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UA Announces New Interdisciplinary Data Science Degree Program

2 min read

The University of Arkansas announced Wednesday that it will launch a first-of-its kind undergraduate degree in data science in the fall.

The program will provide students the chance to study with faculty from three colleges — the College of Engineering, the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Students will take a common set of introductory courses, then choose one of 10 specialty concentrations during their junior year. Those concentrations are:

  • Accounting Analytics;
  • Bioinformatics;
  • Biomedical and Healthcare Informatics;
  • Business Data Analytics;
  • Computational Analytics;
  • Data Science Statistics;
  • Geospatial Data Analytics;
  • Operations Analytics;
  • Social Data Analytics; and
  • Supply Chain Analytics.

The university said the program is also unique among data science programs nationwide for its interdisciplinary curriculum, and that it was designed using best practices from existing programs as well as feedback from an advisory council of executives from industry.

Members of that council include Scott Spradley, chief technology officer for Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, and Scott Hambuchen, chief information officer at First Orion of North Little Rock.

Spradley said in a news release, “With zettabytes of data being created every day in the world today, the need to learn from that data — what that data can tell us and how it can shape us — has never been more important.

“Using that data to identify trends, patterns and clusters as a means for forward-thinking direction and prediction is critical for any business. The University of Arkansas’ decision to evolve a high-performing data science program confirms their commitment to leading our state forward.”

Hambuchen added, “For First Orion, cultivating Arkansas talent in data sciences has been invaluable. We applaud the leadership, innovation and cross-college cooperation to create a world-class data science degree program. We’re committed to growing the data science industry in Arkansas and are thrilled to benefit from the exceptional students the university turns out. First Orion is looking forward to continuing our engagement to grow and improve the program beyond just employment — such as supplying guest speakers, judges for competitions, ideas for projects and capstones, and even some datasets for analysis.”

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