Which Degree is Better for Data Science, MS or Ph.D.?
Which Degree is Better for Data Science, As interest in data science soars, many new Master of Science (MS) programs are popping up.
However, how do you know which one to choose?
With all the options out there, it can be hard to decide if an MS or Ph.D. program in data science will be best for your career goals.
Here are some things to consider when choosing between an MS and Ph.D. program in data science.
What is a Master’s Degree in Data Science?
A Master’s in data science isn’t a prerequisite to becoming a data scientist but will give you that extra edge when it comes to landing a job and earning more money.
If you have an undergraduate degree in computer science, there are some options available to give you specialized training without pursuing a full-blown MS or Ph.D. program.
At UC Berkeley Extension, students can obtain an online MS in Data Science through its popular specialization program.
You can also look into Northeastern University’s Data Science MicroMasters program—you get course credit toward your full Master’s if you end up wanting to pursue it full-time.
Why get an MS instead of a Ph.D.?
For aspiring data scientists with less of a background in statistics, there’s another option: getting an MS in data science.
While some universities offer graduate-level degrees focused on data science (such as NYU’s Center for Data Science), others offer master’s degrees in more general computer science fields like computer engineering and computer information systems.
So if you’re looking to get into data science but don’t have a strong math or statistics background—or if you want to switch careers and go from say electrical engineering to data science—these programs may be a better option than a Ph.D.
What are the pros of getting an MS over a Ph.D.?
The biggest advantage of getting an MS over a Ph.D. in data science is career readiness. A lot of people get to graduate school and realize that it’s not for them; these people don’t want to go to grad school and then spend another five years researching something that they may never want to do when they grow up.
Some would say that you get more practical experience with an MS, but we believe that you can still be just as practical with a Ph.D., especially if your interest is in academia.
We can also say from experience at Mount St Mary’s University’s data science program that there are plenty of opportunities to apply skills learned in either degree in data science if you wish!
Is it worth pursuing an MS if you already have a Ph.D.?
The debate over whether you should pursue an MS degree in data science if you already have a Ph.D. has been asked time and again by recent graduates with both degrees who are looking to break into data science jobs.
After all, why would someone go through years of higher education just to obtain a master’s when they could have just as easily gone straight to getting their doctorate?
Well, there are actually a lot of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of them below!
Are there any downsides to getting an MS degree in data science over a Ph.D.?
If you are one of those folks who are interested in getting a graduate degree in data science, then you’re probably wondering what program to pursue.
If you are trying to pick between a master’s degree and a Ph.D., here are some things that may help you make your decision: Cost: There really isn’t a good way to say it – an MS will almost always be less expensive than pursuing a Ph.D. program.
But if money isn’t an issue for you then there isn’t much reason to even consider going with a Master’s.
What skills does someone with an MS degree have versus someone with a BS/BA degree?
The key difference between an MS and a BS/BA degree in terms of data science skills boils down to one thing: advanced math.
Graduate degrees require more advanced study in statistics and probability than undergraduate programs do.
That’s not to say that you can’t learn these skills as part of your undergraduate degree program, but they won’t be required at that level.
The other key difference between MS and BS/BA degrees is that an MS program will often have specific data-related electives that can be chosen.
For example, students might take classes on big data analytics or predictive modeling through their program.