SPCS launches new data analytics undergraduate major, certificate to meet local demand for analysts

March 22, 2021

The School of Professional & Continuing Studies at the University of Richmond has launched a new Data Analytics program with an undergraduate major in the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies and an undergraduate Certificate of Applied Studies. 

The Data Analytics program responds to the need among organizations in and beyond the high-tech sector for data analysis experience and expertise. According to a 2017 Burning Glass Technologies report from IBM and Burning Glass, the growth for jobs requiring data science and analytics is projected to increase by 15% into 2022. And in 2020 alone, data science and analytics job postings were projected to reach nearly 364,000. While overall job growth has slowed during the pandemic and recession, job growth in the data science and analytics sector has contracted at a much slower rate than in other sectors.

The SPCS Data Analytics program addresses the lack of qualified applicants in the industry. “A decreasing pool of qualified applicants in the industry is simply insufficient to meet current and future workforce needs in both data science and data analytics,” said Dr. Jamelle S. Wilson, dean of the School of Professional & Continuing Studies. “Our new program in data analytics will help meet the increasing demand for a data capable workforce by offering opportunities for nontraditional students to upskill and reskill.”

Nationally, Glassdoor has listed Data Scientist among the top three best jobs in the United States for the past five years, with Data Analyst in the top 50. Regionally, the Greater Washington Partnership, a coalition of industry and academia in which the University of Richmond is a partner, has developed a series of workforce digital credentials, including data analytics, to increase the number of qualified STEM professionals in the region to meet industry needs.

The SPCS Data Analytics program integrates quantitative competencies into the curriculum, a unique approach to designing a curriculum in data analysis. “Rather than requiring these students to undergo traditional quantitative courses to fill holes in their education, our program integrates quantitative competencies into data courses,” notes Dr. Lionel Mew, program chair. “Students use advanced tools to then understand patterns and solve problems, visualize and communicate their findings.”

The skills students learn are highly transferable, and graduates can use their knowledge to bring value to a wide spectrum of industries. As an added value, students will have the option to earn digital badges throughout the program, boosting résumé even before graduating.

Our bachelor’s degree in Data Analytics combines coursework in data analytics, statistics, math, leadership and ethics to build well-rounded professionals and prepare students to be data analytics specialists and decision makers. Students learn to turn complex data into valuable information for essential insight and decision making, often applying the learning to real-world situations.

Our undergraduate certificate in Data Analytics is designed with the flexibility to prepare recent college graduates to expand their skills and knowledge and better prepare for entry-level data analytics jobs. Additionally, the certificate can help more seasoned individuals prepare for a career change and mid-career professionals expand their skill sets to assume new data analytics roles and responsibilities. The certificate requires 18 semester hours of coursework, split among two required courses and four electives. An earned bachelor’s degree is required for admission.

If you live in the Richmond region, take the next step to become a data analyst or add data analytics to your professional skill set by submitting an application. You’ll be able to complete your bachelor’s degree or earn an undergraduate certificate part-time on the University of Richmond campus. The program enrolls students to fall, spring and summer terms, and applications are being accepted to start this fall 2021. We’re hosting virtual information sessions in March and April for these programs, and we invite those interested in the program to attend and learn more.