Data Science Degree Programs in Tennessee
Manufacturing, finance, real estate, and health care are Tennessee’s core industries. Data science has direct applicability within each and every one. If you’ve already dabbled in machine learning courses or tutorials, you’ve likely been presented with home pricing as a project (or an example of applying machine learning). Zillow and Trulia require a data science team (speaking of data science in relation to real estate) to help design, deploy, maintain, and optimize the search algorithms — which include text, images, and video.
But, there are other ways that data science is being used in each of Tennessee’s core industries. Adding a high-quality data scientist — or a team of expert data scientists — can vastly improve systemic efficiency and help to lower costs while also delivering excellent products or services to the public. Employers both large and small, who’ve made their home — or have an office — in Tennessee recognize the benefits of hiring one or more data scientists.
FedEx, HCA Healthcare, Dollar General, and AutoZone are the state’s largest employers, and they do need data scientists. You’ll also find job postings from AWS, Accenture, and Pearson sprinkled throughout the local demand for data science professionals.
Thus, it may be slightly surprising to those who don’t equate Tennessee with data science, but the “Volunteer State” does have job opportunities for professional data scientists and data science programs for those who want a formal degree in the discipline.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Tennessee
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 980 Tennessee employees classified as data scientists as of May 2021. But with a total of 64,130 computer and mathematical professionals in the state, many more data scientists are classified as information security analysts, database architects, software developers, and more.
Per a 2021 Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce report, employment in the information sector, which many data scientists work in, is up 8.58%, outpacing total nonfarm employment growth by over 5%. Overall, the Department projects that employment in computer and mathematical occupations will grow by almost 22,000 jobs by 2030. These jobs may be created in just about any industry that requires vast amounts of data.
The mean annual salary for data scientists in Tennessee is $90,720 as of the BLS’s 2021 survey. While this falls below the national median wage for data scientists ($100,910), a few data science careers have more impressive mean yearly wages in the state:
- Database architects: $114,520
- Software developers: $99,680
- Computer and information research scientists: $95,500
- Information security analysts: $95,350
These all rank above the annual mean wage for Tennessee’s workforce overall, which the BLS lists as $49,330.
Meanwhile, they will likely pay far less for housing (median price is $160,900 vs. the U.S. median of $219,700). Healthcare is 22% higher, so that eats into the cost savings. But overall, Tennessee data scientists can live comfortably.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Tennessee
We could not locate undergraduate data science offerings via Tennessee universities. However, data science requires strong math and statistics skills along with basic knowledge (at the very least) of either Python or R and SQL. Some programs prefer Java.
Majoring in any of the above, i.e. math, statistics, computer science, will place you directly on the data science career path. For example, The University of Memphis’s Math Department has designed a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences – Statistics Concentration curriculum that meets essential data science competencies.
In addition to the usual general education units you’ll need to complete, your statistics concentration will include Calculus I through III, Differential Equations, Computer Programming, Intros to Probability Theory, Statistical Theory, and Probability Models along with Intro to SAS Programming.
After you earn your B.S., you’ll have more than data science as a career option. But, you’ll also be poised to enter the profession. Be sure to take other coursework or find other ways of learning the data science preferred programming languages. It could be through additional undergraduate coursework or via a MOOC, e.g. Coursera, edX, etc.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Tennessee
In “The Volunteer State”, there are a few on-campus data science programs at the graduate level. At the Ph.D. level, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has excellent data science options for those who want to embark on a lengthy academic journey (all the while becoming topic experts in their field).
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs in Tennessee
Lipscomb University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, offers an in-person Master of Science in Data Science. You’ll complete graduate-level coursework in Principles of Data Science, Information Structures, Big Data Management and Analytics, and Research Methods.
To be considered for admission, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in STEM or “a relevant area of study”, and either five years of experience in a related field or submitting GRE test scores. Be prepared to provide two recommendations or references, send a personal statement, and have an on-campus interview. The most recent tuition estimation for their 30-hour data science master’s degree is just under $40,000.
Based on the course offerings, their curriculum does meet data science core competencies.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in Tennessee
Usually, the major local institutions, such as the state universities, offer data science programs or analytics programs; The University of Memphis proves this to be true since it offers an on-campus Graduate Certificate in Data Science.
It’s a short, 12-credit program that covers Fundamental of Data Science, Machine Learning, Data Mining, and advanced topics in Statistics and Database Systems. The admissions team focuses on candidates who have either academic or work experience that demonstrates proficiency in Java or R, computer science, computer engineering, mathematics or another STEM discipline.
This program is best suited for those who already have the above-described proficiency requirements as certificate programs move quickly and have very little time reserved for filling in knowledge gaps.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Tennessee
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business has designed a Ph.D. in Business Analytics, a 48-credit research-based program that will take you through several rigorous years of topics in analytics and statistics.
You’ll start by taking general prerequisite courses in Technical Writing and Compute Programming (unless you can show you’ve met these prerequisites elsewhere). Next up, you’ll complete the Business Analytics Prerequisites: Multivariate and Data Minding Techniques, Design of Experiments, and a Capstone course.
Your Ph.D. core coursework includes Probability and Stochastic Processes, Statistical Inference, Prescriptive Analytics, and Bayesian Modeling and Computations. As such, despite the ‘analytics’ title, this can definitely be considered a data science program.
Alternatively, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has a Ph.D. in Data Science and Engineering available to students who are interested in a more technical degree program. It’s a shorter program, just 36-credits instead of 48, but you’ll have a more intense focus on the computing side of data science.
Over several years, you’ll complete graduate-level research in Data Science and Computing along with Data Analysis and Data Mining. Although many data science Ph.D. programs have a strong preference for STEM undergraduate or graduate degrees if you can provide proof of proficiency in basic data science core competencies. So, it’s possible to successfully be admitted to this program even if you don’t have a STEM degree.
You will, however, be required to submit GRE scores, a resume or CV, no less than two pages stating an intended area of research that directly applies to data science or the energy industry, and three letters of reference.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Tennessee
We could not find any online programs that were either directly or indirectly related to data science. But, there are other online Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science available through school in other U.S. states.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in Tennessee
One online data science graduate masters program option we were able to find was Austin Peay State University’s Master of Science and Professional Science Masters in Computer Science and Quantitative Methods.
There are five possible concentrations, but only two of them are firmly applicable to data science: Data Management and Analysis or Predictive Analytics. The Data Management and Analysis program has less emphasis on the statistical side, and more emphasis on the database/data management side of the data science skillset: Database Management Concepts, Data Mining Applications, Intro to Web Programming, and SAS Programming.
If statistics is your area of interest, then the Predictive Analytics concentration will provide you with high-level courses in Regression Analysis, Time Series Analysis, The Generalized Linear Model, and (of course) Predictive Analytics.
Either concentration will meet the data science core competencies. For admission candidacy, you don’t necessarily need a STEM undergraduate degree. And GRE scores are optional. A resume and personal essay (one page or less) are required along with a $45 application fee ($55 for international applicants).
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in Tennessee
For those who are not ready to jump into a lengthier masters degree course of study, Austin Peay State University has a short, four class Graduate Certificate in Data Mining that’s offered completely online. It’s a truncated version of their online of the above-described master’s programs and includes Database Management Concepts, Data Management Applications, Data Mining Applications, and a Data Mining Project.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Tennessee
There are currently no online data science Ph.D. programs in Tennessee. Neither are their data science “cousin” Ph.D.s offered online. But, we’ll update this page if (or when) they become available.
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for data scientists reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2023.