Top Data Science Programs in Iowa: Find the Perfect Fit for Your Future

Iowa, a state known for its agricultural heritage, is now emerging as a hotspot for aspiring data scientists. With a mix of quality universities, online programs, and a growing tech industry, Iowa offers exciting opportunities for those looking to build a future in data science. Data science programs in Iowa are becoming increasingly popular, providing students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this rapidly growing field.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore comprehensive data science programs in Iowa, from undergraduate to graduate degrees and specialized certificates.

  • Take advantage of online options for flexible learning and financial aid opportunities.

  • Gain valuable skills and knowledge with potential for success in the competitive job market with a competitive salary.

Exploring Data Science Degrees in Iowa

Iowa is home to two renowned universities offering comprehensive data science programs: Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. These programs equip students with the skills needed to become successful data scientists in various industries, from agriculture to advanced manufacturing. Tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft, having established their presence in the state, have positively influenced the growth of data science education, drawing in skilled educators to guide these programs.

Both undergraduate and graduate degrees in data science are available in Iowa, including the data science major, covering a range of topics such as statistical modeling, machine learning, and data visualization. Students have the opportunity to customize their education to align with their career aspirations through a mix of core courses, advanced electives, and capstone projects.

Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Iowa

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Data Science, providing students with a solid foundation in computer science, statistics, and data analytics. The University of Iowa’s program, jointly provided by the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and the Department of Computer Science, requires a minimum of 120 credit hours, including core courses such as Algorithms, Introduction to Linear Algebra, and Database Systems.

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Iowa State University’s B.S. in Data Science program requires 120 credit hours. The breakdown of credit hours is as follows:

  • 39 credit hours in the major

  • 23 credit hours for foundation courses

  • 3 credits for the capstone course

  • 9 credit hours for related electives

This comprehensive curriculum ensures that students develop a strong understanding of data science fundamentals and gain hands-on experience through elective courses that focus on areas like artificial intelligence, marketing, and bioinformatics.

In addition to traditional undergraduate degrees, the University of Iowa offers a combined B.S./M.S. in Business Analytics program, allowing students to earn both degrees in a shorter time frame. This program focuses on providing students with the technical and business skills needed to excel in data-driven organizations.

Graduate Data Science Programs in Iowa

For those seeking to further their education, Iowa offers a variety of graduate data science programs, including Master of Science and Ph.D. options. The University of Iowa provides a Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics, focusing on developing technical skills and business acumen in students. Similarly, Iowa State University offers a Master and Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics, with a curriculum that covers core courses such as Data and Decisions, Data Management and Visual Analytics, and Advanced Analytics.

Out-of-state institutions like Maharishi University of Management also provide graduate data science programs for Iowa students, such as the Masters in Computer Science with a data science track. The tuition cost for this program is $33,350 per year, and financial aid and scholarships may be available for eligible students.

In addition to full degree programs, Iowa State University offers an online Certificate in Business Analytics, catering to the needs of working professionals seeking to enhance their skills in data analysis and interpretation. This program consists of core courses such as Business Analytics Foundation and elective courses like Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, Data Analytics and Visualization, and Applied Time Series.

Online Data Science Programs for Iowa Students

In the current digital era, online data science programs extend unmatched flexibility and convenience to students striving to progress in their careers. Iowa residents have access to a range of online data science programs, both in-state and out-of-state, ensuring they can find the perfect fit for their needs and goals.

Quality control is a key factor to consider when evaluating online data science programs, along with options available from other states. This allows students to find the best possible education that meets their specific requirements and provides them with the skills they need to excel in the growing field of data science.

In-State Online Data Science Programs

Iowa-based institutions such as Iowa State University and the University of Iowa offer online data science programs for students residing in the state. The University of Iowa’s online graduate programs in data science have an estimated cost of $544 per credit hour, making them an affordable option for many students.

Iowa State University’s online Certificate in Business Analytics is another popular choice for students seeking to enhance their data analysis skills. The program is available online and on campus in Ames, Iowa, as well as at Capital Square in Des Moines. With tuition costs of $782 per credit hour for Iowa residents and students enrolled in the online pathway, this certificate program offers a flexible and convenient option for working professionals.

In addition to these programs, there are other online data science certificates and bootcamps available to Iowa students, such as the Farm Futures Bootcamp and Business Summit. These programs provide an immersive learning experience and enable students to develop their skills in data analytics and business intelligence.

Out-of-State Online Data Science Programs

Out-of-state online data science programs offer Iowa students the opportunity to learn from renowned institutions like:

  • University of Southern California

  • UC-Berkeley

  • Johns Hopkins University

  • Northwestern University

  • Syracuse University

These programs cater to Iowa students by providing flexible schedules and remote access to courses, ensuring they can continue their education without relocating.

The admission requirements for out-of-state online data science programs typically include a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and the successful completion of a college-level statistics course with a minimum GPA of 3.0 at an accredited university. It is essential for students to carefully research and compare the curriculum, faculty, and reputation of both in-state and out-of-state programs to ensure they make the best decision for their future.

Tuition costs for out-of-state online data science programs vary depending on the university. Here are some examples:

  • Iowa residents paid an average of $8,988 per semester to attend one university.

  • Out-of-state students paid much more at $23,292.

  • One university charges $544 per credit hour for online graduate study.

Financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, and loan repayment programs may be available to help offset the costs of out-of-state programs.

Data Science Certificates and Bootcamps in Iowa

Data science certificates and bootcamps in Iowa offer a speedy route for students to acquire necessary skills and knowledge in the domain. These specialized, intensive courses of study offer a comprehensive introduction to data science and data analytics.

Iowa State University’s online Certificate in Business Analytics equips students with the necessary skills to analyze large data sets and generate meaningful insights for their employer. The program covers core courses like:

  • Business Analytics Foundation And elective courses that focus on areas such as:

  • Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining

  • Data Analytics and Visualization

  • Applied Time Series

In addition to certificate programs, the Farm Futures Bootcamp and Business Summit provide an opportunity for students and professionals to network and exchange ideas about data science and its applications in various industries. Attending these events can help aspiring data scientists develop valuable connections and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the field.

Scholarships and Funding Opportunities for Iowa Data Science Students

Data science students in Iowa can avail of financial support through grants, scholarships, and unique loan repayment programs. Some of the grants specifically available for Iowa residents studying data science include:

  • Future Ready Iowa Grant

  • Science grants

  • Computer science professional development incentive funds

  • Scholarships offered by the Department of Computer Science at the University of Iowa

In addition to grants, there are internship opportunities that provide financial assistance to data science students in Iowa. These internships allow students to gain hands-on experience in data science while earning money to help cover the costs of their education.

Students are encouraged to research and apply for scholarships and grants specific to their field of study and individual circumstances. Financial assistance can help make pursuing a data science degree more affordable and accessible for students, allowing them to focus on their education and future career goals.

Networking and Professional Development in Iowa’s Data Science Community

The data science community in Iowa presents abundant networking and professional development opportunities via:

  • The Data Science Club at Iowa State University

  • The DSM Data & Analytics group in West Des Moines

  • The University of Iowa’s Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

These are just a few examples of organizations and locations that offer data science jobs.

Annual conferences and seminars like the Data Mining Iowa Group (DMIG) Seminar, the Business Analytics FutureBAProf Workshop, the Iowa Chapter Symposium on Data Science and Statistics, and WiDS Ames provide excellent networking opportunities for data scientists in Iowa. Attending these events can help individuals stay up-to-date on the latest trends in data science, connect with professionals in the field, and learn from experts in various industries.

Engaging in these data science events allows budding data scientists to establish enduring connections, gain key insights, and advance their careers in the expanding realm of data science.

Job Market and Salary Expectations for Data Scientists in Iowa

The job market for data scientists in Iowa is somewhat restricted, with a moderate demand for such professionals in the state. However, the growth of industries such as:

  • Agriculture and food production

  • Advanced manufacturing

  • Chemical production

  • Renewable energy fuels

indicates that the demand for data professionals in Iowa may increase in the future.

Despite the limited job market, recent graduates of data science programs in Iowa have demonstrated a near 100% employment rate within the state. The median salary for data scientists in Iowa is $94,230 per annum, which is lower than the national median salary for data scientists, which was $100,910 as of May 2021.

Iowa’s cost of living being lower than the national average renders it an appealing choice for professionals in pursuit of more economical living expenses. With a competitive cost of living, a growing technology industry, and the presence of several reputable universities, Iowa offers a promising environment for aspiring data scientists to build their careers.

Skills and Competencies Gained from Iowa Data Science Programs

Graduates from Iowa data science programs amass a versatile and comprehensive skillset, equipping them for success in the field. Students develop a strong foundation in:

  • Probability and statistics

  • Data storage and management

  • Data analysis and visualization

  • Programming in R

They also gain critical thinking and communication skills, which are essential in translating complex data insights into actionable strategies for various industries.

Iowa data science programs underline the following technical skills:

  • Robust quantitative and mathematical abilities

  • Competence in programming languages like Python and R

  • Understanding of statistical analysis and algorithms

  • Acquaintance with big data storage and analysis tools such as Hadoop and Spark

These skills equip graduates to tackle complex raw data analysis tasks and make meaningful contributions to their chosen field as a data scientist.

Beyond technical skills, Iowa data science programs incorporate ethical considerations, ensuring graduates comprehend the significance of privacy, security, and responsible data use in their work. With a well-rounded education and a diverse skillset, graduates of Iowa data science programs are well-prepared to excel in the growing field of data science.

Success Stories: Iowa Data Science Alumni

Iowa data science alumni have marked substantial success in their careers, making notable contributions across diverse industries and creatively applying their education. Notable alumni include Governor Terry Branstad, who holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa, and Gilfoyle, a faculty member and Dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences at Colorado State University.

Many Iowa data science graduates have landed prestigious roles in organizations such as:

  • Tippie Analytics Cooperative

  • Kingland

  • John Deere

  • Principal Financial Group

  • Corteva Agriscience

  • DuPont

They have also pursued advanced degrees and research opportunities at esteemed institutions like Northwestern’s data science + statistics major, proving the quality of education provided by Iowa data science programs.

Success stories of Iowa data science alumni can be found on university websites and through interviews, showcasing the impact of their education on their careers and communities. These stories serve as inspiration for aspiring data scientists and demonstrate the potential for success in the growing field of data science.


Iowa offers a wealth of opportunities for aspiring data scientists, from comprehensive degree programs at renowned universities to online courses and intensive bootcamps. With a growing technology industry, a competitive cost of living, and a supportive data science community, Iowa provides an ideal environment for students to build a successful career in data science.

By taking advantage of the educational opportunities, networking events, and financial support available in Iowa, aspiring data scientists can develop the skills and connections needed to excel in this exciting field. With dedication and hard work, graduates of Iowa data science programs can make meaningful contributions to various industries and shape the future of data-driven decision-making.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is best program for data science?

With the field of data science quickly growing, a master’s degree is one of the best ways to break into this industry. Additionally, 12 programming languages, 9 free and paid courses, and a variety of data science tools are in high demand in 2023.

Does Iowa State have data science?

Yes, Iowa State offers a degree in Data Science that provides students with the technical fundamentals of data analysis to transform data into actionable insights.

What majors are best for data science?

The best majors for data science are applied mathematics, statistics, information technology, computer information systems, business, finance, economics, engineering (mechanical, electrical, or industrial), physics and biostatistics – all of which are excellent choices to equip you with the necessary skillset.

Do data scientists make good money?

Data Scientists can expect to earn a salary that is higher than the average wage for all workers, with the median salary standing at $103,500 per year as of 2022. Bonuses, raises, commissions, and profit-sharing can add even more to this attractive salary.

What types of data science programs are available at Iowa universities?

Iowa universities offer a range of data science programs, including undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as online courses and certificate programs.

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