Best Online Business Analytics Master’s Programs: 2021 Guide

Find top-rated programs, dive into the curriculum, explore career possibilities, and learn everything else you need to know about earning a master’s in business analytics online.

Are you passionate about numbers and data? Do you enjoy working with information that others can’t understand to provide insightful and actionable reports that drive meaningful business decisions? Pursuing a master’s in business analytics online offers the skills and training needed to take up in-demand data analysis roles across many industries. By completing your studies online, you can benefit from a flexible schedule, affordable tuition costs, fewer educational expenses, career advancement opportunities, and higher earnings. It’s normal to have questions about the process, and we’re here to help answer them. Keep reading to learn about top programs, common courses, and potential jobs after graduation.

Best Master’s in Business Analytics Online Programs: 2021 Rankings

With more and more master’s in business analytics programs popping up online, it’s important to pick a top-rated, reputable option. To help you feel confident in your decision, we rounded up three of the top programs for 2021. Factors such as affordability, flexibility, and accreditation are featured in the decision-making process. Check back later in the year for a full ranking of online master’s in business analytics programs.

Carnegie Mellon University

CMU’s Tepper School of Business offers an online M.S. in business analytics that takes 18 months to complete. The program focuses on methodology, software engineering, corporate communication, and business domain knowledge; graduates possess advanced educations. In addition to a flexible, asynchronous online component completed with a cohort, students participate in three campus-based intensives that allow for interaction with faculty and peers, experiential learning, and networking opportunities. Each takes place over a weekend to help with busy schedules.

Applicants should possess a technical academic, or professional background and want to use this degree to find a senior-level business analyst job. They must provide unofficial transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, current resume, essay, and two letters of recommendation. Some candidates participate in an interview as well. The program accepts new students four times annually. Graduates hold titles such as competitive intelligence analyst, statistician, and analytical strategist.

Drexel University

If you’re looking to specialize in a specific topic within your program, Drexel University’s online M.S. in business analytics could be a good fit. The program offers concentrations in information systems, statistics, and modeling and the opportunity to create a custom concentration. Most students complete the program and capstone project in 18-24 months and take courses such as predictive business analytics with relational database data, managerial decision models and simulation, and multivariate analysis. Altogether, the program consists of 45 credits.

Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, 3.0 or higher GPA, transcripts, GRE/GMAT scores, one letter of recommendation, an essay, and a resume. Applicants with at least three years of managerial experience may apply for a GMAT/GRE waiver. Tuition costs $1,139 per credit, and the program offers special rates for alumni, members of the military, and members of partner organizations.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Isenberg School of Management at UMA provides an online master’s in business analytics designed to support working professionals looking to specialize their skillset. The degree consists of 31 credits and usually takes 12-18 months to complete, but students have up to four years to graduate. Some of the topics explored include business data analysis, business intelligence, data management for business leaders, and corporate finance.

If you want to attend UMA, plan to submit a personal statement, resume, official transcripts, GRE/GMAT scores, and two recommendation letters. Some students may be able to get a waiver for the GRE/GMAT scores. The department accepts new students in the fall, spring, and summer. The program costs $900 per credit, with the estimated total cost reaching $27,900. The degree finishes with a required capstone project. You can attend a virtual information session to learn more about UMA’s program.

3 Key Advantages of Earning a Master’s in Business Analytics Online

A bachelor’s degree in business or statistics can help you get your foot into the world of business analytics. Still, these programs often offer more of a foundation rather than digging into advanced topics. Understanding how these programs can provide actionable, concrete career benefits is essential before diving into a full degree.

  1. Access to a growing industry

    The Quant Crunch report found that more than 2.7 million job openings for data professionals would exist by 2020. With so many companies, nonprofits, and governmental agencies seeing the value of data analytics, jobs are sure to be in demand in the coming years.

  2. More job accessibility

    In the same report, researchers found that approximately four out of every ten business analyst roles require a master’s degree or higher. By completing an advanced degree, you open your career options substantially.

  3. Digital tool awareness

    By completing an online M.S. in business analytics, you gain real-world experience using the technologies and tools currently informing this field. You may even feel more competent using these tools than others who completed a campus-based program.

What You’ll Learn in Business Analytics Online Master’s Programs

No two online master’s in business analytics programs are the same, but many possess similarities in coursework and learning outcomes. By taking classes such as data analysis and decision making, linear statistical models, and advanced information analytics, you gain the latest skills and knowledge needed to work in 21st-century business analytics. Because most degrees are professional, students tend to complete some type of capstone project. If you want to go into a more academic or research-based position, a thesis may better suit your goals. At the end of any well-regarded M.S. in business analytics, you should possess advanced data collection and organization skills, the ability to recognize data patterns, and a toolbox of strategies.

Popular Courses

  • Data Mining

    This course introduces you to best practices and techniques in the world of data mining, with emphasis on building the foundational skills needed for advanced studies later in the degree. Some of the topics explored include available software, interpreting results, decision trees, and algorithms.

  • Quantitative Analysis for Business

    Taking this course ensures you possess the knowledge needed to employ simple and multiple linear regression methods, time-series data, and autocorrelation. The course also includes a problem-solving portion to help you handle issues resulting from heteroscedasticity and multicollinearity. By the end of the semester, coursework focuses on ARIMA modeling.

  • Using Optimization and Simulation in Decision-Making

    With an emphasis on classical and contemporary optimization methods, this course helps you develop the skills needed to use these tools in effective decision-making. Other topics covered include linear and nonlinear programming methods, game theory, business applications, and agent-based modeling.

  • Financial Analytics

    Often taken as an elective or specialization topic, this course covers the analytical tools explicitly used within the financial industry. Students review execution algorithms, trading analytics, equity data, and term structures to better understand their role in providing advanced analysis.

  • Capstone Project

    During the final semester of studies, the capstone project allows you to demonstrate all the knowledge and skills gained during the program in a culminating assignment. Your advisor will work with you to find a suitable topic and provide guidance along the way.

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Master’s in Business Analytics Programs

Finding an accredited business analytics master’s is critical; failing to do so can result in trouble transferring credits, issues with qualifications, and problems finding a job. You should see a program approved by one of the six regional accrediting organizations at the institutional level. No business analytics accrediting body currently exists at the program level, but you may find departments approved by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). When in doubt, you can consult the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to search for both regionally and programmatically accredited options.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Business Analytics?

Online master’s in business analytics programs lead to myriad career outcomes in countless industries. Whether working as a financial analyst at a hedge fund, conducting surveys for a research firm, or creating data-driven operational plans for a hospital, a business analytics graduate degree can help you achieve these roles and more. Many employers desire to hire candidates with master’s degrees to demonstrate advanced learning and dedication to the topic. As you’ll notice in our section on careers below, these positions also offer substantial pay, with many of those at the top of their field earning six figures each year.

Operations Research Analyst

These professionals harness advanced knowledge of analytics and mathematics to help businesses produce better operational outcomes. Whether working in-house for a single company or in a consultative role, they identify and create solutions to problems, gather and analyze data, and use simulations and models to offer creative and practical recommendations.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$48,670 $84,810 $140,790

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Statistician

Using their advanced understanding of statistical techniques, statisticians look for answers to real-world problems in various professional settings. They identify the question or problem before using appropriate models and techniques to find solutions. They may also create surveys or new models to help them better analyze data and draw conclusions.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$52,690 $91,160 $146,770

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Actuary

Actuaries help companies minimize risks and uncertainties by analyzing financial options. They develop models for collecting and analyzing data, estimate probability, and create policies that help mitigate against those risks. They use their advanced knowledge of data analytics and statistics to create reports that help executives make informed decisions.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$64,860 $108,350 $193,600

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts use their skills to help businesses make sound decisions about investment strategies. They evaluate financial data about the company and the investment landscape, analyze ratios of investments, and keep track of how various types of investments perform and whether they best serve their financial goals.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$47,230 $81,590 $156,160

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Survey Researcher

Survey researchers create surveys, collect data, and analyze the results to help businesses make informed decisions. They create survey questions based on theories and methodologies, test questions, train interviewers and data collectors, iron out any sampling issues, and analyze collected data. After collecting and collating all data, they create accessible reports for decision-makers.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$32,150 $59,170 $108,860

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Business Analytics

Before deciding on any master’s in business analytics program, you need to fully understand what you’re committing to financially. Despite jobs for graduates paying above-average salaries, you don’t want to be underwater with your student loans. It’s equally important to understand your financial aid options. In addition to filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early, you’ll want to speak with your chosen school to learn about available funding. Lastly, you should research private and governmental scholarships, grants, and other options to ensure you leave no money on the table. We look at the cost of a few popular programs below.

What Your Online Master’s in Business Analytics Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Total Tuition Cost

University of Colorado Boulder

33 credits

$620/credit

$20,460

Bentley University

30 credits

$1,708/credit

$51,240

University of Massachusetts Amherst

31 credits

$900/credit

$27,900

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Business Analytics Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in business analytics?

Admission requirements for business analytics can vary based on how competitive your chosen program is and how many students it admits each year. Because these programs help professionals gain relevant training, some may waive if your GPA or GRE/GMAT scores aren’t particularly high. Still, you possess proven experience and success in the business world. Some of the common requirements for these programs include:

  • Completed application and application fee payment
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • 2.5 or higher GPA
  • GMAT/GRE scores
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement laying out your reason for enrolling
  • Updated resume/CV
  • Evidence of at least two years of professional experience post-college
  • Interview
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students

How long does it take to complete a master’s in business analytics online?

The amount of time you spend completing your master’s in business analytics depends on several factors. Both part- and full-time options exist, with the former taking approximately two years and the latter one year. If you already completed some relevant master’s level coursework, you may be able to transfer these to a new program and reduce your time. Some schools allow you between 4-5 years to graduate, making it easier to progress through coursework at a pace that works for you.

Can I earn a master’s in business analytics completely online, or do I need to visit campus?

The answer to this question depends on the program you select. The degree offered at Carnegie Mellon University, for instance, requires you to participate in three campus-based intensives. Others allow you to meet all requirements without ever visiting in person. If you plan to attend a school far from your home – or lack the time and/or funding to travel – it’s best to find an option that can be done fully online.