New Carnegie Mellon Analytics Master’s Degree Cultivates ‘Renaissance Technologists’

by   |   December 6, 2012 7:05 pm   |   1 Comments

One in a series of articles profiling university programs focusing on big data and analytics education.

Educators at Carnegie Mellon University were getting it from both sides.

Students in the university’s Heinz College, which includes a School of Information Systems and Management, as well as a public policy program, were clamoring for more courses on data analytics, machine learning and predictive analytics. At the same time, many of the Pittsburgh-based university’s corporate partners like PNC Bank, Citicorp, IBM and Xerox, were searching for graduates to fill out their data teams.

The university heard the feedback from their students, saw the need for a new type of analytics professional and created a program with a curriculum to satisfy the students’ curiosity and the market’s demand, according to Heinz College Associate Dean Andrew Wasser.

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In September 2012, the School of Information Systems and Management admitted its first class of 19 with a business intelligence and data analytics concentration to its Master of Information Systems Management program.

The concentration focuses on three areas—business acumen, statistics, and IT—in a way that Wasser said is usually found in Ph.D. programs.

“Our view is that we’re looking more for that renaissance technologist,” Wasser said. “There is a handful of Ph.D.s that come out each year with these skill sets. There is a need for hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of people with these skill sets. We need to create a pipeline that is much more robust than what the Ph.D. pipeline can trickle through.”

The program mixes technologies and techniques like predictive modeling, text analytics, analytical reporting and data visualizations with business processes, management and professional communication.

With the need for data scientists stretching across business and government, Wasser said the Heinz College was well situated to create a program that has an eye towards business and public policy.

“A lot of these issues, it was a horizontal that crossed so many of our domains, the government is asking for these people, the healthcare industry is asking for these people, banking, retail, consulting, that it was just a natural for us,” he said.

The program covers three semesters and includes a required internship and a practicum project. Classes feature professional tools like SAS analytics, and the R and SQL programming languages, but Wasser said the program is careful not to pigeonhole students into focusing on a single programming language or industry tool.

Program details:

  • Program founded in 2012; full-time, on campus only.
  • 19 students admitted as first cohort in 2012
  • Program lasts 16 months, three semesters with a summer internship
  • Practicum project required for graduation.
  • Tuition is estimated at $62,658; total costs including student fees and housing estimated at $93,892

Program features:

  • A summer internship required.
  • A team-based practicum project with an outside company required for graduation.
  • 16-month program.

Email Staff Writer Ian B. Murphy at Follow him on Twitter .

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One Comment

    Posted December 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Starting January 2014, CMU’s Heinz College offers a part-time, on-campus or online, degree in BI and Data Analytics for working adults through its Master of Science in Information Technology programs.

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