UNC Charlotte has become the first university in the Carolinas to create a school of data science and the third in the country. UNC Charlotte’s School of Data Science is an industry-university-state partnership led by the College of Computing and Informatics, the Belk College of Business, the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
The School of Data Science’s undergraduate program is expected to launch in Fall 2020, assuming the school receives the necessary state and federal approval.
The interim director for the Data Science Initiative was Doug Hauge and he will now become the executive director.
“Data science is a blend of programming, statistics and real-world problem solving,” Hauge said. “Students don't need to be computer scientists to succeed in this field. Our undergraduate degree is for anyone with a curiosity and a desire to solve the world’s biggest problems.”
Although there are many graduate degrees available for data science across the U.S, there is a lack of opportunities for students to enter the field as undergraduates.
There is also a need for data scientists from the research perspective. The School of Data Science hopes to align data science research from departments across campus to make the field more interdisciplinary.
“I’m excited to be a part of the University and School of Data Science,” Hauge said. “The launch of the school is an exciting opportunity for the University as feedback from our industry partners, governmental partners and the surrounding community has been extremely positive.”
There’s been a very high demand from UNC Charlotte’s industry partners, as well as from companies throughout the world, for working professionals with a skill set in data science.
The School of Data Science is targeting around 100 students from each class for the undergraduate degree. However, longterm, the school is hoping to exceed 500 students in the undergraduate program. Currently, there are 260 students enrolled in the Data Science and Business Analytics and Health Informatics and Analytics graduate program.
“The most exciting aspect of the field of data science revolves around its interdisciplinary nature, meaning it’s necessary in every industry,” Hauge said. “The opportunities data science provides are endless, and we can’t wait to showcase this to our future students.”