Headshot of Director, Richard Braun

Message from the Director

October 31, 2022

The MS in Data Science (MSDS) at UD is a rapidly growing major that is highly relevant in today’s business, government, and academic sectors. Since our official beginning in the fall 2019 semester through the end of 2022, we will have had dozens of graduates! We are very proud of them! They have shown remarkable dedication and energy to finish our program. All are employed in the field or graduate school. We look forward to many more graduates!

Job opportunities have fluctuated over the last couple of years. The future seems less certain than it did, but I’m optimistic that opportunities in the fields related to data science, and using data wisely, will continue to grow. I’ve experienced down markets for employment in my career. The best thing that I think one can do is continue working toward their goals and gain additional experience, skills, and knowledge toward those goals. If your dream is to pursue data science as a career, our program can give you the experience, knowledge, and skills that you will need. The MSDS will enable you to know what’s inside the black box of software that analyzes the data and to use that knowledge to improve your analyses and results.

The MSDS program stands ready to help you. Here is a sample of what we’re doing:

  • Lowered tuition for students in the program to $979 per credit (2022-23);
  • Assigning every entering student an advisor from our extensive list of affiliated faculty;
  • Helping students obtain a relevant internship and project experience;
  • Customizing course choices to fit your goals.

We are in the welcome position of being on campus again. A silver lining from the pandemic is that we have a few more online options to mix with the on-campus experience to help students finish in a timely way.

We hope that you will consider the information here on our web page and apply to the program. We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals!

Richard J Braun

Founding Director
Carl J Rees Professor of Mathematical Sciences
Affiliated Faculty, Data Science Institute
Courtesy appointments in Biomedical Engineering
and in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

History of the Program

A campus-wide Data Science Working Group (DSWG) was formed in 2016 to foster data science research at the University of Delaware. Over the course of the following year, the DSWG held several meetings and events. Most notably, in May 2017, a data science symposium was hosted by the Research Office and organized by a faculty committee of DSWG members co-chaired by Eric Wommack and Nii Attoh-Okine. Featuring keynote talks, breakout sessions, short research presentations, and over 100 attendees from all over campus, the symposium helped lead to an internal data science white paper in Fall of 2017.

These events, in no small part, inspired the MSDS program. The symposium presentations made it clear that successful data science programs involve collaboration across multiple disciplines; generally, this means statistics, computer and information sciences, and mathematics together with domain or application areas. During the summer and fall, a faculty group discussed and proposed this master’s degree program, which was subsequently passed by the departments, participating colleges, and the University. The first students were admitted in the Fall 2018 semester, and the program officially started the following year. The founding director was Richard Braun, Professor and Carl J. Rees Chair of Mathematical Sciences. The program moved to the newly formed Graduate College for the Fall 2021 semester.

As of Fall 2021, nine students had graduated from the program. We are proud to say that at the end of the Spring 2023 semester, we will have had 39 students graduate from the program. Our alumni work at a wide variety of employers: JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Delaware Data Innovation Lab, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Paramount, Incyte, PwC, AAA, and many more. There are currently over 60 students in the program and it is expected to continue to grow in the near future.

The offerings of the program evolved after its inception. A required ethics course was added in the 2020-21 academic year, raising the required number of credits to 33 (from 30).  Combined 4+1 dual bachelors and MSDS degrees were introduced by several departments beginning with the fall 2020 term. Of those students graduated by the end of Spring 2023, five were 4+1 students. A dual degree program combining the MSDS with the PhD program in Mathematical Science was initiated in Fall 2021. As of March 2023, there are three students in the dual degree program, with the first graduate expected to finish in Summer 2024.

Interest in entering the program has skyrocketed. Applications for admission during the 2023 calendar year have exceeded 600, putting the MSDS is in the top five most applications of all graduate degrees at UD by multiple measures. The program is going to a system with admissions only for fall semesters to properly plan for the growing interest.

To manage the growth of the program, the MSDS leadership and the Graduate College added an assistant director, Benjamin Bagozzi, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, beginning with the fall 2022 semester. With his addition, the program was better able to support the needs of increasing student body that has joined us.

It is still early days for the MS in Data Science, and its future looks bright.