Computational scientists, physicists, astronomers and other researchers at George Mason University have been analyzing large datasets for two decades—long before “data scientist” became the sexiest job title in business.
Still, with rising demand for expertise in business-oriented analytics skills, George Mason’s School of Physics, Astronomy and Computational Sciences is preparing to join a raft of other universities by updating its master’s degree programs to include three new areas of emphasis: data science, modeling and simulations, and transportation safety.
The move, scheduled to take place in the fall of 2014, serves two concurrent purposes, according to Kirk D. Borne, a professor of astrophysics and computational science at George Mason who has been active in the curriculum updates. One benefit: it strengthens the existing master’s degree program by giving students options to specialize in areas relevant to both science and business. And second: it responds to an outpouring of demand from students, alumni and others in the university community to meet a growing demand for trained analytics professionals.