MS in CS vs MS Data Science




I am very interested in everything related to AI. I am currently working as a programmer, but for some reason I don’t find pure programming to be that fulfilling. I have always been interested in Mathematics, and thus data science is my main area of interest.

I am going for my MS this year, but I am a bit confused as to whether I should go for MS in Data Science or MS in CS. I’ve read a lot about this topic, and some people insist that data science is just a trend that will wane, and instead of an MS in purely data science which is pretty narrow, I am better off pursuing MS in CS and take some extra electives related to DS.

Would really like some practical advice on this.

Piyush Kathuria


Hi piyush10793,

I think I can help you with this because I did my MS in Computer Science in US. Believe me, its like doing your engineering again. There’s absolutely nothing new in their course offering. I don’t come from an engineering background and I opted for MS in Computer Science because that was the craze then. My friends were all BTech engineers and they had absolutely no problem finishing the course with A grades. But we had a hard time later on getting a job in US so we opted for consultancies(Indian).

If you are seriously looking for advanced subjects in computer science then you must opt for the top 20-30 universities. You should start calling the university student adviser for that particular program for more details. They always help you with any questions you got.

In my opinion Data Science is gonna stay for a really long time in different capacities and their demand is really high over there (US). Many universities are offering 1 year MS in Data Science/Business Analytics/Big Data/BI with capstone projects which could help you in getting a job directly with a company. Some even offer certification in SAS or Data Analytics as part of their curriculum. That’s another plus.

Here’s couple of links to some of the Universities offering MS in Data Science:

MS in CS is a 2 year course and a lot of students go for that, mostly Indian students, thus ending up in a lot of competition for one single job. Because of that not many companies are looking for a CS graduate as they are readily available everywhere. Almost all universities provide MS in CS.

Also a 1 year MS is gonna be good on your pocket and time as well. Who doesn’t want that.

Fair warning: Please do not go through any consultancy for your admission to a US university and don’t believe whatever they say. Its a sham. Just talk directly with the university and they’ll provide you more and better information than these consultancies.

I’m not trying to discourage you or make a decision for you. Each has its pros and cons. Though the pros heavily weighs onto the Data Science field than the CS.
I hope you make the right decision and have fun in US.
All the best. :slight_smile:


Along with @RubyS excellent advice, you might find these guides helpful