New undergraduate degree in data science

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Responds to Demand for Talent in the Data Science Workforce

The university will now offer an undergraduate degree in data science to complement its successful master’s and PhD programs.
Media Contact
August 26, 2019

Following the success of the master’s and PhD programs, this fall Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will begin rolling out a bachelor’s degree program in data science. The addition of the new major makes the university one of the few schools in the nation to offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in data science

“As the availability of vast amounts of digital data increasingly impacts all facets of our daily lives, from health to business to entertainment, it is critical that we build a pipeline of programs to equip more students with the necessary skills for these 21st-century jobs,” said Elke Rundensteiner, Data Science Program director. “With the addition of the bachelor’s degree, WPI is preparing students for immediate job opportunities at every stage in this fast-growing career.”

According to a January 2019 report from Indeed, a top job search site, there has been a 31% increase in demand for data scientists over last year and a 256% increase since 2013. In addition, Glassdoor's 2019 rankings lists data scientist as the best job in America for four years running, with a median base salary of $110,000 and 4,524 job openings. WPI’s own numbers show a 100% job placement rate for students graduating from both the master’s and PhD programs (Career Outcomes & Salary Data 2018).

The bachelor’s degree program, which draws on WPI's rich faculty expertise in business, computer science, and mathematical sciences, is designed to meet a growing demand for highly trained data scientists with technical and scientific expertise who can solve problems at the cutting edge of big data analytics for corporations, government laboratories, and universities.

The curriculum will be interdisciplinary—in addition to core classes in analysis techniques, computing, mathematical sciences, and business, students take classes in advanced topics such as visual analytics, machine learning, statistics, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and big data management.

“Launching this interdisciplinary major represents a significant undertaking and we expect to see a far-reaching impact on our WPI student body at large,” said Winston Soboyejo, Provost ad interim. “Moreover, the major helps students recognize the impact of their analyses on the broader society and their obligation to perform their work responsibly.”

WPI will roll out the bachelor’s degree program this academic year, 2019–20, with all courses relevant for the new major slated to be offered this year. Formal bachelor’s degrees in Data Science will be conferred to any WPI student meeting the degree requirements from 2020–21 onward.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a purpose-driven community of educators and researchers, has been the global leader in project-based learning for 50 years. An impact maker for higher education and the world, WPI prepares confident, competent problem solvers with a project-based curriculum that immerses students in authentic, real-world experiences.