News Release

Educating the next generation of data scientists, virtually

UC San Diego's new Master of Data Science Online program will help working professionals fill a critical need

February 16, 2022-- The University of California San Diego is launching its first online graduate degree program this fall to help meet the demand for data scientists as companies across all sectors seek to leverage vast amounts of data into meaningful insights. Applications for the new Master of Data Science Online program are now open. 

Jointly offered by UC San Diego’s renowned Halicioglu Data Science Institute (HDSI) and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the Master of Data Science Online degree will be a rigorous academic program targeted to working professionals. The program has been designed to make data science accessible to students drawn from diverse academic backgrounds, including those with non-technical backgrounds.

Students who want to fulfill the need for data analysis will be able to take advantage of the internationally recognized expertise of computer scientists at HDSI and in the computer science department, as courses will be taught by the same tenured or tenure-track faculty in both. 

“We are proud to offer this unique program taught by our world-class instructors,” said Rajesh K. Gupta, the founding director of HDSI and a computer science professor. “We want to ensure our graduates are robustly equipped for success in performing data-driven tasks and will be even greater assets to their current or future employers.”

Computer science Chair Sorin Lerner said: “The interdisciplinary nature of data science creates the perfect stage for our professional master’s degree. This program is exciting because it  allows students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to earn a place.

Demand for data scientists

Data scientist has been called the “hottest job in America” by Bloomberg.  According to a recent report by Dice, the demand for data scientists increased by about 50% across healthcare, telecommunications, media/entertainment, and the financial services sectors during the pandemic as a shifting online workforce needed the help of big data, cloud computing, machine learning, and more advanced Artificial Intelligence applications. 

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics sees strong growth in the data science field in its prediction that the data science field will grow about 28% through 2026, adding roughly 11.5 million new jobs.

The need for their expertise has been growing rapidly as companies across all sectors are trying to leverage the data they collect by distilling it into actionable information. Until recently, few undergraduate or graduate programs specific to data science existed. Working professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from fields where Data Science and Artificial Intelligence have a strong role are in need of formalized and advanced training for today’s roles.

“Data Science and Machine Learning are having an impact on many aspects of society, including e-commerce, financial industries, technology companies, health care, and academia. There are few aspects of society that will not be affected by Data Science,” said Lerner. 

The UC San Diego Master of Data Science Online program combines concepts from statistics, computer science and applications where data is at the forefront. 

The program begins with an introduction to data science that is approachable even for students who do not come into the program from a computer science or engineering background. However, the academic rigor, depth and breadth of the program meet the same expectations of a graduate degree in a technical field from UC San Diego. 

“Our online program allows professionals who already have an undergraduate degree to gain skills in data science and make themselves more marketable, both within their own company, or to other companies,” said Gupta. 

A UC San Diego degree, from anywhere

The two-year program will allow students to learn on their own schedule, within a flexible time frame, to accommodate students in different time zones and with varying work schedules. Courses will use video mini-lectures to teach course content in smaller modules, which provides flexibility for the students.

“Our goal is to make this online degree highly accessible to working professionals across the globe, individuals unable to attend an on-campus program or unable to obtain visas for study in the U.S, said Karen Flammer, the director of Digital Learning at UC San Diego. “The online Master of Data Science will provide tremendous value to traditional and non-traditional students, to the disciple of data science and to our university,” she said.

Applications for admission are now open. For more information on the new Master of Data Science Online program and to apply, please visit

Media Contacts

Katie Ismael
Qualcomm Institute