The online Master of Science in Data Science (MS-DS) degree at the University of Wisconsin-Extension (UW-Extension) offers a comprehensive data science curriculum that combines technical work in the areas of computer science, math, and statistics, with training in management and communications. The program provides students with the knowledge necessary to clean, organize, and interpret unstructured data, provide cogent analysis of that data, and explain the results. The 12-course, 36-credit curriculum can be completed in as few as four semesters, or 16 months, but it also allows for part-time enrollment that can lead to graduation in two-to-four years.
UW-Extension’s MS-DS program is taught by faculty from six University of Wisconsin system schools: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior. It utilizes asynchronous instruction, which means students do not have to be online at specified times to attend classes. Designated online discussion boards support regular interactions between students and faculty. All course content, including multimedia lectures and homework assignments, is accessible via UW-Extension’s online learning management system. This includes a virtual lab space that allows students to take advantage of necessary software tools and programming language capabilities. Although no campus visits are required, students choose the campus from which they receive advising, career services, and a diploma.
Students who enroll in UW-Extension’s MS-DS degree are required to successfully complete all twelve courses in the program, and in some cases these courses must be taken in a particular order. For example, Programming for Data Science, which explores the uses of Python and R programming languages, is a prerequisite for Data Mining; for Visualization and Unstructured Data Analysis; and for Big Data: High-Performance Computing. Similarly, Statistical Methods must be taken before Prescriptive Analytics, and Data Science and Strategic Decision Making is a prerequisite for Ethics in Data Science. During the program’s final semester, students complete a 3-credit capstone class that engages them in the process of using real-world data in a problem-solving context.
The UW-Extension MS-DS program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.