Graduate Certificate Programs in Data Analytics
Data Analytics graduate certificate programs are academic programs that provide students who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with the opportunity to cultivate the knowledge and skills associated with working in the field of analytics. These programs consist of a small cluster of graduate courses – typically four, five, or six courses – that address key analytics proficiencies, such as statistical modeling, object-oriented programming, data mining, database systems, and data presentation/visualization. They are designed to prepare students for work in the field of data analytics, and to provide this preparation more affordably and in less time than a typical master’s program.
Data Analytics Explained
Data analytics represents a methodical, scientific approach to collecting, structuring, and interpreting large amounts of unprocessed information in order to draw descriptive, predictive, and/or prescriptive conclusions. These conclusions can then be used to inform decision-making, improve efficiency, solve difficult problems, and further our understanding of complex issues in many fields.
The process of identifying relevant data, organizing that data, and using advanced mathematical concepts, statistical methods, and algorithmic computer programming to interpret the resulting data sets is central to data analytics. This type of work requires strong quantitative skills and specialized knowledge of data mining and storage systems, as well as familiarity with the computer platforms and programming languages used by analytics professionals to manipulate, structure, and process data. In addition, analytics professionals typically learn to use visualization tools in order to effectively present their findings and illustrate their conclusions to colleagues, members of the public, and other stakeholders who are not well versed in data analytics.
Identifying and Classifying Data Analytics Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs in data analytics are typically offered by schools and departments of computer science, information technology, and/or applied mathematics and statistics at colleges and universities that have graduate programs in these fields. These programs may be designated as graduate or post-baccalaureate certificate programs in analytics, data analytics, or data mining. They offer a curriculum that integrates instruction in statistical modeling with the study of one or more commonly used analytics programming languages and training in the process of organizing raw data into useful datasets that yield actionable insights.
A typical graduate certificate program in data analytics is comprised of four or five graduate-level courses totaling 12 to 16 credits, although the exact number of courses/credits varies by program. Graduate certificate programs are generally designed for working professionals and/or recent college graduates who intend to remain employed full- or part-time while attending school. Thus, many programs are offered online or in hybrid formats that incorporate online instruction as well as in-person, classroom-based learning, and it is common for graduate programs in data analytics to schedule classes in the evening and/or on weekends so as not to overlap with traditional working hours. Students can generally complete a graduate certificate program in data analytics in under one year, or six to 12 months, in contrast to the year or more that is common for a master’s program in data analytics.
Finally, as opposed to a post-secondary certificate or diploma program, which is a program designed for high school graduates who have not yet earned a college degree, a graduate certificate program is a program that requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. There are also post-master’s graduate certificate programs, which require applicants to have a master’s degree. However, most data analytics graduate certificate programs are post-baccalaureate programs designed for college graduates who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In addition, while most graduate certificate programs in data analytics do not require applicants to have majored in a particular discipline or field as undergraduates, some programs have one or more college-level prerequisites that students must complete before enrolling in the program. For example, it is common for graduate certificate programs in analytics to require a statistics course, and some programs are designed for students who have prior computer programming experience.
Data Analytics Graduate Certificate Coursework
Data analytics graduate certificate programs are designed to prepare students for work in the field of data analytics. The use of data analytics and employment of data analysts is now common in most industries and economic sectors, including healthcare and medicine, marketing and advertising, manufacturing and retail, government and public policy, sports and entertainment, teaching and education, and technology and engineering. In fact, there are very few fields in which applications for data analytics do not currently exist.
As a result, there are graduate certificate programs that offer specialized training in specific analytics fields, such as business analytics, financial analytics, healthcare analytics, learning analytics, marketing analytics, and media analytics. However, many data analytics graduate certificate programs offer general training that can prepare students for work in a broad range of fields. This curriculum typically consists of courses in the following subject areas:
- Data Mining – An examination of the analytics process, from methods for collecting, sorting, and storage of data to the analysis and presentation of conclusions drawn from mathematical and statistical interpretation of datasets.
- Computational Statistics – Statistical methods and models for use in the field of analytics to determine probabilities, draw inferences, and make data-driven decisions.
- R Programming for Analytics – The use of the open source programming language R for data mining and data analysis.
- Data Visualization – Tools and techniques for communicating data analytics processes and results visually.
- Predictive Modeling – The use of data analytics tools, techniques, and technologies to develop models that predict outcomes within an acceptable margin of error.
Students who earn a graduate certificate in data analytics are generally familiar with common data analytics software applications, analytics programming languages (e.g., R, Python, and SQL), and the process by which data is collected, sorted, subjected to rigorous scrutiny, processed, and interpreted. They also learn how to communicate the results of data analytics operations both to those who have technical backgrounds and those who do not.
Note: In addition to general graduate certificate programs in data analytics, there are also programs that have a business analytics curriculum. For more information on these certificate programs, check out our Business Analytics Graduate Certificates page.
Online Data Analytics Graduate Certificate Programs
As noted above, many schools now offer data analytics graduate certificate programs online in order to accommodate working professionals and other students who would prefer not to commute to a college or university campus for classes. These programs offer the same type of coursework as traditional, campus-based data analytics graduate certificate programs, but they do so using distance-learning technologies that allow lectures and other instructional materials to be streamed, and that provide an array of other features, such as group discussion boards and video and/or text conferencing with instructors.
For students who are comfortable with online learning, there are a number of advantages to online programs. In addition to the convenience associated with being able to stream lectures and access course materials remotely from anywhere with a secure Internet connection, some online programs provide additional flexibility by utilizing asynchronous instruction, which gives students round-the-clock access to pre-recorded lectures and instructional modules. Some programs also utilize synchronous instruction, which is instruction that takes place in real time and thus requires students to participate in online classes at set times that are typically scheduled in advance. It is common for online programs to hold these live sessions in the evening for students who work during regular business hours.
Finally, online programs give students who are interested in earning a graduate certificate in data analytics the option of choosing from among the many programs offered by schools throughout the country. This is especially useful for students who do not live near a college or university that offers a campus-based graduate certificate program in their desired field of professional training.
Examples of Online Graduate Certificates in Data Analytics
Below are four representative examples of accredited, non-profit schools that offer fully online graduate certificate programs in data analytics.
Boston University offers an Online Data Analytics Graduate Certificate Program featuring four graduate courses: Foundation of Analytics with R; Data Analysis and Visualization with R; Web Analytics and Mining; and Data Mining. The 16-credit certificate program can be completed entirely through online coursework in eight to 12 months. Visit Boston University at www.bu.edu to learn more.
Northeastern University, which is also located in the Boston area, has an Online Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics Program that can be completed entirely online in eight to 12 months of part-time enrollment. The program is comprised of four courses: Collecting, Storing, and Retrieving Data; Introduction to Data Mining/Machine Learning; Introduction to Computational Statistics; and Information Design and Visual Analytics. Visit Northeastern University at www.northeastern.edu to learn more.
The University of New Orleans (UNO) in Louisiana has an Online Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics Program with two required core courses (Data Analytics; and Statistical Learning), and two additional, industry-specific electives. The program’s electives include courses in management, marketing, and urban research analytics. The UNO program can be completed in less than one year of part-time enrollment. Visit The University of New Orleans at www.uno.edu to learn more.
Stanford University offers an Online Data Mining and Applications Graduate Certificate Program that allows students to choose three graduate courses from among the Stanford School of Engineering’s data analytics courses. These include: Modern Applied Statistics: Data Mining; Data Mining and Analysis; and Computing for Data Science. Visit Stanford University at online.stanford.edu to learn more.
More Graduate Certificates in Data Analytics
Additional Graduate Certificates in Analytics
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