University of Texas, Austin launches online data-science master’s program

To meet the demand for more data scientists in the U.S., UTA is offering students a flexible, low-cost online degree program.
man and woman coding in computer lab
(Nesa by Makers / Unsplash)

The University of Texas, Austin announced on Tuesday the launch of a new online master’s degree program in data science.

The program was created in response to the growing need for professionals with scientific and technical training to understand and work with massive amounts of data, according to the university.

“UT Austin is home to top leaders in diverse disciplines ranging from statistics to data science to machine learning,” Paul Goldbart, dean of UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences, said in a press release. “These talented faculty experts are joining together to advance a highly relevant new master’s degree program that will prepare our students for professional success across nearly every industry.”

The number of data scientists has grown by 650% in the United States since 2012, according to LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2026, there will be a need for an additional 11.5 million data scientists.


“Data science is the fastest growing career field in the world, and there is a huge demand for experts,” Michael Mahometa, director of consulting and professional development in the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences, said in the release. “There are very few aspects of the modern economy that data science doesn’t touch.”

The degree program is designed to offer flexibility, allowing prospective students to attend part-time on their own schedules to create more opportunities for individuals to pursue careers in data science. The program is estimated to cost students about $10,000, which the university claims is several times cheaper than similar programs at other institutions.

“Too often, qualified students forgo graduate study because of factors such as family obligations, the need to maintain an income, or the fear of not being able to afford tuition,” Don Fussell, chair of the Department of Computer Science, said in the release. “Our objective when we embarked on this project was to create the first technical data science master’s degree that didn’t force students to make those tradeoffs.”

Applications for the new program will open this summer.

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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