05:56 AM

Ohio State’s New Data Analytics Major Will Address a Strongly-Articulated Workforce Need

Contact: Sandi Rutkowski

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State University will introduce a new interdisciplinary undergraduate major in data analytics autumn semester – the first of its kind in the country offered by a major research institution – designed to address a growing need for data analytics professionals.

The new major was approved by the Council on Academic Affairs in November, 2013; and by the Ohio Board of Regents in January, 2014.

The College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering are partnering to deliver the core courses in computer sciences, mathematics and statistics. Majors will receive a BS in data analytics from the College of Arts and Sciences.

A degree in data analytics will open the door to nearly limitless career opportunities for its graduates.

Indeed, the Harvard Business Review has referred to data science and analytics as the “sexiest job in the twenty-first century.”

Sexy or not, the need is obvious. Companies are seeking employees with the skills to build and query large data sets and understand how to ask the right questions to extract critical, useable knowledge.

“That the colleges and university came together so quickly to put together this major is a testament to the commitment of Ohio State to bring its comprehensive strength to bear on issues of importance to Ohio, our nation and the world,” said David C. Manderscheid, executive dean and vice-provost in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Indeed, this has been a whole-institutional response to a strongly-articulated workforce need,” added Peter March, mathematics professor and dean of the natural and mathematical sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State.

“Expertise in data analytics will be in demand in virtually all areas of human enterprise. Issues of ‘Big Data’ engender partnerships with diverse business enterprises. Name any major industry – banking, insurance, healthcare, retail, oil and gas, logistics – and there are analytics issues,” March said.

The core curriculum will provide solid foundational footing; students will learn principles of data representation and big data management, software design and programming, and statistical modeling and analysis. Next, students will select courses in an area of specialization that will prepare them for experiential learning opportunities through partnerships with businesses.

“Big ideas are driven by big data,” said David B. Williams, Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean’s Chair and dean of the College of Engineering. “This collaborative and industry-responsive major in data analytics ensures that students will receive best-in-class preparation to become the next great Buckeye innovators in myriad fields.”

Each student in the major chooses an area of specialization to learn how data analytics is applied in a particular field.

Right now, the specializations available in the major are:

  • Biomedical Informatics – introduces students to the core sub-disciplines of biomedical informatics that play a role in data analysis and discovery in biological and medical information systems;
  • Business Analytics – familiarizes students with how to practice data analytics in business—focusing on applications in finance, accounting, customer insights and operations and logistics;
  • Computational Analytics – allows students to explore and specialize in in the areas of large-scale data analytics and architectures from theory to practice with a computational focus.

Each specialization includes a capstone or integrative experiential component.

Christopher Hans, associate professor of statistics; and Srinivasan Parthasarathy, professor of computer and engineering science, are program co-directors. Learn more about the program: https://data-analytics.osu.edu/major/specialization.

The major is aligned with Ohio State’s Discovery Themes Initiative, a ten-year, multi-million dollar investment designed to make Ohio State a leader in critical research on enormous global problems that pose great challenges – Energy and Environment; Food Production and Security; and Health and Wellness. The Discovery Themes Faculty Advisory Boards unanimously agreed that data analytics was the foundational tool for tackling these challenges. Therefore, the first of the Discovery Themes investments will be in data analytics. Learn more about the Discovery Themes: http://discovery.osu.edu/focus-areas/data-analytics/news/data-analytics-the-first-target.html.

About The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University is a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 57,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.