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Woods College To Offer New Applied Analytics Degree

The Woods College of Advancing Studies will offer a master’s degree in applied analytics starting in the fall of 2022. The new program strives to give students the tools to be successful in analyzing data, according to Karen Muncaster, dean of the Woods College.

“Some folks who are in the analytics space are really, really good at number crunching, but they can’t tell a story,” Muncaster said. “I want someone who can say … ‘Let me tell you the story of what I’ve learned, and what you now need to think about as you make decisions.’”

According to Aleksandar Tomic—director of the applied analytics program—the new program is an extension of the current applied economics program in the Woods College, but this new offering will delve deeper into machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“The interest in this program has been growing for a while,” Muncaster said. “It’s mostly been coming from existing graduate students as to why couldn’t they do a little more in the analytics side, and maybe not as much on the economics side.”

The Woods College will also offer a new dual degree in applied economics and applied analytics next semester, according to Muncaster.

“[The dual degree program] is something that nobody asked us about, but we thought, ‘Well, if we’re hearing so much interest, maybe there are a group of students who would find this a really appealing combination of programs,’” Muncaster said.

Though Tomic said some applied analytics courses will overlap with applied economics offerings, the Woods College will also create new courses for the applied analytics program.

“We do have quite a decent set of offerings in applied economics, and some of those will be available in the new program, but we will also create new classes,” Tomic said. “Some of the new classes that we will create will deal with big data platforms.”

According to Tomic, the Woods College is also planning to hire new faculty members for the program.

“We mostly try to hire faculty that have industry experience, because in all our programs, we stress the applied nature to give students exposure to hands-on learning,” Tomic said.

Students who study applied analytics most commonly pursue careers working with data, such as consulting financial services, according to Tomic.

“I expect with applied analytics we will see a little bit more placement in tech companies,” Tomic said. “And we will see, probably, a little bit more placement with something that is a little more coding oriented than what we should see with applied economics.”

Muncaster said that across all programs, the Woods College strongly emphasizes ethical decision-making, and the new applied analytics program will not be an exception.

“We don’t do a single course on ethics in data analytics,” Muncaster said. “Ethical decision making and behavior is woven through all the courses.”

Featured Image by Lenya Singer / For the Heights

March 27, 2022