The UC Berkeley School of Information (I School) offers an online Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program that focuses on the creative application of the three critical pillars of quantitative science: meticulous collection of data, rigorous analysis and synthesis of that data, and effective presentation of the results. It consists of 27 course units, and is generally completed in 20 months. Students also have the option of an accelerated, 12-month track, and can take up to 32 months to finish the program requirements through part-time enrollment.
The online MIDS program was conceived in response to the growing demand for data science and information analytics professional degrees. It incorporates cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology, which supports live synchronous lectures, as well as 24-7 access to course materials and recorded lectures. The courses, which are capped at 18 students, are tailored for working professionals, so most are scheduled in the evenings on Pacific Standard Time. MIDS students are provided access to Amazon Web Services and IBM’s big data platform, as well as a mobile app that allows iPhone and Android users to communicate with instructors and classmates, view course materials and videos online and offline, and submit assignments from anywhere a mobile smartphone can get a signal.
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The I School, which is the newest and smallest of UC Berkeley’s 14 schools and colleges, and was designated the School of Information Management and Systems at its inception in 1994, also offers a campus-based Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS), and a PhD in Information Management and Systems. The MIDS curriculum was fashioned using the I School’s considerable academic resources and tenured faculty and leading industry practitioners with backgrounds in information and computer science, social sciences, management, law, design, and policy. The curriculum is composed of foundational coursework in research design, data analysis, machine learning, data storage and retrieval, and data communications and visualization. Advanced classes cover proficiencies in storing, processing and analyzing large-scale data, regression and time series analysis, scalable machine learning, and value-based data collection and analysis. In their final semester, students are required to complete a capstone project: working in small groups and using real world data, they design and execute a full data science project, drawing on the technical, analytic, interpretive, and social dimensions of data science.
While the program utilizes 100% online instruction, students are required to attend a 3-4 day on-campus immersion as part of the program. These immersion weekends are integral to the learning program. They are conducted twice a year, and offer online students the opportunity to meet with faculty members, classmates, and selected data science professionals. They allow for networking, community building, and additional training in the field.
Berkeley’s MIDS program is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
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