About the program
SDSU’s online Master of Science in Big Data Analytics program is a transdisciplinary online graduate program that combines technology, business, engineering, science, and social science. In just 16 months, you’ll learn how to compile large data sets, analyze them, and use the results to find patterns, correlations, and insights that businesses and organizations frequently use to make informed day-to-day decisions and drive high-level strategies.
The program takes a flexible dual-core online approach that will help you enhance your computational skills, as well as your analytical methods for both data models and business applications. With SDSU’s online Big Data Analytics program, you’ll become an active participant in the exciting future of Big Data.
What is Big Data Analytics?
Big Data Analytics is a dynamic approach to uncovering patterns, unknown correlations, and other useful insights from diverse, large scale data sets. Although BDA is related to data science, statistics, artificial intelligence, and geospatial technologies, its focus is on business discoveries from big data by using available software tools, such as data mining, machine learning, computational linguistics, geographic information systems (GIS), social network analysis, financial and marketing analytics, spatiotemporal data analysis, and time-frequency analysis.
Is This Program Right for Me?
SDSU’s online Master of Science in Big Data Analytics program is flexible, 100% online, and efficient, which makes it ideal for currently-working professionals. The program is designed for career-driven individuals who are interested in using mathematics and analytics to uncover data sets that can be used to guide business decisions, healthcare policies, engineering projects, and much more.
The curriculum is designed to meet the growing need for data scientists and data analytics experts in the era of data- and knowledge-economy. This means that the program is applicable to those working in a wide range of career fields, including:
- Business Analytics
- Data Science
- Information Technology (IT)
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Social and Behavioral Science
- Digital Humanities
- Public Health
You’ll take online courses designed and delivered by the same expert instructors that teach on-campus courses at SDSU’s Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age, a research institute of SDSU’s College of Arts and Letters.
Best of all, upon graduation, you’ll have earned the same reputable degree as SDSU’s on-campus students: a Master of Science Degree in Big Data Analytics from San Diego State University.
What Can I Learn?
The primary focus of SDSU’s online M.S. in Big Data Analytics program is on data science, data analytics, and the application of Big Data Analytics to various fields — especially business analytics. The dual-core curriculum focuses on both computational skills (programming languages and software) and analytical methods (data mining, statistics, machine learning, spatiotemporal analysis, visualization) for data models and business applications.
Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to:
- Manage and analyze Big Data applications with appropriate programming tools, statistical models, social theories, business concepts, and analytic software
- Use the outcomes of analytics to formulate research hypotheses and to guide decision-making processes in academic or business settings
- Lead organizations in collecting, cleaning, organizing, analyzing, and modeling data for various applications.
The program operates in a collaborative and active educational environment designed for students and professionals who wish to advance their knowledge and skills in data science and data analytics. The coursework focuses on a variety of topics, including:
- Database theory and applications
- Machine learning engineering
- Computational linguistics
- GIS and data visualization
- Statistics and probability
- Enterprise-level database management
- Mathematical skills
You’ll learn about these topics in online courses developed and delivered by expert faculty and instructors from SDSU’s Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA). SDSU’s big data instructors are leading experts in many fields, including data science, business analytics, GIS, public health, and communication. Through their expertise, you’ll receive an education in Big Data that’s informed by a continuously-updated curriculum guided by professional experience and cutting-edge research.
The Big Data Analytics program also works closely with SDSU’s Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA), which focuses on the research opportunities that spring from the convergence of new developments in spatial science, mobile technology, big data, and social behavior research. Students and faculty have collaborated to produce research projects that include:
- SMART Dashboard
The Social Media Analytic and Research Testbed (SMART) Dashboard is a Geo-Targeted search tool for Twitter messages that’s designed to monitor the diffusion of information and social behavior changes. The Dashboard provides an automatic procedure to help researchers to search geographically in cities, filter noises, and analyze social media data from a spatiotemporal perspective.
- COVID-19 Research Hub
Through the use of GIS, social media analytics, and data science approaches, the Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age at San Diego State University are developing analytic dashboards, GIS maps, and visualization graphs to track and monitor COVID-19 outbreaks and impacts to our regional and local communities in San Diego and California.
Last 12 months
Over 10 years
Average (For M.S. Graduates)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020
Data analysis is a rapidly growing field with many lucrative opportunities for those with the necessary qualifications and experience. In the past year, there were nearly 85,000 job openings for data analysts across the nation, and those numbers are projected to grow by more than 9% over the next decade. 27% of those jobs postings were in the fields of finance and insurance, with an additional 25% in professional, scientific, and technical services.
Compensation for data analysts is also tied closely to experience. Those with 3-5 years experience can expect to earn an average annual salary of $78,600. At 6-8 years experience, data analysts make an average of nearly $90,000 per year. Finally, data analysts who hold a master’s degree can expect to earn anywhere from $65,000-$103,500 per year, depending on their experience.
Why Should You Choose Us?
SDSU’s online BDA program is a diverse academic community. Your classmates come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including social science, business, GIS, biology, public health, engineering, and computer science. Through guided discussions, online forums, and interactive lessons, you’ll have the opportunity to join a collaborative network of data science professionals that spans a variety of professional and academic fields.
Earning your M.S. in Big Data Analytics San Diego State University means that you’re earning a degree that carries weight in the professional world. As a school, we’re ranked in the top 140 national universities and in the top 70 public universities. SDSU is also home to one of California’s top 10 Computer and Information Science programs. Students and instructors work in tandem to conduct cutting-edge research through SDSU’s Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA).
SDSU’s online M.S. in Big Data Analytics program is designed to help working professionals advance their existing careers without putting their professional lives on hold. Often, earning a graduate degree means taking time out of your schedule to come to classes on a college campus. For students with families and full-time or part-time jobs, that can make earning a degree to increase their earning potential extremely difficult and time-consuming. This program removes those barriers, making it easier to earn a high-quality graduate degree from a reputable university on your schedule.
Please note that Global Campus courses cannot be transferred or used in the on-campus Big Data Analytics program.
To earn your Master of Science in Big Data Analytics online, you’ll need to complete 30 units consisting of the following coursework:
- Core Courses — 12 Units
- Elective Courses — 9 Units
- Research Courses — 6 Units
- Capstone/Culminating Experience — 3 Units
You’ll need to earn a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in these courses, and no less than a C in each course.
If you’re admitted conditionally, you’ll be required to take courses in preparation for the master’s degree that do not fulfill degree requirements, if your conditions warrant.
Core Courses (12 units)
BDA 594: Big Data Science and Analytics Platforms (3 Units)
BDA 572: Python Scripting for Social Science (3 Units)
BDA 602: Machine Learning Engineering (3 Units) - new course for fall 2022!
MIS 686: Enterprise Data Management (3 Units
Electives (9 units) to be offered from the courses below
BDA 696: Advanced Special Topics in Big Data Analytics (3 units)
MIS 691: Decision Support Systems (3 Units)
STAT 656: Database Management and Predictions (3)
Research (6 units)
BDA 798: Special Study (3) - repeatable for up to 6 units
BDA 797: Research (3) - repeatable for up to 6 units
Capstone and Culminating Experience (3 units)
You’ll fulfill the culminating experience requirement by successfully passing a comprehensive examination in BDA 600 with a grade B or above.
BDA 600: Big Data Analytics Capstone Seminar (3 Units)
While we welcome out-of-state students, SDSU Global Campus currently cannot accept applications from students residing in some specific states. Please check back often, as this list of approved states does change. View the list of authorized states here.
Below is a list of general admission requirements for the M.S. in Big Data Analytics program.
We understand that every student's academic journey is unique, and we encourage you to contact one of our Student Service Representatives to find out what you'll need to successfully apply to the program.
In order to successfully apply to the program, you should have:
- Relevant background (including previous coursework) in business, mathematics, computer science, geographic information systems, digital humanities or related fields.
- Basic knowledge in computer science/programming, as demonstrated by a grade of C or better in CS 150: Introductory Computer Programming or equivalent course, or work experience.
- Basic knowledge in statistical data analysis, as demonstrated by a grade of C or better in STAT 119 or equivalent course, or work experience.
You should also meet all the minimum SDSU requirements, at the time of enrollment:
- Hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree earned at an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by the graduate dean
- Have attained a grade point average of at least 2.85 in an acceptable earned baccalaureate degree, or at least 2.85 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted, or hold an acceptable post-baccalaureate degree earned at an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association
- Have been in good standing at the last institution attended
Please note that the online M.S. in Big Data Analytics program offered through SDSU Global Campus does not require GRE or GMAT scores for admission.
To apply for the online Master of Science in Big Data Analytics program, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
Complete the Cal State Apply Application
- Submit an application to the University via Cal State Apply, along with the $70 nonrefundable application fee.
Submit Official Transcripts to SDSU Graduate Admissions
After you have submitted the Cal State Apply application and received your RedID number, you will need to send official transcripts to the Graduate Admissions Office. Sending transcripts before submitting the Cal State Apply application will result in processing delays. You’ll need to provide the following:
- Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) issued within the last year, from all U.S. colleges and universities attended. Students who previously attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for coursework completed since last attendance. Hard copy SDSU transcripts are not required.
If you have international coursework, you’ll need to submit both the official transcript and proof of degree. If documents are in a language other than English, they should be accompanied by a certified literal English translation.
- English language scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE) are required of applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English. A minimum TOEFL score of 80 is required. Scores should be sent directly from ETS using SDSU’s Institution Code 4682. Applicants may also take the IELTS in lieu of the TOEFL and should present a minimum score of 6.5. Applicants may also take the PTE in lieu of the TOEFL and should present a minimum score of 58.
The above listed materials should be sent to:
Graduate Admissions Office
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-8225
Submit Supplemental Documents to the Program
Submit all supplemental materials to the program via Interfolio.
- One page statement of research interests and professional goals (maximum 500 words).
- One or two letters of recommendation (Minimum one letter is required)
- One digital portfolio document that describes the technical products YOU have created, such as class projects, GitHub websites, videos, personal or project websites, dashboards, software development, programming profile, web designing, and apps. Note: A digital portfolio is not a résumé or an autobiography: only focus on your work samples. Only include your best, most professional examples. Include recent work if possible.
- Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. These do not need to be sent directly from the college or university – scanned photocopies and digital copies are acceptable. Note: This is in addition to the transcripts that you submit to Graduate Admissions.
- Copies of English language scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE) if they are required in your applications. Photocopies and digital copies are acceptable. Note: This is in addition to the scores that you submit to Graduate Admissions.
After submitting the online Cal State Apply application, you will receive an email from San Diego State University that includes your SDSUid, which is needed to log into my.SDSU. You can use my.SDSU to check your application status, update your contact information, access your financial aid, and more. Please check back frequently to make sure all of the required materials have been received — you’re responsible for ensuring that all supporting materials are submitted by the deadline.
This program is approved for financial aid. To begin the financial aid process, visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website. There, you'll be able to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
We encourage you to apply for financial aid as soon as possible.