New York University’s newly-launched Center for Data Science is offering a two-year Master’s of Science in Data Science program (MSDS), the first of its kind in the United States. The graduate program is accepting applications now. Applications will continue to be reviewed until the program is filled, with classes commencing in the fall.
“There is a huge demand in industry for graduates familiar with techniques to extract knowledge from data,” explains Yann LeCun, Director of the Center for Data Science. “Currently you can’t find those people anywhere because they need a combination of expertise in applied mathematics, statistics and computer science – particularly machine learning. There is no program anywhere in the country that educates people with this combination of expertise. Some students manage to acquire the right set of skills by taking courses from various programs, but it’s not easy. The MSDS is designed to cover the right set of topics for a well-rounded data scientist,” he states.
The realm of applications for this degree is much wider than the business world, according to LeCun. “It includes the physical and natural sciences, medicine, engineering, the social sciences, advertising and marketing, government, urban studies…it goes on and on. You need people with a deep theoretical and practical understanding of the methods and techniques. And that’s what our graduate program will be about. Very few programs in the United States are that encompassing,” he says.
The MSDS is a two-year, 36 credit program with six required courses covering computational and mathematical statistics, advanced machine learning, relevant areas of applied mathematics such as large-scale numerical optimization, and questions related to large-scale systems and big data. Among the required courses is a capstone project in which a real-world data science application is designed and constructed. Student must also take six elective courses chosen from a wide range of disciplines and domains, from computer science and the mathematical sciences to fields of application such as finance, business analytics, genomics/bioinformatics, neural science and the social sciences.
The MSDS program should appeal to students with a wide range of backgrounds. “The ideal applicant,” LeCun says, “has a strong background in the mathematical sciences, typical of undergraduate majors in engineering, physics, mathematics, statistics, computer science, economics and other analytical fields, as well as a good knowledge of programming and basic computer science. Ideally, candidates would have taken calculus, linear algebra, a basic probability or statistics course, and a few advanced courses with a heavy mathematical content such as Calculus II and III, or advanced physics, engineering, or applied mathematics courses. They would also have taken two or three courses that involve programming.”
Hosted by NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the Center for Data Science will be composed of a number of core faculty, co-located in the center alongside their students and postdocs, as well as a number of associated and affiliated faculty from all across the university who will participate in the center’s research and teaching activities.
More information is available on the CDS website.
-by ML Ball