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Curriculum & Specializations

Data Science

Data Science Curriculum & Specializations

The Master of Science in Data Science program requires the successful completion of 12 courses to obtain a degree. These requirements cover six core courses, a leadership or project management course, two required courses corresponding to a declared specialization, two electives, and a capstone project or thesis. A specialization may be declared as part of the application process or may be declared at any time during a student’s tenure in the program. Students also have the option of choosing a general data science curriculum with no declared specialization. Current students should refer to curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.

CORE COURSES:

MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists

Students learn techniques for building and interpreting mathematical models of real-world phenomena in and across multiple disciplines, including linear algebra, discrete mathematics, probability, and calculus, with an emphasis on applications in data science and data engineering. This is for students who want a firm understanding or review of these fields of mathematics prior to enrolling in courses that assume understanding of mathematical concepts. 

Prerequisites: None

View MSDS 400-DL Sections

MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R

This course teaches fundamentals of statistical analysis. This includes evaluating statistical information, performing data analyses, and interpreting and communicating analytical results. Students will learn to use the R language for statistical analysis, data visualization, and report generation. Topics covered include descriptive statistics, central tendency, exploratory data analysis, probability theory, discrete and continuous distributions, statistical inference, correlation, multiple linear regression, contingency tables, and chi-square tests. Selected contemporary statistical concepts, such as bootstrapping, are introduced to supplement traditional statistical methods.

Recommended prior course: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists.

View MSDS 401-DL Sections

MSDS 402-DL Introduction to Data Science OR MSDS 403 Data Science in Practice

Which course should students take?

  • Students without a background in data science should select MSDS 402 Introduction to Data Science. 
  • Students with a background in data science should select MSDS 403 Data Science in Practice.  Students who have at least two years’ experience in the field and have or have had a title, such as data scientist, data analyst, statistician, data engineer, business analyst, etc. should select this course.

MSDS 402 Introduction to Data Science

This course introduces the field of data science, which combines business strategy, information technology, and modeling methods. The course reviews the benefits and opportunities of data science, as well as organizational, implementation, and ethical issues. The course provides an overview of modeling methods, analytics software, and information systems. It discusses business problems and solutions for traditional and contemporary data management systems, and the selection of appropriate tools for data collection and analysis. The course also reviews approaches to business research, sampling, and survey design.

Prerequisites: None.

View MSDS 402-DL Sections

MSDS 403-DL Data Science in Practice

This is a case study course that gives students an opportunity to solve business problems and apply core skills needed for technical and leadership roles in data science. The course provides an introduction to digital transformation, industry use cases, designing and measuring analytics projects, data considerations, data governance, digital trust and ethics, enterprise architecture and technology platforms, and organizational change management. Students act as data scientists, as strategists and leaders, evaluating alternative analytics projects and solving digital transformation challenges. Students learn how to apply a step-by-step development process, creating digital transformation roadmaps and addressing real-world business problems.

Prerequisites: None, but previous background in data science is assumed.

MSDS 403 will launch in the winter 2020 term.

 

MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation

In this course, students explore the fundamental concepts of database management and data preparation. With a focus on applications in large-scale data analytics projects, the course introduces relational database systems, the relational model, normalization process, and structured query language (SQL). The course discusses topics related to data integration and cleaning, database programming for extract, transform, and load (ETL) operations. Students learn NoSQL technologies for working with unstructured data and document-oriented information retrieval systems. They learn how to index and score documents for effective and relevant responses to user queries. Students acquire hands-on programming experience for data preparation and data extraction using various data sources and file formats.

Recommended:  Prior programming experience or MSDS 430-DL Python for Data Science.

Prerequisite: MSDS 402-DL Introduction to Data Science.

View MSDS 420-DL Sections

MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning

The course introduces machine learning with business applications. It provides a survey of machine learning techniques, including traditional statistical methods, resampling techniques, model selection and regularization, tree-based methods, principal components analysis, cluster analysis, artificial neural networks, and deep learning. Students implement machine learning models with open-source software for data science. They explore data and learn from data, finding underlying patterns useful for data reduction, feature analysis, prediction, and classification.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists, MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R, and MSDS 402-DL Introduction to Data Science.

Starting fall 2018: ALL sections are taught in Python

View MSDS 422-DL Sections

MSDS 460-DL Decision Analytics

This course covers fundamental concepts, solution techniques, modeling approaches, and applications of decision analytics. It introduces commonly used methods of optimization, simulation and decision analysis techniques for prescriptive analytics in business. Students explore linear programming, network optimization, integer linear programming, goal programming, multiple objective optimization, nonlinear programming, metaheuristic algorithms, stochastic simulation, queuing modeling, decision analysis, and Markov decision processes. Students develop a contextual understanding of techniques useful for managerial decision support. They implement decision-analytic techniques using a state-of-the-art analytical modeling platform. This is a problem and project-based course.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R.

View MSDS 460-DL Sections

MSDS 475-DL Project Management OR 480-DL Business Leadership and Communications

MSDS 475-DL Project Management

This course introduces best practices in project management, covering the full project life cycle with a focus on globally accepted standards. It reviews traditional methods, including: integration, portfolio and stakeholder management, chartering, scope definition, estimating, the Delphi method and project evaluation and review technique, precedence diagramming and the critical path method, scheduling, risk analysis and management, resource loading and leveling, Gantt charts, earned value analysis and performance indices of project cost/schedule control systems criteria. It shows how the project management maturity model, leadership, team development, and principles of negotiation apply to organizations of various types: hierarchical and matrix organizations, international teams, and virtual teams. Options in project management software systems are included. Using methods and models from this course, analytics managers and team leaders should experience greater project definition and structure. They should be able to execute data science and data engineering projects more effectively.

This is a required course for the Analytics Management specialization.

Prerequisites:  None

View MSDS 475-DL Sections

 

MSDS 480-DL  Business Leadership and Communications

This course introduces fundamental leadership theory and associated behaviors to enable students to excel in their analytics careers. The course builds from the basic premise that leadership is learned. It examines the theory and practice of leadership at the individual and organizational levels and discusses how to drive effective change in organizations at various stages in an enterprise analytics transformation process. Students spend three weeks on analytics-specific project management, in which they design an analytics project plan using an agile approach. They incorporate the cross-industry standard process for data mining (CRISP-DM) methodology, and execute that plan in a simulated business setting. Leadership challenges unique to analytics departments in various company sizes are addressed through the use of case studies and theory-based assignments. The course focuses on developing effective communication strategies and presentations that resonate across business and technical teams.

This is a required course for the Analytics Management specialization.

Prerequisites:  None

View MSDS 480-DL Sections

ELECTIVES:

MSDS 410-DL Data Modeling for Supervised Learning

This course introduces traditional statistics and data modeling for supervised learning problems, as employed in observational and experimental research. With supervised learning there is a clear distinction between explanatory and response variables. The objective is to predict responses, whether they be quantitative as with multiple regression or categorical as with logistic regression and multinomial logit models. Students work on research and programming assignments, exploring data, identifying appropriate models, and validating models. They utilize techniques for observational and experimental research design, data visualization, variable transformation, model diagnostics, and model selection. 

This is a required course for the Analytics and Modeling specialization.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R.

View MSDS 410-DL Sections

MSDS 411-DL Data Modeling for Unsupervised Learning

This course introduces data modeling for studies in which there is no clear distinction between explanatory and response variables. The objective may be to explain relationships among many continuous variables in terms of underlying dimensions, latent variables, or factors, as with principal components and factor analysis. The objective may be to find a lower-dimensional representation for multivariate cross-classified data, as with log-linear models. The objective may be to construct a visualization of variables or objects, as with traditional multidimensional scaling and t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding. Or the objective may be to identify groups of variables and/or objects that are similar to one another, as with cluster analysis and biclustering. Students work on research and programming assignments, exploring multivariate data and methods.

This is a required course for the Analytics and Modeling specialization.

Prerequisites: MSDS 410-DL Data Modeling for Supervised Learning.

View MSDS 411-DL Sections

MSDS 413-DL Time Series Analysis and Forecasting

The objective of this course is to cover key analytical techniques used in the analysis and forecasting of time series data. Specific topics include the role of forecasting in organizations, exponential smoothing methods, stationary and non-stationary time series, autocorrelation and partial autocorrelation functions, univariate autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models, seasonal models, Box-Jenkins methodology, regression models with ARIMA errors, transfer function modeling, intervention analysis, and multivariate time series analysis.

Recommended prior course: 411-DL Data Modeling for Unsupervised Learning. 

Prerequisites: MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation and MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning.

View MSDS 413-DL Sections

MSDS 430-DL Python for Data Science

This course introduces core features of the Python programming language, demonstrating fundamental concepts in computer science. It provides an in-depth discussion of data representation strategies, showing how data structures are implemented in Python and demonstrating tools for data science and software engineering. Working on data analysis problems, students employ various programming paradigms, including functional programming, object-oriented programming, and data stream processing. Special attention is paid to the standard Python library and packages for analytics and modeling.

Prerequisites: None.

View MSDS 430-DL Sections

MSDS 432-DL Foundations of Data Engineering

This course provides an overview of the discipline of data engineering. It introduces software and systems for data science and software development as required in the design of data-intensive applications. Students learn about algorithms, data structures, and technologies or storing and processing data. Students gain experience with open-source software, text editors, and integrated development environments. Students employ best practices in software development, utilizing tools for syntax checking, testing, debugging, and version control. The course also introduces formal models, simulations, and benchmark experiments for evaluating software, systems, and processes. 

This is a required course for the Data Engineering Specialization.

Prerequisites: MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design.

View MSDS 432-DL Sections

MSDS 434-DL Analytics Application Engineering

This course covers programming components essential to the development of analytics applications. The focus is analytics software engineering. Students learn to develop single-system/desktop solutions as well as client-server solutions. They learn about web-based, client-server solutions employing a variety of front-end and back-end system components. Students develop software, working on open-source programming, database, and systems integration projects. They employ best practices in software development. 

This is a required course for the Data Engineering specialization.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 432-DL Foundations of Data Engineering and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

 

MSDS 436-DL Analytics Systems Engineering

This course introduces design principles and best practices for implementing large-scale systems for data ingestion, processing, storage, and analytics. Students learn about cloud-based computer architecture and scalable systems for data science. They learn how to package and distribute containerized computer software. They apply tools of systems analysis, evaluating end-to-end performance and resource utilization in batch, interactive, and streaming environments. Students review formats and protocols for application programming interfaces. They compare data models, resource requirements, and performance of applications implemented with relational versus graph database systems.

Prerequisites: 1) MSDS 432-DL Foundations of Data Engineering and 2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

This course will run starting in fall 2019.

MSDS 440-DL Application Engineering for Real-Time Analytics

This course introduces analytics application engineering within an integrated environment and full-stack development process. Students learn how to implement client-side, web-based applications using a model-view-controller framework. Students work with server-side systems for responding to website requests and database queries. Students learn how to prepare indices for efficient and relevant search across large document collections. They learn how to implement analytics applications for processing real-time data streams, finding information from databases and document collections, making service and product recommendations, and detecting anomalies or security violations. This is a case study and project-based course with a strong programming component.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

This course will run starting in fall 2019.

MSDS 450-DL Marketing Analytics

This course provides a comprehensive review of data science as it relates to marketing management and business strategy. The course gives students an opportunity to work with data relating to customer demographics, marketing communications, and purchasing behavior. Students perform data cleansing, aggregation, and analysis, exploring alternative segmentation schemes for targeted marketing. They design tools for reporting research results to management, including information about consumer purchasing behavior and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Conjoint analysis and choice studies are introduced as tools for consumer preference measurement, product design, and pricing research. The course also reviews methods for product positioning and brand equity assessment. This is a case-study- and project-based course involving extensive data analysis.

Recommended prior course: 411-DL Data Modeling for Unsupervised Learning.

Prerequisites: MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation and MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning.

View MSDS 450-DL Sections

MSDS 451-DL Financial and Risk Analytics

Building upon probability theory and inferential statistics, this course provides an introduction to risk analytics. Examples from economics and finance show how to incorporate risk within regression and time series models. Monte Carlo simulation is used to demonstrate how variability in data affects uncertainty about model parameters. Additional topics include subjectivity in risk analysis, causal modeling, stochastic optimization, portfolio analysis, and risk model evaluation.

Recommended prior course: MSDS 413-DL Time Series Analysis and Forecasting.

Prerequisites: MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation and MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning.

View MSDS 451-DL Sections

MSDS 452-DL Web and Network Data Science

This course shows how to acquire and analyze information from the web. It provides a comprehensive review of web analytics, including website usage and search performance metrics. The course introduces the mathematics of network science, including random graph, small world, and preferential attachment models. Students use methods of network science with applications to information and social networks. They compute a variety of network metrics as they analyze software systems, website structure, and user interactions through electronic communications and social media. This is a case study and project-based course with a strong programming component.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

View MSDS 452-DL Sections

MSDS 453-DL Natural Language Processing

A comprehensive review of text analytics and natural language processing with a focus on recent developments in computational linguistics and machine learning. Students work with unstructured and semi-structured text from online sources, document collections, and databases. Using methods of artificial intelligence and machine learning, students learn how to parse text into numeric vectors and to convert higher dimensional vectors into lower dimensional vectors for subsequent analysis and modeling. Applications include speech recognition, semantic processing, text classification, relevant search, recommendation systems, sentiment analysis, and topic modeling. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments.

This is a required course for the Artificial Intelligence specialization.

Prerequisites:(1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

View MSDS 453-DL Sections

MSDS 454-DL Advanced Modeling Techniques

Drawing upon previous course work in data science, this course builds on earlier courses in analytics and modeling, providing an advanced review of traditional statistics and machine learning. It explores computer-intensive methods for parameter and error estimation, model selection, and model validation. Example topics include ordinary least squares regression, logistic regression, multinomial logistic regression, classification and regression trees, neural networks, support vector machines, naïve Bayes methods, principal components analysis, cluster analysis, and regularization techniques. Students work on individual and team assignments using open-source programming tools.

Recommended prior course: 411-DL Data Modeling for Unsupervised Learning.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

View MSDS 454-DL Sections

MSDS 455-DL Data Visualization

This course begins with a review of human perception and cognition, drawing upon psychological studies of perceptual accuracy and preferences. The course reviews principles of graphic design, what makes for a good graph, and why some data visualizations effectively present information and others do not. It considers visualization as a component of systems for data science and presents examples of exploratory data analysis, visualizing time, networks, and maps. It reviews methods for static and interactive graphics and introduces tools for building web-browser-based presentations. This is a project-based course with programming assignments.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R.

View MSDS 455-DL Sections

MSDS 456-DL Sports Performance Analytics

An introduction to sports performance measurement and analytics, this course reviews the roles of athletes at each position in sports selected by the instructor. With a focus on the individual athlete, the course discusses the development and use of accurate assessments and variability due to factors such as body type, climate, and training regimen. The course reviews athletic performance measurements, including jumping ability, running speed, agility, and strength. Students work with player on-field and on-court performance measures. The course utilizes exploratory data analysis, predictive modeling, and presentation graphics, showing real-world implications for athletes, coaches, team managers, and the sports industry.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R.

View MSDS 456-DL Sections

MSDS 457-DL Sports Management Analytics

This course provides a comprehensive review of financial, statistical, and mathematical models as they relate to sports team performance, administration, marketing, and business management. The course gives students an opportunity to work with data and models relating to sports team performance, tactics, and strategy. Students employ modeling methods in studying player and team valuation, sports media, ticket pricing, game-day events management, loyalty and sponsorship program development, and customer relationship management. The course makes extensive use of sports business case studies.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R.

View MSDS 457-DL Sections

MSDS 458-DL Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

An introduction to the field of artificial intelligence, this course illustrates probability-rule-based generative models as well as discriminative models that learn from training data. The course reviews applications of artificial intelligence and deep learning in vision and language processing. Students learn best practices for building supervised learning models and, in particular, deep neural networks for classification and regression. Students also learn about feature engineering, autoencoders, and strategies of unsupervised and semi-supervised learning, as well as reinforcement learning. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments.

This is a required course for the Artificial Intelligence specialization.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

View MSDS 458-DL Sections

MSDS 459-DL Knowledge Engineering

This course introduces knowledge representation as a subfield of artificial intelligence. It reviews methods for developing knowledge-based systems, providing examples of their use in intelligent applications and agents. The course makes heavy use of graph databases for storing information about words in semantic networks and for storing information about relationships among people, places, events, and things. Students learn how to encode and access knowledge on the World Wide Web. They learn how to use knowledge bases for automated reasoning and question answering. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments. Recommended prior courses: MSDS 453 Natural Language Processing and MSDS 458 Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

This course will launch in winter 2020!

MSDS 462-DL Computer Vision

A review of specialized deep learning methods for vision, including convolutional neural networks and recurrent neural networks. Students work with raw image files, including digital representations of photographs, hand-written documents, x-rays, and sensor images. Students process image data, converting pixels into numeric tensors for subsequent analysis and modeling. The course illustrates real-world applications for visual exploration, discovery and navigation, and for image classification, facial recognition, remote sensing, and medical diagnostics. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments.

Recommended prior course: MSDS 458-DL Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

 

MSDS 464-DL Intelligent Systems and Robotics

This course introduces reinforcement learning as an approach to intelligent systems, emphasizing applications such as robotic processes automation, conversational agents and robotics that mimic human behavior. Students implement intelligent agents to solve both discrete- and continuous-valued sequential decision-making problems. Students develop, debug, train, visualize, and customize programs in a variety of learning environments. The course reviews Markov decision processes, dynamic programming, temporal difference learning, Monte Carlo reinforcement learning, eligibility traces, the role of function approximation, and the integration of learning and planning. This is a case study and project-based course with a substantial programming component.

Recommended prior course: MSDS 458-DL Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

 

MSDS 470-DL Analytics Entrepreneurship

This course prepares students for establishing and running a data-sciences-oriented entrepreneurial organization. Topics include evaluating preparedness for entrepreneurial work, activities that would help transform an idea into a running organization, identifying the right data, analytics tools, and resources platform, and aligning with unmet market demands. Students learn about growing a network of people and obtaining capital assets, creating innovative intellectual property and sharpening unique competitiveness, and making product development and marketing choices. Analytic product and consulting services opportunities are reviewed. Students develop essential elements of business plans in order to present a final business pitch for starting an entrepreneurial data science venture.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists, MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R, and MSDS 402-DL Introduction to Data Science.


View MSDS 470-DL Sections

MSDS 472-DL Analytics Consulting

Analytics consulting brings together consultative processes and tools for creating a trusted advisor relationship with clients. This course covers concepts, processes, tools, and techniques for developing consulting proposals, selling, contracting, bringing together teams and resources, servicing, managing projects, and creating recommendations. The course is structured around an analytics consulting simulation and students work in teams. Students learn how to identify and meet business requirements through gathering appropriate information, developing reports, and managing client relationships. The course also addresses ethical issues and career challenges associated with analytics consulting. The course is appropriate for students interested in or currently acting as either an internal or external consultant. Considerations and challenges associated with operating your own consulting company are also addressed.

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists, MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R, and MSDS 402-DL Introduction to Data Science.

View MSDS 472-DL Sections

MSDS 474-DL Accounting and Finance for Analytics Managers

This course reviews principles of corporate finance and managerial accounting with a focus on the work of analytics managers. Analytics managers are often responsible for the profit-and-loss (P&L) of their projects and divisions which have certain unique needs in terms of workflow, co-working with other businesses, cooperating with multiple stakeholders (especially IT), and also employing highly specialized knowledge professionals. To support these responsibilities, students learn how to conduct breakeven (cost-volume-profit) analysis, apply discounted cash flow analysis, and compute return on investments. Students also learn how to read balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements and infer risks related to companies. The course provides in-depth coverage of spreadsheet programming methods, setting the stage for subsequent financial modeling work.

This is a required course for the Analytics Management specialization.

Prerequisites: MSDS 402-DL Introduction to Data Science.

View MSDS 474-DL Sections

MSDS 490-DL Special Topics in Data Science

Topics vary from term to term.

Prerequisites: Vary by topic.

MSDS 491-DL Special Topics

Topics vary from term to term. Prerequisites: Vary by topic.

MSDS 499-DL Independent Study

Topics vary from term to term.

Prerequisites: Vary by topic.

Analytics and Modeling Specialization

In the world of data science, the analysts and modelers specialize in testing real-world predictions about data. Data analysts and modelers conduct research and take complex factors into account to build predictive models and create forecasts upon which data-driven decisions can be made. With a focus on traditional methods of applied statistics, this specialization prepares data scientists to utilize algorithms for predictive modeling and analytics, developing models for marketing, finance, and other business applications.

TWO COURSES:

MSDS 410-DL Data Modeling for Supervised Learning

This course introduces traditional statistics and data modeling for supervised learning problems, as employed in observational and experimental research. With supervised learning there is a clear distinction between explanatory and response variables. The objective is to predict responses, whether they be quantitative as with multiple regression or categorical as with logistic regression and multinomial logit models. Students work on research and programming assignments, exploring data, identifying appropriate models, and validating models. They utilize techniques for observational and experimental research design, data visualization, variable transformation, model diagnostics, and model selection. 

Prerequisites: MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and MSDS 401-DL Applied Statistics with R.

 View MSDS 410-DL Sections

MSDS 411-DL Data Modeling for Unsupervised Learning

This course introduces data modeling for studies in which there is no clear distinction between explanatory and response variables. The objective may be to explain relationships among many continuous variables in terms of underlying dimensions, latent variables, or factors, as with principal components and factor analysis. The objective may be to find a lower-dimensional representation for multivariate cross-classified data, as with log-linear models. The objective may be to construct a visualization of variables or objects, as with traditional multidimensional scaling and t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding. Or the objective may be to identify groups of variables and/or objects that are similar to one another, as with cluster analysis and biclustering. Students work on research and programming assignments, exploring multivariate data and methods.

Prerequisites: MSDS 410-DL Data Modeling for Supervised Learning

 

View MSDS 411-DL Sections

Analytics Management Specialization

As the strategic and tactical decisions of organizations become increasingly data-driven, analytics managers bridge the work of analysts and modelers with business operations and strategy to lead data science teams, address future business needs, identify business opportunities, and translate the work of data scientists into language that business management understands. This specialization equips data scientists with the communication and management strategies needed to be data-driven leaders who utilize models, analyses, and statistical data to improve business performance.

Note: Students in this specialization are required to take both MSDS 475-DL and MSDS 480-DL to complete the program.

TWO COURSES:

MSDS 474-DL Accounting and Finance for Analytics Managers

This course reviews principles of corporate finance and managerial accounting with a focus on the work of analytics managers. Analytics managers are often responsible for the profit-and-loss (P&L) of their projects and divisions which have certain unique needs in terms of workflow, co-working with other businesses, cooperating with multiple stakeholders (especially IT), and also employing highly specialized knowledge professionals. To support these responsibilities, students learn how to conduct breakeven (cost-volume-profit) analysis, apply discounted cash flow analysis, and compute return on investments. Students also learn how to read balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements and infer risks related to companies. The course provides in-depth coverage of spreadsheet programming methods, setting the stage for subsequent financial modeling work.

Prerequisites: MSDS 402-DL Introduction to Data Science.

View MSDS 474-DL Sections

MSDS 475-DL Project Management or MSDS 480-DL Business Leadership and Communications

MSDS 475-DL Project Management

This course introduces best practices in project management, covering the full project life cycle with a focus on globally accepted standards. It reviews traditional methods, including: integration, portfolio and stakeholder management, chartering, scope definition, estimating, the Delphi method and project evaluation and review technique, precedence diagramming and the critical path method, scheduling, risk analysis and management, resource loading and leveling, Gantt charts, earned value analysis and performance indices of project cost/schedule control systems criteria. It shows how the project management maturity model, leadership, team development, and principles of negotiation apply to organizations of various types: hierarchical and matrix organizations, international teams, and virtual teams. Options in project management software systems are included. Using methods and models from this course, analytics managers and team leaders should experience greater project definition and structure. They should be able to execute data science and data engineering projects more effectively.

Prerequisites:  None

View MSDS 475-DL Sections

 

MSDS 480-DL Business Leadership and Communications

This course introduces fundamental leadership theory and associated behaviors to enable students to excel in their analytics careers. The course builds from the basic premise that leadership is learned. It examines the theory and practice of leadership at the individual and organizational levels, and discusses how to drive effective change in organizations at various stages in an enterprise analytics transformation process. Students spend three weeks on analytics-specific project management, in which they design an analytics project plan using an agile approach. They incorporate the cross-industry standard process for data mining (CRISP-DM) methodology, and execute that plan in a simulated business setting. Leadership challenges unique to analytics departments in various company sizes are addressed through the use of case studies and theory-based assignments. The course focuses on developing effective communication strategies and presentations that resonate across business and technical teams.

Prerequisites:  None

View MSDS 480-DL Sections

Artificial Intelligence Specialization

Advances in machine learning algorithms, growth in computer processing power, and access to large volumes of data make artificial intelligence possible. Recent advances flow from the development of deep learning methods, which are neural networks with many hidden layers. Artificial intelligence builds on machine learning, with computer programs performing many tasks formerly associated with human intelligence. Students in this specialization learn how to move from the traditional models of applied statistics to contemporary data-adaptive models employing machine learning. Students learn how to implement solutions in computer vision, natural language processing, and software robotics.

TWO COURSES:

MSDS 453-DL Natural Language Processing

A comprehensive review of text analytics and natural language processing with a focus on recent developments in computational linguistics and machine learning. Students work with unstructured and semi-structured text from online sources, document collections, and databases. Using methods of artificial intelligence and machine learning, students learn how to parse text into numeric vectors and to convert higher dimensional vectors into lower dimensional vectors for subsequent analysis and modeling. Applications include speech recognition, semantic processing, text classification, relevant search, recommendation systems, sentiment analysis, and topic modeling. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments.

Prerequisites:(1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

View MSDS 453-DL Sections

MSDS 458-DL Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

An introduction to the field of artificial intelligence, this course illustrates probability-rule-based generative models as well as discriminative models that learn from training data. The course reviews applications of artificial intelligence and deep learning in vision and language processing. Students learn best practices for building supervised learning models and, in particular, deep neural networks for classification and regression. Students also learn about feature engineering, autoencoders, and strategies of unsupervised and semi-supervised learning, as well as reinforcement learning. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

View MSDS 458-DL Sections

Data Engineering Specialization

After analysts and modelers have built and tested models, data engineers implement models to scale within an information infrastructure, creating systems and workflows to organize and manage large quantities of data. This means understanding computer systems (including software, hardware, data collection, and data processes) and solving problems related to data collection, security, and organization. This specialization trains data scientists to utilize system-wide problem-solving skills, choose hardware systems, and build software systems for implementing models made by data analysts to scale in productions systems.

TWO COURSES:

MSDS 432-DL Foundations of Data Engineering

This course provides an overview of the discipline of data engineering. It introduces software and systems for data science and software development as required in the design of data-intensive applications. Students learn about algorithms, data structures, and technologies or storing and processing data. Students gain experience with open-source software, text editors, and integrated development environments. Students employ best practices in software development, utilizing tools for syntax checking, testing, debugging, and version control. The course also introduces formal models, simulations, and benchmark experiments for evaluating software, systems, and processes. 

Prerequisites: MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design.

View MSDS 432-DL Sections

MSDS 434-DL Analytics Application Engineering

This course covers programming components essential to the development of analytics applications. The focus is analytics software engineering. Students learn to develop single-system/desktop solutions as well as client-server solutions. They learn about web-based, client-server solutions employing a variety of front-end and back-end system components. Students develop software, working on open-source programming, database, and systems integration projects. They employ best practices in software development. 

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 432-DL Foundations of Data Engineering and (2) MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning or CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning.

General Data Science Track

Students seeking a less prescriptive curriculum may tailor elective coursework to their personal and professional needs. This generalist track is particularly useful for data scientists seeking employment with small businesses and smaller-scale projects, in which a single data scientist might have to serve as data analyst, data engineer, and analytics managerInstead of two required courses and two electives, students choosing the general data science track (no specialization) are able to take four electives.

Electives

Choose from four electives above.

About the Final Project

As their final course in the program , students take either a master's thesis project in an independent study format or a classroom final project class in which students integrate the knowledge they have gained in the core curriculum in a team project approved by the instructor. In both cases, students are guided by faculty in exploring the body of knowledge of data science. The master’s thesis or capstone class project count as one unit of credit.

CHOOSE ONE:

MSDS 498-DL Capstone Project

The capstone course focuses upon the practice of data science. This course is the culmination of the data science program. It gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their business strategic thinking, communication, and consulting skills. Business cases across various industries and application areas illustrate strategic advantages of analytics, as well as organizational issues in implementing systems for data science. Students work in project teams, generating business plans and project implementation plans. Students may choose this course or the master's thesis to fulfill their capstone requirement.

Sections 55, 56, 57: These capstone sections are appropriate for any student in the MSDS program. Students work on group projects that reflect  learning objectives across the MSDS program: business, modeling, and information technology.

Section 58:  This capstone section is designed for students in the Analytics & Modeling specialization. While it draws on learning objectives across the MSDS program (business, modeling, and information technology), students work individually on projects with an Analytics & Modeling focus.

Section 59:   This capstone section is designed for students in the Analytics Management specialization. While it draws on learning objectives across the MSDS program (business, modeling, and information technology), students work individually on projects with an Analytics Management  focus.

Prerequisites: Completion of all core courses in the student's graduate program and specialization.

View MSDS 498-DL Sections

MSDS 590-DL Thesis Research

This final project is meant to represent the culmination of students’ experience in the program and must demonstrate mastery of the curriculum and ability to conduct sustained independent research and analysis. The project may be applied or may be a traditional scholarly paper, in both cases a write-up following the paper’s program-specific guidelines is required. Students must submit a proposal and secure a first reader in order to register; for further details students are advised to review the student handbook and contact their academic adviser.

Prerequisites: Completion of all core courses in the student's graduate program and specialization.

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