Ph.D. in Data Science Online – The Best Programs

In an age when data is more valuable than money, knowing how to analyze it can be a highly demanded skill. Data scientists are among the most hunted professionals in different markets.

If you want to get a job with an impressive salary while doing something you love, you may want to consider getting a PhD in data science.

Today, many universities offer you an opportunity to receive a degree in data science. Some of them allow students to do it remotely. If you are ready to get an online PhD in data science, you need to find a suitable program.

Let’s take a closer look at choosing the best online PhD programs.

Things to Consider When Deciding on a Data Science Degree

Getting a PhD in data science is a huge step toward getting a highly demanded job with an impressive salary. For many people, this type of education comes with a significant ROI (Return on Investment). If you are ready to invest time and money in an online degree, you are likely to rip all the related benefits.

Here are a few factors you need to consider when choosing the best program for your data science PhD:

  • Specialization – data scientists can have similar job responsibilities in many fields. However, by choosing a specialization, you can enjoy your personal area of interest. You can become a data analyst, statistician, data architect, and more. Having a narrow specialization turns you into a more demanded specialist.
  • University – the university you plan to get a data science Ph.D. in can play a major role in the quality of your education and ability to find a high-paying job. You would need to research the best available programs, especially if you plan to study online. Reviews are an important tool that can help you make the right decision.
  • Curriculum – while choosing the program, you need to pay special attention to the curriculum. It should provide a wide variety of options. Make sure it includes such important subjects as statistics and focus on modern computing technologies.
  • Internships – finding a good job right after you get a Ph.D. in data science isn’t always a one-day task. Some programs offer you an opportunity to choose an internship. By the time you finish the program and get your Ph.D., you can have a high-paying job waiting for you.
  • Transfer – if at some point you decide to transfer to another Ph.D. program, can you transfer credits as well? Even the best data science Ph.D. programs aren’t suitable for everyone. So you should always have plan B.
  • Value – how valuable is the program you choose among recruiters? You can do an online search to find out if recruiters have something to say about candidates that complete a particular program. You can also view job offerings and check out what they say about data science program requirements.
  • Costs – the cost of the program is one of the most important elements that you need to consider. However, it should be the last one. Once you have a list of candidate programs, you can compare their costs. Keep in mind that you are making a smart investment, which is highly likely to bring significant returns.

If you have an opportunity to speak to people who have already finished the program, ask them for reviews and tips. Check out the social media pages of the online university of your choice. You are likely to find alumni there.

Why Online PhD in Data Science Is a Good Opportunity

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people rediscovered online doctorate programs. To meet the demand, a big variety of schools reinvented themselves and started offering online learning options. Right now is an excellent time to apply for a doctorate program since you can enjoy a tremendous number of choices.


Online programs created specifically for Ph.D. candidates are generally convenient. They consider the needs of students who have to juggle their personal life, work, and studies. Today, there are dozens of institutions offering online Ph.D. opportunities for American students and candidates around the world.

Excellent Investment

An online Ph.D. program for data scientists is an excellent investment because it almost always leads to an increase in salary and a quick climb up the career ladder. When it comes to data science, the demand for good specialists is so high, recruiters tend to snag suitable candidates even before they finish the doctorate program.

Online Ph.D. courses have the same quality and effectiveness as on-site learning. Over the years, top schools honed their remote education skills, came up with all the necessary tools, and invested in convenience for all students.


Some students mistakenly believe that online learning robs them of the opportunity to network. Just the opposite, the entire infrastructure of top Ph.D. programs aims at offering networking opportunities.

With the right communication tools, you can network with students, alumni, and prospective employers without leaving the comfort of your home. Meanwhile, you don’t have to worry about COVID-19 and other health hazards.


If you are planning to enroll in an online program, you don’t have to think about it taking more time than on-site education. Since you are probably balancing work and studies, you want to speed up the learning process.

The time it takes to finish a doctoral program in data science depends on many factors, including the university you choose and the specialization you pick. If you are focused on getting your degree, you can do it in 5 to 7 years.

If you are ready to enroll in an accelerated program, you can finish it in 3 – 5 years. Some universities offer short one-year programs. While it may be hard to find a 1-year program for all data science specializations, it’s always possible to accelerate your studies.

Admission Requirements

Before choosing the best online PhD program in data science, it’s important to review admission requirements. These requirements easily vary from program to program. However, the majority of top universities have similar demands. They include:

  • Degree – to enter a program you usually need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. However, some programs may require a master’s degree as well.
  • Major – some schools may not require you to have a specific major in order to enroll into their doctorate program. Others may say that a major in math or computer science is a must. In some cases, having a relevant major can increase your chances of getting into the program you want.
  • Courses – if you don’t have a relevant major, you should still finish relevant courses, such as computer programming, linear algebra, statistics, and the like.
  • GPA – in most cases, candidates need their GPA to exceed 3.0 – 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale). Some schools may also set a minimum GRE score requirement. Usually, it should be at least in the 70th percentile.

If you can’t meet the requirements of a specific program, you can always choose an alternative. Many high-quality doctorate programs don’t have extremely high demands.

Even if you don’t have a relevant major, you can always make up for it by providing information about completed courses. A low GPA or GRE score may not be a problem for some schools either.

Scholarships for Online Data Science PhD Programs

Applying for a scholarship is an excellent way to ease the financial burden of getting a Ph.D. If you qualify, you may be able to choose a better program than you initially settled on. Take the time to research the available scholarship options for the schools of your choice before making the final decision.

Programs to consider include:

Keep in mind that scholarship programs are highly competitive. However, it doesn’t take long to apply. Explore all your options in order to get into the program you need without facing significant financial obstacles.

Top Data Science Doctorate Programs

Below are several doctorate programs to consider in 2023 and beyond.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University is more than 50 years old. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. The university enrolls more than 25,000 students annually. It offers a Ph.D. in big data analytics.

Columbia University

One of the most renowned Ivy League universities is located in New York City. Columbia University has 15 graduate and professional schools and enrolls around 33,000 students annually. The university offers a doctorate program in data science. However, the program comes with certain requirements.

Harrisburg School of Science and Technology

Harrisburg School of Science and Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It’s a private university that has a variety of graduate, undergraduate, and doctoral programs. While only around 6,000 students enroll every year, the university boasts an excellent Ph.D. program for data scientists.

Northcentral University

This private university is located in San Diego California. It offers a wide variety of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The school also has excellent doctoral programs with many specializations.

It enrolls around 10,000 students every year and boasts a comprehensive Ph.D. program in data science.

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida is located in Orlando. This large university enrolls around 70,000 students every year. It offers numerous graduate, undergraduate, and doctoral programs. Princeton Review ranks this school as the “Best Southeastern” College.

The University of Central Florida has a Ph.D. program in Big Data Analytics.

University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island has many online programs that cater to students who need flexible hours. It has a Ph.D. program that focuses on database management systems, data science, and data structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the online PhD in data science expensive?

Different programs come with different price tags. It’s possible to find a program that suits your budget. It’s also possible to explore different scholarship options.

A PhD in data science can have a significant return on investment. That’s why cost shouldn’t be one of the major factors that influence your decision.

How long does it take to get a PhD in data science?

On average, it takes between 5 and 7 years to get a Ph.D. in data science. It’s also possible to explore accelerated programs that allow you to complete the studies within 3 to 5 years. If you are studying part-time, you may need up to 10 years to finish the doctorate program.

Is an online PhD in data science a good idea?

Data science is a dynamic and ever-changing field with high demand for real specialists. A Ph.D. won’t just give you the tools you need to stay on top of your game. It will provide numerous opportunities for six-figure salaries.

How much does a data scientist earn?

According to Glassdoor, as of November 2022, a data scientist with a doctorate degree can make around $200,000 per year. The salary for a data scientist without a Ph.D. is around $100,000 a year.

The Takeaway

If you are looking for an online PhD program in data science, the above options can help you make the right choice. Getting a Ph.D. in data science is an excellent opportunity to increase your salary, help you do what you love, and allow you to stay on top of your professional game.

While doctorate programs in data science can take several years, the return on investment both time and money-wise is significant.