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Monday, January 30, 2023

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The Big Data Analytics Program uses research to solve issues facing the community. The Big Data Analytics Program uses research to solve issues facing the community.

San Diego State Working to Solve Community Problems with New Graduate Program

The Big Data Analytics Program is meant to help better prepare students for careers and help address industry needs.
By Lainie Fraser

San Diego State University is launching a new graduate program aimed at addressing both industry and analytics-based research needs.

The Big Data Analytics Program allows students to collect data and use it to help solve real-world issues. It is a two-year program resulting in a Master of Science Degree. The program was created by Ming-Hsiang Tsou, who also founded SDSU’s Center for Human Dynamics in the Global Age.

“This is all part of the SDSU Strategic Plan, which focuses on research as a promising area for the school,” said Tsou.

Tsou started the center with the intent of using research findings to solve human dynamics issues. Since its opening, Tsou has focused on creating a curriculum and program that uses Big Data Analytics and teaches students how to take their learning to the next level.

Tsou said what sets SDSU’s big data program apart from those at other universities is the opportunity it provides students to apply their knowledge.

“You will find other universities are trying to build similar programs, but they focus too much on the engineering part and they are missing the real-world part or what we call domain knowledge.”

The program, which will have its first cohort in fall 2019, teaches in a traditional classroom environment and helps coordinate internships with a number of centers on and around campus as well as local start-up companies. This allows students to gather data and apply their analytics to the real-world to help solve pressing issues. This also will help better equip students for when they enter the workforce.

“With this program we really want a balance between academics and real-world problem solving,” said Tsou. “For example, as a student of the health and human services domain, you can intern for the SDSU HealthLINK Center. They will learn the health issues facing San Diego communities, collect data on, say, obesity in an area and analyze it in a way that will help that community.”

The Big Data Analytics Program is open to any interested student. According to Tsou, the program allows for customization of coursework – catering to individual student interests. The basic courses offered range from sociology and linguistics to math and statistics. Students are then taught how to collect and analyze data within these domain knowledge areas and apply them to issues facing their communities.

“This allows students to do what they are interested in, fine-tune their skills and make a difference, solve some problems,” said Tsou. “I think this is representative of how SDSU is revolutionizing teaching, the services we provide to students and how we prepare them for the future market.”

The program was created by faculty from departments in four different colleges across campus.

“This is the future,” said Tsou. “Education should be focused on this type of transdisciplinary program because it will address real needs in the future.”

Information on admissions can be found here. Applications are open through Mar. 1, 2019.