Exploiting data responsibly and competently: New Bachelor’s degree program “Data Science”

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Students who want to help shape the digital transformation in the decades to come, can get the necessary qualification in the new Bachelor’s degree program “Data Science” at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (KU). In today’s digital world, data is everywhere. The challenge is to analyze and utilize it - be it in autonomous driving, speech recognition or automatic translation. That is why the program teaches students the basics of machine-learning and other current methods efficiently by applying cutting-edge software technologies.

The six-semester program is explicitly interdisciplinary, combining data science methods from mathematics, statistics and computer science. The classes and lectures have been tailored to the program and are largely held in English, which puts students right on track for a career in an international company. This also creates an international campus environment with fellow students from all over the world.

“With the competencies, knowledge and personal skills they acquire, our graduates become valued and sought-after professionals in fields as diverse as finances, IT, automotive industries, biotechnology or organizations,” says degree program coordinator Dr. Götz Pfander. He holds the chair for Mathematics/Computational Science at the KU. Pfander adds that businesses seek graduates who have strong analytical thinking skills and the ability to apply these skills in the form of algorithms, while being aware of the responsibility involved in processing sensitive data, including the impartiality and objectivity of algorithms.

Over the course of the six semesters, students can choose from six different specializations to either keep focussing on mathematical fundamentals or specialize on an area of application: The specialization “Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computing” allows students to take a deeper dive into the mathematical foundations of Data Science. The area “Machine Learning and Statistics” gives its graduates a deeper understanding of statistical methods and introduces advanced and research-related aspects of statistical and machine learning methods.

The specialization “Business Analytics and Operations”, on the other hand, gets students in contact with the field of business and economics. In addition to basic knowledge of business administration, the focus is on data-driven approaches to business, organizational and technical problems. In the specialization “Finance and Economics”, students take a closer look at macroeconomic relationships, global markets and financial instruments. Data-based methods are an integral part of all of the mentioned disciplines.

In the specialization “Digital Transformation of Society”, students deal with applications of Data Science in social and human sciences. Besides a solid fundament of knowledge, students also get an insight into the role of empirical methods, for instance in sociology or journalism. This combination makes it possible for graduates to critically assess the ongoing digital transformation of society.

Those who wish to pursue a career in data-based environmental and geoscience, can take the specialization “Environmental Sciences”, where they can learn more about measurement data and models used in the study of weather and climate.

The required module “Ethics of Algorithms and Data” gives a forum to the reflection on the chances and risks of data science and complements discussions in the different specializations. “We see the need for the KU to establish a data science culture in which the responsible use of data is understood as a natural part of any professional activity,” says Professor Pfander.

Applications for the Bachelor’s degree program “Data Science” are open until July 15. Further information is available at https://www.ku.de/en/study-offer/data-science.