The Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program at UC Berkeley ranked #2 among online data science master’s degree programs by Fortune magazine, released on January 19, 2022.
This is Fortune’s first-ever ranking of the best online data science master’s programs. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took the top spot, and Texas Tech University was #3.
Regarding the decision to pursue these rankings, Fortune Education Editorial Director Lance Lambert said: “The exponential growth in data has translated into demand for data scientists and business analysts that greatly outpaces how fast universities can train them. In the coming years, these degree programs will continue to explode. And for good reason: According to the BLS, the average wage for data scientists is $103,930—a figure that rises to $148,680 in the Bay Area.”
MIDS, which officially launched at the School of Information at UC Berkeley in 2014, was the country’s first fully online master’s degree in data science. MIDS provides a multi-disciplinary curriculum that prepares students in any career to solve real-world problems across their organizations using complex and unstructured data.
In a Fortune article highlighting application strategies for the MIDS program, Head Graduate Advisor Professor Alex Hughes explained what sets the program apart from the competition: “We’ve got a view that data science is more than just sitting and programming—that data science involves issues of identifying the core question that’s coming from business and being able to focus that into the type of question that we can bring an algorithm to solve.”
The MIDS curriculum features a wide range of courses that provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how data science can be used to inform decision making in their organizations. Students complete programming-focused courses in concurrence with courses that focus on the ethical impact of data science and how to effectively communicate results.
The 27-unit MIDS program is designed for the working professional’s schedule. The program is typically completed in 20 months, but offers flexible options and can be completed on one of three paths: accelerated, standard, or decelerated. MIDS students also participate in an in-person immersion experience (currently being held virtually due to COVID-19), and complete a culminating capstone project that integrates the core skills and concepts learned throughout the program.
Fortune’s ranking was based on two components: a Selectivity Score (85%) that takes into consideration the undergraduate GPAs and years of work experience of incoming students in conjunction with the schools' acceptance rates, and a Demand Score (15%) comprising the total enrollment size of the programs, as well as the number of applicants to each program from the most recent academic year.