The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Computer Science (CS@Illinois) offers a Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) program that targets professional skills in the areas of data mining, machine learning, cloud computing, and data visualization. The Data Science Track is a cross-disciplinary degree program designed and taught by faculty from the university’s School of Information Science and the Departments of Computer Science and Statistics. It includes coursework in statistical analysis and the IT systems used by data scientists. Students are required to complete 32 credit hours of graduate coursework (the equivalent of eight classes), which can be accomplished in as little as one year of full-time enrollment. Part-time students have a five-year window to work toward completing the degree. The Data Science track does not require students to attend any campus-based programming.
CS@Illinois employs a unique system of online education that integrates Coursera’s massive open online course (MOOC) platform with the university’s considerable teaching resources. Each of the semester-long, four-credit classes required in the MCS-DS program consists of two four-to-six week MOOCs in the subject area, which include lectures and other video lessons, as well as peer and auto graded quizzes and assignments. This is followed by a “high-engagement” component in which CS@Illinois faculty and teaching assistants oversee a more rigorous set of assignments, projects, and exams in order to confer university credit. This asynchronous approach to online learning allows students to view lectures and access course materials on-demand, 24/7.
The MCS-DS degree does not have a thesis or independent research requirement. Instead, students take a four-credit capstone class in Data Mining or Cloud Computing toward the end of the program. The remaining 28-credit hours of coursework must include at least one course in four core Data Science subject areas: Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning; Databases/Information Systems; Graphics/Data Visualization; and IT Networks/Cloud Computing. Students then have the option of choosing three courses in advanced topics like Practical Statistical Learning, Multivariate Analysis, Foundations of Data Curation, and Theory & Practice of Data Cleaning.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.