About

The University of Minnesota offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in data science. The links at the top of the page provide information for prospective and currently enrolled students.

The amount of data being generated is increasing at a rapid rate with more than 90% of the data in the world being created in just the last few years. This trend is universal and covers every aspect of today’s social, economic, scientific, engineering, civic, and artistic activities. This data holds valuable information that can be used to improve all these activities by either solving existing problems better or leading to new discoveries, new technologies, and new services. Due to its ability to power innovations, our world today considers data to be the new oil.

Data science majors possess an extensive set of analytical, computational, and software engineering skills along with strong verbal, written, and visual communication skills in order to realize the value hidden in this vast amount of data, and effectively communicating their findings and solutions.

At the heart of the data scientist is a passion to improve things by leveraging the patterns and information that is often hidden in large amounts of data. Data scientists often start by conceiving a new data-driven solution to an existing problem or an entirely new data-driven service. They proceed to identify the data sources or create new data collection systems in order to obtain the required relevant data. This often involves working with cloud-based “Big Data” infrastructures, designing data collection processes, developing data access APIs, and creating sophisticated data cleaning, extraction, and selection algorithms and processes. Then they use their analytical and programming expertise to explore the space of possible solutions in order to select the appropriate data analysis approaches, implement them on large-scale cloud-based data analysis computing systems, and design robust ways to assess their validity and performance. This often requires close collaboration and ongoing communication with domain-experts, the end-users of their solutions, and managers.