The University of St. Thomas’ Graduate Programs in Software announced that this fall it will offer a master of science degree in the emerging field of data science, building upon its existing “big data” course offerings.

“We developed this new major to meet the trends and needs of the marketplace and the software professional community,” said Dr. Bhabani Misra, associate dean of graduate programs in the university’s School of Engineering. “The program will serve traditional graduate students as well as professionals from diverse industries by providing practical, technical skills for analyzing large-scale, complex data.”

St. Thomas already offers a four-course Certificate in Big Data program. Students in the more extensive master’s program must complete 10 required courses plus two electives from courses offered by the university’s Opus College of Business, School of Engineering or Graduate Programs in Software. The required courses are Foundations of Software Development, Software Engineering, Database Management Systems and Design, Foundations of Data Analysis, Data Warehousing, Data Mining, Big Data Architecture, Big Data Management, Machine Learning and Data Science.

Last year the university launched a Center of Excellence for Big Data to bring all of its data-related activities under one umbrella. And to handle big-data workloads, the School of Engineering recently quadrupled the capacity of its computer cluster. Graduate Programs in Science is an academic partner with Cloudera, a leading provider of big-data software, support services and training.  In preparation for Cloudera certification, students receive free access to Cloudera’s software and training materials.

“Big Data isn’t just the latest buzzword in inf0rmation technology, it has become woven into the fabric of just about every major corporation and professional discipline,” said Dr. Brad Rubin, a software engineering professor who teaches courses in big-data architecture, software design and computer security. “From medical research to consumer activity, each electronic transaction, mouse click or piece of data collected by an instrument in a lab contributes to a massive volume of information for analysis.

“Companies from a variety of industries are investing heavily in this area to economically capture large volumes of information, which evolves rapidly with time and streams in from disparate sources. All of this captured data then feeds into sophisticated data-mining tools to help discover trends and correlations that might otherwise go unnoticed.”

The master of science in data science will be added to St. Thomas’ existing master’s programs in software engineering, software management and information technology. With an enrollment of more than 400 students, Graduate Programs in Software is one of the longest-running and largest software engineering graduate programs in the country. Established in 1985, the program is headquartered in O’Shaughnessy Science Hall, which is part of the Frey Science and Engineering Center on the university’s St. Paul campus.

More information about the master’s in data science can be found here.