The University of St Thomas has added a new major – data analytics. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, data analytics is the practice of using data to drive strategy and decision making.

“We’re at a point now where we’ve made technological advances that let us gather so much data and the question is what do you do with it?” said Data Analytics Program Director Justin Donato. “It’s so easy to get lost in it if you don’t know what you’re doing, how to ask the right questions or how to analyze the outcomes. We want to prepare students to be able to efficiently wade through the data and get useful information out of it.”

The interdisciplinary major includes core courses in computer science and statistics along with domain requirements, which are courses in a chosen area of study. As of right now, the data analytics major includes 11 domains – American politics, criminal justice, economics, geographic information systems, sociology, biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, physics and public health. Additional required courses for the major focus on calculus, public speaking and professional writing.

Donato, who is also program director of the biochemistry program, is looking forward to the addition of more domains to the data analytics major in the future.

“We’re hoping this becomes a bigger umbrella program that will attract a wide variety of students with varied interest,” Donato said. “They’ll have this common core toolbox they can use to address completely different kinds of questions. I’m looking forward to seeing the types of problems these students attack and the impact they can make.”

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