In today’s digital world of consumer data, personal data, medical data and industry data – just to name a few – businesses and industries are awash in information. And because data is so ubiquitous, it’s become a science unto itself – one that focuses on how to store, manage and use all those facts and figures.

That’s why the College of Charleston is launching the new Master of Data Science and Analytics program, which aims to bring students from diverse backgrounds into the world of big data and artificial intelligence to solve the most challenging problems in business, science and medicine. Designed as an accelerated curriculum, the graduate degree in data science will prepare students for their careers within 13 months. Assistantships for top applicants are available. Enrollment begins summer 2019 and applications are due by Feb. 1, 2019. For more information, visit the Data Science Program website.

Paul Anderson

The master’s degree in data science, the first of its kind in South Carolina, offers students from any undergraduate program access to an advanced degree in the growing field of data science. The new graduate degree will focus on machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data and analytics with an emphasis on producing the next evolution of advanced data science practitioners.

Paul Anderson, associate professor and director of the College’s Data Science Program, says the program will offer a professional oriented path that graduates students in 13 months. The program can, however, also accommodate students seeking a more traditional research-based master’s program that takes two years to complete.

The program fits hand-in-glove with Charleston’s growing tech scene and robust health care systems as well as industry giants like Boeing. But, Anderson says, companies in just about every sector across the country are in need of data science specialists. An estimated 2.7 million job postings for data analytics and science are projected in the U.S. by 2020.

“Demand for data scientists is growing in pretty much all fields,” says Anderson, noting areas of growth include hospital systems, manufacturing and both K-12 and higher education.

Key to CofC’s master’s in data science and analytics is an industry practicum that requires students to spend two semesters working on a project with a company, such as Blackbaud or Bosch, to provide real-world, hands-on learning. That, says Anderson, is an important component to ensuring students are workforce ready.

“The industry practicum is going to be really essential to the program’s success,” he says. “Getting that practical experience with a company will be critical to student success after graduation.”

There is no fixed prerequisite degree path for admission into the College’s advanced data science degree. Prospective students who earned bachelor’s degrees in data science, math, biology, chemistry, physics, business administration or economics, for example, would be a good fit for this master’s program. There is a placement test as part of the application process.