Top Data Science Degree Programs in Alaska for 2024: How to Kickstart Your Career

Did you know that Alaska is not only famous for its picturesque landscapes and abundant wildlife but also for its growing demand for data scientists? That’s right! As the tech industry and logistics sector continue to expand in the state, the need for skilled data science professionals is ever-increasing. This presents a golden opportunity for those interested in exploring a rewarding and in-demand career in data science.

In response to this rising demand, several universities in Alaska have developed undergraduate and graduate programs in data science, computer science, and related fields. In this blog post, we will guide you through the top data science degree programs in Alaska, essential skills you need to succeed, career opportunities, and resources available to kickstart your data science career in 2024.

Key Takeaways

  • Alaska’s technology and logistics sectors are driving an increasing demand for data science professionals.

  • Data science programs at Alaska universities equip students with the skills necessary to pursue successful careers in a variety of industries.

  • Financial aid is available, including scholarships, grants and FAFSA applications, providing access to rewarding career opportunities with attractive wages.

The Growing Demand for Data Science Professionals in Alaska

Alaska’s burgeoning tech and logistics sectors are fueling a high demand for data science professionals. Data scientists are pivotal in numerous industries within the state, ranging from banking and finance analysis to healthcare transformation with machine learning algorithms. To meet this demand, universities in Alaska offer master’s programs in data science with rigorous prerequisites, including work experience and proficiency in data analysis and computation.

Big data is especially significant in industries like oil and gas in Alaska, driven by advancements in data recording technologies and geographic information systems that necessitate efficient operations. Organizations such as the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) also need data science professionals to enhance their prevention education and rural health systems.

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Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Alaska

If you’re considering an undergraduate degree in data science, you’re in luck! Several universities in Alaska, including the University of Alaska Anchorage, offer relevant undergraduate programs to prepare you for a successful career in the field.

We will examine the specific data science programs offered by these universities, focusing on their utilization of existing databases.

University of Alaska Anchorage

The Department of Management, Marketing, Logistics and Business Analytics (MMLBA) at the University of Alaska Anchorage offers data science programs that equip graduates for roles such as data coordinators. Their offerings include a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with data science training and a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

Admission to these programs requires students to meet several criteria, such as completing major courses with at least a C grade and achieving a score within the top 15 percent on the quantitative section of the GRE or GMAT exams. Graduates from the MMLBA department have access to job opportunities in a wide range of industries, both within Alaska and across the United States, boasting placement rates of 90 to 100%.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Mathematics/Master’s of Science in Statistics and Data Science program, designed to prepare students for careers in data science. This program combines courses in mathematical statistics with real-world applications and computer science courses focusing on problem-solving, algorithm development, programming, and data structures.

To be admitted to this program, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The undergraduate Computer Science program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks covers a range of topics, including:

  • problem-solving

  • algorithm development

  • programming

  • hardware

  • theory

  • software construction

  • analysis of algorithms

  • system architecture

University of Alaska Southeast

The University of Alaska Southeast offers a Bachelor of Business Administration, Management Information Systems program, preparing students for careers in the data science industry. Computer and information systems managers are potential career options in the data science sector in Alaska.

The course curriculum for this program includes:

  • Management Information Systems

  • Business Analytics

  • Database Management

  • Systems Analysis and Design

  • Project Management

  • Supply Chain Management

  • Communication Skills

For more details, you can refer to the program sheet provided by the university: Program Sheet BBA MIS.

Graduate Data Science Programs in Alaska

Graduate data science programs in Alaska are designed for those seeking advanced education and research possibilities. These encompass master’s and Ph.D. programs, affording students the opportunity to develop their expertise and specialize in their areas of interest.

Read on to learn more about the graduate data science programs available in Alaska.

Master’s Degree Programs

Alaskan students have access to online master’s programs in data science, providing flexible and convenient options for career advancement. For example, the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a 5-year BS/MS program for students interested in earning a graduate-level computer science degree.

Applicants seeking admission to most programs should score in the top 15 percent of the quantitative section of either the GRE or the GMAT exam. This is highly recommended for consideration. A typical full-time master’s program in data science in Alaska lasts 18 months, covering core topics such as programming, statistics, machine learning, data visualization, and communication.

Previous work in data science is an important pre-requisite for gaining admission to most master’s programs. This experience, along with a strong educational background, provides a great foundation and helps give prospective students an edge. Universities place particular importance on the verbal and writing components of the exams, expecting data science applicants to possess superior communication abilities.

Ph.D. Programs in Data Science

After earning a master’s degree, you may be eligible for a Ph.D. in Data Science in Alaska. This provides an opportunity for advanced research and specialization in a specific area. The University of Alaska Fairbanks, for instance, provides a Ph.D. program in Mathematics and Statistics and Data Science, tailored for those aspiring to immerse themselves further in the field.

Generally, a Ph.D. program in Data Science in Alaska may take between 4-6 years to complete, depending on the university and program specifics. This advanced education path can open doors to a world of research and academic opportunities for those passionate about data science.

Online Data Science Degrees and Certificates in Alaska

Online data science degrees and certificates are increasingly popular and convenient for students who require flexibility in their education. Several Alaska colleges, including Alaska Anchorage College, offer fully online or hybrid programs, allowing you to study from the comfort of your own home while still accessing quality education resources.

An example is the University of Alaska Southeast’s online Health Information Management AAS program. This sponsored online program offers four specializations:

  • Business analytics

  • Spatial science

  • Social science

  • Bioscience

  • Behavioral science

The program can be completed in 20 months and does not require GRE/GMAT scores for admission.

Essential Skills for Data Science Professionals

Mastering several key skills is necessary for excelling in the field of data science. One critical capability is programming, which allows data scientists to manipulate and analyze data, build algorithms, and create data-driven applications, thereby enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Statistics is employed in data science to acquire, analyze, and interpret data, forming the foundation for understanding patterns, relationships, and trends in large and complex datasets. Machine learning is also an essential skill, allowing data scientists to build predictive models, make data-driven decisions, and solve complex problems more efficiently.

Lastly, data visualization and communication skills are indispensable for effectively analyzing data, exploring and conveying insights from complex datasets, fostering improved decision-making through data analytics, and ensuring network security.

Career Opportunities for Data Science Graduates in Alaska

Graduates in data science from Alaska can access a variety of career opportunities in diverse industries such as logistics, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations. Potential roles for data scientists in the state include positions like Data Architect at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage and Business Intelligence Analyst in Anchorage.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual mean wage for data scientists in Alaska is $105,150. This lucrative salary, coupled with the increasing demand for data science professionals, renders a career in data science in Alaska an appealing prospect for many.

Resources for Future Data Scientists in Alaska

As a future data scientist in Alaska, you have access to various resources to help you succeed in your education and career. The Alaska Education Exchange Platform provides a platform for Alaska education agencies and educators to exchange teaching resources, while the Alaska Computer Science State Plan offers coherence to the overall CS expansion effort, connecting individual policy with consistent objectives and integrating with existing systems.

Other resources include Alaska Digital Citizenship Week, promoting digital citizenship, and the ‘Coding in Minecraft’ program, an engaging computer science credential program with accompanying curriculum, delivered through Minecraft: Education Edition. These resources, combined with the variety of data science degree programs in Alaska, provide a solid foundation for your future career in the field.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Data Science Students in Alaska

Earning a data science degree in Alaska doesn’t have to strain your finances. Assistance through financial aid and scholarships is available to help mitigate the cost of education and aid in your career development. Some options include:

  • Scholarships offered by the University of Alaska Foundation

  • Aid provided by the Alaska Education Grant (AEG) program

  • Federal financial aid available through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

While there may not be scholarships dedicated specifically to data science students in Alaska as of January 2018, general eligibility criteria for data science scholarships in the state include being a resident of Alaska, possessing a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher, and being a graduating senior of an Alaskan high school. Performing research and applying for scholarships that match your interests and qualifications is a strategic move to support your data science education.


In conclusion, Alaska offers a wealth of opportunities for aspiring data scientists, with a growing demand for professionals in various industries across the state. The state’s universities provide undergraduate and graduate programs in data science, computer science, and related fields, equipping students with the essential skills and knowledge required to excel in their careers.

Whether you’re just starting your data science journey or looking to advance your education with a master’s or Ph.D. program, Alaska has something for everyone. By leveraging the available resources, financial aid, and scholarships, you can pursue a rewarding career in the ever-evolving field of data science in the Last Frontier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which bachelor degree is best for data science?

For a successful career in Data Science, the best Bachelor’s degree is a combination of Statistics, Mathematics, and Computer Science. All three of these fields come together to provide an excellent foundation for data analysis.

Are data science degrees worth it?

Earning a data science degree can be a worthwhile investment if you are looking to further your abilities to work with and parse data. It may put you on the path to landing a six-figure job, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms that it can be beneficial in terms of time, money, and effort.

What degree do I need for data science?

It is recommended to at least hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, data science, or a related field to become a data scientist. However, many employers prefer a master’s degree in data science or a related discipline to be hired and also to be considered for more lucrative positions.

Is data science a high demand major?

Data science is in high demand due to its popularity among many industries. US News and World Report ranked information security analyst, software developer, data scientist, and statistician as some of the top jobs in terms of pay and demand. With access to data science courses and certificates, anyone can find a job in data science.

What types of data science degrees are available in Alaska?

In Alaska, there are various educational opportunities available for those interested in data science, including associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

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