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'Ahead of the curve': Calgary's Mount Royal University launching four-year bachelor's degree in data science

A keyboard can be seen in this image. (AFP) A keyboard can be seen in this image. (AFP)
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Calgary's Mount Royal University will soon offer a four-year bachelor's degree in data science.

"We are thrilled that this degree has been approved after significant effort by faculty and university staff to develop a program that puts MRU ahead of the curve,” said Dr. Jonathan Withey, dean of the faculty of science and technology.

"Governments, organizations and businesses have access to larger quantities and more kinds of data than ever before. Employers have told us that graduates who can extract valuable insights from datasets are increasingly sought after.

"We are meeting the needs of Alberta learners seeking to embrace a wide variety of opportunities in the field of data science."

University of Calgary professor Jim Stallard responded to Wednesday's earlier version of this story with news that the U of C will be offering a bachelor of science degree with a major in data science as well -- in addition to offering graduate-level classes that go back to 2018.

"We at the U of C received  provincial government approval to offer a bachelor of science with a major in data science back in mid-June," he wrote.

"This is to add to our undergraduate (minor) in data science, and to our very successful and in high demand master of data science and analytics program, both of which have been active since fall 2018."

'PILLARS OF DATA SCIENCE'

MRU says its degree will "explore the pillars of data science: math, statistics, computer science and domain knowledge" through "concentrations, specialized courses and work-integrated learning."

The institution is aiming for 50 students for a winter 2024 start.

And each fall after, 100 students will be accepted.

"I see any new additions of technology-related degrees as a major plus for people looking into Mount Royal University, and data science is nice because it's a more specific sub-sector of technology that includes both math and statistics," said Ashley Hunchak, an MRU computer information systems student and vice-president of student engagement of the Computing Alliance of Mount Royal University.

"Data science is a popular career path right now, so I'm sure there will be a lot of interest from prospective students."

MRU says it will hire new faculty for the program.

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