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Saint Mary’s College Online Master of Science in Data Science

Why Saint Mary’s College?

The online  Master of Science in Data Science offered by Saint Mary’s College offers a practical introduction to data science skills along with real-world preparation for business careers through a practicum and business skills coursework.  Saint Mary’s College is a small private Catholic women’s liberal arts college in Notre Dame, Indiana. The MSDS program is co-educational.

Applicants to the program should hold an undergraduate degree in a quantitative field or be able to demonstrate comparable work experience. The undergraduate degree should include two semesters of calculus, familiarity with statistics and linear algebra, and at least some coursework in computer programming, preferably Python.  GRE, GMAT, or LSAT scores are required for the application. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75  is expected.

Program Snapshot

University Name Saint Mary’s College
Location Notre Dame
State Indiana
Niche.com Grade B+
Name of Degree Master of Science in Data Science
School or Department Administering Program Mathematics
Credits 36
Cost per credit $675
Tuition for Entire Program $24,300
Test Requirements GRE, GMAT or LSAT
Minimum GPA 2.75
Prerequisite Courses and Skills
  • Bachelor’s in a quantitative field, or comparable work experience
  • Two semesters of Calculus
  • Coursework in computer programming (pref. Python)
  • Familiarity with statistics and linear algebra
Campus Visit Required? Yes – one weekend each August
Typical Time to Complete Five to six semesters
When Can Students Start the Program? Fall
Program Concentrations None
Synchronous Classes Yes
Required Courses
  • Computer Programming
  • Database Systems
  • Data Mining
  • Data Mining at Scale
  • Data Preprocessing/Visualization
  • Applied Linear Algebra
  • Applied Statistics I
  • Applied Statistics II
Does the Program Include a Capstone? No
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? Yes
Other Features that Make the Program Unique
  • Elective course in technical and professional writing
  • practicum
  • Course in nursing school on data analytics and outcomes improvement
  • Professional Science Master’s that provides business/professional skills such as project management, etc.
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program) You’ll take courses in applied statistics with an application-focused approach to regression analysis and related techniques – knowledge companies prize in data scientists – as well as understand the algorithms of data mining, processing, and visualization.
Program Description This 36-credit program prepares students for careers in data science with a focus on the skills employers need.  Core techniques taught are regression analysis, data mining, data processing, and data visualization. Students attend one weekend of immersion on the St. Mary’s campus every August. A practicum is optional.

What will I Learn?

The Saint Mary’s program provides a comprehensive look at key processes and techniques valued by employers. Students learn data processing, regression analysis, data mining, and data visualization. Students complete an optional practicum. Elective courses are offered on technical and professional writing. The degree is a Professional Science Master’s that is designed to provide business and professional skills along with domain knowledge. The MSDS program is also integrated with Saint Mary’s strength in nursing education, and data science students can take elective courses that look at decision support and process improvement in the school of nursing.

The program provides a balance between required coursework and student choice. All students must take a foundational course in Computer Programming. The program also provides substantial statistics and mathematical training for students without as much quantitative background. Required courses are Applied Statistics I, Applied Statistics II, and Applied Linear Algebra. The core processes of data analytics are covered in required courses in Database Systems, Data Mining, and Data Mining at Scales.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within five to six semesters and pay $675 per credit for a total of 36 credits, or just over $24,000.

How does the program fit into my life?

In comparison with other data science Master’s programs, the Saint Mary’s program is less flexible, as some classes are taught synchronously, meaning that courses meet online at a scheduled time for lecture and/or group activities. Some classes may also be asynchronous, meaning that instructors create learning materials such as lectures, activities, quizzes, assignments, and group discussions in weekly modules, and students are responsible for completing the module on their own schedule within the given week.

Students are required to visit the Saint Mary’s campus for one weekend each August for an immersive learning experience. The required practicum will also need to be balanced and scheduled within each student’s work and family obligations. Because of the project-based nature of the program, students can expect to need to schedule time to work with classmates or meet with instructors.

Summary

The Saint Mary’s data science program will appeal to students looking for a greater degree of in-person interaction and personalization than is offered by some other similar programs. The immersive weekend on campus in August, as well as scheduled class times, are likely to be a pro for students seeking a more hands-on educational experience where they develop close relationships with classmates. Students with complex obligations outside of the classroom, as well as students with substantial business experience, are likely to find the required practicum less helpful and relevant. Because the Saint Mary’s program also focuses on business and professional skills, it is likely to be appealing to students with less work experience.