St. Lawrence University signs agreement with University of San Francisco to add data science degree
CANTON -- St. Lawrence University has signed a new 4+1 agreement with the University of San Francisco which allows students to prepare for the fastest-growing career field in the country.
Under this program students can receive a bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence and a master of science degree in data science from USF.“USF actually came to us,” said Daniel Look, associate professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics, who had a prior professional relationship with the director of the USF master of science in data science program. “It was a testament to the strength of St. Lawrence’s Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics.”
Recent St. Lawrence graduate Taylor Pellerin, who earned his master’s in data science from USF, was integral to connecting St. Lawrence with USF.
“I was the second or third St. Lawrence student who had successfully gone through USF’s program,” Pellerin said. "(The program director) said USF would benefit from sourcing more good students from St. Lawrence, and St. Lawrence would benefit from structuring classes around the types of courses needed to put together a data science program.”
Data science and analytics is a field that combines elements of mathematics, economics, computer science and statistics. According to LinkedIn, data science is the fastest-growing job in America, with a growth rate six-and-half times greater than other professions since 2012. IBM, meanwhile, expects demand for data scientists will jump another 28 percent by 2020.
In order to apply to the 4+1 with USF, St. Lawrence students will have to have taken courses in mathematics, statistics, and computer science as well as being in strong academic standing, have a recommendation by a math, computer science or statistics faculty member, and pass an interview with USF. Combined, the courses required for entry into the 4+1 culminate in learning both the functional work combined with theoretical understandings.
“We were given a lot of leniency in how to structure the program, but we decided to ratchet it up a bit,” Look said. “Statistics and computer science bring together the programming and data analysis, while the rigor of the mathematics courses provides a solid foundation for quantitative analysis.”
Pellerin, who grew up in the North Country, continues to live in San Francisco and is working as a data scientist for Uber Eats.
“I am the youngest person on my team; but, I have been able to lead a discussion with industry veterans with a confidence that came from attending St. Lawrence,” Pellerin said. “At St. Lawrence, juggling club sports, having a leadership role on my team, working in the (math tutoring lab) and being a successful student … that’s what hiring managers are looking for and what they value.”