Through its World Campus initiative, The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in Data Analytics that also has a Business Analytics option. OnlineEducation.com classifies the straight MPS in Data Analytics degree as a business intelligence program: it focuses on the statistics and computer science knowledge necessary to design and implement big data management systems. We classify the Business Analytics option as an analytics program: it focuses on the use of data mining tools and data modeling techniques to support decision making, forecast outcomes, and optimize marketing and operations strategies. Both of these degrees require 30 credit hours of coursework for graduation, and can be completed in approximately two years of part-time enrollment. These MPS programs are 100% online and do not require any campus visits.
Penn State World Campus’ online degree programs utilize a centralized learning platform that supports asynchronous instruction. Students have on-demand access to recorded video lectures and other class materials, which allows for self-scheduling. However, coursework is not self-paced: students must complete course activities, assignments, and exams by their respective due dates. The centralized learning platform also supports peer-to-peer interaction with classmates, and students can contact instructors using Skype and email.
The MPS in Data Analytics, or what’s known as the base program, has four distinct components. Students enroll in three core courses, which count toward nine of the degree’s required credits: Foundations of Predictive Analytics; Data Mining; and Applied Statistics. There are three prescribed requirements that focus on the design of business intelligence systems and tools: Large-Scale Database and Warehouse; Data-Driven Decision Making; and Database Design Concepts. Students can then choose three approved electives in subject areas like: Data Collection and Cleansing; Applied Data Mining; Data Visualization; Statistical Analysis System Programming; Genetic Algorithms; Decision and Risk Analysis in Engineering; and Technical Project Management. The remaining three credits are awarded upon completion of a capstone experience that challenges students to apply their knowledge of analytics systems to a project of their own devising.
The Business Analytics option has a similar structure and begins with the same trio of core courses: Foundations of Predictive Analytics; Data Mining; and Applied Statistics. The prescribed requirements, however, move the focus into topics in analytics, including: Business Strategies for Data Analytics; Marketing Analytics; and Prescriptive Analytics for Business. Students on the Business Analytics track choose from the same array of electives as those in the base program, and then complete a capstone project that focuses on the implementation of analytics solutions.
Penn State World Campus is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.