New College of Florida will offer its first master’s degree program in data science in Fall 2015, after receiving approval Nov. 6 from the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida.
The master’s degree is the first graduate program in New College’s history and will meet the tremendous demand for workers trained in data analytics.
“This program will strengthen the link between a liberal arts education and the world of work, while enhancing our undergraduate program and raising New College’s national profile,” said President Donal O’Shea. “We’re pleased that the Board of Governors understands the tremendous value of this master’s degree program, both to our students and to employers in Florida and nationwide.”
There are only a few such master’s degrees offered in the U.S., and New College has taken a unique approach in designing its program.
The New College master’s degree in data science is a true public-private partnership. Some 30 faculty members have worked on the program and the College designed the program in collaboration with major companies that rely on data analytics, including Google, Ancestry.com, Gallup, Omnicom, Akamai, Star2Star and many others.
“People with the raw technical skills for data analysis are in enormous demand,” said New College professor Patrick McDonald, director of the data science program. “These students are extremely valuable and companies are looking for methods to bring those people on board.”
In the first year, students will study mathematics and computer science tools used for data analysis. Students also will work on real-world data projects and participate in paid internships with the partner companies.
The program will be highly selective, admitting about 15 students per year. That also will maintain New College’s tradition of small classes and close interaction with faculty. The College is hiring four new faculty members, with several current faculty members also teaching classes in the master’s program.
The master’s program will strengthen the College as a whole, by allowing the addition of an undergraduate major in computer science and adding more electives to the existing mathematics major.
The College will open the application process this fall, and classes will begin in the 2015-16 school year.