Assumption Introduces New Data Analytics Major

Jan 04, 2019

Beginning in Fall 2018, Assumption will offer a new major in data analytics, that will help students understand who we are and where we’re going—and how best to use that knowledge—by providing the research, programming and critical analysis skills needed to make data-informed decisions in a variety of fields. Students will learn how to gather, process, and evaluate large amounts of information, and what it means for the rest of the world.

Advances in computer technology have created an explosion in the acquisition and storage of vast quantities of data in an array of fields. This sudden change has created the need for mathematically and computationally trained graduates who can analyze this data and make recommendations based on those investigations. This major will provide students with the knowledge and skill set to serve as data analysts in a variety of fields including public health, product development, scientific research, marketing and neuroscience. The new academic program will also provide the knowledge base for students intending to pursue graduate work in data science.

According to a study done by McKinsey Consulting, it is projected that by 2018, there will be hundreds of thousands of data analytics positions available in the U.S. As an initial response to serve this need, Assumption approved a minor in data analytics in the spring of 2016. The major is intended to substantiate Assumption’s offerings.

“There exists a sustained demand for well-educated data analysts who can analyze complex data sets and ask the right questions, communicate well, and address ethical concerns and issues,” said Joseph Alfano, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics and department chair of mathematics and computer science. “Drawing from Assumption’s expert mathematics and computer science faculty, as well as those from other departments, the institution has created a unique major and minor that will certainly complement other areas of study.”

As part of the data analytics major, Assumption will offer five new courses in the field of study: Statistics Programming, Data Visualization, Large Data Sets, Machine Learning, and Capstone in Data Analytics. The rigorous program will require 45 credits/15 courses in data analytics, which include required courses in relevant areas of artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics and statistics.

The data analytics major is guided by Assumption’s identity as a Catholic University. As such, within the program, students are afforded opportunities to explore not the major’s required and elective courses, but also many other disciplines. The Core Curriculum is the requirement that the undergraduate students need to fulfill for the purpose of emphasizing the humanizing role. It introduces students to essential works, ideas, and enduring goals of the liberal arts and sciences. The Core contributes to the formation of thoughtful citizens and students committed to the challenge of lifelong learning. It also cultivates the habits of mind, learning practices and skills, passion for truth, and love of wisdom that are hallmarks of an Assumption education.