UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

data scienceNew Data Science Degree to be Offered at UW-River Falls

June 8, 2015--A Data Science and Predictive Analytics major will be available to students beginning spring 2016 at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The new major was approved by the UW System Board of Regents last week making UW-River Falls the only school in the University of Wisconsin System, one of only one or two schools in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and only a handful of universities nationwide to offer this leading-edge course of study to undergraduate students. 

As society increasingly tracks and accumulates data with the aid of modern technology, there is a growing need for individuals who have the skills to effectively collect and analyze data and to make informed, data-driven decisions. Jobs for data scientists, business intelligence analysts, data mining analysts and other data science professions have emerged across all industries that use data intensively, including government, business, healthcare, online commerce and more. 

While jobs in the area of data science are expected to grow throughout the region, the growth of careers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is especially notable as UW-River Falls is located just 30 minutes from the metro area. 

"The field of data science will bring about a new wave of change and will impact every industry in ways not imagined. Its potential is often compared to that of the .com boom of the 1990s," said Hossein Najafi, professor and department chair for the Computer Science & Information Systems Department at UW-River Falls. "Graduates will have unique skills, offering them opportunities to build lucrative careers and have long-lasting impact on the future of humanity. We are so excited to be one of the very first undergraduate Data Science programs in the region and in the country." 

The Data Science and Predictive Analytics major is housed within the Computer Science and Information Systems Department in the College of Business and Economics. The program will involve a breadth of coursework in areas such as machine learning, data visualization, data storage and more across the disciplines of computer science and information systems and math. Electives in accounting, finance, management, marketing and economics are also available to provide students with a comprehensive business education. 

Upon completion of the four-year data science bachelor's degree, students will possess an understanding of and skills involving:

  • Big Data and the challenges of capturing, storing and retrieving massive data;
  • the API ecosystem and data infrastructure that supports data acquisition, storage, retrieval and analysis;
  • the foundations, frameworks and applications of the emerging field of data science; and
  • the application of a data-based analytical approach to identify and solve problems. 

"The data science program puts UWRF on the leading edge and will provide a wonderful educational opportunity for undergraduates. The program synergizes well with industry partnerships as well as has the potential for further international partnerships," said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Fernando Delgado reflecting on the data science program and what it means for UW-River Falls' overall academic presence in the region. 

For more information, contact Najafi at hossein.najafi@uwrf.edu or 715-425-3335.

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