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Tom Meltzer

March 10, 2021

These programs are likely to dig deep into database modeling, data warehousing, data mining, and the software and computing skills necessary for a career in business intelligence.

“There is a lot of buzz in the market about artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, blockchains, and hackathons," Gregor Hermann observes on a SAS blog, but “you do not hear much about business intelligence these days." He then poses an ominous question: “Does this mean BI is no longer needed?"

People considering an advanced degree in business intelligence—a group that presumably includes you, since you’re reading this article—will be relieved to learn that Hermann’s answer is “absolutely not." However, he argues, business intelligence is evolving, and BI specialists need to keep pace with the changes. In the past, Hermann explains, BI consisted of data packages and dashboards pre-aggregated by business intelligence specialists for others’ consumption. Improved computing power and broader understanding of data analysis within the business community have led to the development of more self-service products, not in lieu of traditional business intelligence reporting but in addition. In the future, Hermann predicts, business intelligence experts will be needed to integrate the ever-growing number of information sources into a usable interface that makes sense of and enhances the flood of information data provide.

Many of the advances pushing business intelligence forward are being developed in academia, which is why an academic degree can be so valuable in advancing your career in BI. Rigorous, structured training in a field like business intelligence, coupled with exposure to new and emerging trends in the field, can position degree-seekers to anticipate and take advantage of coming trends.

That said, business intelligence is a highly specialized academic field in which relatively few schools offer master’s degrees. Some programs offer certificate programs, which take less time to complete than a master’s. Others fold business intelligence into the broader disciplines of data science, data analytics, computer information systems, or business analytics. Before committing, take some time to think about whether earning a master's in business intelligence is worth it.

For the purposes of this article, we will consider only schools that offer a master’s in business intelligence or master’s degrees that allow a concentration in business intelligence. These programs are more likely to dig deeper into the database modeling, data warehousing, data mining, and the software and computing skills necessary for a career in business intelligence.

The Best Online Master’s in Business Intelligence Programs

Again, only a few schools offer master’s degrees specifically in business intelligence. The best of these are listed below, in alphabetical order. You should consider what to look for in evaluating a master’s in business intelligence as you review the programs.

_Boston University_

  • Degree: MS in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in Database Management & Business Intelligence
  • Tuition: $880 per credit for part-time students; $26,408 per semester for full-time students
  • Graduation requirements: 30 credit hours/10 courses.
  • Core courses: Business Data Communications and Networks; Database Design and Implementation for Business; Information Systems Analysis and Design; IT Strategy and Management; either Information Structures with Java or Information Structures with Python
  • Concentration courses: Foundations of Analytics with R; Quantitative Methods for Information Systems; Data Analysis and Visualization with R; Web Analytics and Mining; Data Mining
  • Electives: Students take one elective. Choices include Agile Server-Side Web Development; IT Security Policies and Procedures; Network Security; Digital Forensics and Investigations; Enterprise Architecture
  • Features: Available on campus (Charles River campus), online, or blended; hands-on experience with SQL using Oracle and similar tools; hands-on experience in design and implementation of databases; thesis option (not required)

Carnegie-Mellon University

  • Degree: Master of Science in Information Technology-Business Intelligence and Data Analytics
  • Tuition: $505 per course unit; $24,100 per semester tuition full-time
  • Graduation requirements: 162 course units (courses valued at 6, 12, and 18 units); 16 required courses (132 course units) plus 30 elective units
  • Core courses: Machine Learning for Problem Solving; Advanced Business Analytics; Applied Econometrics; Unstructured Data Analytics; Distributed Systems for ISM; Database Management; Object-Oriented Programming in Java; Digital Transformation; Organization Design and Implementation; Economic Analysis; Accounting and Finance Foundations; Decision Making Under Uncertainty; Statistics for IT Managers; Writing for ISM; Professional Speaking; Data Analytics Capstone Project; Required Summer Internship
  • Sample Electives: Big Data and Large-Scale Computing; Marketing Analytics; Exploring and Visualizing Data; Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • Features: 12-month and 16-month tracks available; on- and off-campus hands-on learning, research, and teaching assistantships; Capstone Project involves collaborating with industry and/or government partners; immersive activities, workshops, BI-targeted extracurriculars; required internship; consulting projects with local non-profits to resolve IT problems

_CUNY Brooklyn College_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Administration, concentration in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics
  • Tuition: $455 per credit for in-state residents ($5,385 full-time); $830 per credit for out-of-state residents (part-time or full-time)
  • Graduation requirements: 30 credits/10 courses
  • Core courses: Four courses: Microeconomics; Econometrics; Mathematical Methods in Economics I; Advanced Econometrics or Strategic Management or Applied Business Research
  • Electives: Four courses from: Operations Research and Decisions Management; Business Analytics; Applied Data Analysis; Applied Business Research; two additional electives

_Creighton University_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Tuition: $1,162 per credit hour
  • Graduation requirements: 33 credits/11 courses
  • Core courses: Four courses: Survey of Business Intelligence and Analytics; Data Visual Analysis and Visualization; Database Management Systems; Business, Ethics, and Society
  • Electives: Five 700 level business intelligence and analytics courses; two courses chosen from accounting, economy, finance, or investment management
  • Features: Evening classes for convenience of working professionals; program can be completed in two years

_(Check it out: What Are the Top Online Master's in Business Intelligence Programs?)_

_DePaul University_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Information Systems with a concentration in Business Intelligence
  • Tuition: $1,040 per credit hour
  • Graduation requirements: 52 credit hours/13 courses
  • Core courses: Four courses: Systems Analysis; Database Design for Information Systems; System Design, Implementation, and Maintenance; Fundamentals of IT Project Management.
  • Advanced required courses: Business Intelligence; Data Analysis and Regression; Fundamentals of Data Science; Data Warehousing; Capstone (Information Systems Policies and Strategies)
  • Electives include: Big Data Using Hadoop Program; SQL Server Business Intelligence Program; Enterprise Cloud Computing; Intelligent Information Retrieval
  • Features: Available on campus or online; classes taught by campus faculty

_Middle Tennessee State University_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Information Systems with a concentration in Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Tuition: $6,576 annually, in-state part-time (based on 6 credits/semester); $16,584 annually, out-of-state part-time (based on 6 credits/semester)
  • Graduation requirements: 30 semester hours/10 courses
  • Core courses: IT Systems Development Project Management; Seminar in Database Management; ISA Capstone; Applied Business Analytics
  • Concentration: Business Intelligence; Data Mining and Predictive Analytics; Big Data for Analytics
  • Electives: Choose three. Electives include: Database Programming; Management of Security Operations; Security Analytics; IT Project Risk Assessment and Control; Vulnerability Management and Penetration Testing
  • Features: No thesis

_Rockhurst University_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Tuition: $720 per credit hour
  • Graduation requirements: 30 credit hours/15 courses
  • Core courses: Business Intelligence; Applied Data Mining; Data Visualization; Predictive Models; Text Mining; Big Data and Prep; Web and Social Media Analytics; Dashboard Creation and Implementation; Strategy and Analytics; Managerial Communications; Financial Decision Making for Managers; Project Management; Marketing Strategy or Marketing Research and Analysis
  • Electives include: Choose two. Electives include: Spatial and GIS Analytics; Time Series and Sequential Analytics; Health Information Technology; Innovation
  • Features: Offered on campus and online; focus on applying skills in statistical modeling, machine learning, computer science, predictive modeling, and cutting-edge visualization to real-world business problems; hometown of Kansas City is “a data hub," school reports

_Saint Joseph’s University_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Tuition: $1,043 per credit hour
  • Graduation requirements: 30 credit hours/10 courses
  • Curriculum: Ten of the following courses (all required, varying by specialization): Foundations for Business Intelligence and Analytics; Python Programming; Business Analytics for MSBIA; Concepts and Practices of DSS Modeling; Database Management Theory and Practice; Enterprise (Distributed) Data; Process Simulation and Analysis; Introduction to Data Mining; R Statistical Language; Critical Performance Management; Predictive Analytics; Special Topics Course; Six Sigma Applications and Foundations; Business Analytics: Supply Chain Management; Web Analytics
  • Specializations: Cyber Analytics, Data Analytics, General Business Intelligence, Programming Languages
  • Features: Program available on campus or online; program endorsed by the SAS Institute; emphasis on real data and case studies in curriculum; no thesis requirement

_Stevens Institute of Technology_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Tuition: $1,620 per credit hour; full-time tuition $17,980 per semester
  • Graduation requirements: 36 credit hours/12 courses
  • Core courses: Financial Decision Making; Data Management; Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence; Process Optimization and Analytics; Multivariate Data Analytics; Experimental Design; Data Analytics and Machine Learning; Social Network Analysis; Big Data Technologies; Practicum in Analytics
  • Electives include: take two of the following: Risk Management and Simulation; Advanced Data Analytics and Machine Learning; Web Mining; Cognitive Computing; Data and Information Quality; Risk Management: Methods and Applications; Marketing Analytics; Supply Chain Analytics; Data Stream Analytics: Internet of Things
  • Specializations: Data science
  • Features: Program available on campus, online, or delivered to corporate customers; capstone project using real data, with guidance provided by an industry mentor; programming language boot camps; Hanlon Financial Systems Center, featuring state-of-the-art data management software and Bloomberg terminals

_University of Colorado-Denver_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Information Systems with a concentration in Business Intelligence Systems
  • Tuition: $626 per credit hour for Colorado residents; $731 per credit hour for online-only out-of-state students
  • Graduation requirements: 30 credit hours
  • Core courses: Database Management Systems; Business Intelligence Systems and Analytics
  • Electives include: Information Systems Management and Strategy; Cloud Computing Concepts, Tools, and Applications; Information Systems Security and Privacy; Text Data Analytics and Predictive Modeling; Data Warehouse and Administration; Business Intelligence in Healthcare; Business Intelligence and Financial Modeling
  • Features: Evening classes, hybrid online-evening, or fully online options available

_University of Florida_

  • Degree: Master of Science in Information Systems and Operations Management, Business Intelligence and Analytics track
  • Tuition: $12,740 annually for full-time student
  • Graduation requirements: 36 credits/21 courses
  • Core courses: Advanced Business Systems Design & Development I and II; Business Telecom Strategy and Applications ; Managerial Quantitative Analysis I and II; Statistical Analysis for Managerial Decisions; Professional Communication; Business Database Systems I and II; Intermediate Business Programming; Project Management; three core business courses; Capstone Course: Electronic Commerce and Logistics
  • Track courses: Business Intelligence; Programming for Business Analytics; Data Mining for Business Intelligence; Business Data Presentation and Visualization
  • Features: Lockstep program, students must follow curriculum without variation.

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