DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) offers two online analytics degree programs: an online Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS); and an online Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) with a concentration in Business Intelligence (BI). The MSDS program focuses on subjects like data mining, multivariate statistics, machine learning, and database processing. The MSIS degree with a BI concentration covers the design, implementation, and maintenance of IT data systems and their use in a business context. While there are key differences in curricula and other structural elements, both programs require students to complete 52 units of coursework (the equivalent of 13 classes). This can be accomplished in as few as 21 months of full-time enrollment, or as many as 39 months by part-time students who take one class per quarter.
The DePaul system for online education is designed to mirror the university’s campus-based programs. Online students enroll in the same courses as students on campus, and are expected to complete the same weekly assignments and projects, which they submit through a course management system for grading. Lectures are recorded and posted online within two hours of live class meetings, and can be streamed or downloaded for offline viewing. Exams must be proctored, which means online students can attend exam sessions on campus (a requirement for those living within 30 miles of the school), or locate a proctor at a local library, college, or university. Because DePaul’s online and campus-based master’s degrees are essentially identical, students apply to the desired program and then indicate their preference for online or campus-based classes. There are no mandatory campus visits for online students in the MSDS and MSIS programs.
The CDM’s MSDS program teaches students how to work with large datasets, extract actionable information from those datasets, and communicate the results in non-technical language. The curriculum includes three introductory classes in statistics, computer programming, and data analysis. Students may place out of these intro classes by passing a Graduate Assessment Examination (GAE), or by demonstrating the requisite professional experience or academic credentials. Foundational data science coursework includes classes in Database Processing for Large-Scale Analytics; Data Analysis and Regression; and Fundamentals of Data Science. Students receive advanced training in subjects like Data Visualization; Programming Machine Learning Applications; and Neural Networks and Deep Learning. Students in the program can take four electives in computing, digital media, business, and marketing. Examples from the CDM catalogue include Web Data Mining, Social Network Analysis, and Enterprise Cloud Computing. The degree culminates with a capstone project, which can take the form of a master’s thesis, a group project, an internship, or a data science capstone course.
The BI concentration in the MSIS degree program is similar in format to the MSDS and includes many of the same electives. Its emphasis is on the technology used in data warehousing, the tools that enable data mining, and the operational knowledge necessary to effectively deploy these resources. Students who pass the GAE or who have sufficient professional experience or academic credentials can place out of the three introductory courses: Scripting for Interactive Systems, Statistics and Data Analysis, and Introduction to Programming. There are then four foundational BI courses, including: Database Design, Fundamentals of IT Project Management, and System Design, Implementation, and Maintenance. Students receive advanced training in subjects like Data Analysis and Regression, Data Warehousing, and Business Intelligence, and can take up to three electives, including classes in Knowledge Management Systems, Information Visualization and Infographics, and Big Data and the Internet of Things. The BI concentration culminates with a capstone course that explores the challenges of planning and managing IT resources at the corporate level.
Data science and BI program students at DePaul may also benefit from the school’s Data Mining and Predictive Analytics Center, which conducts applied research and fosters collaborations between DePaul faculty and businesses and organizations in the field of analytics.
DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.