Data Science Degree Programs in Arizona
While the Grand Canyon State is well known for its breathtaking desert landscapes and severe summer heat waves (particularly in Phoenix), the state’s tech sector is still evolving relatively slowly. This doesn’t mean that data scientists won’t be able to find employment in Arizona (more on this below). There’s no denying that data science is in demand throughout the entire U.S., including employers in Arizona. Indeed, there are several data science or analytics programs available through the various universities spread across the state. Even if you choose to attain a degree, but not stay in Arizona, you’ll be well equipped to apply your data science knowledge and skill for a myriad of other employers throughout the U.S.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Arizona
Prospective data scientists in Arizona can expect to see a moderate statewide job market when they graduate. According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics program, the state employed 260 computer and information research scientists (Standard Occupational Code 15-1111) in May 2017, placing the Grand Canyon State in the lower half of the 50 states. However, there are oases in the desert, geographic pockets which have a significantly large concentration of employed data scientists. For instance, the Sierra Vista-Douglas Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the southern part of the state has a 12.86 location quotient, meaning the concentration of the area’s 80 employed data scientists within its bounds is nearly 13 times the national average concentration. That figure places the Sierra Vista-Douglas MSA second in the nation in May 2017, trailing only the California-Lexington Park MSA in Maryland (34.68).
If you are fortunate to find gainful employment, with the emphasis on gainful, as a data scientist in Arizona, whether it be in Sierra Vista, Douglas, Tucson, Phoenix, or Tombstone, the chances are excellent that you will earn a very good living doing so. According to BLS wage statistics estimated in May 2017, computer and information research scientists in Arizona earned, on average, $109,530 per year, which works out to a $52.66 hourly rate (ranked 16th in the nation). Of the three large metropolitan areas in the state, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA stands the most lucrative for data scientists, with its residents employed in that occupation making $124,570 per year. Computer and information research scientists in the aforementioned Sierra Vista-Douglas MSA pull in an average of $105,390 annually, close to the state average, while those in Tucson earn $96,620, not a mere pittance by any stretch of the imagination.
The earning power of data scientists in Arizona is magnified if you factor in the cost of living index of the state. Per Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index 2019, there are no metropolitan areas in Arizona that rank in the top 30 in the nation when it comes to how far your dollar stretches. Phoenix (near Arizona State University) is ranked 37th in the United States on the cost of living plus rent index, while Tucson (home of the University of Arizona) comes in at number 56. Long story short, here is an equation that is easily understood: high annual salary + relatively low cost of living = monetarily set data scientists in Arizona!
Data Science Degree Programs in Arizona
So, the question remains: How do you go about unlocking that robust earning potential for data scientists in Arizona? The answer depends, of course, on where you currently are in your educational journey, for the state’s college and universities have a host of data science programs ranging from the undergraduate variety to the post-graduate ilk. Within these certificate, bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs, students can choose from a wide array of focused data science fields, including, but not limited to, information management, health, and biomedical informatics, applied geospatial sciences, and business intelligence and analytics. These programs are offered both on campus and online. Let us now take a more in-depth look at some of these data science programs in Arizona.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Arizona
There are many options for on-campus undergraduate data science programs for those who want to attend school in all parts of beautiful Arizona. In the northern area of the Grand Canyon State, Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff will begin offering a bachelor’s of data science degree in Fall 2019 after the Arizona Board of Regents approved its creation in April 2018.
If the mountainous and tree-lined Flagstaff area is not to your liking, you can always take Interstate 17 south to the sprawling metropolitan area of the state’s capital, Phoenix, and attend Arizona State University (ASU) in nearby Tempe. At ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business, a bachelor’s of science degree program in business data analytics is available for those wanting to take courses such as business data mining and enterprise analytics. For a first-year undergrad and current Arizona resident wanting to attend the Carey School of Business and live on the Tempe campus, the estimated cost of attendance for a full-time year of study is nearly $30,000, a third of which is the base tuition and associated fees. However, the Carey School of Business does offer scholarships to those students in need; all you need to do is complete a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and application for the business data analytics program to be considered for one.
Farther south in the state in sun-drenched Tucson, you will find the University of Arizona (U of A) and its bachelor’s in statistics and data science (SDS) program. Offered as either a bachelor’s of arts or bachelor’s of science degree through the University’s mathematics department, the SDS program requires students to complete one computer programming course as well as a minor in any other program outside the math department. Core courses within this program include an introduction to data science, vector calculus, and theory of probability, while you can take courses such as statistical methods in sports analytics as your required upper-division elective.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Arizona
For those of you with your bachelor’s degree in hand and looking for the next educational challenge, the state of Arizona, through its three major universities, is home to various Master’s, Ph.D., and graduate certificate programs, all of which are available on their picturesque campuses. Graduate degree concentrations offered by these universities include a data and analytics track in accountancy and a big data systems track in computer science as well as an applied economics and policy track in agricultural and resource economics. We will now take a closer view at each graduate-level degree tier.
On-Campus Master’s in Data Science Programs in Arizona
All three of the Grand Canyon State’s major universities – Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University – offer on-campus Master’s programs in data science. At ASU, you can pursue a Master’s in Big Data Systems offered through the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. Through this program, you will learn how to build and manage large data systems. The University of Arizona offers students the opportunity to earn Master’s degrees in two nuanced tracks within their agricultural and resource economics program: one in applied econometrics and data analytics and one in applied economics and policy, each requiring 24 units in graduate courses and 6 units in thesis research for a total of 30 units.
Meanwhile, in Flagstaff, the lone Master’s offering at Northern Arizona is an interesting one; it’s in applied geospatial sciences within their Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation, where you can become technically proficient in geographic information systems (GIS) data analysis and mapping as well as community planning.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Arizona
The lone Ph.D. data science program in Arizona, offered by Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions, is in biomedical informatics (BMI). The BMI program requires its prospective Ph.D. candidates to complete 84 credit hours, along with both an oral and written comprehensive exam as well as a dissertation. If you are interested in this Ph.D. program, you must have at least a cumulative 3.00 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) in either the last 60 hours of your bachelor’s degree program or during your entire Master’s program. Additionally, you must submit a statement of purpose as well as three letters of recommendation.
On-Campus Graduate Certificate Programs in Arizona
Unfortunately, there are currently no programs available in the state of Arizona for prospective students to earn graduate certificates via courses at the campuses of the state’s three major universities. However, there are ample opportunities for you to earn not only graduate certificates, but Master’s degrees as well, through the Arizona universities’ online programs. Please see the following section for more details on these particular cyberspace programs.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Arizona
The online data science degree programs you can take in Arizona fall into one of two categories: those that are offered in conjunction with the on-campus variety and those that are offered strictly online. In the former category, the aforementioned Master’s program in applied geospatial sciences at Northern Arizona University, as well as both the business analytics and information management Master’s programs offered through Arizona State’s W.P. Carey School of Business, are available for you to take in either format. The Master’s program in information management (MSIM) at ASU, for example, is a 12-month immersive program that will allow you to build upon the concepts and techniques you learned as you earned your bachelor’s degree, all in a team-based setting whether you attend in person or online.
For those of you looking for strictly an online program through which to earn a data science graduate certificate or degree at an Arizona university, both Arizona State and the University of Arizona offer exciting programs that combine the expertise of their respective faculties to the convenience of learning online. The online Master’s program in advanced study in health informatics, offered through ASU’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, is designed to allow working health care professionals, and non-health care professionals looking to transition into this high-demand industry, the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree while enhancing their skills in data science and information technology. The program requires its students to complete 10 classes, at a rate of 7.5 weeks per class, in such courses as fundamentals of health informatics, workflow analysis and redesign in health systems engineering, and leadership and change in clinical environments.
Through the University of Arizona, you can either earn a graduate certificate or a Master’s degree in data science on their online platform. Offered by U of A’s Management Information Systems (MIS) Department, the business intelligence (BI) and analytics certificate is a great goal for those who have a minimum of a 3.00 GPA, have scored at least a 90 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and have reached an overall band score of at least a 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This three-course certificate program, comprised of courses in business intelligence, enterprise data management, and data mining for business intelligence, will provide to you the ins and outs of such critical data science foundations as database design and data warehouse utilization. In addition to the business intelligence (BI) and analytics certificate, the University of Arizona also offers the enterprise security certificate through its web-delivered MIS curriculum, which is geared toward both government and business-based cybersecurity professionals. As is the case with the business intelligence (BI) and analytics certificate program, the enterprise security certificate program consists of three courses, including information security risk management. This program was recognized by a U.S. News and World Report article as the fifth-ranked online MIS public graduate program in the country.
If you decide to go the Master’s route, the University of Arizona also offers two intriguing programs that are conducted 100% online: a Master’s program in management information systems (MIS) and the newly offered Master’s in cybersecurity. You can complete the MIS Master’s program in as fast as 10 months while taking 7 different core courses which include business foundations of IT, software design and integration, and information systems analysis and design. You’ll also select 3 electives from courses ranging from project management to social and ethical issues of the internet. As for the cybersecurity concentration, this 33-credit interdisciplinary program will give you a foundation in this burgeoning and vital field, where you will learn how to assess security-related risks, perform vulnerability testing, and comprehend security issues from the personal to the global level. Within the program, you can choose the information systems track, which includes classes in cyber threat intelligence, or the physical systems track, which consists of courses such as machine learning and data analytics.