Masters of Data Science program wins Outstanding Program of the year

The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) recently recognized the online UW Master of Science and Data Science program with one of its highest honors: “2018 Outstanding Program” in the credit category.

Gaurav Bansal and Christian Acosta

Gaurav Bansal and Christian Acosta

The University of Wisconsin-Extension created this collaborative, multi-campus online degree program as a solution to the high demand and low supply of data scientists. Launched in Fall 2015, the program is completely online, offered jointly by UW-Green Bay, UW-Eau-Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Superior. With the third highest number of students enrolled in the program (70 of 332), UW-Green Bay welcomed two of its first students across the stage this past graduation (December, 2017) — Christian Acosta (pictured with Bansal) and Patrick Anthony.

Anthony is job-hunting in the Seattle marketplace. He said the online format was “great” and he was able to work while completing his degree in 18 months. “I am currently interviewing for data scientist roles with two open offers,” he says. “The challenge I’ve faced in the interview process is that there doesn’t seem to be consensus on what data science is across industries and geographies.”

UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Gaurav Bansal (Business Administration), academic director and advisor of the program, attributes the success of the program to “teamwork, and unique and distinct skills that each campus and partner contributes.”

“Data Science is inherently highly interdisciplinary in nature, and the collaborative nature of the Master of Science in Data Science program (MSDS) helps live that spirit.” Bansal says. “The program is able to attract high caliber working professionals (some already have a doctorate degree, and many have a masters already) from all over the United States and beyond; and also from wide breadth of spectrum — from automobiles, and healthcare to investigative journalism. Moreover,  our faculty is highly talented and dedicated, and our curriculum continuously revised to reflect the dynamic nature of data science. We have surpassed enrollment targets in each semester as we worked closely with industry, and utilize student-feedback to provide a program that meets their needs.”

Bansal says there has been strong support for the program at UW-Green Bay, including the Office of Marketing and University Communication, Continuing Education and Community Engagement, Graduate Studies, and others.

Members of the UW Data Science team and other UPCEA award recipients will be honored at the 2018 UPCEA Annual Conference, March 14-16, in Baltimore, Md.