UToledo Launches New Degrees in Data Science and Analytics

March 3, 2020 | News, UToday, Arts and Letters, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Christine Billau

Due to skyrocketing demand from employers for data-savvy professionals, The University of Toledo is offering two new undergraduate degrees in data science and analytics.

Beginning in fall 2020, the University will debut a bachelor of arts degree in data analytics in the College of Arts and Letters, and a bachelor of science degree in data science in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“The ability to interpret large quantities of data, translate insight, and understand broader implications is critical to success in modern organizations throughout every industry,” Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “These degrees will give our students a competitive edge in our rapidly changing economy driven by big data and the increasing exchange of information as part of our everyday life and culture.”

Employment in data science is expected to grow nearly 20% between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The undergraduate programs prepare students for employment in positions dealing with big data and data analysis in nonprofit, government and business environments. They share a core set of courses in econometrics, geographic information systems, data visualization and ethics.

UToledo is enrolling students to start in the fall semester who are interested in learning how to make informed, mathematically valid and ethically sound decisions based on the analysis of data.

The bachelor of arts degree in data analytics has an emphasis on social sciences and will prepare students for careers that focus on interpreting and applying structured data for clients who can use the data to make decisions.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the data analytics degree draws on the wide range of expertise in the College of Arts and Letters, from the social sciences to philosophy and visual arts. It includes courses in social statistics and quantitative research methods; computer science and engineering technology; and research and writing for different audiences.

“Focusing on important social, behavioral and cultural contexts, this experience will empower students to better understand the results of their work and to better communicate those results to their employers, policymakers or others in need of the information, especially nonprofit organizations that desperately need individuals trained to use data effectively in order to better leverage their resources as they work to solve challenging problems,” Charlene Gilbert, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said.

The bachelor of science degree in data science is designed to prepare students for careers that involve statistical tools to extract meaning from large data sets for specific applications. It includes courses in calculus; statistics and probability; object-oriented programming; and machine learning.

The data science degree emphasizes the analysis of data in the applied sciences with training in math and computer science to develop data from different sources and apply the results in fields ranging from astronomy to the environment to human health and beyond.

“In the past few years, our ability to collect detailed data has dramatically expanded, impacting every area of modern life,” Dr. John Plenefisch, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said. “However, our ability to extract useful information from this sea of data has lagged because we simply don’t have enough data scientists. This new degree program will help our students gain the knowledge, skills and experience that will position them to succeed in this expanding career area.”

Beyond the undergraduate degrees, UToledo also offers master’s degree programs in business analytics in the College of Business and Innovation; a minor in data science in the College of Health and Human Services; a minor in data analytics in the College of Arts and Letters; and a concentration in data science in mathematics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

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