SRU launches new data analytics master's program


data classroom

Aug. 12, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Talk about a home run. Graduates of Slippery Rock University's newest master's program in Data Analytics will not only enter a profession the Harvard Business Review has dubbed the most desirable job of the 21st century, but upon completion of the program will receive both a master of science from SRU and professional certification from the SAS Institute for Advanced Analytics.

philip way


"This is a program that is well-researched and prepared by our mathematics department, part of the College of Health, Environment and Science, and certainly is both a growing profession today - and tomorrow," said Philip Way, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs.

Thomas Davenport and D. J. Patil, writers for the Harvard Business Review, report, "while the technologies that make taming big data possible are important breakthroughs, at least as important are the people with the skill set (an the mindset) to put them to good use."

And, on this front they note, "demand has raced ahead of supply" and the shortage of data scientists has become a critical issue.

SRU's program is designed to help fill that gap. The program will prepare students to use data analysis methods, use predictive modeling, maintain data security and communicate effectively with constituents.

"What data scientists do," said Davenport and Patil, "is make discoveries while swimming in data. It's their preferred method of navigating the world around them. At ease in the digital realm, they are able to bring structure to large quantities of formless data and make analysis possible. They identify rich data sources, join them with other, potentially incomplete data sources, and clean the resulting set. In a competitive landscape where challenges keep changing and data never stop flowing, data scientists help decision makers shift from ad hoc analysis to an ongoing conversation with data."

SRU's master's in data analytics is aligned with standards established by professional certification programs, granting graduates joint certification in statistical applications and data analytics from SRU and the Statistical Analysis System Institute for advanced analytics. SAS is one of the most widely used software platforms in the world for performing data analytics and statistical analysis. SRU is one of only 56 institutions in the U.S. offering the SAS certification. Additionally, the program will prepare graduates to take the Certified Analytics Professional exam administered by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

The 33-credit hour program can be completed in 10 months full-time or two years part-time and will offer a hybrid of face-to-face classes at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township and online.

"Because big data is of growing importance in understanding regional, national and global trends, the MSDA dovetails well with two areas of the University's Strategic Plan," Way said. "These are to provide leadership in STEM-H [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health Professions] to solve challenging crises and to provide educational opportunities to new and emerging learning communities."

The program will make use of SRU's mathematics, computer science and business faculty. Graduates can expect to find jobs in such areas as finance, business, healthcare, data science, service optimization, public health epidemiology, bio-statistics and companies, and web analytics that make extensive use of statistics, such as insurance.

For more information or to apply to the program, contact Christy Crute, graduate coordinator, at or 724.738.4286.

MEDIA CONTACT: Rita Abent | 724.738.2091 |