What Is the Master’s in Data Science Course Duration, and What Is Covered?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Find out how long it takes to study a master’s in data science course and the topics you'll study.

[Featured Image] Data science students look toward the front of the classroom as they learn during their data science course.

If you choose to study data science, the duration varies depending on the course type. A master’s degree in data science is a postgraduate course that typically takes two years to complete. Still, you’ll find various options to reduce or lengthen your studies to make them more flexible and suited to your needs. 

Use this guide to understand more about what a master’s degree in data science entails, including what you’ll cover each semester and how long the course takes. You’ll also find alternative options for different types of data science courses. 

What is a master’s degree in data science?

A master’s degree in data science is a postgraduate course studied by people who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline, such as computer science, or a subject like maths or statistics. 

The MSc data science exposes learners to the latest advancements in the field with practical applications to use data science to solve business problems and make data-driven decisions. You gain skills by learning data science concepts such as data structures, analytics, algorithms, and security. 

What is the duration of the master’s in data science course?

Master’s degrees come in all different varieties and can take from six months to two years or more, depending on whether you are looking for a full-time in-person course or something more flexible, such as a part-time course or online learning. Let’s take a look at some options.


A full-time master’s in data science course duration is generally two years and delivered in person at a college or university of your choice. This option is very structured, with four semesters covering a different aspect of the course and including practicals and individual projects.

Institutions offering this option include:

  • Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Vellore and Chennai campuses

  • GITAM, Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad campuses

  • Loyola College, Chennai

  • DA-IICT, Gujarat


It is possible to study for a master’s degree in data science part-time at some universities. This option generally takes six months and two years to complete and is aimed at students with careers or other commitments to work around. You can pursue many online degree master's courses on a part-time basis. 


Online courses are becoming increasingly popular, and universities and educational establishments are responding by offering online master’s degree options. You can study for a master’s degree in data science online in a flexible way that suits you and complete the course on your schedule, from six months to three years. 

Online courses are popular with people already working and pursuing a career and want to fit studying around their work commitments. 

Institutions offering this option include:

  • Manipal University Jaipur 

  • India Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur 

  • Symbiosis School for Online and Digital Learning

What does an MSc data science cover?

MSc data science programmes vary in terms of what you cover depending on whether a course is in person or online and the duration of the course. The fundamentals, however, remain the same and are generally covered in the first half of the course as core modules. Full-time courses are mostly broken down into four semesters or six trimesters with options to specialise. 

Core modules may include:

  • Introduction to data science

  • Maths for data science

  • Statistics

  • Data visualisation

  • Data mining tools

  • Machine learning

  • Linear and nonlinear modelling

  • Data structure

  • Database systems

  • Algorithms

  • Deep learning

  • SQL and Python programming

  • Coding

  • Business intelligence

  • Design thinking

Following core modules, you may choose a specialism. These vary from course to course but may include:

  • Analytics and modelling

  • Artificial intelligence

  • Applied machine learning

  • Multivariate data analysis

  • Cybersecurity data analysis

  • Data engineering

  • Market data analytics

  • Optimisation methods

  • Projects and self-study

Can I add a placement year to a master’s in data science? 

Whether you can include a placement option in your master’s in data science programme depends on your university. Many have relationships with industry professionals and link students with recruiters for placements after the MSc.

Alternatives to a master’s degree in data science 

A master’s degree isn’t the only way to learn about data science. Depending on your budget, timescale, and what you want to know, you'll find many other options that might suit you. 

PGDM data science

A postgraduate diploma in management (PGDM) in data science is another option if you already hold a relevant bachelor’s degree. A PGDM in data science is more industry-orientated than a master’s degree in data science. A PGDM allows you to put data science knowledge into practice through real-world, industry-specific data science projects, taking a more hands-on approach.

Data analytics bootcamps

Edtech companies and educational establishments in India offer boot camps for learning data science. Boot camps are a great way to gain hands-on experience and practice without having to devote years to studying and spend large sums of money on tuition fees. 

Data analytics short courses

If you have a good grounding in data science from your bachelor's degree, relevant short courses are what you need to learn specific areas of data analytics or to brush up on your knowledge. Short courses are a great way of doing this and can be more flexible and cost-effective than a longer course. 

You’ll find short courses online or in person at various educational establishments, colleges, and universities. Coursera hosts several data analytics courses, including:

Certifications and certificates

By taking a certification or Professional Certificate, you can demonstrate your general skills and knowledge of data science or focus on a specific aspect. If you have a job role in mind, choosing a credential relevant to the role or asked for by the employer is sensible. Certifications and Professional Certificates are much shorter than a master’s degree and provide you with job-ready skills. Examples include:

Data science certifications

  • Google Professional Data Engineer

  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate

  • AWS Certified Data Analytics - Specialty

  • SAS Certified Data Scientist

Data Science Professional Certificates:

Get started with Coursera. 

Are you looking to start your career in data science? Why not consider studying for your bachelor’s degree online? Check out the Bachelor Of Science (Honours) in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, delivered by the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, on Coursera.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.