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Master of Applied Data Science

The University of Michigan

The University of Michigan School of Information’s online Master of Applied Data Science (MADS) degree is designed for people who want to become a data scientist by learning skills from hands-on projects. You’ll work with real datasets to learn how to put data to work to improve everything from business success to people’s lives.

As a MADS degree student, you will learn systems and techniques that help organizations overcome data overload and make sound, smart decisions. Whether you’re looking to create real estate market forecasts or use data to study Russian literature, the MADS degree program teaches you the fundamental principles of data science so you’re equipped to tackle challenges in an ever-changing field.

The MADS curriculum prepares you to be a leader in your field. You’ll master core data science concepts like machine learning and natural language processing. To get prepared to succeed within today’s organizations, you’ll dive deep on key topics such as privacy, data ethics, and persuasive communication. You’ll work with authentic industry data sets from top companies. From your very first course, you’ll start building a work portfolio to showcase your skills for employers.

Applicants are not required to have an advanced technical background — all you need is basic statistics and Python proficiency. These skills can be learned through Statistics for Python and Python 3 Programming, which are available now on Coursera.

What makes this degree unique?

LEARN FROM THE #1 INFORMATION SYSTEMS SCHOOL IN THE U.S.: The University of Michigan’s School of Information (#1 ranked in Information Systems, U.S. News & World Report 2018) has had a long partnership with Coursera, and are experts at teaching online. More than one million learners have taken courses online from the faculty at UMSI since they launched on Coursera. The University of Michigan is also ranked as the #1 public university in the U.S.

PROVEN CAREER OUTCOMES: The University of Michigan’s School of Information prepares students to be leaders in the field. Graduates from the on-campus Master of Science in Information program have a 98%+ job placement rate and go on to become Data Scientists at top companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS WELCOME: Unlike most Data Science degrees, there are only a few basic technical prerequisites (knowledge of statistics and Python) to join the program. Students are not required to have a bachelor’s degree in a science or math discipline, or work experience in a technical field. Students who need to brush up on statistics and Python are encouraged to take the Statistics for Python and Python 3 Programming Specializations, which are also offered by the University of Michigan through Coursera.

LEADERSHIP-FOCUSED LEARNING: While other Data Science Master’s degrees focus on Computer Science theory, this degree equips students for leadership with an end-to-end perspective on data science. Students go from contextual inquiry to data visualization and presentation, and become prepared to solve real-world problems.

RENOWNED FACULTY: University of Michigan professors are among the most respected in the space, and they are passionate about providing the highest-quality instruction to online degree learners. Students get direct access to faculty and graduate students through live office hours and email conversations.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN COMMUNITY: The University of Michigan community provides a wide range of student services, including access to job boards, networks, and library privileges. Students will be invited to participate in graduation ceremonies on campus as they join the 540,000-strong Michigan alumni network.

Who is this degree for:

This degree is designed for people who want to take on real-world data challenges and gain a comprehensive understanding of how data is collected, processed, analyzed, visualized and reported across a variety of industries. Applicants should be proficient with statistics and Python. Students will learn how to apply their skills in ways that help organizations become more effective, strategic, ethical, and successful.

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  • Provider: The University of Michigan
  • Cost: $31,688 USD
  • Effort: 9 - 16 hours per week
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Language: English


  • Computational methods to deal with big data
  • Exploring and communicating data
  • Visualizing data using multiple methods
  • Analytic techniques (machine learning, network analysis, natural language processing, experiments and causal inference, etc.)
  • Data science application in context (search and recommender systems, social media analytics, learning analytics, etc.)
  • 3 portfolio-building major projects