Top Data Science Degree Programs in Mississippi: Your Path to Success in the World of Big Data

The world of big data is continuously growing, and Mississippi is no exception. With a variety of data science degree programs in Mississippi and unique research opportunities, the Magnolia State offers a promising path for those looking to succeed in this in-demand field. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of data science degrees available in Mississippi, the advantages of pursuing a degree in the state, and tips for choosing the right program to launch your data science career.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore data science degree programs in Mississippi that provide a strong foundation for success.

  • Benefit from low cost of living, research opportunities and financial aid to pursue your studies.

  • Gain key skills such as statistical analysis & programming plus access career prospects with high demand and competitive salaries.

Exploring Data Science Degree Programs in Mississippi

Mississippi is home to several data science schools, including most data science schools that prepare students for a flourishing career in the world of big data. From campus-based programs to online degrees and community colleges, aspiring data scientists have multiple options to choose from when pursuing a data science degree in the state.

Campus-Based Data Science Programs

Mississippi State University in Starkville and University of Southern Mississippi are highly-rated campus-based data science programs in Mississippi. The University of Mississippi Medical Center is the only institution in the state to offer an on-campus Master of Science in Biostatistics and Data Science. Applicants looking to join this program need to have a Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0, along with three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and GRE scores in their application. The primary objective of the program is to equip graduates with essential skills in statistical theory, practical data analysis, big data management, and communication.

Undergraduate students interested in data science can opt for math and computer science concentrations at Mississippi State University. These programs provide a strong foundation in data analysis and programming, preparing students for a successful career in data science.

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Online Data Science Programs

Mississippi State University offers an online Master of Science in Data Science program, which provides comprehensive training in data management, processing, and value extraction, including biostatistics and data science techniques. Eligibility for this program requires applicants to possess a Bachelor’s degree with an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 over the last 60 hours, accompanied by GRE or GMAT scores.

Mississippi State University’s College of Business suggests coursework in the following areas for the Master of Science in Information Systems program:

  • Accounting

  • Statistical analysis

  • Financial or managerial accounting

  • Business statistics

  • Micro or macroeconomics

  • Marketing

  • Computer programming

All these courses can help students become well-prepared with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a successful career in information systems.

In addition to formal degree programs, there are numerous online options for honing data science knowledge, skills, and abilities in Mississippi through MOOCs or additional coursework in database systems, machine learning, SQL, Python, R, and other data science tools and scientific processes.

Community College Data Science Programs

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College offers data science programs, providing students with the opportunity to develop data science expertise in a community college setting. These programs focus on equipping individuals with the necessary skills to work in a data-rich business environment and offer affordable tuition rates, making them an attractive option for aspiring data scientists.

Advantages of Pursuing a Data Science Degree in Mississippi

One of the main benefits of pursuing a data science degree in Mississippi is the lower cost of living compared to other states in the US. With an index of 83.3, Mississippi has the lowest cost of living, which is 15% lower than the national average. This can make obtaining a data science degree in Mississippi more affordable for students.

Mississippi also offers a range of research opportunities for students pursuing data science. Examples include:

  • The Undergraduate Research Symposium Sub-Competition at Mississippi State University

  • Interdisciplinary research at the University of Mississippi

  • Research in agricultural data science at Mississippi State University

These opportunities allow students to work on cutting-edge projects and gain valuable experience in the field.

Key Skills for Data Science Success

Mastering key skills like statistical analysis, programming, and business comprehension is indispensable for success in advance data science. Proficiency in these areas is crucial in tackling real-world data-driven problems and making informed decisions based on raw data.

Having a strong foundation in database systems is also significant for data science success. Employers prioritize candidates with a solid understanding of database systems as these professionals can effectively manage and analyze large datasets.

A firm grasp of programming languages like Python, R, and SQL is also imperative for data science professionals.

Data Science Research Opportunities at Mississippi Universities

Mississippi universities provide several data science research opportunities that enable students to work on innovative projects and gain hands-on experience. The High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC²) at Mississippi State University utilizes high-performance computing and data analytics to conduct research in engineering, science, agriculture, and cybersecurity. Research areas include computational fluid dynamics, machine learning, bioinformatics, and climate modeling.

The Geospatial Information Technologies Center at Delta State University offers a Master of Applied Science in Geospatial Information Technologies program. This program provides comprehensive instruction and practical experience in:

  • Geospatial information science

  • Advanced geospatial analysis

  • Remote sensing

  • Digital image processing

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Geospatial Center (GCGC) focuses on research, innovation, and infrastructure in the Gulf South. The Gulf Coast Geospatial Center (GCGC) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of coastal alteration, relative sea-level rise, and remote sensing through the use of highly accurate geospatial data, tools, and models. Their research helps us gain a deeper understanding of how these processes interact with each other over time.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Data Science Students in Mississippi

Financial aid and scholarship opportunities available for data science students in Mississippi include:

  • The University of Mississippi Medical Center offers a graduate assistantship with a $24,000 stipend plus health insurance.

  • The Bower School of Population Health provides additional tuition support for incoming students taking nine credit hours each semester.

  • Mississippi State University offers graduate assistantship opportunities with a $600 stipend per month.

  • The Division of Graduate Studies at Jackson State University provides assistantships and tuition waivers.

Data science students in Mississippi seeking financial aid can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and look into any scholarships or grants offered by their respective universities.

Networking and Professional Development Opportunities in Mississippi

Networking and professional development opportunities in Mississippi include tech meetups, conferences, and workshops. These events allow data scientists to connect with industry professionals, learn about the latest trends in the field, and enhance their skills.

The Jackson Area Web and App Developers meetup group is one such opportunity. It brings together application and web development professionals in the Jackson area to share knowledge and collaborate on projects.

In addition to meetups, universities in Mississippi provide various networking opportunities for data science students. The University of Mississippi offers chances for students to acquire analytics skills through new courses, workshops, summer internships, and networking events.

Mississippi State University’s Social Data Analytics concentration equips students to apply data science to understand sociological and political aspects of social media communication, potentially providing networking opportunities as well.

Career Prospects for Data Scientists in Mississippi

Data scientists in Mississippi can expect promising career prospects. Here are some key facts:

  • The current employment rate for tech-related occupations in the state is 3.9%

  • The average salary for data scientists is $56,440 per year

  • Industries such as healthcare, technology, financial services, and government are all in high demand for data scientists in Mississippi.

Over the next 5-10 years, the job growth for data scientists in Mississippi is projected to be in the range of 22-36%. This indicates a bright future for those pursuing a career in data science in the state.

Tips for Choosing the Right Data Science Program in Mississippi

Factors to consider when selecting a data science program in Mississippi include:

  • Academic and career objectives

  • Curriculum and courses

  • Faculty expertise

  • Research opportunities

  • Available resources and facilities

  • Internship and job placement assistance

  • Program reputation and accreditation

  • Cost and financial aid

The reputation of the program, which mirrors its quality and credibility, is a significant factor to consider when choosing a data science program in Mississippi. A program with a strong reputation is likely to have knowledgeable faculty, a current curriculum, and strong industry connections, which can improve the learning experience and raise the prospects of success in the data science field.

The quality of a data science program is greatly determined by faculty expertise. Faculty members with knowledge and experience can contribute:

  • Real-world insights

  • Mastery in data analysis techniques

  • The ability to effectively teach complex concepts

  • Practical examples

  • Industry insights

  • Advice on recent trends and technologies in the field

Alternative Pathways to Data Science Careers in Mississippi

Alternative pathways to data science careers in Mississippi include:

  • Bootcamps, such as the Data Science and Analytics Boot Camp offered by Mississippi State University, which provide a comprehensive introduction to the fields of data science and data analytics. These intensive courses equip students with the necessary skills to pursue a career in data science.

  • Self-study, where individuals can learn data science skills through online courses, tutorials, and resources.

  • Related undergraduate degrees in STEM fields, such as computer science, mathematics, or statistics, which provide a strong foundation for a career in data science.

These pathways offer individuals different options to gain the skills and knowledge needed for a successful data science career in Mississippi.

Self-study is another option for those looking to enter the field of data science. Individuals can learn data science concepts and techniques through online courses, tutorials, and other educational resources. This approach allows for flexibility in learning at one’s own pace and tailored to personal interests and career goals.

Pursuing an undergraduate degree in a STEM field, such as computer science, mathematics, or engineering, can also serve as a stepping stone to a data science career. These programs provide a strong foundation in analytical and problem-solving skills, which can be further developed through specialized data science courses and projects.


In conclusion, Mississippi offers a promising landscape for aspiring data scientists, with various degree programs, research opportunities, and networking events. By considering factors such as program reputation, faculty expertise, and curriculum, individuals can choose the right data science program to launch their careers. Whether through traditional degree programs or alternative pathways such as bootcamps and self-study, success in the world of big data awaits those who embark on this exciting journey in Mississippi.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good degree for data science?

For a successful data science career, a Bachelor’s degree in Data Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Data Analytics, Statistics, Information Technology, Business, Engineering or Physics is recommended.

Is an MS in data science worth it?

A master’s degree in data science provides a number of benefits, including higher salaries, greater insight into the field, and more rapid advancement opportunities. All of these advantages can make an MS in data science worth it.

What is the GPA for MS in data science?

M.S. in Data Science requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 for students with a data science, applied statistics, or computer science background.

How hard is MS data science?

MS data science is certainly demanding and requires a strong understanding of math, statistics, and programming. However, the requisite skills can be acquired with hard work and dedication.

What types of data science degree programs are available in Mississippi?

Mississippi provides a range of data science degree programs, including campus-based programs, online degrees, and courses at community colleges.

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