Four new UMass Dartmouth degree programs will grow innovation activity

Data Science Health Care Management, Chemistry/Biochemistry address emerging opportunities within regional and Commonwealth economy

New degrees in health care management, data science, and chemistry/biochemistry at UMass Dartmouth were given final approval by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, positioning the university to expand its leadership role in building the regional and statewide innovation economy.

The new degrees include:

-- Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Science (MS) degree in data science prepare students for a fast-emerging inter-disciplinary field that will shape industries and issues such as health care, ocean modelling, climate change, land-use planning and transportation system design. Economists and financial analysts recognize this field as one of the leading opportunities for developing the innovation economy in coming decades and forecast significant job growth in this sector.

-- Master of Science (MS) in Health Care Management supports a growing field as health care institutions strive to be more innovative and efficient in their delivery of services in a fast-changing marketplace and highly regulated environment.

-- PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry promises to attract, develop and retain life science innovators. UMass Dartmouth has an array of federally supported research initiatives already in place, and the approval of the degree will enable the university to build on this strength. A large percentage of these graduate students subsequently find permanent employment in Massachusetts, thus benefiting the regional economy in life sciences, diagnostics, sensors, and advanced manufacturing.

"These degree programs exemplify the goals of the university's strategic plan, UMassDTransform2020, by advancing the institution's reputation for innovative academic programs and overall excellence in undergraduate, graduate and professional education," said Provost Mohammad Karim. "The talents and expertise of our exceptional faculty have positioned us well to initiate these programs."

Data science is a relatively new field, fusing information technology (IT) with knowledge from different disciplines to enable predictive decision support and understanding complex systems. Over the last several years, UMass Dartmouth has attracted a talented group of researchers that has won numerous federal grants to support their work and engaged undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the research.

These new degrees will be offered cooperatively by the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. The BS degree program is unique in the region and will prepare students for technology-based careers in fields that require computer programming, data analysis, visualization, and a flexible, broad understanding of informatics including data privacy, security and ethics.

In addition to expanding educational opportunities for students, the data science degrees will support campus-wide research efforts campus wide. UMass Dartmouth researchers in all fields need access to state‐of‐the‐art data science methodologies and tools. Research products and services may also lead to new commercial ventures and community partnerships.

The MS in Health Care Management degree is expected to attract students from the major hospitals and health care providers in the region and far beyond.

"We applaud UMass Dartmouth's decision to offer a Healthcare Management course. As healthcare continues to change, the one thing that remains constant is the need for qualified and highly-trained healthcare workers. It is critical that we fill the need with an emphasis on quality of care and provide support through strong leadership. This course gives hard-working Southcoast employees an opportunity to obtain more academic credentials at a highly-respected institution that's close to home," said Renee Clark, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for Southcoast Health.

The PhD in Chemistry & Biochemistry will attract students from around the globe. A large percentage of these students will find permanent employment in areas of life sciences, diagnostics, sensors, and advanced manufacturing. They will also have the potential to start their own businesses.

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