Ohio State’s New Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Major in Data Analytics
A proposal from The Ohio State University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Fisher College of Business to establish an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in Data Analytics leading to the Bachelor of Science degree was approved by the Council on Academic Affairs in November, 2013, and by the Ohio Board of Regents in January, 2014.
The Harvard Business Review has referred to data science and analytics as the “sexiest job in the twenty-first century.” The notion of Big Data promises to revolutionize all areas of human endeavor—ranging from the financial industry to the health-care industry, from the social sciences to engineering, and from scientific discovery to cybersecurity. Increasingly, companies are seeking employees who have the skills to build and query large data sets and who understand how to ask the right questions and extract knowledge. Data analytics includes the set of skills necessary to managing, representing, and manipulating large and complex data stores. It also includes knowing how to abstract, model, and effectively analyze such data and then explain and make informed decisions from them. These skills draw heavily from traditional academic areas such as computer science, mathematics, operations research, and statistics. A critical need clearly exists for graduates with both quantitative computational and modeling skills and behavioral psychology and critical thinking skills.
Ohio State will help fill that need with its new Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Major in Data Analytics. The new major is structured in three parts: core subject matter (mathematical, statistical, and computing foundations), discipline-specific specializations (visual analytics and sense-making, system modeling, pattern recognition, and machine learning), and an integrative experiential education component.
Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics will have met the following learning objectives:
- They will demonstrate an understanding of and ability to apply computer science principles relating to data representation, retrieval, programming and analysis.
- They will demonstrate an understanding of and ability to apply mathematical and statistical models and concepts to detect patterns in data, as well as draw inferences and conclusions supported by the data.
- They will demonstrate critical thinking skills associated with problem identification, problem-solving and decision-making, assessing value propositions supported by data, and generating a logical synthesis of information from data.
- They will demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge gained from one area to problems and data in another.
- They will demonstrate the ability to communicate findings and their implications and to apply them effectively.
With this new degree offering, Ohio State becomes the first university in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in data analytics.