New Joint MSDS-MBA Degree at UVA Darden

The UVA Darden School of Business has partnered with the UVA Data Science Institute to provide an opportunity for students to earn a Master of Science in Data Science and a Master of Business Administration in 24 months—rather than the 32 months that would be required if each degree were undertaken independently.

Students who pursue the new joint degree program will become coveted hires and indispensable leaders in a variety of fields, including consulting, finance, and technology, according to the school.

“This new dual degree represents an incredibly exciting development for the Darden School and prospective students,” said Raj Venkatesan, Darden professor and faculty lead for the dual degree. “There is a clear demand from students for this kind of analytics-driven curriculum and from organizations for employees who can harness the almost limitless power of Big Data to develop new business models. These graduates will be coveted hires and become indispensable leaders.”

The new dual degree, which began enrolling a limited cohort of students this summer, with a fuller launch planned in 2018, will deliver both the Darden curriculum of core and elective courses and the 11-month MSDS curriculum offered by the Data Science Institute over a two-year span. Tuition fees for the new program will be the sum of the standalone MBA and MSDS programs.

The Darden core curriculum provides students with an integrated perspective on general management in the first year, focusing on key themes such as finance, marketing, decision analytics, strategy, ethics, accounting and leadership.

Beginning in the final term of the first year, students choose from a diverse selection of more than 100 electives and begin to tailor the Darden education that most closely meets their interests and professional aspirations.

The MSDS curriculum, with core courses in computer science, statistics, and systems and information engineering, provides students of all backgrounds with a base in languages, computation and linear modeling before building on those skills to move to the practice and application of data science.

The program also addresses the ethical implications of data and analytics and culminates in a capstone project focused on a real-world data science problem. The capstone project will address a business problem and how data science can be used to address those challenges.

“This new program will change the way that top business leaders of tomorrow are thinking about data,” said Don Brown, director of the Data Science Institute. “This game-changing dual degree will give students a deep understanding of data science along with a top-ranked management program that will allow them to unlock new ways of questioning, answering and thinking about today’s top business challenges.”

Students must apply for admission to Darden first and then submit a supplemental application to the DSI. To be eligible for the dual degree, you must receive admission from both programs.

“Students from all backgrounds want to be equipped for jobs in technology and entrepreneurship,” said Sara Neher, former assistant dean for MBA admissions, now Darden’s assistant dean of Strategic Initiatives. “This new dual degree will be a way to differentiate yourself.”

The DSI supplemental application will be available on October 15, 2017.

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