Top Data Science Programs in Washington: Rankings, Curriculum, and Online Options

Data science is transforming industries across the globe, and Washington State is no exception. With a thriving tech scene and a strong demand for skilled professionals, the Evergreen State is an excellent choice for those looking to pursue a career in data science. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top data science programs in Washington, including undergraduate, graduate, online, and Ph.D. options. We’ll also discuss financial aid, networking opportunities, and tips for choosing the right program for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Washington State offers attractive career prospects in data science, with diverse opportunities and high salaries.

  • Undergraduate and graduate programs provide essential skills to become proficient in data analysis & interpretation, while online options offer flexibility for busy professionals.

  • Choosing the right program involves considering elements such as curriculum, faculty expertise & support services while researching factors like networking opportunities & industry connections.

Data Science Career Prospects in Washington State

If you’ve been considering a career in data science, Washington State is an attractive place to be. The mean annual salary for data scientists in the state is $133,900, which is well above the national average. Although the cost of living is 31% higher than the national average, the demand for professionals with data science skills remains strong.

As a data scientist, professionals in Washington thrive in diverse industries such as tech, retail, and aerospace, often leveraging their background in software engineering. With companies like Microsoft headquartered in the Seattle area, the opportunities for data scientists to make a significant impact in their field are vast.

Undergraduate Data Science Programs: On-Campus Options

On-campus undergraduate programs in Washington are an excellent starting point for individuals aiming to establish a robust foundation in data science. The University of Washington, for example, offers an undergraduate program in Data Science, giving students the opportunity to learn essential data science skills.

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Other institutions, such as Washington State University, also provide on-campus undergraduate data science programs. These programs typically incorporate natural language processing courses in their curriculum, equipping students with the ability to analyse and interpret data effectively.

Course Content and Structure

The main objective of undergraduate data science programs is cultivating crucial skills such as data analysis, programming, and statistical techniques. At the University of Washington, the Data Science and Statistics undergraduate program has specific requirements. These include coursework in Quantitative Intro Statistics for Data Science, Probability, and various electives like Intro to Statistical Machine Learning, Applied Statistics and Experimental Design, and Intro to Artificial Intelligence..

A plethora of options exist for individuals keen on pursuing more advanced coursework. UpGrad’s PG Diploma, PG Certificate, and MS in Data Science focus on programming logic and data analysis while offering a wide range of courses from top universities and industry leaders through Coursera. This allows undergraduate students to gain a deeper understanding of data science concepts and techniques, preparing them for graduate research or careers in the field.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students need to exhibit a strong acumen in mathematics and programming to be eligible for undergraduate data science programs. For instance, the University of Washington’s undergraduate data science program requires applicants to possess a 4-year U.S. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, a minimum GPA of 3.0 from the last 2 years of graded full-time study, and no GRE or GMAT requirement. Moreover, a major or minor in mathematics, applied mathematics, or statistics with a minimum GPA of 2.7 across major/minor coursework is also necessary.

In addition to a solid foundation in mathematics, admission to an undergraduate data science program typically requires a certain level of programming knowledge. Familiarity with languages such as:

  • Python

  • R

  • SQL

  • Julia

Machine learning techniques are often expected, as these are commonly used in data science programs.

Graduate Data Science Programs: On-Campus Options

For individuals aiming to deepen their data science knowledge, on-campus graduate programs in Washington provide advanced courses in areas such as:

  • Data visualization

  • Data management

  • Statistics

  • Machine learning

The University of Washington, for instance, provides a Master of Science in Data Science program designed to equip students with the comprehensive knowledge and practical skills necessary for a successful career in data science.

This program boasts a diverse class profile, with 62 total students, 59% of whom are international students. By enrolling in the Master of Science in Data Science program at the University of Washington, students can expect to receive a top-notch education, hands-on practical learning experiences, and plentiful job opportunities upon graduation.

Core Courses and Electives

A major focus of graduate data science programs in Washington lies in fostering practical proficiency and application of data science skills in real-world scenarios. Core courses typically include mathematics, statistics, computer science, and data management, while electives may cover subjects such as Data Storytelling and Communication, Social Network Analysis, Advanced Machine Learning, and Big Data Systems.

These programs prepare students for a wide range of data science-related professions, giving them the tools and techniques necessary to succeed in their chosen field. Whether it’s analyzing complex data sets, creating cutting-edge machine learning algorithms, or developing innovative data visualization techniques, graduate data science programs in Washington provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their careers.

Admission Requirements

Enrollment in graduate data science programs usually necessitates a bachelor’s degree in a related field, relevant professional experience, and proven quantitative skills. For example, applicants to the University of Washington’s Master of Science in Data Science program must have completed prerequisite courses in Calculus I, II, and III, Linear Algebra, two introductory programming courses or demonstrable proficiency in Python, Java, JavaScript, C++ or C#, three essays, a one-page resume or CV, and two to three letters of recommendation.

Other institutions, such as Washington State University, have similar admission requirements for their data science programs, including:

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 graded semester credits

  • Submission of unofficial transcripts from all previous institutions

  • A resume/CV for consideration

Online Data Science Programs: Bachelor’s Degrees

Although online bachelor’s degree options in data science in Washington are limited, alternative programs cater to those in search of a more flexible learning environment. For example, Bellevue College offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Informatics, which includes courses like Economics of Healthcare, Essentials of Healthcare Informatics, and HCI New Student Orientation.

This program is designed for individuals with prior IT and/or healthcare preparation and experience. Although not strictly a data science program, the curriculum does cover data management and analysis techniques, making it a viable option for those looking to develop their data science skills in a more specialized context.

Online Data Science Programs: Master’s Degrees

Online master’s degree programs in data science offer course flexibility and a diverse selection of data science-related subjects for career advancement seekers. One such program is City University of Seattle’s Master of Science in Computer Science, which includes courses such as Computer Science I: C++, Intro to Cloud Computing, and Data Exploration and Visualization.

The program typically takes two years to complete and offers the same curriculum and faculty as its on-campus counterpart. This allows students to gain a comprehensive education in data science from the comfort of their own home, making it an ideal choice for busy professionals or those looking to balance work and study.

Online Data Science Programs: Graduate Certificates

Online graduate certificate programs serve as an alternative to full degree programs for those in pursuit of more focused data science training. For example, the University of Washington provides a Certificate in Data Science program that teaches students how to:

  • Utilize standard tools and processes to identify correlations from data

  • Apply statistical analysis and machine learning algorithms to data sets

  • Make informed decisions

This program is designed for technical professionals with data analysis and programming experience, as well as managers with a technical background, making it a versatile option for those looking to develop their data science skills. Upon completion, students will be well-equipped to tackle real-world data challenges and contribute to the growing field of data science and data analytics.

Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Washington

A variety of options are available in Washington State for those keen on pursuing a doctorate in data science. The University of Washington provides several Ph.D. programs with a data science option, including:

  • Astronomy

  • Chemical Engineering

  • Genome Sciences

  • Molecular Engineering

  • Psychology

These programs allow students to specialize in their chosen field while gaining a strong foundation in data science techniques and methodologies. With the support of expert faculty and cutting-edge research facilities, graduates of these programs are well-prepared to make significant contributions to the field of data science and advance their careers in academia or industry.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities

The availability of various financial aid and scholarship opportunities ensures that pursuing a data science education in Washington doesn’t have to be financially daunting. Awards can be based on both financial need and potential career impact, helping to ensure that students have access to the education they need to succeed in the field.

Some institutions in Washington, such as the University of Washington and Washington State University, offer financial aid for their data science programs, including tuition remission and merit-based scholarships for highly qualified applicants. By exploring these options, students can make their data science education more affordable and accessible.

Networking and Professional Development Opportunities

Beyond formal education, networking and professional development opportunities are pivotal in forging connections and bolstering career prospects in the field of data science. Cohort experiences, such as those offered by the University of Washington’s Master of Science in Data Science program, provide students with a culturally diverse and supportive learning atmosphere, fostering trust, empowerment, and collaboration among peers.

Furthermore, industry partnerships, such as those with the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and Washington STEM, provide students with valuable insights into the data science field and potential job opportunities. By taking advantage of these opportunities, students can build a strong foundation for a successful career in data science.

Choosing the Right Data Science Program

Choosing an apt data science program in Washington entails evaluating elements such as:

  • Program format

  • Curriculum

  • Faculty

  • Career support services

Each student’s individual needs and goals will play a significant role in determining which program is the best fit for them, especially for full time students.

When evaluating programs, it’s important to research the following factors:

  • Expertise, research, and industry experience of the faculty members

  • Teaching style and accessibility of the program

  • Support provided to students

  • Reputation and recognition of the faculty members

  • Networking opportunities and industry connections

  • Alumni network and internship opportunities

  • Career counseling offered by the program

Considering these factors will ensure a comprehensive and well-rounded data science education.


In conclusion, Washington State offers a wide range of data science programs to suit various educational needs and career goals. From undergraduate and graduate programs to online and Ph.D. options, students have the opportunity to develop their data science skills and knowledge in a thriving tech environment. By considering factors such as program format, curriculum, faculty, and career support services, students can choose the right data science program to help them excel in their careers and make a significant impact in the ever-evolving field of data science.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does University of Washington have a good data science program?

The University of Washington offers a comprehensive data science program, with its eScience Institute in collaboration with the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences and MSDS degree. This makes it a national leader in advancing the techniques and technologies of data-intensive discovery and an ideal choice for anyone looking to begin or advance their career in data science.

Which is best program for data science?

With the range of courses, certifications, data science tools and software available in 2023, a master’s degree is one of the best ways to break into the data science field. Intellipaat highlights SAS, Apache Spark, BigML, D3, MATLAB, Excel, ggplot2, Tableau, and other tools as those most in demand in the sector.

Is Seattle good for data science?

Seattle is an ideal location for data science professionals, as the city faces one of the biggest shortages of data scientists in the U.S. and is a major intellectual center for this growing field. It is home to local industry for projects and networking opportunities, making it an ideal destination for data science experts.

What majors are best for data science?

A Bachelor’s degree in data science, computer science, mathematics, data analytics, statistics, information technology, business, engineering and physics are all great options to consider if you’re looking to pursue a career in data science.

What are the career prospects for data scientists in Washington State?

Data scientists in Washington State can look forward to a prosperous career, with high salaries and a positive job outlook due to the expanding information sector.

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