School of Digital Sciences
The Master of Digital Sciences (MDS) degree is a professional master's degree for graduates from a wide range of backgrounds. A Bachelor's degree in Digital Sciences is not required for admission, and students may enter in any semester.
The Master of Digital Sciences program is designed to augment a student's skill set, opening the door to new career opportunities for students from diverse undergraduate backgrounds. Introductory courses expose students to graduate topics outside their undergraduate field, and six concentrations allow them to study one area in more depth. Electives provide an opportunity for customization, and the degree culminates with either an individual capstone project or a formal thesis.
Due to the School's interdisciplinary nature, students have a unique opportunity to gain a graduate-level introduction to three or more areas aligned with digital sciences. A computer science course covers basic Python and C++ programming, while a technology course covers network management and design. An education course gives an overview of instructional design, and a business course examines globalization and technology strategy. Digital Sciences courses provide an overview of the newly emerging areas of enterprise architecture and data science.
Six concentrations provide an opportunity for deeper study in one of these areas. Students may continue to study in their undergraduate field or may choose to study in a complementary area. For working professionals, using this concentration to acquire a new skill set or update existing skills may open new career opportunities. The six concentrations are:
- The Data Science concentration focuses on the data analysis and modeling needed by an organization and the processing of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data using statistical and semantic analysis techniques to meet those needs.
- The Enterprise Architecture concentration focuses on the business goals, processes, and technology infrastructure needed by an organization and the alignment of the processes and infrastructure with the goals of the business.
- The Digital Systems Software Development concentration focuses on the software applications needed by an organization and the design and maintenance of software systems that are aligned with the goals of the business.
- The Digital Systems Telecommunication Networks concentration focuses on the communication infrastructure needed by an organization and the design and management of a telecommunication system and computer network to meet those needs.
- The Digital Systems Management concentration focuses on the technical leadership needed by an organization and the management of information services in a rapidly changing global economy.
- The Digital Systems Training Technology concentration focuses on the educational applications needed by an organization and the design and management of instructional systems to meet those needs.
The required courses for the Data Science, Enterprise Architecture, and Digital Systems Training Technology concentrations are generally delivered in an online format, and it is possible to complete these degrees online with judicious choice of electives. The required courses for the Digital Systems Software Development, Digital Systems Telecommunication Networks, and Digital Systems Management concentrations are generally delivered in an in-classroom format, so it is not possible to complete these degrees online.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer-related occupations will grow twice as fast as the average for all occupations, and will account for over 750,000 new jobs nationally between 2010-2020. Computing occupations are projected to be responsible for nearly 60% of all job growth in science and engineering between now and 2020.
Depending on a student's undergraduate background, the Digital Sciences program can prepare graduates for entry-level careers such as computer systems analyst, computer system architect, data scientist, enterprise architect, information system project manager, information technology coordinator, instructional coordinator, instructional technologist, scientific programmer, software project manager, technology architect, telecommunication specialist or web developer.
Applicants for the Master of Digital Sciences degree are expected to have an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale. Applicants with a lower GPA will be considered for conditional admission. The GRE is not required but if taken will be considered in the admission process.
Applicants must submit official transcript(s), current resume, three letters of recommendation, a statement of goals and objectives for pursuing this degree, and (optionally) a statement of plans for electives.
The (required) statement of goals and objectives should explain the applicant's goals and objectives for pursuing this advanced degree. For example, the applicant may want to better prepare for a particular career, to update knowledge in a specific area or to add expertise that will make the applicant more valuable in a current career.
The (optional) statement of plans for electives should explain how the applicant plans to choose the digital sciences related electives to complement the selected concentration and undergraduate major. The applicant should explain how the electives will help to meet the goals and objectives listed in the previous question.
International applicants must submit evidence of proficiency in the English language, usually through the TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS.
Please refer to the University policy for graduate admissions.
Minimum 32 credit hours of graduate-level coursework including 9-10 credits of major requirements, 9-10 credits of concentration requirements, 7-8 credits of approved electives in the digital sciences or related programs, and 6 credits of Thesis or Capstone plus electives as described on the program requirements page.
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates of this program will be able to:
1. Augment their professional preparation with material from areas of digital sciences outside their former college and professional boundaries.
2. Demonstrate increased breadth in digital sciences outside their former college and professional boundaries. Depending on the courses chosen, they will be able to demonstrate basic familiarity with enterprise architecture, data science, software development, telecommunication networks, globalization and technology strategy, and instructional design.
3. Demonstrate increased depth in one area of digital sciences. Depending on the concentration chosen, they will be able to demonstrate some competence in Enterprise Architecture, Data Science, Digital Systems Software Development, Digital Systems Telecommunication Networks, Digital Systems Management, or Digital Systems Training Technology.
4. Demonstrate the integration of material from different areas in digital sciences, through either a Thesis or a Capstone project.
Study Abroad/Away Opportunities
Business Administration-Information Systems/Operations Management (Ph.D.), Communication and Information (Ph.D.), Computer Science (Ph.D.), Educational Psychology-Instructional Technology (Ph.D.), Evaluation and Measurement (Ph.D.)
Each student must complete either 3 credits of DSCI 60998 Capstone Project in Digital Sciences and 3 credits of approved electives in the digital sciences or related programs (Non-Thesis Option), or 6 credits of DSCI 69199 Thesis I (Thesis Option).