Southern Methodist University‘s online Master of Science in Data Science (DataScience@SMU) degree is a multi-disciplinary program that draws on faculty from the university’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, and Meadows School of the Arts. It focuses on the theoretical principles and practical applications of data science, and the combination of technical, analytical, and communications skills necessary to work professionally in this growing field. The degree consists of 33.5 credit units that can be completed in as few as 20 months on an accelerated track. However, most students take 28 months to complete the program, which includes two required, weekend-long immersion experiences at a Southern Methodist University (SMU) campus in Texas.
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The online DataScience@SMU program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals and others who may prefer the scheduling convenience that online education affords. It utilizes synchronous instruction, which means students must be present once a week for live online lectures, seminars, and discussions. However, these classes are generally scheduled in the evenings to accommodate working professionals. All other coursework and materials are accessible 24/7 to students online and as needed. In addition, the DataScience@SMU program has developed a mobile smartphone application to enhance the learning experience. Students create their own social-media profiles online or using the app, which helps to facilitate group study sessions and provides 24-hour access to video lectures and other course materials.
The coursework in the DataScience@SMU program is divided into 10 three-credit classes, nine of which are degree requirements. These include core coursework like Statistical Foundations for Data Science, File Organization & Data Management, Data and Network Security, Data Mining, and Visualization of Information. To complete the program, students can than choose from one of two electives: New Approaches to Managerial Economics or Visualization of Information and Creative Coding II. In addition, students must participate in two on-campus immersion experiences. The first immersion will take place at the beginning of the program, while the second is in conjunction with the final capstone project presentation typically in the last term of the program. The on-campus immersion incorporates a group case-study project based around a relevant topic in the field of data science. This feeds into the program’s overall goal: cultivating the technical and analytical skills needed to pose relevant data-based questions, collect pertinent data, visualize and analyze that data, and interpret and communicate the results.
SMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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