Data Science Education at Syracuse University

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data scienceIn mid-2017, Syracuse University announced it was accepting applications for its new online program, DataScience@Syracuse. It is an 18 month, 36 credit program, ending with a Master’s of Science in Applied Data Science. It was developed collaboratively by the University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management and their School of Information Studies, also known as iSchool. This online program focuses on training students to deliver Business Intelligence and insights through the use of data capture, Data Management, data mining, and analysis skills.

Jeffrey Saltz, an associate professor with the School of Information Studies, said:

“DataScience@Syracuse draws from the fields of information studies and management, helping students apply analytical concepts and real-world insights within their professional careers. Our graduates will emerge as data-driven leaders who are equipped with the innovative solutions necessary for an increasingly data-driven world. We’re excited to launch this program with 2U, a leader in the online education realm, and a significant part of the success of our university’s online degrees.”

The program uses 2U’s software-as-a-service Cloud-based technology. (2U is an educational technology company working with colleges and universities to make their degree programs and online courses a reality.) Students and their instructors meet weekly via “live” online classes, with students completing homework between classes. Classes are accessible offline, and online from any location, using computers and smart phones.

Syracuse University offers an MS in Business Analytics, an MS in Information Management, and Data Science and Information certification programs. It also offers the opportunity for students to customize their degree by choosing from an array of elective and core courses.

The Master’s of Science in Applied Data Science

The MS in Applied Data Science is designed to prepare students to draw insights from large and small amounts of data, using analytical skills. The curriculum incorporates a blend of management principles and information science, and focuses on the use of Data Science for business operations and processes. Individual classes focus on issues such as analysis, communication for decision-making, data capture, and management.

The Applied Data Science degree is offered in partnership with Syracuse’s Whitman School of Management and the University’s iSchool. Whitman offers small classes and a broad range of graduate programs. By blending the extensive resources of Syracuse University with small classes and individualized attention, students maximize the educational experience. A Whitman education supplies the tools needed to excel in the classroom, and graduate to a promising career. The Whitman School of Management is described as a top-notch business school with a variety of doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate programs.

The iSchool is completely different. It lacks the traditional academic departments common to most schools. Instead, it uses an all-inclusion philosophy, offering students access to all of the faculty, who come with a diverse background in research and academic interests. iSchool students are given the independence to study and explore all aspects of managing information and data. The iSchool also teaches students the problem-solving skills needed in business and academia.

Students enrolled in the online iSchool have the same access to faculty and degree as on-campus students. It has been suggested the only difference is the delivery mode. The iSchool’s online format integrates live weekly classes with multimedia coursework and collaborative teamwork exercises. The novel learning platform allows students to cultivate professional relationships and to interact with a global community of students and instructors.

The Master’s of Science in Business Analytics

The MS in Business Analytics program trains students to use data as decision makers and business leaders. It is offered at the Whitman School of Management and is a designated STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The curriculum is a blend of classroom and practical learning. It provides real-world experiences for students and an understanding of complex and challenging data. The Business Analytics program relies heavily on business courses, with a strong focus on technology.

This, too, is an 18 month, 36 credit hour program. Courses are designed to develop an understanding of analytics by using procedures for data collection, visualization, pattern analysis, data mining, and statistical analysis. Core courses include:

  • Data Analysis
  • Decision Making
  • Business Analytics
  • Accounting Analytics
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Financial Analytics
  • Principles of Management Science

The Master’s of Science in Information Management

The iSchool offers an MS in Information Management (IM). The program provides a balanced education and prepares graduates for a variety of positions within the information management field.

Many of the faculty professors are top researchers, bringing a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to share with their students. Graduates of the program have become analysts and consultants, working for the U.S. Government or corporate technology giants (or for exciting startups, possibly their own).

IM students learn to collaborate and communicate with IT professionals. They also learn to analyze IT problems and design solutions, and improve business processing by applying IT practices. Students learn to start projects strategically, and to integrate technology solutions with the goals of the organization. This program is designed to prepare students to deal with four basic challenges facing organizations today:

  • Increasing the effectiveness of managers
  • Designing and managing technologies for mission-critical information
  • Developing policies to maximize Big Data benefits
  • Leveraging information resources for strategic advantage

Certificates of Advanced Studies (CAS)

These certificates offer the option of further specialization within a graduate’s field of study. The programs help students to broaden their expertise in a targeted field, and can be incorporated into a student’s curriculum, improving their marketability. These targeted elective classes can supplement a master’s degree, and help a student to develop in-demand skills.

The CAS in Data Science at Syracuse’s iSchool requires 15 credit hours. It can be taken jointly with a graduate degree program or as a stand-alone certification. The program prepares students for work focused on Big Data. Students are taught the data lifecycle from start to finish, and learn to visualize, create, and analyze data, and learn how to apply Data Science to every industry. The CAS in Data Science provides a competitive edge by supplying a mixture of theoretical and technical skills. The classes can be selected to fit specific career goals. Specializations include:

  • General Systems Management
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Visualization
  • Data Storage and Management

In the CAS in Information Security Management (ISM) students learn the basic concepts of information security. Those who complete this course successfully will have an extensive knowledge of information security and hands-on experience. The course work provides a strong foundation, covering the use of technology and government policies. The CAS in Information Security Management requires   15 credit hours. ISM students learn to:

  • Develop and promote complex technical security
  • Manage operational costs
  • Navigate diverse policies
  • Monitor and respond to user behavior

Winter at Syracuse University

Syracuse gets the most snowfall of any city in the United States, and this can be a bit of a challenge to deal with. Sam Feder, who attended Syracuse University, stated:

“First things first, winter is hell. Your first winter in Syracuse is one you won’t forget. Just being outside is torturous. Syracuse averages more snowfall than any other city in the United States. However, it’s really the wind and the cold that gets you. Depending on where you live in Syracuse, there is a 100% chance that the weather will have an effect on your class attendance.”


Photo Credit: Syracuse University

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