UIC offers new data science degree

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UIC’s new bachelor’s degree in data science, launching in Fall 2021, will provide foundational mathematics, statistics, computer science, communications, ethics and business project management skills to undergraduate students.

The University of Illinois Chicago will soon offer a new bachelor’s degree in data science, a rapidly growing field that intersects with numerous industries including technology, computer science, business, security and health care.

“Students who graduate with a data science undergraduate degree are exceptionally well-positioned to fill high-paying roles in numerous sectors where the analysis of large amounts of data is crucial, or to pursue graduate opportunities,” said Robert Sloan, professor and head of computer science at the UIC College of Engineering.

Sloan, together with Dibyen Majumdar, professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science at the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will co-lead the new data science program, which is housed in the computer science department in the College of Engineering.

“The demand for data science programs is at an unprecedented high, and colleges are struggling to keep pace,” Sloan said. “Our new bachelor’s degree in data science is a response to the vital need to serve students, and because of the extraordinary breadth of UIC’s offerings, our degree allows students to specialize in one of nine concentrations by taking courses in five ­­UIC colleges.”

The core courses consist of foundational mathematics, statistics, computer science, communications, ethics and business project management. The concentrations offer students opportunities to focus on methods for applying data science in specialized areas.

The concentrations are bioinformatics; business analytics; computer science; data processing, science and engineering; health data science; industrial engineering; social technology studies; statistics; and urban planning and public affairs. The UIC colleges of business administration, engineering, liberal arts and sciences, urban planning and public affairs, and applied health sciences provide interdisciplinary coursework toward the data science degree.

“As the world is becoming overwhelmingly data-driven, employment opportunities for a data scientist are increasingly lucrative,” Majumdar said. “Data scientists are needed in virtually every business, industry and organization, and this need will rapidly increase as the current pandemic drives us to a more hybrid world. This multidisciplinary data science degree seeks to span the multitude of disciplines at UIC and will provide graduates with enormous possibilities.”

Students can begin taking courses in the new program now to earn the data science degree, but the program will officially launch in fall 2021.

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