Data Science Certificate

There's no better time than now to make a change in your professional career. Data scientists are some of the most sought after employees, and organizations in many different fields like retail, healthcare, and insurance need qualified people to analyze large sets of data and provide meaningful solutions to complex issues. The Data Science programs at Saint Mary's College prepare you to enter workforce ready to tackle data challenges through innovative coursework and practical hands-on experience.

Data scientists possess a wide range of in-demand skills, from using analytical analysis and coding ability to telling compelling stories with the data available. While the median base salary for a data scientist according to LinkedIn is $105,000, employers like Airbnb are among the top payers for data scientists and salaries can reach $160,000.

Master’s Program v. Certificate

A master’s degree will prepare you for the breadth and depth of a career in data science. Certificates in data science will allow you to study a specific segment of data science. For newcomers to the data science field, completing a master’s program can provide much-needed experience working with unstructured data, and the mathematical and computational depth to be an attractive candidate to employers. The certificate is better suited to those looking to gain a specific skill set – or a quick overview of the field.

The Saint Mary’s Difference: Master’s Quality Courses with the Flexibility of a Certificate

At Saint Mary’s, a certificate offers the best of both worlds; your certificate courses offer the depth and expertise of the master’s level curriculum while offering the flexibility of taking just one to two courses per semester. If you decide you want to further expand your data science expertise, you may apply your certificate credits towards a master’s degree.

Although the programs are primarily online, faculty and staff support and encourage you every step of your graduate education. Student support is one of the hallmarks of a Saint Mary’s education.

"I chose Saint Mary's to earn my Master of Science in Data Science over two other schools. I've never had such a supportive relationship with professors. They are invested in my success."

-Antoinette Sajewski


The data science certificate is grounded in the foundational course Computer Programming. Through a problem-solving approach to learning computer programming, you will master topics including variables, data types, conditional statements, loops, arrays, recursion, principles of software engineering, object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithms, and the use of standard libraries available in a variety of programming languages. The course will use commercially common programming languages and integrated development environments (IDEs).

Data Storytelling

Upon the completion of this certificate you will have a strong understanding of how to preprocess and visualize data. You will gain experience in Python and JavaScript. You will learn how to effectively communicate, both orally and in writing your findings to a non-technical audience and how to write a technical report. You can customize your storytelling certificate to include data analysis or data management.

Time to Complete: 12 months (Fall, Spring, Summer), taking one to two courses per semester

Credits to Complete: 12

Required Courses:

  • Computer Programming (3 Credits)
  • Data Preprocessing and Visualization (3 Credits)
  • Applied Statistics (3 credits) or Database Systems (3 credits)
  • Professional and Technical Writing (3 credits) or Communication and Data Science (3 credits)

Course Delivery: Online

Application Process and Requirements

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but prospective students are encouraged to apply early in order to increase their chance of admission. The program has a regular decision priority deadline of March 31; applications may be submitted after this date if seats are available.

Application Requirements

  • application form
  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school, or the international equivalent
  • Official transcripts from your degree-granting institutions
  • Current resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • One letter of recommendation from academic and/or other professionals addressing your ability to succeed in the program (three recommended)
  • Personal statement that describes your interest in earning a data science certificate
  • English language proficiency if your education was in a language other than English (to be shown through results from the TOEFL, IELTS, or completion of the appropriate level in the Saint Mary’s College English Language School)
  • Optional: A brief video interview. You are highly encouraged to complete the interview prior to submitting your application. You may complete the video interview via the Kira Talent interview platform. If you have not completed the interview prior to submitting your application, you will receive an email with instructions regarding how to complete the video interview after you have submitted your application.

Prerequisites and Core Competencies

While there are no prerequisites for the certificate. some familiarity with computer programming is helpful. If you plan to take Applied Statistics, we require familiarity with calculus and statistics. One credit bridge courses are available in the fall covering each of these topics.

Tuition and Fees

Students enrolled in the Data Science certificate program will pay the current graduate tuition and program fees per credit hour. For students beginning Fall 2021, the graduate tuition rate is $699 per credit hour and the per credit hour program fee is $155. Federal Financial Aid is not available for the certificate program.

I’ve earned a Data Science Certificate. What’s Next?

You’ll be ready to apply what you’ve learned in your career or you may decide to extend your learning to gain more depth of experience in Data Science. After completing a certificate, you have the option to apply to the master’s program. Since your certificate courses are taught at the master’s level, they will count towards your master’s degree requirements.