Oct. 15, 2020

UCalgary launches Master of Data Science and Analytics degree

Professional graduate degree offers hands-on learning to build technical skills, upgrade career

The University of Calgary is adding a new graduate program offering to help both new and experienced professionals transition to a career in tech.

The Master in Data Science and Analytics (MDSA) is a multidisciplinary, professionally oriented graduate degree program offered through a collaboration between the Faculty of Science, the Haskayne School of Business, the Cumming School of Medicine, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

In line with the University of Calgary’s Unstoppable "growth through focus" plan to create Canada’s most entrepreneurial university by expanding graduate education geared toward professionals and strengthening ties to industry, the MDSA will provide students who have backgrounds in a variety of different disciplines with the skills and abilities needed to become data scientists or data analysts, and to flourish in a global economy that is increasingly data-driven.

New program to help build capacity in Canada’s growing digital economy

The increasing use and popularity of emerging technologies like machine learning are resulting in a rapidly growing need for professionals who are able to navigate these digital technologies. The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) identifies data scientists among the top 15 tech jobs in demand through 2023. The ICTC also forecasts that demand for digitally skilled talent in Canada will reach more than 305,000 in the next three years.

“Realizing the changing needs in an increasingly data-driven economy in Alberta, Canada, and around the world, the new program will fill an important niche in meeting the needs of students with an interest in re-skilling and up-skilling towards the tech sector,” says Dr. Bernhard Mayer, PhD, interim Faculty of Science dean. "Students in the Master of Data Science and Analytics program can expect a leading-edge education that will help them transition to important roles in Canada’s tech economy.”

The MDSA will address the fundamentals of data science and analytics, and will culminate in an integrated topics course and internship. Students will be able to refine their professional and leadership skills while developing, applying, and refining their technical knowledge and abilities. The program will provide training in the fundamental concepts and tools of data science and analytics, and will enable graduates to apply these concepts and tools across multiple contexts, industries, and sectors.

The Master of Data Science and Analytics program helps establish Calgary as a home for data science learning and a pipeline of data science talent for jobs across Alberta, Canada, and the world.                 - program directors, Drs. Jim Stallard and Usman Alim

Students will be able to choose from three areas of focus: fundamental data science, business analytics, or health data analytics and biostatistics. The degree curriculum was developed collaboratively to ensure that the multidisciplinary nature of data science and analytics is reflected in the development of the program’s content, to leverage the expertise of leading researchers and instructors at the university, and in the delivery of the courses.

To accommodate students’ varying schedules, the degree can be completed full-time in 16 months (or 12 months if they choose an accelerated pathway), or with added flexibility as part-time through a stackable certificate and diploma pathway.

The MDSA joins the Faculty of Science's Master of Information Security and Privacy in the new suite of future-focused professional graduate programs focusing on tech careers.

Applications to the Master of Data Science and Analytics are currently being accepted for classes beginning in September 2021.