Photograph of Data Visualizations

Big Data and Data Science Online Program

The Big Data and Data Science program is an integrated and comprehensive online course designed for adult professionals interested in the field of analytics who wish to develop a broad and in-depth expertise in the spectrum of Big Data and Data Science related technologies. Gaining expertise in multiple data-related skills is essential in the field of analytics in order to adapt to fast changing trends and spontaneous business opportunities revealed by available data.   

Some of the professionals who can directly benefit are individuals aspiring to become business/data analytics professionals, project managers, mainframe professionals, software developers, testers, architects, or data warehouse professionals.

Why choose the Duke Integrated Program in Big Data and Data Science?

  • Provides a 12 month intensive online program combining both self-paced learning and live virtual classroom instruction
  • Delivers over 300 hours of content designed by leading industry experts
  • Exposure to an expanded skill set in Big Data, Data Science and Data Visualization
  • Offers a hands-on learning experience through the use of CloudLabs
  • Provides an industry leading mobile app for downloadable content and offline viewing
  • Includes access to quizzes, practice questions, simulation exercises, and projects
  • Supplements the learning experience with multiple elective courses with industry specific applications
  • Awards Duke University Continuing Studies certificate of completion upon successfully finishing the program.
  • Allows 12 months extended access to new/updated materials granted upon student’s completion of initial program requirements

Who should enroll in this program?

This program is best suited for someone entering the field of analytics and covers key proficiencies for cross-functional competency. Professionals often focus solely on the individual competencies in Big Data, Data Science, and Data Visualization, leaving potential gaps in a comprehensive skill set that is in high demand by industry today.  Storing and processing large datasets requires knowledge in Big Data while Data Science and Machine Learning skills enable you to interpret this data and derive business insights.  Business Intelligence and Data Visualization capabilities help in creating and reporting business success metric dashboards for widespread consumption.  A professional with a comprehensive education in these areas has an added advantage and increased likelihood of success in the industry.

Product Demo: For exclusive access to a product demo send an email to with your name and email address in the body of the email.

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Curriculum & Course Details

This Big Data and Data Science program is comprised of four mandatory courses and several non-required electives. Electives are available to students during the program to supplement the learning experience, as well as optional pre-courses which provide a brief review of programming language.

This program covers Big Data technologies like Hadoop and Spark, as these tools create and manage the critical framework for storing and processing vast amounts of data across networks. Student activities will focus on: 

  • Gaining experience using complex data science algorithms and implementing them using industry-standard processing languages like R, Python and SAS.
  • Learning how to calculate, interpret and process Big Data insights by creating easily consumable data visualization reports with platforms like Tableau.
  • Applying concepts to hands-on projects using state-of-the art Machine Learning technology.

Optional Pre-Courses:

These courses are intended to reinforce basic programming knowledge for students who already have a grasp of these foundational concepts. They are not intended to substitute for the recommended year of programming experience. It is recommended that students who lack familiarity in these programming languages review these courses prior to the onset of their studies.  Many students may already have this knowledge, and may choose not to review them. Similar to the elective courses, the optional pre-courses are not mandatory, and lack of completion DOES NOT impact a student’s overall certificate completion.

Core Java & SQL Training

  • Students will receive a fundamental introduction to Java, Java Variables, Lambda Expression, SQL Querying and more.

Mandatory Courses:

The most effective way of progressing through this program is by attending the live virtual classroom (LVC) sessions and using online self-paced learning content as study support. While students may choose to take these data sciences courses in any order, the following steps describe the recommended learning progression:

Step 1: Big Data Hadoop and Spark Developer

Learn about Big Data management of large datasets and processing capabilities. Upon completion of this Big Data Hadoop course, students should have a broad exposure of the integrated landscape of Big Data and Data Science.

Step 2: Data Science with Python

These courses provide a strong foundation for analytical and statistical concepts so students can become more familiar with programming.

Step 3: Tableau Desktop 10

Explore data visualization techniques with Tableau, one of the most popular Business Intelligence tools in the market.

Step 4: Machine Learning

This course provides advanced-level training on Machine Learning applications and algorithms. It will give students hands-on experience in multiple, highly sought-after machine learning skills in both supervised and unsupervised learning.

Elective Courses:

The following Big Data and Data Sciences courses are included in this program, but are not required for completion.  They do, however, provide knowledge that would be beneficial in increasing the skill set of an individual seeking a career in data science or analytics.  They can be taken in any order.

  • Data Science with R
  • Big Data Hadoop Administrator Course
  • Python Basics
  • Apache Cassandra 
  • Apache Kafka
  • Apache Spark and Scala
  • MongoDB Developer and Administrator
  • Business Analytics with Excel

About the Live Virtual Classroom

Classes are delivered through a WebEx portal that includes a live instructor, a teaching assistant (TA) and a maximum of 20 participants. These sessions are highly interactive and students are free to ask questions, which are answered by the instructor/TA in real time.  Students will be able to sign up for live virtual sessions that fit within their schedule once they have access to the learning management system. Live classes are recorded to accommodate student absences. Attendance is not mandatory for these classes and can be attended by students at their discretion.  Students may choose to attend all or none of the classes, as it will not have any bearing on their completion of the program.

About the Live Mentoring Sessions

In additional to Live Virtual Classes, we also offer Live Mentoring Sessions on a monthly basis. These sessions are virtual meetings where an industry expert in the field of Big Data and Data Science will be on hand to answer questions, guide you through areas of your course as needed and provide real-world experience and advice. These sessions are also optional and open to all! They provide a discussion forum for you to ask questions related to Big Data, Data Science and other topics within the course.

*Please note that the instructors who lead the Live Virtual Classroom are not always the same as those who lead the monthly Live Mentoring sessions.


The Big Data and Data Science program is not intended as an exam preparation program, but does cover some topics tested upon for the following certification exams.  For more information please reach out to each organization listed below:

Cloudera CCA175 Certification:

Tableau Desktop 10 Associate Certification:

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  • Attained at least 18 years of age
  • Possess word processing and internet skills
  • Fluency in the English language (including reading and writing)
  • One year of basic programming experience is strongly recommended
  • Familiarity with word processing, internet skills, and how online programs work.
  • Reliable internet access and a valid email account (Personal email accounts are preferred as they are less likely to trigger fire walls and spam filters.)
  • Meet the computer technical requirements specifications listed on this site.
  • Pay tuition in full, or have a loan certified by Duke Continuing studies for tuition amount only, prior to being granted access to the program.
  • Sign and return program Terms of Use form.  Program access will not be granted until form has been returned via email to
  • Test drive the program to see if the curriculum meets your skill level and desired learning outcomes! Send an email to with your name and email address in the body of the email.  A password will be sent via email granting time-limited access to the product demo.

Admission is discretionary. The office of Duke Continuing Studies, Professional Certificate Programs, requires students be at least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of any student or applicant. 

The materials used in this course, including video lessons, workbooks, quizzes and tests, are copyrighted. They are intended for individual use by registered students.  Unauthorized or illegal use, or attempted unauthorized or illegal use, of these materials may result in a suspension and/or cancellation of the user’s account.  

Certificate requirements

In order to receive a certificate of completion from Duke University Continuing Studies, students must successfully complete the four mandatory courses in this program with a score of 80% or higher on each simulation test and a passing grade on one project per course.  Once all requirements have been met, students will be eligible for a certificate of completion. 

Quizzes and Tests

Course quizzes test students' knowledge in preparation for the simulation test at the end of each mandatory course.  Quizzes are not graded assignments, but they will help students determine their level of understanding prior to taking each simulation test.

Students must complete a project and pass a final assessment for each module with at least 80% accuracy. Tests are provided in a timed, multiple choice format and may be taken up to three times.  


Students are not held to an attendance policy for this course.  They may choose the delivery format for the content that best suits them: self-paced videos, live virtual classes (LVC), or a combination of both.  For optimal learning, it is recommended that students enroll in the LVC’s offered for each course and use the self-paced video content to supplement their studies.  However, even upon enrolling in a LVC section, students are not required to attend all (or any) classes.  For the convenience of students, all classes are recorded and accessible by enrollment.


Technical requirements

The following minimum technical requirements are supported*:

  • Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, 1GB RAM, Flash player 11
  • Mac OS X, 1GB RAM, Flash player 11
  • iOS 8,  Android 4 (for apps)

Students must also have the following:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Reliable internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 1Mpbs (typical DSL is 1.5 to 6Mbs) and web browser (Firefox, Chrome or Safari)
  • E-mail account (to be able to register and to receive email from the system regarding registration, course status, etc.)
  • A downloaded and installed version of R software from the CRAN website and RStudio for your operating system. (These are both open source, and the installation guidelines are presented in the course).
  • A computer that meets the following system requirements to run the Python program:
    • 32 or 64-bit Operating System
    • 1GB RAM

Technical questions should be directed to our affiliate, Simplilearn, by sending an email to

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Schedule & Registration


Registration is ongoing; therefore, students can begin the program when it is most conducive to their schedule. On an annual basis, registration will not be available June 23 - 30 due to the close of the fiscal year for the university.

Note: our enrollment/registration system is a separate external system from that used for your online training and therefore access to online materials is not an automated process upon your registration and subsequent payment. Please allow a time delay of up to 5 business days to receive details via email regarding online access. This delay will not impact your “allotted” completion time for the program.

To enroll and receive program access:

  • Register for this program
  • Pay in full or have loan certified (for tuition amount only) by Duke Continuing Studies
  • Return the program terms of use form to the Duke Program Manager with your signature (typically emailed to the student within five business days upon registering)
  • Upon completing the first three requirements, expect to receive within five (5) business days an email with login instructions
    • (Please register with a secure, personal email account, not a work account as they are less likely to trigger fire walls and spam filters and will guarantee continual access if employment conditions should change.)
  • Once you receive your access email, log in and begin your coursework
  • Please note your 12 months of access begins on the date the access email is sent to you NOT when you access the program for the first time.
  • There is a calendar within the learning system to assist you with keeping track of time remaining in your 12 month window to complete the program

Registration Methods

1. Register Online using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system. Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.

2. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 or 1-866-edu-Duke during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST) to register.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a Data Science professional?

One of the most important roles of a data science professional is to extract meaning from large volumes of data and purposefully interpret this data. To become a data scientist, you need to have programming skills, statistical skills, and an ability to think outside the box. Finding someone with these skills have proven to be a challenge for companies and hence has given way to a deep divide between the demand and supply of data scientists

What type of projects may be included in this program?

Course Name Projects
Big Data Hadoop and Spark Developer Banking, Telecommunication
Data Science with Python NYC 311 Service Request Analysis, MovieLens Dataset Analysis
Tableau Desktop 10 Sales Performance Analysis
Machine Learning California Housing Price Reduction, Phishing Detector with LR


Who should enroll in this program?

This course is ideal for professionals who wish to develop a broad and in-depth expertise in the entire spectrum of Big Data and Data Science related technologies. Some of the professionals who can directly benefit are individuals aspiring to become business/data analysts, project managers, mainframe professionals, data warehouse professionals, software developers, testers, or architects.

Is this curriculum designed and taught by Duke faculty?

The curriculum is neither designed nor taught by Duke faculty, but was developed by subject matter experts in the field and is taught by individuals working in the industry.

Can I be successful in this program if I have no basic programming knowledge or experience?

While this course does offer optional pre-courses, these are intended to reinforce basic programming knowledge for students who already have a grasp of these foundational concepts.  They are not intended to substitute for the recommended year of programming experience. Students lacking this experience or knowledge may find the content to be too advanced. It is highly recommended that students request and review the demo to gauge their comfort level with the material prior to enrolling.

When is registration open?

Students may register anytime except during the week of June 23-30 annually. Online registration is available 24/7 and the Office of Continuing Studies is open via phone (excluding Duke holidays) for registration at 919 684-6259 (toll free 866-edu-duke) Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8am and 5pm EST.

After registering, when will students receive additional program details?

Two criteria must be met to in order to receive additional program details for accessing the curriculum.

  • Receipt of full payment or notice of loan (for tuition amount only) certified by Duke Continuing studies
  • The return receipt of the signed program policy to the Duke program manager.

Only then will registered students be emailed, during regular business hours M-F, log-in/access information. Please note: a delay of up to five business days may occur before you receive this log-in information although typically the timeframe for receiving login/access information is much shorter

Is this program offered online only?

Yes, this is a self-paced program and is only offered in an online format.

Is this program affiliated with any other departments at Duke University?

This program is not affiliated with any other office at Duke and is offered exclusively through Duke Continuing Studies.

Does this program apply toward a degree?

No, this program is a non-credit (non-degree) offering and does not transfer towards a degree.

How long do students have access to this online program?

Students will have access to this program for 12 months from the date the access email is sent from the learning management system.

How long does the program take to complete?

The Big Data and Data Science certificate program is 300+ hours of combined instruction/study time that must be completed within 12 months from the date the access email is sent from the learning management system. While completion time will vary by student, it is recommended that students commit between 5 and 10 hours per week to the coursework.

Is access to a computer required during this program? 

This is an exclusively online program and access to a reliable computer is required for the duration of the program. 

What are the technical requirements for accessing this online program?

See the Requirements section.

What courses will be available for live instructor led online classes?

Course Name Estimated no. of online classes available each month
Big Data Hadoop and Spark Developer 4
Data Science with Python 4
Tableau 10 1
Machine Learning 3


Course Name Estimated no. of online classes available each month
Data Science with R 3
Big Data Hadoop Administrator Course 1
MongoDB Developer and Administrator 1
Big Data and Hadoop Administrator 2

If a student is absent from one live virtual classroom session, how can that absence be accounted for?

The program offers flexible class sessions, which enable students to attend alternate sessions as needed.

Are live virtual classroom sessions ever cancelled?

In the rare case that the classroom time you signed up for is cancelled for any reason, there are other opportunities for students to attend.

Are extensions granted to students who request them?

A one-time 90 day extension may be granted to students who demonstrate in writing (via email to the reason they require an extension. Requests must be submitted no later than two weeks prior to the expiration date on the student account to be considered by the Program Manager. It is at the discretion of the Program Manager to determine if the situation warrants an extension.

  • A response will be delivered via email within 7 business days ( excluding Duke holidays)
  • If an extension is granted, the student must complete the program within 90 days. No further extensions will be granted.
  • If a student cannot finish the program within the extension window, and desires to finish the program, he/she will be responsible for purchasing the program again in its entirety at full tuition.

What is the refund policy for these courses?

There are no refunds given for online courses and tuition cannot be applied to other programs offered by Duke Continuing Studies.

If a student is having difficulty with one of the final course exams, can they move on to another course? 

Yes, students may progress through these courses in any order desired.

How do students earn a certificate of completion from Duke Continuing Studies? 

Students who complete all tests and projects with an average score of 80% or higher within the given time frame and pay tuition in full (upon registration) will receive a certificate of completion from Duke Continuing Studies.

Can students download program files to save for later use?

The materials used in this Big Data and Data Science Certificate program, including video lessons, workbooks, quizzes and tests, are copyrighted. They are intended for individual use by registered students.  Unauthorized or illegal use, or attempted unauthorized or illegal use, of these materials may result in a suspension and/or cancellation of the user’s account.

Study guides are available for download, and a mobile app allows for offline viewing of content.

Will the university staff assist me in finding a position upon completion of this program?

It is incumbent upon the student to seek his/her own employment through their own endeavors. Duke Office of Continuing Studies provides no assistance with job search, career placement and/or internships nor make any claim or warrant this program will result in obtaining a position of a result of completion.

While we cannot guarantee a position will be obtained, we can assure you that you will receive comprehensive training to enhance your big data and data science skill set.

How can students contact technical support?

Technical questions should be directed to our affiliate, Simplilearn, by sending an email to Hours of support are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, Pacific time.  Technical support issues submitted prior to 2:00 pm Monday through Friday will typically be handled the same day, and in most cases no later than the next business day.

Who is Simplilearn?

Duke Continuing Studies has partnered with Simplilearn to offer this program. Simplilearn is a leading certification online training provider in disciplines such as Digital Marketing, and Data Science, and other areas where technologies and best practices are changing rapidly.



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The following industry experts lead our course videos and/or our live mentor sessions. Additionally, the monthly webinars, and Q&A forum are monitored by subject matter experts.

Ronald van Loon

A top 10 Big Data & Data Science Influencer, named one of the top three most influential personalities of Big Data in 2016 by Onalytica, Ronald van Loon is a regular speaker at renowned events and conferences. He is also a guest author on leading Big Data and Data Science websites, including Datafloq, Data Science Central, and The Guardian.

Alvaro Fuentes

Alvaro, a Data Scientist and founder of Quant Company, has also worked as a lead Economic analyst in the Central Bank of Guatemala. He has a M.S. in Quantitative Economics and Applied Mathematics and is actively involved in consulting and training in the data science space.

Mike Tamir

Named by Onalytica as the No.1 influencer in AI & Machine Learning space, Mike serves as Head of Data Science for Uber ATG self-driving engineering team and as UC Berkeley data science faculty.

Vivek Singhal

Vivek is an entrepreneur and thought Leader in Artificial Intelligence and deep-tech industries. He is a leading data scientist and researcher with expertise in AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning.

Please note that the live virtual classrooms are taught by qualified industry subject matter experts in alignment with the curriculum designed by the instructors listed above.

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Tuition & Funding Sources



Payment is due in full upon registration. Loans, from US based organizations, must be certified and approved by Duke Continuing Studies prior to starting program.

There are no books required for this program. Study guides for each module will be available for download.

Duke Employee Discount

• $200 off the fee of $2995
Duke employee pays fee of $2795
• Student must register and pay tuition in full or have loan “certified” by Duke Continuing Studies, as well as complete a terms of use form, prior to receiving program access
• Questions: Contact Program Manager at 919-684-3255

Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process and cannot be applied in addition to any other discount that may be offered. You may be asked to verify your status as a Duke employee.

Group Discount

Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training?

Contact the Program Manager for details.

Funding Sources

Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Please note that we do not offer a payment plan for this program.

No loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for students of Duke Continuing studies. Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-credit.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.

Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Loan Options

Your local bank may offer other options for loans or a "line of credit" service. Contact your bank for more information on financing choices.

Wire Transfers

Contact our registration office at for details on how to send wire transfers.  Very specific instructions must be followed in order for our office to receive a successful transfer.

Other Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, select the Undergraduate Student Loan and then click Apply Now.   The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

•    Scroll over Student Loans on the top of screen
•    Select Smart Option Student Loan under Undergraduate Student Loans
•    Click Get Started
•    Fill out Student General Information
•    Fill out Permanent Address
•    Fill out School Information

•    DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 should already have populated for the school
•    Select Certificate for Degree/Certificate of Study
•    Select your Specialty or select Other if it is not shown in the options
•    Select Half Time for Enrollment Status
•    Select Certificate/Continuing Ed for Grade Level
•    Enter your Academic Period of the Loan
•    Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion

•     Follow the remaining loan application prompts

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

For information on the Wells Fargo Graduate Loan, please see this Disclosure document. To apply for this loan, visit Wells Fargo. Duke Continuing Studies will be required to certify your loan application for the Graduate Loan should you be approved by Wells Fargo.

You will need to enter the following information after clicking on Apply Now in the Before Starting Your Application section:

  • Find a loan for: Graduate School Expenses
  • I am a: Student
  • School state: North Carolina
  • School name: please type Duke University Continuing Education
  • Grade Level: Beyond 3rd Year Graduate
  • Field of Study: Undecided or select Other and type in the field of study
  • Citizenship: Select as appropriate

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.

Workforce Investment Act

The WIA provides professional and basic skills training services to those who have been unable to find employment. Please keep in mind that this process can be lengthy, so plan to apply well in advance of the program start date.  For more information on eligibility, the application process, or to find your local Workforce Development Board, visit the NC JobLink Career Center website.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.

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Policies & Procedures

Refunds for Online Courses

There are no refunds or cancellations for online courses.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”

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