Best Online Master’s in Business Intelligence Programs of 2021

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by Sharon Wilfong
Published on November 22, 2021
Edited by Rebecca Long

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An online master's in business intelligence is an excellent choice for students and business professionals who enjoy working with data. These days, companies use data to make informed decisions. Consequently, they need professionals to collect and interpret the information.

According to PayScale, business intelligence analysts earn $60,000-$93,000 annually, depending on their experience and education. The overall career outlook for graduates is positive, with opportunities for careers in business, education, and healthcare.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for management analysts to grow 14% between 2020 and 2030. That's a much faster growth rate than the average for all occupations. And, it's only one of many potential career paths for business intelligence graduates.

Previous education and experience can affect the time it takes to graduate. However, an online master's in business intelligence program can take less time than an on-campus program. And while online programs aren't necessarily cheaper than in-person learning, students may save money on commuting costs and additional fees.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Business Intelligence Program?

Learners with solid communication and critical thinking skills are best suited to pursue a business intelligence degree. An online master's in business intelligence can offer more flexibility for professionals. Additionally, there are different degree options for students, such as a master of arts (MA) or a master of science (MS).

In general, a master's in business intelligence requires 30-39 credits to graduate. Full-time students can earn their MS in one to two years. However, the number of credits and time it takes to graduate depends on the program, format, and a student's transfer credits.

The MA focuses more on humanities and theory, while the MS focuses on technical expertise. In general, a master's in business intelligence requires 30-39 credits to graduate. Full-time students can earn their MS in one to two years. However, the number of credits and time it takes to graduate depends on the program, format, and a student's transfer credits.

Some common concentrations include:

Preparing for graduate school involves everything from planning class schedules and covering costs to developing a support network. Online students may also need to attend labs and practicums or complete internships, depending on the program.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Business Intelligence Program?

Data Mining

In this course, students examine two data mining functions: cluster analysis and pattern discovery. This class covers data preparation, clustering, classification, feature selection, evaluation, validation, and scalability.

Predictive Analysis

Predictive analysis determines future trends using relationships within existing data. Students learn to transform raw data into actionable insights using the tools, methods, and cycles associated with predictive analysis.

Quantitative and Qualitative Decision Making

Learners explore cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment to evaluate outcomes. They learn to use fundamental probability theories, descriptive statistics, goal setting, planning, and rational decision-making models.

Enterprise Risk Analytics

This course covers strategic and operational risk analytics. Learners gain fundamental knowledge and skills in enterprise risk analytics, using analytics models, interlinked data inputs, simulations, and optimization techniques.

Descriptive Analytics

Students learn how to access data, process it, and transform it into usable information in this course. Studies cover the concept of data visualization as well as best practices.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Business Intelligence Program?

Learners should have an undergraduate degree with strong grades in math and science courses. Work experience and specific foundational courses may be required as well. However, admission requirements vary between schools and programs.

Online master's programs sometimes have different admission requirements from on-campus programs, as well. For example, an online program may request a video interview rather than an in-person interview. There might also be technology tests to ensure applicants will succeed in online coursework.

Other admission requirements typically include:

Application

The type of college application depends on the institution; however, many schools share application systems to save time. Some of these include the Common App, MyCoalition, the Universal College Application, and QuestBridge. Additionally, some public universities may use proprietary applications to encourage students to apply to multiple campuses within the same system.

Test Scores

Master's programs typically require scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for admission. However, not all online programs require it. The test has two sections focussing on verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. Test-takers receive scores between 130 and 170 for these sections. The essay portion is graded on a 0-6 scale. Applicants can use their most recent scores, or any test scores from the past five years.

Letters of Recommendation

Colleges use letters of recommendation from teachers, supervisors, and colleagues to decide which applicants to admit. Admissions officers might even admit one student over another with a similar GPA and test scores based on their recommendations. Generally, colleges require up to three letters of recommendation illustrating an applicant's academic abilities and qualifications.

Resume and Work Experience

A bachelor's degree qualifies professionals for various entry-level positions. That means many applicants already have experience in their field when they apply to a master's program. While some programs don't require work experience, a relevant resume can place an applicant ahead of others in a competitive program.

Essays

All graduate students can expect to write personal essays as part of their applications. Like recommendations, these essays illustrate why an applicant is a good fit for the program. It's essential to present specific points and then proofread and edit the essay before submitting it.

Official Transcripts

The main concern for any student transferring to a new school is if previous credits will count. Not all schools accept transfer credits. Transferring credits is usually easiest between state institutions. There are often articulation agreements to facilitate credit transfers, and some programs guarantee admission to students that meet specific requirements.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Business Intelligence Degree?

Career Outlook

Business intelligence professionals deliver data-driven business analytics to help companies fix problems and implement efficient processes. A bachelor's degree usually allows professionals to pursue entry-level positions as project managers, analysts, consultants, and specialists. Learners who wish to further there education by entering a master's program online typically have some work experience.

A master's degree in business intelligence can advance a professional's career to higher-paying positions such as economist, financial manager, or statistician. For example, the BLS projects a growth rate of 33% for mathematicians and statisticians between 2020 and 2030. The median annual salary for these professionals was $93,290 in May 2020. According to the BLS, businesses will increasingly need statisticians to analyze enormous amounts of data as more companies go online.

See where a master's in business intelligence can take you. Learn more about business intelligence careers.

Career Paths

Implementation Manager

Implementation managers oversee projects, assist in setting goals, and structure budgets. They typically work with managers from different departments and answer to CEOs and boards of executives. Implementation managers may also hold certifications specific to their industries and possess additional certifications in project-specific software.

Average Annual Salary (October 2021): $74,610

Senior Data Analyst

A bachelor's degree may help a professional meet the minimum requirements for this position. However, companies generally seek applicants with master's degrees and 3-5 years of experience for senior data analyst roles. Senior-level data analysts usually mentor small teams and communicate information between the data analysts and other departments.

Average Annual Salary (September 2021): $82,900

Business Intelligence Developer

Business intelligence developers work primarily with databases and different types of software. They're responsible for online analytical processing, and they test, code, design, and aggregate results from SQL queries. Since they document Oracle or other database contents, certification in the appropriate architecture is necessary.

Average Annual Salary (September 2021): $81,330

Business Intelligence Architect

Business intelligence architects support, maintain, and enhance business intelligence data backends and data warehouses. They map configurations and complex data architectures and provide technical guidance for data storage and governance systems. An MS degree, work experience, and specific industry certifications can advance a career in business intelligence architecture.

Average Annual Salary (September 2021): $113,090

Business Intelligence Analyst

Business Intelligence Analysts typically need experience and education in SQL and Tableau software and at least 1-2 years experience in a supervisory or administrative role. These professionals collaborate with a team of cross-departmental managers. They must be well versed in business administration, as they often chair meetings and lead training seminars.

Average Annual Salary (October 2021): $71,280

Business Intelligence Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

A master's in business intelligence offers career possibilities across industries. To specify their skills, professionals typically earn additional certifications and experience related to a particular sector, such as public health.

Analysts with three years of experience and a master's degree can earn a Certified Analytics Professional credential. Professionals may demonstrate industry expertise by earning certification to become an IBM certified data architect. Additionally, a management consultant certificate can create opportunities for further career development.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Business Intelligence Program?

Cost

Online and on-campus expenses generally include tuition, fees, and class materials. Tuition is the bulk of the cost, but books and supplies can also be expensive. Fees can apply to labs, technology, registration, and graduation. Some schools offer online student waivers for campus-related fees, but online students typically have extra costs such as technology-related expenses.

Program Format

Synchronous online learning requires students to attend classes at scheduled times, similar to joining classes in person. Asynchronous courses enable students to complete classwork primarily on their own schedules by accessing recorded lectures and assignments. Some schools offer part-time options to give students more flexibility and accelerated programs to allow learners to complete the degree in less time.

Location

One of the main reasons to consider an online vs. on-campus college is the ability to attend class from almost anywhere. Many students enroll at public colleges in their states to qualify for lower in-state tuition. Several public colleges now offer in-state tuition to online students, even if they do not have resident status.

Accreditation

Accreditation is an institutional designation ensuring a school meets specific educational standards. Credits from schools lacking proper accreditation may not transfer to accredited institutions. Accreditation determines the value of a degree. Master's in business intelligence programs primarily receive programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Student Support

Student support services are vital to success in a graduate program. Like traditional programs, the best online masters in business intelligence employ advisors, counselors, and tutors to help students. Other student support services to look for include mentorship programs, alumni networks, and opportunities for internships.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Business Intelligence Programs

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill true View School Profile Chapel Hill, NC

UNC-Chapel Hill offers a sweeping online MBA with various specializations. Students complete the online MBA in data analytics and decision-making in 18-36 months. The 62-credit degree requires two in-person immersive experiences at Chapel Hill or in cities around the world.

Students take asynchronous courses and attend weekly virtual meetings in a synchronous format. An MBA core explores key functional areas such as finance and accounting. The concentration develops business experts proficient in the use of business modelling, data analytics, and analytical tools for decision-making.

Admission to this master's in business intelligence program requires a bachelor's, at least two years of relevant experience, and GMAT or GRE scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $125,589 program total for all students
  • Program Length: 18-36 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 62 credits
  • Instruction Style: Synchronous and Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Villanova University true View School Profile Villanova, PA

Villanova is a Catholic college with a robust business program. The online MBA offers an analytics specialization. Students participate in asynchronous forums as well as live online discussions.

The 48-credit curriculum requires an MBA core with subjects such as corporate finance and performance management. Enrollees use 7.5 elective credits for the analytics specialization. They explore business intelligence, business analytics, and marketing research tools. This master's in business intelligence requires an in-person weekend leadership challenge class.

Students supplement lectures with videos, interactive case studies, and discussion boards. The capstone offers a seven-day international immersion strongly recommended for online students. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $1,409
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 48 credits
  • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online with immersions
  • School Status: Private
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign true View School Profile Champaign, IL

Illinois' respected iMBA offers executive training at a cost more affordable than many residential MBA programs. The fully online iMBA offers a business analytics specialization. Students move through the program as part of a cohort. The 72-credit curriculum requires interactive classes and team projects.

A core curriculum develops students' expertise in areas such as financial management and strategic leadership. Students learn business data modelling and predictive analysis. A course focuses on how to apply analytics across business functions.

Enrollees complete the master's in business intelligence in 2-3 years. Admission requires a bachelor's degree, minimum 3.0 GPA, and optional GRE or GMAT scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $22,500 program flat rate for all
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 72 credits
  • Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Babson College true View School Profile Wellesley, MA

A private college in Massachusetts, Babson offers a flexible online MBA. The degree offers a business analytics concentration. Students complete the part-time degree entirely online or in a hybrid format. The 45-credit curriculum blends coursework, consulting projects, and innovation challenges.

The MBA core develops competencies in various operational areas. The business analytics concentration provides training applicable to general business problems. Students study business intelligence, analytics, and visualization. They also explore data management techniques such as programming for business analytics.

Participants apply lessons learned during consulting projects with partnering firms. Admission to the master's in business intelligence requires optional GRE or GMAT scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $1,990
  • Program Length: 18 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 45 credits
  • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online and hybrid
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
University of Maryland true View School Profile College Park, MD

UMD offers a low-residency online MBA with a specialization in information systems and business analytics. Students learn from renowned business faculty. The curriculum covers essential areas of business operations.

Students explore corporate finance, accounting, and decision modelling. The specialization develops enrollees' competencies in data mining and predictive analytics. They learn social media and web analytics. Participants apply their learning during an integrative business simulation.

Enrollees complete an opening and capstone residency. Students pay the same tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency status. Admission to the master's in business intelligence requires a bachelor's, professional experience, and GRE or GMAT scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $1,682
  • Program Length: 24 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 54 credits
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus View School Profile University Park, PA

A leader in distance education, Penn State World Campus offers an online MBA with more than 20 concentrations. The 48-credit MBA in business analytics requires a residency students complete on campus or online.

The MBA provides comprehensive training in core business functions such as financial accounting and global strategic management. All students learn about team performance.The concentration explores predictive and descriptive business analytics. A related concentration focuses on business architecture, including enterprise modeling.Students complete the master's in business intelligence at their own pace. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and GRE or GMAT scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $1,236
  • Program Length: Self-paced
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 48 credits
  • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
William & Mary View School Profile Williamsburg, VA

The online MBA at W&M provides essential business knowledge and an analytics focus. Students complete the degree's 49 credits in as few as 24 months. This online master's in business intelligence requires one on-campus residency.

The curriculum teaches students core operational skills such as financial and managerial accounting. Enrollees also explore marketing and strategy. Students complete R or Python programming coursework to fulfill the analytics focus. Alternatively, they may complete a business analytics certificate for hands-on technical experience.During a practicum, students apply their skills to solve a business problem of their choosing. Admission requires a bachelor's and two years of professional experience, but no GMAT scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $1,300
  • Program Length: 24 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 49 credits
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Texas A&M University View School Profile College Station, TX

The MS in analytics at Texas A&M enrolls working professionals. Degree-seekers complete 36 credits in five semesters. Online students join faculty and on-campus peers via live video streaming held Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The online master's in business intelligence requires an on-campus bootcamp/orientation and capstone presentation.

Students learn database management, computer programming, and machine learning. They explore general business functions such as accounting and finance. Enrollees address a business problem within their company during a capstone project.

Participants pay a flat rate tuition whether they study on campus or online. Admission requires a strong academic background and relevant work experience.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $65,000 for the program
  • Program Length: 5 semesters
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
  • Instruction Style: Synchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
The University of Texas at Dallas View School Profile Richardson, TX

UT Dallas offers a part-time professional MBA online with no on-campus requirements. The 53-credit degree offers a business analytics concentration. Students can complete the degree in just 21 months. Courses cover core operational areas such as accounting, financial management, and IT management.

Students use 21 semester credits to choose courses for the business analytics concentration. Options include business analytics with SAS and programming for data science. A notable course focuses on applied machine learning.

Enrollees can also choose to pursue a business internship. Students lock in tuition for four years. Admission to the master's in business intelligence requires competitive GPA and GMAT or GRE scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $57,105 (residents); $95,052 (nonresidents)
  • Program Length: 21 months up to six years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 53 credits
  • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
University of Delaware View School Profile Newark, DE

Students can earn UD's online MBA in just 16 months. The customizable 44-credit curriculum offers a business analytics concentration. Degree-seekers sharpen their business acumen in functional areas such as operations and financial management.

The concentration introduces data mining strategies and methodologies. Students learn how to use data analytics and visualization in business decision-making. A capstone requires that enrollees mine real-world datasets and make business recommendations.

Students can opt for a dual or triple concentration to maximize marketability. Seven-week courses accelerate degree completion and a personal career coach offers ongoing guidance.Admission requires a bachelor's degree, a minimum 2.8 GPA, and GMAT or GRE scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $950
  • Program Length: 16 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 44 credits
  • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Business Intelligence Programs

Is a master's in business intelligence worth it? true

An online master's in business intelligence may make job applicants more competitive. What's more, professionals with advanced degrees typically earn higher annual salaries. Plus, completing an online master's in business intelligence can allow professionals to specialize in a specific industry.

Ultimately, online programs are usually more convenient and flexible than on-campus learning. But students must be self-disciplined and review course materials, participate in activities, complete assignments, and prepare for exams on their own. Researching and comparing schools and programs is vital to success, as well.

Transfer credits, program costs, and the school's reputation are all legitimate considerations. Today, individual employers and industries at large indicate wider acceptance of online education.

What can I do with a master's in business intelligence? true

A master's in business intelligence is a flexible degree that graduates can use in healthcare, education, and business. Professionals usually have some experience in their fields and pursue master's degrees to earn higher salaries and advance their careers. Graduates can pursue careers in big data as economists, mathematicians, statisticians, logisticians, or market research analysts.

Additionally, an MA in business intelligence differs from an MS. An MA is a good choice for professionals who are seeking administrative positions. On the other hand, an MS can better equip graduates for roles that work directly with technology, like data scientists.

What's the difference between a master's in business intelligence and business analytics? true

Students in a master of business intelligence program gain in-depth knowledge of business technologies to help nontechnical employees understand and use complex data. An MS in business intelligence typically focuses on data mining, storage, and management. The most significant difference is that an MS in business analytics covers analytical and software engineering while an MS in business intelligence usually does not.

Students in both kinds of degree programs become skilled in synthesizing and applying data in business environments. There is substantial overlap in both the degree programs and the professions graduates pursue. Both master's degrees suit data experts who want to transform raw data into actionable information for businesses. However, the two have slightly different approaches.

How much money can I make with a master's in business intelligence?

Business intelligence master's students generally already have a bachelor's degree and experience in their field. Depending on the career track, professionals can earn between $70,000 and over $130,000 annually. For example, according to PayScale, senior data analysts made an average annual salary of $82,900 in September 2021.

Business intelligence architects earned annual salaries between $76,000 and $120,000 during the same period. Like many positions at this level, these professionals often act as mentors for junior staff. They also manage application development and create delivery model strategies and set priorities for business intelligence developers.

What are the highest paying jobs with a master's in business intelligence?

The highest paying jobs for professionals with a master's in business intelligence are those that manage both people and data. For example, an information technology (IT) manager can earn over $130,000 per year. IT managers help design access rules and procedures for company data and help choose and manage antivirus software solutions.

The bottom line is that the highest paying jobs in business intelligence require both education and experience — a master's in business intelligence, experience, and various credentials can increase a professional's salary. Professionals can advance their careers further through continuing education and networking.

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