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Become an Expert in Data Science

The online Master of Applied Data Science (MADS) program from the School of Data Science and Society at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides a holistic approach to the data life cycle. It prepares you to effectively — and ethically — collect, process, manage and analyze data, equipping you with the skills to translate insights into a clear narrative that drives action.

The 16-month, full-time MADS program takes an interdisciplinary approach, rooted in practical application and collaboration — working with key academic units across the university, as well as partnering with industry, government and community to create a data science workforce that has a measurable impact on today’s greatest challenges.

This UNC-Chapel Hill master’s program is aimed at those who are motivated and passionate about using data to solve problems and to improve people’s lives. It is best suited to those with an analytical mind and who have some background and coursework in linear algebra, programming and statistics and probability.

Develop In-Demand Data Science Skills

UNC-Chapel Hill’s online Master of Applied Data Science (MADS) teaches the latest data science trends, skills and tools being used today. This includes advanced programming methods, big data and NoSQL databases, machine learning and deep learning applications, data visualization and communication, AI ethics and more.

As well as developing your technical expertise, the UNC School of Data Science and Society MADS program has a continual focus on real-world applications and prepares you to collaborate and communicate as part of an interdisciplinary team. You will acquire the skills and experience to become a data scientist ready to meet employers’ increasing demand for data-driven discovery and decision-making.

What Can You Do with a Data Science Degree?

The demand for data scientists is on the rise, with a projected growth rate of 35% by 2032. As a data scientist, you will be expected to interpret data patterns, make predictions and communicate findings to support informed decision-making within your organization. It is a dynamic role that is continually evolving, offering diverse opportunities across numerous industries, such as:

  • Technology
  • Education
  • Government
  • Sports
  • Health care
  • Finance
  • Energy
  • Entertainment

Admissions: Online Data Science Master’s

The online Master of Applied Data Science (MADS) program seeks applicants with an analytical, problem-solving mindset. It’s a practice-based program aimed at practitioners rather than researchers.

Successful applicants will need to demonstrate a working knowledge of programming, statistics and linear algebra through prerequisite courses or personal/professional experience. There are also certain computing requirements to pursue the MADS degree. If you need to build or brush up on any competencies, you can take refresher courses, most of which are offered through edX, the program partner of the UNC School of Data Science and Society.

The program offers three start dates per year in January, May and August. In addition to completing all fields of the online application form, applications also must include:

  • Application fee (non-refundable $95). App fee waivers may be available.
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose (approximately 500 words)
  • Résumé/CV
  • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores (International students only, must be valid within last two years)

Applications are reviewed holistically. No GMAT/GRE scores are required.

Master of Applied Data Science Curriculum

The 16-month, full-time program offers an interdisciplinary curriculum taught by faculty with expertise in computer science, statistics and operations research, mathematics, biostatistics, information and library science and more.

It consists of 10 courses worth 30 credits and a culminating team-based capstone project — an opportunity to apply your knowledge to a real-world data challenge and collaborate with mentors. There is also an optional in-person immersion held on campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that exposes you to new perspectives and strengthens your relationships with classmates and faculty.

Current courses:

  • Programming Methods for Data Science
  • Statistical Modeling and Inference for Data Science
  • Introduction to Applied Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Advanced Databases for Data Science
  • Governance, Bias and Ethics in Data Science and AI
  • Mathematical Tools for Data Science
  • Visualization and Communication
  • Deep Learning
  • Capstone