NYU Data Science Program – Things to Know

Inside summary of NYU Data Science program launched last year, what it is, and what makes it special.

by Ran Bi, June 2014

This is an exciting time for data scientist, also for people like me who want to be data scientists. Luckily, I have been admitted to NYU Data Science program this time last year. Here is a summary of my experience in this new data science program. Hopefully, it can give you a more clear idea about data science at NYU.
This is part 1 and here is part 2, where I write more on people and curriculum.

NYU Data Science Program
Let me begin with basic information. Here are some numbers: 31 students, 12 courses, 2 years. Prof. Yann LeCun was Director of Center for Data Science(CDS) last year. But Yann went to Facebook and now he is a part-time professor at NYU. Prof. Raghu Varadhan and Prof. David Hogg succeeded him as our new directors.

What is special about this program? First, it is world’s first Master of Science program named “Data Science”. [See many other programs]. But it is just a name, although a very hot one. CMU calls it Computational Data Science, which is renamed from Very Large Information Systems; Stanford doesn’t change the name, but it begins to offer a MS track in Data Science under Department of Statistics and ICME.

Second, it is located in New York. Well, so are Columbia’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering and Cornell NYC Tech. Personally, I think amazing faculty and staff and tons of opportunities outside because of both “the Age of Exabyte” and “the Big Apple” make it an attractive program.

As CDS’s website said,

The initiative is especially focused on harnessing the potential power of big data to transform areas ranging from healthcare to business to government.

I think that the high demand for data scientists is because of its importance in various domains. Data science program provides the flexibility to customize with courses in specific subjects of interest, such as biology, economics, neuroscience, physics, political science, psychology and music. Click here for the full list of pre-approved elective courses.

CDS received over six hundred applications this year and admitted about 90 students, 48 of whom have been enrolled. It is slightly over 50 percent which is normal. I have received some questions regarding the program, like “is this program academic or professional”. This may seem strange, but five of the six required coursed are designed for the PhD program. The goal of this master program is to help all the students get jobs. So you can call it professional or academic, whatever you like.

Besides, Data Science PhD program is on the way. It is under State’s review. The state is slow because they are short of people who do the work. There is no feedback on the proposal itself. “We can’t advertise until and if the proposal is approved”, Roy said.

Ran Bi
Ran Bi is a master student in Data Science program at New York University. She has done several projects in machine learning, deep learning and also big data analytics during her study at NYU. With the background in Financial Engineering for undergrad study, she is also interested in business analytics.