Data Science, MS

The College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS) and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) jointly offer a new interdisciplinary Master of Science program in data science. This program is designed to give students a comprehensive framework for processing, modeling, analyzing, and reasoning about data. Students will engage in an extensive core intended to develop depth in computational modeling, data collection and integration, data storage and retrieval, data processing, modeling and analytics, and visualization. Students will also be given a variety of elective areas in the College of Computer and Information Science, the College of Engineering, and throughout the campus to explore key contextual areas or more complex technical applications. Successful program graduates will be well positioned to attain data scientist and data engineer positions in a fast-growing field or to progress into doctoral degrees in related disciplines.

The Master of Science in Data Science is comprised of eight courses; five core courses and three electives. The core courses are designed and developed by the CCIS and ECE faculty.  Elective courses consist of graduate courses offered in CCIS, the College of Engineering, and other partner colleges.

Course Requirements

The MS in Data Science curriculum requires five core courses that represent the essential mathematical/statistical and technical knowledge for deep data analysis. These courses examine foundational programming concepts and languages, integration, collection, storage, retrieval, large-scale computing, mathematical concepts in statistics, linear algebra, and optimization, as well as visual and computational analysis, machine learning, and visualization. The courses are tailored toward technically or mathematically trained students.

The five core courses include:

  •            Two core courses in algorithms and data processing
  •            Two core courses in machine learning and data mining
  •           One core course in information visualization

Three elective courses are drawn from a selection of courses across Northeastern.

Placement Exams

Each incoming masters student, regardless of his or her background, takes two placement exams administered one week prior to the beginning of the semester. The two exams cover fundamentals of computer science and programming skills and basic statistics, probability, and linear algebra.  If the student does not get a B or above in a part of the placement exam, then the student must take the corresponding introductory course.

  • (DS 5010) The introductory course on fundamentals of programming and data structures covers data structures (lists, arrays, trees, hash tables, etc.), program design, programming practices, testing, debugging, maintainability, data collection techniques, and data cleaning and preprocessing.  This course will have a class project where the students will use the concepts they learn to collect data from the web, clean, and preprocess and ready for analysis.
  • (DS 5020) The introductory course on basics of statistics, probability, and linear algebra covers random variables, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, moments of a distribution, discrete and continuous probability distributions, chain rule, Bayes' rule, correlation theory, basic sampling, matrix operations, trace of a matrix, norms, linear independence and ranks, inverse of a matrix, orthogonal matrices, range and null space of a matrix, the determinant of a matrix, positive semidefinite matrices, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Required Course Work

A grade of B or higher is required in the following courses:

Complete 4 semester hours from the following:4
Fundamentals of Computer Engineering
Data Management and Processing
DS 5110Introduction to Data Management and Processing4
Machine Learning and Data Mining
DS 5220Supervised Machine Learning and Learning Theory4
DS 5230Unsupervised Machine Learning and Data Mining4
Presentation and Visualization
DS 5500


Complete 12 semester hours from the following:12
College of Computer and Information Science
Information Retrieval
Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
Natural Language Processing
Social Computing
Empirical Research Methods
Special Topics in Artificial Intelligence
Special Topics in Database Management
College of Engineering
Special Topics in Civil Engineering
Computer Vision
High-Performance Computing
Detection and Estimation Theory
Information Theory
Combinatorial Optimization
Advanced Computer Vision
Advanced Machine Learning
Data Mining for Engineering Applications
Data Mining in Engineering
Statistical Methods in Engineering
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Dynamic Modeling for Environmental Decision Making
Big Data for Cities
Geographic Information Systems for Urban and Regional Policy
Urban Theory and Science
Advanced Spatial Analysis of Urban Systems
Perspectives on Social Science Inquiry
Research Design
Quantitative Techniques
D'Amore-McKim School of Business
Business Analytics Fundamentals
Predictive Analytics for Managers
Introduction to Big Data and Digital Marketing Analytics
College of Science
Statistics for Bioinformatics
Complex Networks and Applications
Statistical Physics
Computational Physics
Network Science Data
Bouvé College of Health Sciences
Epidemiology and Population Health
Biostatistics in Public Health
Social Epidemiology
College of Arts, Media and Design
Game Design and Analysis
Game Analytics

Note: Students that take 3-credit-hour elective courses (ie Bouvé, CSSH courses) will register for an accompanying data science project course ( (DS 8982)). In order to earn this additional credit, students will be expected to work with faculty to design an additional project in line with the curricular aims of their chosen elective and the data science core learning outcomes.

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

32 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required