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, project management, or data governance 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.

Please see the academic catalog for additional information regarding the curriculum. 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 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation

This course introduces data management and data preparation with a focus on applications in large-scale analytics projects utilizing relational, document, and graph database systems. Students learn about the relational model, the normalization process, and structured query language. They learn about data cleaning and integration, and database programming for extract, transform, and load operations. Students work with unstructured data, indexing and scoring documents for effective and relevant responses to user queries. They learn about graph data models and query processing. Students write programs for data preparation and 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 or MSDS 403-DL Data Science in Practice.

View MSDS 420-DL Sections

MSDS 422-DL Practical Machine Learning

The course introduces machine learning with business applications. It provides a survey of statistical and machine learning algorithms and techniques including the machine learning framework, regression, classification, regularization and reduction, tree-based methods, unsupervised learning, and fully-connected, convolutional, and recurrent neural networks. 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 OR MSDS 403-DL Data Science in Practice.

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, 480-DL Business Leadership and Communications, OR 485 Data Governance, Ethics, and Law

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, estimation, the Delphi method, project evaluation and review technique, precedence diagrams, and the critical path method. It reviews scheduling, risk analysis and management, resource loading and leveling, Gantt charts, earned value analysis and performance indices for project cost and schedule control. By applying methods discussed in this course, students should be able to execute information systems and data science projects more effectively.

This course could fulfill the Analytics Management specialization requirement.

Prerequisites:  None

View MSDS 475-DL Sections

 

MSDS 480-DL  Business Leadership and Communications

This course introduces concepts of leadership and organizational behavior. It builds on the premise that leadership is learned and discusses how to drive change in organizations at stages of conception, growth, and evolution. Students spend three weeks on technology-specific project management, in which they design a project plan using an agile approach. They learn how to incorporate the cross-industry standard processes for information system design, data analysis, and modeling. They practice executing plans in simulated business settings. Working on case studies and theory-based assignments, students see how to address leadership challenges unique to technology organizations. The course focuses on developing effective communication strategies and presentations that resonate across business and technical teams to emphasize vision and organizational acceptance.

This course could fulfill the Analytics Management specialization requirement.

Prerequisites:  None

View MSDS 480-DL Sections

MSDS 485-DL Data Governance, Ethics, and Law

This course introduces data management concepts, including data quality, integrity, usability, consistency, and security. It considers the lineage of data, sometimes referred to as data provenance. It reviews ethical, legal, and technical issues relating to data acquisition and dissemination, as well as privacy protection. The course provides a management introduction to cybersecurity, including network, system, and database security, as well as encryption and blockchain technologies. The course covers laws relating to protecting intellectual property, with discussion of copyrights, patents, and contracts.

This course could fulfill the Analytics Management specialization requirement.

Prerequisites: None

View MSDS 485-DL Sections


ELECTIVES:

MSDS 410-DL Supervised Learning Methods

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 Unsupervised Learning Methods

This course introduces traditional and modern methods of unsupervised learning. Students see how to represent relationships among many continuous variables using principal components and factor analysis. They identify groups of individuals and groups of variables with cluster analysis and block clustering. They explore relationships among categorical variables with log-linear models and association rules. They visualize multivariate data with lattice displays, multidimensional scaling, and t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding. And they detect anomalies using autoencoders and probabilistic deep learning. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments.

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 411-DL Sections

MSDS 413-DL Time Series Analysis and Forecasting

This course covers analytical methods for time series analysis and forecasting. Specific topics include the role of forecasting in organizations, exploratory data analysis, 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, multivariate time series analysis, and non-linear time series modeling including exponential smoothing methods, random forest analysis, and hidden Markov modeling.

Recommended prior course: MSDS 410-DL Supervised Learning Methods and MSDS 411-DL Unsupervised Learning Methods. 

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 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 for storing and processing data. Students gain experience with open-source software, text editors, integrated development environments, and cloud systems. Students employ best practices in software development, utilizing tools for syntax checking, testing, debugging, and version control. The course also introduces formal models for algorithm and system performance.

This is a required course for the Data Engineering Specialization.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and (2) 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 desktop and client-server solutions. They learn about web-based solutions employing a variety of front-end and back-end system components. The course introduces machine learning operations and engineering. Students use cloud systems to package and distribute containerized computer software. They 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.

Recommended prior courses: (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.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and (2) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design.

 View MSDS 434-DL Sections

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 evaluate performance and resource utilization in batch, interactive, and streaming environments. Students review protocols for application programming interfaces. They compare data models, resource requirements, and performance of applications implemented with relational versus graph database systems.

Recommended prior course: MSDS 432-DL Foundations of Data Engineering.

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 436-DL Sections

MSDS 440-DL Real-­Time Interactive Processing and Analytics

This course introduces application engineering and analytics within an integrated environment and full-stack development process. Students implement client-side, web-based applications using a model-view-controller framework. They use server-side systems for responding to website requests and database queries. They prepare indices for efficient, relevant search across large document collections. They find information in databases and document collections, make service and product recommendations, and detect anomalies or security violations. This is a case study and project-based course with a strong programming component.

Prior to fall 2020, this course was titled Application Engineering for Real-Time Analytics.

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 440-DL Sections

MSDS 442-DL Real-Time Stream Processing and Analytics

This course introduces application engineering and analytics within stream and event processing environments. Students learn how to work with various data feeds and sources, including electronic sensors, monitoring continuous processes, observing communication traffic and social interaction, and tracking goods through production and distribution. Students implement stream processing solutions, providing high throughput and low latency. They use relational and graph databases. They analyze event logs and business processes. 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 442-DL Sections

MSDS 450-DL Marketing Analytics

This course reviews applications of data science in marketing, the strategic marketing process, and the design of marketing surveys and experiments. Students explore methods for understanding consumer preferences, market segments, and competitive brands and products. Students address problems in new product design and pricing. They study the marketing mix, highlighting the effects of advertising and promotion. And they are introduced to algorithms and methods for digital marketing.

Recommended prior courses: MSDS 410-­DL Supervised Learning Methods and MSDS 411-DL Unsupervised Learning Methods.

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 450-DL Sections

MSDS 451-DL Financial Machine Learning

This course introduces applications of machine learning techniques to finance. Financial data presents special challenges to standard machine learning techniques, engendering significant adaptations. Topics include a basic introduction to finance, nuances of financial features engineering, techniques to avoid various biases during model training, and example applications such as meta-labeling.

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

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

*Prior to spring 2021, this course was titled Financial and Risk Analytics.

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 and reviews web analytics and search performance metrics. It introduces the mathematics of network science, including random graph, small world, and preferential attachment models. Students compute network metrics, analyzing structure and connections in information and social networks. They study user interactions through electronic communications and social media. They work with graph algorithms and graph databases. 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

This course reviews 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. 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, 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 Applied Probability and Simulation Modeling

This advanced modeling course begins by reviewing probability theory and models. Students learn principals of random number generation and Monte Carlo methods for classical and Bayesian statistics. They are introduced to applied probability models and stochastic processes, including Markov Chains, exploring applications in business and scientific research. Students work with open-source and proprietary systems, implementing discrete event and agent-based simulations. This is a case study and project-based course with an extensive programming component.

Recommended prior course: MSDS-DL 460 Decision Analytics.

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 has been revised for fall 2021 and was formerly titled Advanced Modeling Techniques.

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 artificial intelligence, this course illustrates probability-rule-based generative models as well as discriminative models for learning from data. It reviews applications of artificial intelligence and deep learning in vision and language processing. Students learn best practices for building deep learning models for classification and regression. The 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.nts.

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 reviews methods for developing knowledge-based systems, providing examples of their use in intelligent applications and conversational agents. It uses relational, document, and graph databases for storing information about relationships among words, people, places, events, and things. Students learn about knowledge representation and automated reasoning. They query databases and employ logic programming and machine learning in applications for information extraction and delivery, including question answering applications.

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.

View MSDS 459-DL Sections

MSDS 462-DL Computer Vision

This course reviews deep learning methods for vision. Students work with raw image files, including digital representations of photographs, hand-written documents, x-rays, and sensor images. They process image data, converting pixels into numeric tensors for subsequent analysis and modeling. The course illustrates real-world applications for visual exploration, object recognition, image classification, facial recognition, remote sensing, navigation, 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.

 View MSDS 462-DL Sections

MSDS 464-DL Intelligent Systems and Robotics

This course introduces reinforcement learning as an approach to intelligent systems. It reviews Markov decision processes, dynamic programming, temporal difference learning, Monte Carlo and deep reinforcement learning, eligibility traces, and function approximation. Students implement intelligent agents, solving sequential decision-making problems. They develop, debug, train, and visualize the results of programs. They see how to integrate 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.

  View MSDS 464-DL Sections

MSDS 470-DL Technology Entrepreneurship

This course prepares students to establish and run a technology-focused entrepreneurial organization. It identifies opportunities for technology products and services, including opportunities in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Students review methods of industry and market analysis to guide competitive strategy. They learn how to transform ideas into successful businesses, identifying the right data, information technology, and human resources, and aligning with unmet market demand. They learn how to deploy efficient operating models for independent and enterprise startups. They learn about growing a network of people and obtaining capital assets, creating innovative intellectual property, sharpening unique competitiveness, and making product development and marketing choices. Students develop business plans and make presentations for starting entrepreneurial ventures.

Prerequisites: None.

*Prior to fall 2021, this course was titled Analytics Entrepreneurship.

View MSDS 470-DL Sections

MSDS 472-DL Management Consulting

This course introduces concepts, processes, tools, and techniques of management consulting. This includes winning consulting work, executing engagements, communicating with clients, and managing client relationships. Working in teams, students simulate a real-world consulting engagement, developing critical thinking, listening, speaking, and written communication skills. Students construct consulting presentations, communicating key findings and client impacts while employing data visualization best practices. The course is appropriate for students considering management consulting as a profession, as well as for students with internal expert or consultant roles.

Prerequisites: None.

*Prior to fall 2021, this course was titled Analytics Consulting.

View MSDS 472-DL Sections

MSDS 474-DL Accounting and Finance for Technology Managers

This course reviews corporate finance and managerial accounting with a focus on technology projects. It shows how the cycle of accounting, valuation, financial markets, cost of capital, and the real economy affect firm performance. Technology managers and entrepreneurs need to assess company needs in terms of workflow, coordination with other organizations, satisfying multiple stakeholders, and employing highly specialized knowledge professionals. Students learn how to read financial statements and evaluate risks associated with technology projects. They learn how to conduct breakeven and return-on-investment analyses. The course provides in-depth coverage of spreadsheet programming methods, setting the stage for subsequent financial modeling work. Students create business plans for technology firms, evaluating new ventures and justifying capital investments.

This is a required course for the Analytics Management specialization.

Prerequisites: None.

*Prior to fall 2021, this course was titled Accounting and Finance for Analytics Managers.

View MSDS 474-DL Sections

MSDS 485-DL Data Governance, Ethics, and Law

This course introduces data management concepts, including data quality, integrity, usability, consistency, availability, and security. It considers the lineage or life cycle of data, sometimes referred to as data provenance. It reviews ethical, legal, and technical issues relating to data acquisition, data dissemination, and privacy protection. The course provides a management introduction to cybersecurity, including network, system, and database security. It reviews encryption and blockchain technologies. The course also covers United States and European Union law relating to data privacy and cybersecurity.

Prerequisites: None

View MSDS 485-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 traditional and modern methods of unsupervised learning. Students see how to represent relationships among many continuous variables using principal components and factor analysis. They identify groups of individuals and groups of variables with cluster analysis and block clustering. They explore relationships among categorical variables with log-linear models and association rules. They visualize multivariate data with lattice displays, multidimensional scaling, and t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding. And they detect anomalies using autoencoders and probabilistic deep learning. This is a project-based course with extensive programming assignments.

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

 

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: In addition to fulfilling general requirements for the MSDS degree, students in Analytics Management must take two specialization core courses:   MSDS 474-DL Accounting and Finance for Technology Managers and one of three courses selected from MSDS 475-DL Project Management, MSDS 480-DL Business Leadership and Communications, or MSDS 485-DL Data Governance, Ethics, and Law.

TWO COURSES:

MSDS 474-DL Accounting and Finance for Technology Managers

TThis course reviews corporate finance and managerial accounting with a focus on technology projects. It shows how the cycle of accounting, valuation, financial markets, cost of capital, and the real economy affect firm performance. Technology managers and entrepreneurs need to assess company needs in terms of workflow, coordination with other organizations, satisfying multiple stakeholders, and employing highly specialized knowledge professionals. Students learn how to read financial statements and evaluate risks associated with technology projects. They learn how to conduct breakeven and return-on-investment analyses. The course provides in-depth coverage of spreadsheet programming methods, setting the stage for subsequent financial modeling work. Students create business plans for technology firms, evaluating new ventures and justifying capital investments.

This is a required course for the Analytics Management specialization.

Prerequisites: None.

*Prior to fall 2021, this course was titled Accounting and Finance for Analytics Managers.

View MSDS 474-DL Sections

MSDS 475-DL Project Management, MSDS 480-DL Business Leadership and Communications, OR MSDS 485-DL Data Governance, Ethics, and Law

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, estimation, the Delphi method, project evaluation and review technique, precedence diagrams, and the critical path method. It reviews scheduling, risk analysis and management, resource loading and leveling, Gantt charts, earned value analysis and performance indices for project cost and schedule control. By applying methods discussed in this course, students should be able to execute information systems and data science projects more effectively.

Prerequisites:  None.


View MSDS 475-DL Sections

 

MSDS 480-DL Business Leadership and Communications

This course introduces concepts of leadership and organizational behavior. It builds on the premise that leadership is learned and discusses how to drive change in organizations at stages of conception, growth, and evolution. Students spend three weeks on technology-specific project management, in which they design a project plan using an agile approach. They learn how to incorporate the cross-industry standard processes for information system design, data analysis, and modeling. They practice executing plans in simulated business settings. Working on case studies and theory-based assignments, students see how to address leadership challenges unique to technology organizations. The course focuses on developing effective communication strategies and presentations that resonate across business and technical teams to emphasize vision and organizational acceptance.

Prerequisites:  None

View MSDS 480-DL Sections

MSDS 485-DL Data Governance, Ethics, and Law

This course introduces data management concepts, including data quality, integrity, usability, consistency, and security. It considers the lineage of data, sometimes referred to as data provenance. It reviews ethical, legal, and technical issues relating to data acquisition and dissemination, as well as privacy protection. The course provides a management introduction to cybersecurity, including network, system, and database security, as well as encryption and blockchain technologies. The course covers laws relating to protecting intellectual property, with discussion of copyrights, patents, and contracts.

Prerequisites: None

View MSDS 485-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

This course reviews 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. 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, 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 artificial intelligence, this course illustrates probability-rule-based generative models as well as discriminative models for learning from data. It reviews applications of artificial intelligence and deep learning in vision and language processing. Students learn best practices for building deep learning models for classification and regression. The 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 for storing and processing data. Students gain experience with open-source software, text editors, integrated development environments, and cloud systems. Students employ best practices in software development, utilizing tools for syntax checking, testing, debugging, and version control. The course also introduces formal models for algorithm and system performance.

This is a required course for the Data Engineering Specialization.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and (2) 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 desktop and client-server solutions. They learn about web-based solutions employing a variety of front-end and back-end system components. The course introduces machine learning operations and engineering. Students use cloud systems to package and distribute containerized computer software. They 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.

Recommended prior courses: (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.

Prerequisites: (1) MSDS 400-DL Math for Data Scientists and (2) MSDS 420-DL Database Systems and Data Preparation or CIS 417 Database Systems Design.

 View MSDS 434-DL Sections

Technology Entrepreneurship Specialization

Entrepreneurship involves creating a new business or business function where one did not exist before. Advances in science and technology spur innovation, giving existing, resource-rich companies a chance to reinvent themselves, often moving into new markets. These advances, many of them emerging from data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, provide an opportunity for individuals and firms to build new organizations or startups. The technology entrepreneurship specialization shows students the path to building a successful, innovation-driven startup.

TWO COURSES:

MSDS 470-DL Technology Entrepreneurship

This course prepares students to establish and run a technology-focused entrepreneurial organization. It identifies opportunities for technology products and services, including opportunities in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Students review methods of industry and market analysis to guide competitive strategy. They learn how to transform ideas into successful businesses, identifying the right data, information technology, and human resources, and aligning with unmet market demand. They learn how to deploy efficient operating models for independent and enterprise startups. They learn about growing a network of people and obtaining capital assets, creating innovative intellectual property, sharpening unique competitiveness, and making product development and marketing choices. Students develop business plans and make presentations for starting entrepreneurial ventures.This course reviews corporate finance and managerial accounting with a focus on technology projects. It shows how the cycle of accounting, valuation, financial markets, cost of capital, and the real economy affect firm performance. Technology managers and entrepreneurs need to assess company needs in terms of workflow, coordination with other organizations, satisfying multiple stakeholders, and employing highly specialized knowledge professionals. Students learn how to read financial statements and evaluate risks associated with technology projects. They learn how to conduct breakeven and return-on-investment analyses. The course provides in-depth coverage of spreadsheet programming methods, setting the stage for subsequent financial modeling work. Students create business plans for technology firms, evaluating new ventures and justifying capital investments. 

Prerequisites: None

View MSDS 470-DL Sections

MSDS 474-DL Accounting and Finance for Technology Managers

This course reviews corporate finance and managerial accounting with a focus on technology projects. It shows how the cycle of accounting, valuation, financial markets, cost of capital, and the real economy affect firm performance. Technology managers and entrepreneurs need to assess company needs in terms of workflow, coordination with other organizations, satisfying multiple stakeholders, and employing highly specialized knowledge professionals. Students learn how to read financial statements and evaluate risks associated with technology projects. They learn how to conduct breakeven and return-on-investment analyses. The course provides in-depth coverage of spreadsheet programming methods, setting the stage for subsequent financial modeling work. Students create business plans for technology firms, evaluating new ventures and justifying capital investments.

Prerequisite: None

View MSDS 474-DL Sections

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 four electives from 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 individually or 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 or on group 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 or on group projects with an Analytics Management  focus.

Section 60:   This capstone section is designed for students in the Artificial Intelligence specialization. While it draws on learning objectives across the MSDS program (business, modeling, and information technology), students work individually or on group projects with an Artificial Intelligence  focus.

Section 61:   This capstone section is designed for students in the Data Engineering specialization. While it draws on learning objectives across the MSDS program (business, modeling, and information technology), students work individually or on group projects with a Data Engineering focus.

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

Note: Registration for this course will close one week prior to the start of the term.

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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