Discover the Best Data Science Degree Programs in Arkansas: A Complete Guide

Data science is revolutionizing industries across the globe, and Arkansas is no exception. With the growth of tech jobs in the state and the increasing demand for data-driven decision-making, pursuing data science degree programs in Arkansas is a smart move. Whether you’re a high school graduate or a seasoned professional, there are a variety of data science programs available in the state to help you excel in this fascinating field. In this blog post, we will explore the various data science education opportunities in Arkansas, including undergraduate, graduate, and online programs, as well as scholarships and funding opportunities, networking events, and the overall job market in the state.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the variety of data science educational opportunities in Arkansas, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, online courses, bootcamps and short courses.

  • Take advantage of scholarships and funding opportunities available to students in Arkansas such as MDaS Scholarships or College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics Scholarships at UCA.

  • Benefit from a rapidly expanding job market with promising earning potential by taking part in networking events like meetups or conferences for professional development.

Exploring Data Science Education in Arkansas

The tech sector in Arkansas has seen significant growth, boasting a 1.1 percent increase as of 2018, with roughly 3,300 new jobs added since 2010. In response to this rising demand for qualified professionals, Arkansas provides a broad selection of educational opportunities in data science, from undergraduate and graduate degrees to online courses.

Those seeking a data science degree in Arkansas can pursue various pathways, such as information management, business data analytics, data science, and bioinformatics. Some of the highly ranked institutions for data science in the state include the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Additionally, Harding University in Searcy offers a Bachelor of Science in Data Science.

With this diverse range of on-campus and online data science program options, students can tailor their educational experience to their needs and interests, acquiring the technical skills required to excel in their chosen field. Regardless of whether you’re a novice or a seasoned professional, Arkansas offers plentiful opportunities to initiate or progress your data science career.

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Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Arkansas

There are several undergraduate data science programs in Arkansas, ranging from Associate to Bachelor’s degrees. These programs equip students with fundamental knowledge and skills, setting the stage for a fruitful career in data science.

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems, designed to equip students with the necessary skills to pursue a career in data science. This program is affiliated with various colleges within the university, including:

  • College of Education and Health Professions

  • College of Engineering

  • Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

  • Sam M. Walton College of Business

All of these colleges help students develop skills in data science and data structures.

Students in this program can choose from concentrations in business analytics, enterprise resource planning, and enterprise systems, which may cover digital government trends, data management, and database systems as part of their curriculum. Additionally, the University of Arkansas provides access to state-of-the-art facilities for its on-campus undergraduate data science programs, such as the GENESIS Technology Incubator, the Innovation Center, and the Engineering Research Center, all equipped with enterprise computing platforms.

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University offers a Bachelor’s program in Business Data Analytics, providing students with comprehensive training in various aspects of data analysis. This program includes courses in:

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Compilers

  • Data Visualization and Graphics

  • Other software applications

For students who are not majoring in Business Data Analytics, Arkansas Tech University also offers a minor in this field, allowing them to complement their primary area of study with valuable data analysis skills.

University of Arkansas-Little Rock

The University of Arkansas-Little Rock offers a Bachelor’s in Information Science degree program, focusing on bioinformatics and information technology. This program provides a solid foundation in these areas, preparing students for a variety of careers in data science and related fields.

In addition to the major, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock also offers minors in both bioinformatics and information technology, allowing students to specialize further in their chosen field of study and enhance their marketability in the job market.

Graduate Data Science Programs in Arkansas

A variety of graduate data science programs are also available in Arkansas, including Master’s degrees, Ph.D.’s, and graduate certificates. These advanced programs provide students with in-depth knowledge and expertise in data science, preparing them for leadership roles in the industry.

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas offers a 1-year, 30-credit-hour Master’s degree in Information Systems, with four distinct concentrations to choose from:

  1. Information Technology Management

  2. Enterprise Resource Planning

  3. Blockchain Enterprise Systems Management

  4. Business Analytics

This program is designed for both part-time and full-time students and focuses on providing professional preparation for positions in business and government.

To be eligible for this program, applicants must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university

  • Demonstrate aptitude for graduate work in business

  • Provide a GMAT or GRE score, unless a test waiver is applicable.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University offers an M.S. in Computer Science, covering advanced programming concepts, software applications, and specialized languages. This program equips students with the technical skills and expertise necessary for a successful career in data science and related fields.

To be considered for admission, applicants must have completed 18 credit hours in undergraduate Computer Science, maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, and submit a minimum GRE combined verbal and quantitative score. This comprehensive program prepares graduates for various data science roles, from data analyst to machine learning engineer.

University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas offers the Applied Data Analytics M.S. and the Data Analytics Graduate Certificate programs, both designed to enhance students’ data-informed problem-solving skills. These programs provide a strong foundation in data science principles and applications, preparing students for careers in various industries.

Admission requirements for the Applied Data Analytics M.S. program include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a minimum GPA of 3.00 on any graduate work, and completion of prerequisite courses. This 30-semester-hour program includes 24 hours of core courses and 6 hours of electives, allowing students to tailor their studies to their interests and career goals.

Online Data Science Degree Programs in Arkansas

For individuals who value the convenience of online learning, Arkansas provides several online degree programs in data science. These programs provide the same high-quality education as their on-campus counterparts, allowing students to pursue their data science careers without disrupting their personal or professional lives.

University of Arkansas Online

The University of Arkansas Online offers a professional Master’s in Information Systems, designed for working professionals looking to advance their careers in the field. This online program follows a part-time schedule and can be completed in less than two years, with one on-campus class per month. The 30-credit-hour program covers a range of topics, including systems analysis and design, business project development, and ERP.

Admission requirements for the Master’s in Information Systems program at the University of Arkansas Online include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university

  • A GMAT or GRE score (unless a test waiver is applicable)

  • Proficiency in Information Systems and Business Analytics Toolkit

With its flexible format and comprehensive curriculum, the Master’s in Information Systems program at the University of Arkansas Online is an excellent choice for professionals looking to advance their careers in data science.

Southern Arkansas University Online

Southern Arkansas University Online offers an M.S. in Computer and Information Science with a Data Science Concentration. This program focuses on the theory and practice of data science applications, preparing students for careers in various industries that require expertise in data analysis and decision-making.

The online M.S. program at Southern Arkansas University offers the following features:

  • Two years in duration

  • Equips students with proficiency in various programming languages

  • Allows students to excel in their chosen industry

  • Comprehensive curriculum

  • Flexible format

  • Excellent option for working professionals seeking to advance their careers in data science.

Data Science Bootcamps and Short Courses in Arkansas

Apart from degree programs, Arkansas also offers a range of data science bootcamps and short courses. These intensive training programs are designed for beginners and professionals alike, providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the field.

Data science bootcamps offer comprehensive training in the fundamentals of data science or data analytics. Some of the institutions offering data science bootcamps in Arkansas include:

  • University of Arkansas

  • University of Arkansas-Little Rock

  • Southern Arkansas University

  • Harding University

Short courses in data science are also available in Arkansas, providing focused training on specific topics or tools within the field. These courses present a valuable opportunity for professionals seeking to broaden their skillset or acquire new expertise in a specific area of data science.

Data Science Scholarships and Funding Opportunities in Arkansas

Undertaking a data science degree can be a substantial financial commitment. Fortunately, there are several scholarships, assistantships, and funding opportunities available to data science students in Arkansas to help offset the costs of their education.

There are numerous scholarships available for data science students in Arkansas, such as:

  • MDaS Scholarships: offer a maximum of $7,670 per academic year and are renewable based on academic performance

  • College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Scholarships at the University of Central Arkansas

  • Privately Funded Scholarships at A-State College of Engineering and Computer Science

In addition to scholarships, there are also funding opportunities for underrepresented groups in Arkansas. For example, the Multidisciplinary Data Science Scholarship Program offers scholarships to underrepresented STEM undergraduate students interested in data science-related careers, while the Data Science Scholars Program provides scholarships to underrepresented populations in Arkansas.

Data Science Job Market in Arkansas

The job market for data science in Arkansas is encouraging, with a forecasted growth of over 20% in the next decade. As of now, there are 390 data scientists employed in Arkansas, with an average salary of $109,020 per year.

The annual median wage for computer and information systems managers in Arkansas is $120,080, indicating the potential for strong earning potential in the state’s data science job market. With the growth of the tech industry and the increased demand for data-driven decision-making, the opportunities for data science professionals in Arkansas are vast.

Data science plays an integral role in a variety of professions, including the data science option. These include:

  • Data scientist

  • Data architect

  • Data analyst

  • Data engineer

  • Machine learning engineer

  • Machine learning scientist/researcher

  • Business intelligence analyst

  • Business intelligence developer

  • Business intelligence engineer

With the right education and experience, data science professionals in Arkansas can find rewarding careers across a range of industries.

Networking and Community Building for Data Scientists in Arkansas

For data science professionals in Arkansas, networking and fostering a sense of community are vital. Participating in local meetups, communities, conferences, and workshops can offer valuable opportunities for professional development and networking with like-minded individuals.

While the Fayetteville area is likely the most active for data science meetups and communities, The Venture Center has also organized a few groups in Little Rock. Attending these events can help data science professionals stay up-to-date on the latest trends, tools, and techniques in the field.

Workshops such as the Incorporating Data Science into Middle School/Junior High Science Classrooms workshop offered by UAMS and the Data Science Certification Training in Little Rock provide hands-on training in various aspects of data science.

Additionally, the AR Data Science & Computing Ecosystem Statewide Meeting and the Data Science for Arkansas Bi-Annual Meeting are the largest annual data science events held in Arkansas, offering opportunities for networking, learning, and collaboration.


In conclusion, Arkansas offers a wealth of opportunities for individuals looking to pursue a career in data science. With a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and online programs, as well as scholarships, funding opportunities, and networking events, the state provides the resources and support necessary for aspiring data scientists to excel in their chosen field. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional, Arkansas is an excellent place to advance your data science career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which bachelor degree is best for data science?

For Data Science, a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Applied Mathematics is recommended to gain the necessary technical skills and knowledge. A degree in Statistics or another related field of study can also be beneficial for pursuing a career in Data Science.

Which is best program for data science?

The best program for data science in 2023 is the Data Science Specialization by Johns Hopkins University on Coursera, followed closely by the Introduction to Data Science course from Metis and the Applied Data Science with Python Specialization from the University of Michigan on Coursera. Other popular courses include the Data Science MicroMasters from UC San Diego on edX, Statistics and Data Science MicroMasters from MIT on EdX, and Dataquest. Additionally, nine best data science courses by data scientists, both free and paid, can also be found, as well as nine best data science tools and software.

Are data science degrees worth it?

For those wanting to pursue a career in data science, a master’s degree can be a worthwhile investment since it sets you up to join the ranks of those earning six-figure salaries. Data Scientist is one of the highest-paying jobs in tech and consistently ranked as one of the best STEM jobs and overall best jobs. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of both degree and alternative education paths when deciding what’s right for you.

What education does a data scientist need?

Data scientists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or a related field to enter the profession. However, many employers require or prefer a master’s or doctoral degree for entry-level positions.

What are the top universities offering data science programs in Arkansas?

The top universities offering data science programs in Arkansas are the University of Arkansas, Arkansas Tech University, and the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

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