University of Minnesota to offer new Data Science for Chemical Engineering and Materials Science master’s degree

Program meets growing industry demand for engineers with data and computational expertise

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (03/08/2023)—The University of Minnesota Twin Cities College of Science and Engineering has announced that it will offer a new, first-of-its-kind master’s degree in data science for chemical engineering and materials science that can be completed in one academic year. Beginning in fall 2023, the program will meet growing industry demand for chemical engineers and materials scientists with experience in digital technologies such as automation and robotics, computing, artificial intelligence, and data analysis.

“We’re approaching a new era in industry where chemical and materials manufacturing industries are evolving to become more and more automated and incorporate digital technologies,” said Prodromos Daoutidis, founding director of the new data science master’s program and a professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “The only problem is that they don’t have the workforce for it. Our new degree program at the University of Minnesota fills this gap by preparing the next generation of chemical engineers and materials scientists to be able to apply foundational techniques from computer science and statistics—like artificial intelligence and machine learning—to the fields of chemical and materials engineering.”

A few other universities across the U.S. have similar, but smaller, certificate programs where students might only take four courses. The new University of Minnesota master’s degree, offered by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in partnership with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the School of Statistics, consists of 30 credits that can be completed over the course of one academic year.

Students will take core courses across the three disciplines along with electives that span the subjects of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, data analysis, business analytics, and control and optimization. The program is not only open to students from chemical engineering and materials science backgrounds, but also many other fields, including chemistry, physics, biomedical engineering, or mechanical engineering.

A program like ours provides a much deeper and broader coverage on these subjects, and a better education at the end of the day. It's not a certificate. It’s a master’s degree,” Daoutidis said. “I think the unique element is the fact that we're creating this program at the interface of chemical and materials engineering and computer and data science. We're building a bridge from our disciplines to computer and data science.”

The University of Minnesota’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science already has a rich history of excellence in computational and mathematical research. The department also consistently ranks in the top schools in the nation for chemical engineering.

The University of Minnesota is a great place for this program because, as a department, we have a deep tradition in innovation and education around mathematics that dates back to the 60s and 70s,” Daoutidis said. “We also have data science, computer science, and engineering programs all within one single college, so it’s very easy for us to create an interdisciplinary program like this that responds to real needs in the industry.

Students in the program will also have the opportunity to establish connections to local companies in the chemical and materials industries, and to complete projects relevant to these employers as part of their degree. 

To offset the cost, the program will also offer competitive partial fellowships for students.

Applications are currently open for fall semester 2023. For more information and application requirements, visit the M.S. in Data Science for Chemical Engineering and Materials Science website.