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UCI launched its Master of Data Science (MDS) professional graduate program in the fall of 2021 to meet the growing demand for data scientists. This year, Fortune launched its first-ever ranking of the top in-person master’s degree programs in data science, noting that “data science is one of the fastest growing fields today, and one of the best ways to break into the field is to pursue a master’s degree in the field.”

Fortune ranked UCI’s MDS program, which is offered through the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), seventh on its list of 28 schools. UCI is the only UC school, and one of only a few universities from the West Coast, to make it on the 2022 list, which ranked data science programs based on selectivity and demand.

“This achievement speaks volumes to the dedication and work we have committed for our program,” says MDS Program Director Bryan Muñoz. “The quality of our faculty and students that have made this possible in our first year is unmatched.” The inaugural cohort of students, including Adelynn Paik, is set to graduate later this year, and the 2022-23 cohort, including Michael Strand, is just getting started.

“When I was accepted into the 2023 MDS program, it was one of the proudest moments of my life,” says Strand. “I had weighed different data science programs across the country, but no other program offered the same perfect blend of faculty talents, prestige, cutting-edge academics, career-oriented program structure, and a prime location.”

The MDS Program Ambassadors.

Paik, who serves as an MDS program ambassador, similarly thought UCI would be the perfect school for furthering her interests in data science. “At UCI’s MDS program,” she has said, “I’m gaining useful skills while giving myself the chance to learn about the job landscape through offerings such as career counseling and the capstone project.”

In addition to offering real-world experience, the MDS program ensures students gain a strong foundation in both statistical and computing methods. It leverages pioneering faculty and researchers from the Department of Statistics and Department of Computer Science — conveniently housed together in the School of ICS — to provide hands-on training in applied probability and mathematical statistics, statistical modeling and computing, machine learning, data management and visualization, and artificial intelligence.

“We are incredibly proud of being ranked by Fortune. It is a great achievement and a testament to what we are trying to achieve with our program — to be the best in class and to educate students about the importance of data science,” says Bin Nan, Chancellor’s Professor in statistics and MDS faculty director. “We thank our faculty for the effort they put forth in educating our students and empowering innovation through data science.”

— Shani Murray