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Degree Requirements

A total of 30 credits is required for the degree.  If the student lacks background knowledge for one or more courses, prerequisite courses may need to be taken that do not count toward the degree.

  1. Required Courses
    1. At least six credits of core courses are required from the following list from DMS (each course is three credits):
      • MATH612 Solving Linear Equations and Optimization (F)
      • MATH637 Mathematical Techniques in Data Science (S)
      • MATH672 Vector Spaces (F)
      • MATH630 Probability Theory and Applications (F)
    2. At least six credits of core courses are required from the following list from CIS (each course is three credits):
      • CISC621 Algorithm Design and Analysis (F/S)
      • CISC637 Database Systems (F/S)
      • CISC683 Introduction to Data Mining (F)
      • CISC684 Introduction to Machine Learning (S)
    3. At least six credits of core courses are required from the following list from AES (each course is three credits):
      • STAT611 Regression Analysis (F)
      • STAT613 Applied Multivariate Methods (F)
      • STAT674 Applied Data Base Management (F/S)
      • STAT675 Logistic Regression (S)

    Credit for both STAT674 and CISC637 cannot be applied to the degree.

  2. Electives
    Up to 12 credits of elective courses may come from a variety of courses on campus with relevant application or quantitative content.  An initial list of example courses is given in Appendix A.  The courses must be at the 600 level or above for the home college from which the degree is awarded.   A course from the required lists may be chosen as an elective provided that it has not already been used to satisfy the six core course requirement.  The initial elective list is not meant to be exhaustive.  The electives taken by the student must be approved by the advisor and the Executive Committee of MSDS.  The student’s choices of electives shall be approved by the advisor prior to registration and by the executive committee prior to the beginning of the last semester.
  3. Non-thesis option
    30 credits of course work are required.  Up to three credits of Special Problem or Research can be applied toward the credit total.  These Special Problem or Research credits may come from experience on campus or in industry (e.g., internships).  Special Problem or Research credits must be related to the degree and must be approved by the advisor and the executive committee.   Valid scholarly output from such credits are presentations (oral or poster), papers, reports or similar that demonstrate related work in the field.
  4. Thesis option
    Up to six credits can be used to do a MS thesis according the requirements of the department in which the student will take the degree.  The University requirements for master’s theses shall apply to the thesis in this degree.  The committee for the thesis shall include three members with at least one member not from the specialty department.
  5. Advisor and Program of Study
    An advisor will be assigned prior to the start of the first semester.  The first semester courses shall be approved by the advisor prior to the start of that semester.   The student and the advisor will develop a program of study; the program of study submitted to the executive committee for approval prior to the end of the first semester of courses.
  6. Changes to the Program of Study
    Students may need to alter approved programs of study due to scheduling conflicts or the creation of new courses directly related to the student’s goals. Students who wish to make minor changes to their program of study must obtain permission from their advisor. Major changes to the program of study, such as the substitution of one or more core courses, must be approved by the Program Committee. All changes in a previously approved program of study must be approved by the Program Director.
  7. Transfer credits
    Up to six credits may be transferred from courses applicable toward the degree, provided that the credits have not been applied to obtain a different degree.  The transfer must be approved by the Executive committee, and if necessary, in consultation with the department that offers the (potentially) equivalent course.
  8. Awarding the degree
    The student can choose which department, and thus college, awards the MSDS.  The primary departments are expected to be DMS, CIS, or AES, but other departments are possible.  The department/subject of the degree may be awarded by that college under the following circumstances.

    1. If the student does a thesis, then the department of the advisor may be the department and college of the degree.
    2. If the student does a project course with an advisor, together with at least one other course from that department, then the student may be awarded a degree from that department and college.
    3. If the student does neither a project nor a thesis, then the degree may come from the department (and college) from which the student took at least 4 courses.

    Exceptions to the above policies may be granted by the executive committee.  The executive committee shall approve the subject and any emphasis of the MSDS prior to the student applying for the degree (i.e., the forms submitted prior to graduation).

    For more information see the Program Policy Statement