Harvard-Trained Scholar Creates New Major in Data Science

By: Kevin Spensley and Mark Tarnacki

Saint Michael's students in the College's "Mac Lab," crunching data and statistics.

Analyzing “big data” is a growing field with great unfulfilled demand in industry and government. Many fields increasingly utilize statistical methods and large, complex data sets in routine practice.

The career outlook for Data Science graduates is excellent. According to a 2017 study by IBM, demand for data scientists will increase 28% by 2020, with more than 60,000 job openings per year.

A full description of the Data Science major at Saint Michael’s College, including curriculum and faculty is available on our website.

For information on career paths of our Data Science alumni, visit our Alumni Spotlights.

Saint Michael’s College hired to Professor Michael Larsen, who received his PhD at Harvard University, to develop and teach classes. According to Professor Larsen, a background in statistics “is useful broadly in jobs, in graduate programs and just in general in a lot of aspects of life --and I think we’re at a special point where computing and the availability of data are where you can really try to do some exciting things.”

A second professor leading the effort is Greta Pangborn, who was trained at Cornell University, said that a number of her recent graduates in math and computer science have gone on to work in the data science field already. The emergence of Data Science was a recent focus in such major publications as Forbes, sparking interest among current and prospective students.

Research across a wide spectrum of disciplines uses and relies on statistical methods together with computing skills with insight and expertise in working with Big Data. According to Professor Larsen, many employers, whatever the industry, are interested in analyzing their customer data bases and market information on the internet.

Saint Michael’s faculty already was so strong in STEM-related disciplines that the new Data Science major was a natural addition, said Dr. Karen Talentino, the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Saint Michael’s College. For a full list of STEM and other majors offered at Saint Michael’s College see our List of Majors.

A full press release about the new major is found on college’s News Page.

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