Salve partners with UMass Dartmouth to offer 3+2 BA/MS in mathematics, data science
Responding to the need for trained professionals to serve in one of the fastest-growing career fields, Salve Regina has partnered with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) to develop a pathway for its students to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Salve Regina and a master’s degree in data science from UMass Dartmouth in just five years.
A 3+2 BA/MS in mathematics and data science
Under the memorandum of understanding for the 3+2 BA/MS in mathematics and data science, Salve Regina students can now spend their first three years on the Newport campus majoring in mathematics together with the newly launched required minor in data analytics, and their final two years at UMass-Dartmouth to complete the master’s degree in data science.
Students who participate in the program and meet the GPA requirement will be conditionally admitted to UMass Dartmouth via the consortium agreement and GREs will be waived. At the end of the fourth year, students in the program will graduate with their class at Salve Regina’s commencement.
“All in five years, students in this program acquire a highly respected values-based liberal arts education, the flexibility and marketability of a BA in mathematics with a minor in data analytics, and a master’s degree in data science – one of the fast-growing and highest paid professions,” said Ernest Rothman, professor and chair of Salve Regina’s Department of Mathematical Sciences. “The development of this program was a truly collaborative effort, which produced a very fine academic program and strong synergy between Salve Regina and UMass Dartmouth.”
Rothman said data science programs at colleges and universities vary in their approach. Some emphasize skills using currently available tools but come up short in addressing the theoretical foundations of data science. UMass Dartmouth has just the right balance of technological skills and theoretical foundations.
“[UMass Dartmouth’s] approach seems to be the most compatible with our view of the field of data science, both as an academic discipline and as a career path,” said Rothman. “Firm grounding in theoretical foundations is important in the real world, because it allows you to adapt to emerging technologies, handle a wide variety of problems and modify existing techniques when necessary. Both theory and skills are needed for long-term flexibility and success in a data science career.”
The fields of data analytics and data science are fundamentally concerned with collecting, cleaning and analyzing raw data to identify patterns, draw conclusions, gain insights and support data-driven decision-making, Rothman explained. “The discipline is built on a foundation of certain areas of mathematics, computer science, statistics and accepted practice within an application area,” he described.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Business Insider and others cite data science among the fastest growing and highest paid career fields today. By 2040, it is likely that most jobs will require at least some basic data science skills, while millions of new jobs will become available to highly skilled data scientists, NAS predicts. Business Insider reported data scientist as the best job in America based on recent surveys considering job satisfaction, job availability and median base salary.
“This is an emerging field that is impacting nearly all academic disciplines and industries,” said Scott Field, assistant professor of mathematics and co-director of the Data Science program at UMass Dartmouth. “Fields such as healthcare, marine sciences, business management and political science – to name a few – are increasingly using data in more sophisticated ways to drive inquiry and decision making.”
Field said the naturally broad and multi-disciplinary nature of data science is in many ways a natural fit for the liberal arts education. “We are pleased to be partnering with Salve Regina to allow Salve students the opportunity to pursue both a well-balanced liberal arts education as well as specialized technical training in data science at the master’s level at UMass Dartmouth. Our master’s program will surely benefit from the diversity of interests and goals that Salve students will bring into our program.”
Salve Regina’s data analytics minor
In addition to the 3+2 BA/MS, Salve Regina will also offer a new minor in data analytics that will enhance a variety of majors by providing essential foundational material, key ideas, commonly used tools and experience in the practice of data analytics.
“We believe the minor will be especially useful to majors in the business, biology and mathematical sciences departments, but the minor would enhance the educational experience and marketability of students majoring in any discipline that deals with data,” Rothman said.
To earn the minor in data analytics, Salve Regina students must complete six courses, some of which they may already be taking to fulfill the requirements for their major, including CSC 103 Computer Programming I, CSC 104 Computer Programming II, DSA 201 Introduction to Data Science and Analytics, DSA 202 Data Analysis and Visualization, either STA173 or STA342, and an elective selected from ACC405 Accounting Research and Analytics, CSC300 Algorithms and Data Structures, ECN 207 Introduction to Econometrics, or another course approved by the chair of the Mathematical Sciences Department.