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UT Dallas CS and Mathematical Sciences Department Establish a New Joint BS in Data Science Program Next Spring

Data science continues to evolve as one of the most promising and in-demand career paths for skilled professionals. The Department of Computer Science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science in collaboration with the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will be launching the Bachelor of Science in Data Science Degree Program during the Spring 2019 semester. The Data Science BS is an interdisciplinary program offering a balanced mix of courses in Computer Science, Statistics, and Mathematics.

Over the past decade, data scientists have become a necessary asset in every industry. However, they are also in short supply. As increasing amounts of data become more accessible, large tech companies are no longer the only ones in need of data scientists and the growing demand for data science professionals now spans across all types of industries. The need for qualified data scientists shows no sign of slowing down.  Glassdoor ranked data scientist as the #1 Best Job in America in 2018 for the third consecutive year, and Harvard Business Review lists the job of a data scientist as the “Hot Job of the Decade.” With over 4,500 open positions listed on Glassdoor, data science professionals with the appropriate experience and education have the opportunity to succeed in some of the most cutting-edge companies in the world. Data Science jobs are consistently ranked near the top in the Jobs Rated Report of CareerCast.com. By 2020, the number of jobs for all US data professionals will increase by 364,000 to an approximate total of 2,720,000 according to IBM (read more here).

Data Science is an emerging discipline that lies at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, and statistics. The curriculum for the Data Science Program provides a solid foundation in all three disciplines. The degree prepares students for data scientist or related positions in industry, business, and government that are currently in high demand and also for graduate study in any of the three disciplines. In order to earn the BS in Data Science degree from UT Dallas, students must earn a minimum of 120 semester credit hours towards graduation. (learn more here).

We spoke to Dr. Vladimir Dragovic, Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics about the new BS in Data Science degree program. “It is a role model of an across campus collaboration as the first example of an undergraduate BS program offered as a joint program between the departments from two different schools, the Mathematical Sciences Department and Computer Science Department. Both departments have a track record of success in offering similar programs on a graduate level. This new undergraduate program is a well-balanced mixture of Computer Science, Statistics and Mathematics reasoning.”

Dr. Dragovic continued, “There are seven new classes which were specially designed for this new program. The program is designed to distinguish itself from the programs with a similar name by emphasizing quality, rigor, and employable skills. By this, we mean that the program offers a solid preparation in Computer Science, Statistics and Mathematics, together with the capstone project. It has been designed to consider the previous experience of the departments, advice from the industries in DFW area and curricular guidelines for data science programs developed by a group of faculties across the US and recommended by the organizations like American Statistical Association (ASA). At the same time, as being offered in the DFW area, which is one of the fastest growing economies in the US, it will benefit from job opportunities for future graduates from the local companies. This is only second BS in Data Science program in Texas. Both departments, Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science, are very enthusiastic about this joint venture and are working closely and tirelessly to implement this new program. There has already been substantial interest among the students and parents expressed for this program.”

Data scientists need to have a strong quantitative background in statistics and linear algebra as well as programming knowledge with focuses in data warehousing, mining, and modeling to build and analyze algorithms. Data science requires strong high school preparation in mathematics.  A minimum of elementary algebra and geometry should be completed, while trigonometry and calculus are highly recommended. Any Advanced Placement courses in computer science, mathematics, or statistics are highly beneficial. Solid communication skills are also important in light of the fact that most data science professionals work as part of a team.

For more information on admission and degree requirements for the BS in Data Science, view the Undergraduate Catalog.


Contact Information for the Bachelor of Science in Data Science Degree Program

Contact: DataScience@utdallas.edu

Pankaj ChoudharyPankaj@utdallas.edu

Associate Head of Mathematical Sciences and Faculty Advisor for BS in Data Science

Dr. Ovidiu DaescuOvidiu.Daescu@utdallas.edu

Associate Head of Computer Science and Faculty Advisor for BS in Data Science

Dr. Vladimir Dragovic, Vladimir.Dragovic@utdallas.edu

Department Head, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Dr. Gopal Gupta, Gopal.Gupta@utdallas.edu

Department Head, Department of Computer Science


Math, Computer Science Departments Add New Degree in Data Science

Undergraduate Program, First of Its Kind in North Texas, Will Be Offered Starting Next Spring

The University of Texas at Dallas is jumping at the opportunity to train undergraduate students with the cross-disciplinary know-how they need to land a job in the hottest field in the country.

Beginning in the spring semester of 2019, the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Computer Science will offer a bachelor’s in data science, the only such undergraduate degree of its kind in North Texas.

Data science focuses on methods for quickly drawing accurate conclusions from large information sets. The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science will oversee the new curriculum, which is intended to provide a strong foundation in computer science, mathematics and statistics.

Prominent job market website Glassdoor placed data scientist atop its list of the 50 Best Jobs in America in 2018 for a third consecutive year, based on earning potential, job satisfaction and the number of job openings. Dr. Bruce Novak, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Distinguished Chair in Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said the new program will provide graduates with an in-demand skill set for a wide spectrum of industries and agencies.

“Data science relates to the statistical methods you use to derive patterns and trends from large amounts of data,” Novak said. “This is important for so many fields, from companies that ship or manufacture goods, to researchers who study disease control and human health, to those who track climate change. We collect data like crazy these days, so data science is relevant to almost any business or research area.”

Dr. Gopal Gupta, Erik Jonsson Chair and department head of computer science, agreed that data science can be applied to a wide range of enterprises.

“Data science is becoming increasingly important today,” Gupta said. “Every field or organization has big problems that it wants solved, and they are in possession of a large amount of relevant data. Data science can help solve these big problems. For new graduates with this expertise, the job market is wide open.”

The new curriculum, which also includes a capstone project course, greatly expands on the graduate certificate in data science that the two departments already offer.

Dr. Vladimir Dragovic, the department head of mathematical sciences, described the interdisciplinary program as a role model for future cross-campus collaborations.

“The data science BS will be UT Dallas’ first Bachelor of Science program offered jointly from departments from two schools,” Dragovic said. “The curriculum is designed in a way that a student may choose to enter the job market or go to graduate school. There has already been substantial interest.”

Seven new classes were designed specifically for the program, which was built with input from local industries and from curricular guidelines developed across the nation and endorsed by organizations like the American Statistical Association.

“Data science programs at all levels are a recent phenomenon, and undergraduate-level programs are relatively less common,” Dragovic said. “This will be the second such program in Texas. We’re all very enthusiastic about this joint venture, and we’re ready to bring in our first cohort.”

Bachelor of Science in Data Science

The new joint degree program, offered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Computer Science, includes a balanced mix of courses in computer science, statistics and mathematics.

Degree requirements: Students must earn 120 hours to graduate: 42 hours from the University’s core curriculum, 65 to 67 hours in the major, plus 11 to 13 elective requirements where students can tailor their learning experience more closely to their interests.

Potential careers: Data scientists are in demand in sectors such as banking and finance, technology, health care, marketing and product development, retail, manufacturing and government.


Contact Information for the Bachelor of Science in Data Science Degree Program

Email: datascience@utdallas.edu

Pankaj ChoudharyPankaj@utdallas.edu

Associate Head of Mathematical Sciences and Faculty Advisor for BS in Data Science

Dr. Ovidiu DaescuOvidiu.Daescu@utdallas.edu

Associate Head of Computer Science and Faculty Advisor for BS in Data Science

Dr. Vladimir Dragovic, Vladimir.Dragovic@utdallas.edu

Department Head, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Dr. Gopal Gupta, Gopal.Gupta@utdallas.edu

Department Head, Department of Computer Science


ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT

The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,800 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,000 master’s students, 190 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members, and 41 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2018. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.

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