Big data is growing exponentially in today’s business world, and Penn State Great Valley brings the study of its systems to the tech-savvy greater Philadelphia region. We offer two graduate programs that cultivate the skills to collect, classify, analyze, and model data: the Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics (MPS-DAAN) and the Master of Science in Data Analytics (MS-DAAN). Both programs are STEM designated. A STEM designated degree from Penn State Great Valley allows 36 months total of Optional Practical Training (OPT) compared to 12 months for non-STEM degrees.
What are the differences between the two programs?
Master of Professional Studies
Master of Science
|● Capstone project completed in one semester||● Thesis with public defense completed over at least two semesters|
|● Preparation for data-driven careers||● Preparation for research and Ph.D. programs|
|● Full-time completion in 1.5 years||● Full-time completion in 2 years|
|● Part-time completion in 3 to 4 years||● Part-time completion in 3 to 4 years|
|● Students typically already have work experience||● Students typically are fresh out of undergraduate studies|
|● Applicants can request a GRE waiver||● GRE score required for admission|
Each 30-credit program draws on statistics, computer science, machine learning, and software engineering. But depending on students’ career or professional goals, they may choose to focus on practical application (MPS-DAAN) or research (MS-DAAN).
Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics
Intended for professionals looking to acquire analytical skills relevant to the workplace, MPS-DAAN consists of six required courses and three electives. The program culminates in a capstone course that builds upon the theories, technology, and skills learned in previous coursework. Students have the opportunity to partner with the campus' Big Data Lab or an outside company for their capstone course. Projects encompass a multitude of areas, including creating an analytical pipeline to predict Alzheimer's Disease, detecting mask compliance in real-time, analyzing character networks and relationships in literature, predicting high-risk borrowers, identifying and deleting duplicate questions on websites with user-generated content, and more.
Possible careers include data scientists, modelers, analysts, or architects.
Master of Science in Data Analytics
Through its emphasis on research, this program is designed to prepare students for entry into doctoral programs in data analytics. MS-DAAN has five required courses and three electives. Students take a research methods class and must pass SARI requirements prior to graduation. Rather than a capstone course, the program requires a thesis paper, which is six credits taken over two terms, and the completion of CITI training. Students work with and assigned faculty adviser for the course of their research. In order to graduate, the thesis must be accepted by a committee, the head of the graduate program, and the chancellor. Recent thesis papers have focused on information extraction and simplification from complicated medical notes, predicting Autism Spectrum Disorder based on genetic profiles, economic loss caused by disruption in infrastructure networks, and more.