increase of more than 250% in annual tuition expenditure.

A growing number of schools have begun to price online tuition at the same rate regardless of state residency.

However, tuition rates vary from school to school. A growing number of schools have begun to price online tuition at the same rate regardless of state residency. Generally speaking, these rates fall between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates, making them less or more affordable than brick-and-mortar programs depending on the student's current residency status.

Additionally, some colleges and universities will list students as state residents after they have lived in that particular state for at least one year, allowing them to reduce their overall costs once they are enrolled; others may reduce their tuition rate after they have enrolled in courses at that school for at least one semester or quarter (although this often requires blended on-campus attendance). Another option is to attend schools that offer state authorization reciprocity, or reduced tuition rates for students living in states that neighbor the institution's. One of the country's most prominent reciprocity agreements, the Midwest Student Exchange Program, grants lower rates for students living in nine different Midwestern states.

Master's students may be able to reduce their tuition rates by a significant margin through a system known as state authorization reciprocity.

Some master's students may be able to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of their residency status. Many colleges and universities will grant in-state residency to anyone who has resided in that state for at least one year, allowing master's degree-seekers to reduce their financial burden by relocating one year prior to enrollment. A growing number of institutions also offer in-state rates to students after they have attended classes at the school for six months to one year (although this may require on-campus attendance). If in-state tuition is not feasible, master's students may still be able to reduce their tuition rates by a significant margin through a system known as state authorization reciprocity. Select U.S. schools offer reduced out-of-state tuition rates for students from neighboring states. For example, the Midwest Student Exchange Program offers lower out-of-state rates for students from nine other states in that region of the country.

In terms of personal preference, many online business analytics students choose to remain in the same state for several reasons. Some prefer to stay close to their friends and family; thanks to technological advances, they may be able to reside with their parents throughout the duration of the program, which can cut living costs by a considerable margin. Greater access to job opportunities in one's home area is another important consideration, since colleges and universities often grant students access to career and networking opportunities.

Generally speaking, the cost of earning an online master's degree in business analytics is comparable to the cost of completing the same degree program on-campus. Tuition rates are often similar for online and brick-and-mortar students; the student's state residency status typically plays a larger role in their tuition rate than whether they attend class online or on-campus. Many schools include a 'technology fee' as part of the tuition for online students. Technology fees tend to start at $30 to $40 per course.

Aside from tuition, online students often save money in other ways. Many choose to live with their parents, rather than in on-campus housing or a rented house or apartment near campus, which can save them money for living accommodations and meals. Additionally, online students are not required to visit campus very often, if at all. As a result, they do not need to invest much in transportation to and from school, or on-campus parking.

Online education is also conducive to working students. This is particularly true of asynchronous, or self-paced, programs, which allow students to work on their own schedule and do not include weekly meeting requirements. Students enrolled in asynchronous programs can often maintain a full-time employment schedule while earning a degree. Working parents may also be able to cut down on childcare costs by remaining at home with their children during the day.

Ultimately, the cost of earning an online master's in business analytics is less important that other factors about a particular college or university. Key considerations for prospective applicants should include student outcomes, such as retention and graduation rates, as well as the percentage of students who must default on their student loan payments after graduation (often because they are unable to find a job). In the next section, we'll discuss some financial aid options for online students.

Financial Aid for Online Programs

Online students are eligible for the same financial aid opportunities as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, provided that they meet certain criteria and the institution they attend has been fully accredited (see below).

Federal loans are a popular option for students because ― unlike most loans from private lenders ― federal loans carry a fixed interest rate. Graduate students enrolled at accredited institutions may qualify for three different types of federal aid. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are awarded to students that do not demonstrate financial need. The maximum amount for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan is $20,500 per year. Recipients can choose to begin paying back the loans while still in school or filing a deferment, which enables them to wait until they have graduated to pay off the loans. Direct PLUS Loans are reserved for graduate and professional students with a good credit history. The amount of a Direct PLUS Loan is equal to the total cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid the student receives. Lastly, Federal Perkins Loans are reserved for students with an exceptional financial need. Their school acts as the lender, and students do not need to pay off the loan until nine months after graduation. The maximum amount for Direct PLUS Loans is $60,000 per recipient for the entire program.

To qualify for these types of aid, candidates must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The FAFSA form is used to determine how much aid a student qualifies for based on their annual income, household earnings if they live at home, tax history, and other personal details. Students that receive federal aid must complete and submit the FAFSA form for each year they attend school. A free copy of the form is found on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Due to the industry-wide emphasis on business analytics and a high demand for qualified professionals, graduates with a master's degree in this field will be qualified for many different professional roles. The table below lists five of the most popular career pathways for business analytics master's degree recipients, along with job descriptions and salary expectations.

Average Salary by Job Title for Certified Business Analysis Professionals
Job Title Description Average Salary
Business Intelligence Manager Business intelligence managers oversee teams of data analysts, and are responsible for providing executive staff with comprehensive intelligence reports. They are often charged with assessing and analyzing risk related to their organization; they may also have a hand in recruiting and training analysts that work under them. $100,956
Business Intelligence Director Business intelligence directors oversee the intelligence divisions of their organization, and manage the various analysts, architects, and managerial staff that make up these departments. They also design delivery systems and databases based on their company's needs and capabilities, and will routinely meet with executives to discuss goals and strategies. $127,360
Business Intelligence Architect Business intelligence architects are the technical minds behind platforms, tools, and warehouses used to collect, store, and organize different types of data. They meet regularly with top executives to discuss project requirements; in some organizations, architects also oversee teams of developers, analysts, and other staff. $105,402
Business Intelligence Consultant Business intelligence consultants work with top executives to optimize their organization's capabilities pertaining to data collection, organization, and storage. They will evaluate current platforms and tools to determine areas where improvement is needed, and then work with architects and developers to implement better systems. $84,407

Salary Outlook for Business Analytics Master's Holders

The salary expectations for a master's in business analytics recipient will largely depend on their specific job title, as well as other factors like company size, certification status, and city/state of employment. The following table lists salary estimates for business intelligence analysts at four key career stages; as the data indicates, these analysts will see their annual earnings climb by more than 40% between the entry-level and late-career stages.

Business Analytics Certifications

Those who have earned a master's in business analytics can bump up their salary even further by pursuing a professional certification in this field. Two certification options in business analytics are outlined below.

Certified Analytics Professional

The CAP is billed as the 'premier global professional certification for analytics practitioners', and is available to students who complete a comprehensive exam; the starting price of the CAP exam is $495. Recent graduates and entry-level analytics professionals may choose to pursue the Associate-Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP), as well.

International Institute of Business Analysis

Certification through IIBA is awarded at four levels: Early Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA), Certificate of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA), Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), and Certified Business Analysis Thought Leader (CBATL). These four tiers are awarded over a period of 10 years to IIBA members; in order to advance to each successive level, individuals must complete competency-based exams. According to the IIBA, this certification plan stands to boost the recipient's annual income by as much as 16%.

Accreditation is arguably one of the most important considerations when selecting a graduate school. Accreditation refers to the comprehensive vetting process that colleges and universities undergo in order to be considered legitimate education providers. Accreditation-granting organizations (also known as accreditors) evaluate various aspects of the institution, including student outcomes, faculty credentials, and on- and off-campus resources and facilities. Accreditation is voluntary, but schools that have not been officially accredited cannot award transferrable credits to students. Furthermore, those who enroll at the school will not be eligible for federal student aid.

Three types of accreditation are awarded to colleges and universities in the U.S. Regional accreditation is conferred to public and private nonprofit institutions that offer two- and four-year degrees. A total of 12 regional accreditors evaluate schools in different areas of the U.S. National accreditation, on the other hand, is conferred to vocational and professional schools, as well as for-profit institutions. A total of nine national accreditors evaluate schools nationwide. Most academic experts agree that regional accreditation is more prestigious, due to higher standards. The third type of accreditation, programmatic, is conferred to academic subdivisions at colleges and universities that offer degrees in specific fields, such as business, nursing, or law schools. Most programmatic accreditation is reserved for master's and doctoral programs.

For online master's in business analytics programs, students should ensure that the school they wish to attend has earned either regional accreditation from that region's accreditor or national accreditation from the Distance Education Accreditation Commission. Additionally, programmatic accreditation may come into play for master's degree programs. Accreditors specializing in business degree accreditation include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

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.